Dallas Cowboys 1979 Flashback: Roger and Out!

On December 16, 1979 the Cowboys played in what many believe to be one of the greatest games of all time. In the final game of the regular season at Texas Stadium the Cowboys needed to beat the Redskins to make the playoffs. With a victory they would also win the NFC East and earn a home playoff game and a week off. They were behind the Redskins 17-0 in the first half and 34-21 in the fourth quarter. With the great Roger Staubach leading them the Cowboys battled until the end and beat the Redskins 35-34. It was another late game comeback added to Staubach’s already impressive resume during his NFL career. Cowboys games never seemed out of reach as long as Staubach was at quarterback. There was always that feeling that Staubach would pull out the victory.

Two weeks after beating the Redskins the Cowboys were back in Texas Stadium for the divisional round of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Rams. Way back in week 7 of the 1979 season the Rams had come to Texas Stadium and were destroyed by the Cowboys 30-6. Now it was the playoffs and the winner would advance to the NFC Championship game with hopes of making it to Super Bowl XIV.

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The Cowboys first three possessions of the game ended in punts. Roger Staubach and the offense couldn’t get anything going against the Rams defense to start the game, except for a 27 yard rush by tight end Billy Joe Dupree. The same could be said for the Rams offense who punted on their first two possessions.

The Rams started their third possession from their own 12 yard line and then a five yard penalty pushed them back to the 7 yard line. On second down Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo dropped back into the end zone. While trying to avoid the rush from Harvey Martin, Ferragamo stepped up in the pocket and then tried to avoid Randy White. He tried to spin and then slipped and fell in the end zone where White sacked him for a safety. The Cowboys took a 2-0 lead on the Rams.

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On the Rams free kick after the safety the Cowboys took over at their 46 yard line. On third down Staubach was rushed, but was never hit. His pass seemed to slip out of his hands and floated high like it was tipped. The Rams came down with an easy interception and returned it to the Cowboys 32 yard line. Once again the Rams could not put a drive together and lined up for a Frank Corral field goal attempt that he missed from 44 yards.

The second quarter started with more punts from both teams. One of Danny White’s punts went out of bounds at the Rams 7 yard line. The Cowboys defense figured they had the Rams in trouble again so close to their goal line. But behind the running of Wendell Tyler and Cullen Bryant the Rams quickly were able to drive to the Cowboys 36 yard line where they faced a 4th and 1. The Rams decided to go for it instead and attempting another field goal. They were successful on fourth down and then made the Cowboys pay on the next play. From the 32 yard line Ferragamo threw over Cowboys linebacker DD Lewis who was covering Tyler. Tyler caught the pass at the 15 yard line and outraced the Cowboys defense to the end zone for the score. The Rams took the lead 7-2.

The Cowboys offense had been shut down by the Rams defense for just about the entire first half. They couldn’t run the ball and Staubach seemed out of rhythm with his receivers. But like so many times before, Staubach could not be counted out for long. As the first half was coming to a close it was Staubach who connected with Drew Pearson for 17 yards and then with Dupree for 16 yards as the Cowboys drove to the Rams 19 yard line. The drive stalled at the 16 yard line and Rafael Septien connected on a 33 yard field goal to get the Cowboys closer, 7-5.

On two straight kickoffs by Septien he kicked both out of bounds. Back in 1979 this was a five yard penalty and a re kick. With two penalties it pushed the Cowboys kickoff back to the 25 yard line. The Rams returned Septien’s third kickoff to the 31 yard line with time winding down in the first half. Ferragamo quickly completed two straight passes and the Rams found themselves at the Cowboys 43 yard line with 17 seconds left. Then with only 11 seconds left Ferragamo was able to get a pass off as Randy White hit him hard and took him down. The pass made its way into the end zone where Rams wide receiver Ron Smith came down with the ball while covered by two Cowboys defenders. The Rams went into halftime leading the Cowboys 14-5.

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The Rams defense in the first half was able to control the Cowboys running game and was able to limit any big plays from Staubach. The Cowboys defense played well, but the Rams offense was able to make a few more plays then the Cowboys and that led to their nine point lead going into the third quarter. But this was the Cowboys who were America’s team. They had Roger Staubach and the Doomsday defense and were known for exciting games and great comebacks. As the second half got started it seemed as though everyone was waiting for that moment that the Cowboys would come alive and make their move.

It didn’t take the Cowboys defense very long to make a play as the third quarter got under way. Dennis Thurman intercepted Ferragamo at the Cowboys 46 yard line and returned it to the Rams 34 yard line. But once again the Cowboys offense could not put a drive together and could not take advantage of the turnover and had to punt.

The Cowboys defense was able to force the Rams to punt and the Cowboys offense took over with great field position at their 46 yard line. Staubach connected with Drew Pearson for 29 yards and got to the Rams 25 yard line. On the next play Tom Landry went to his bag of tricks and ran a halfback option with Ron Springs. Springs threw into the end zone and found Tony Hill for a touchdown, but one official over ruled the one who signaled touchdown, saying that Hill didn’t have both feet in bounds before stepping out the back of the end zone. Then Staubach threw into the end zone for Tony Dorsett and was intercepted, but the Rams were called for pass interference and that put the Cowboys at the one yard line. From there Ron Springs scored on the next play and the Cowboys closed to within 14-12.

On the Rams next possession they drove to the Cowboys 43 yard line. Then the Cowboys defense came up with another turnover as Cliff Harris intercepted Ferragamo. The Cowboys offense took over at the 43 yard line as the third quarter came to an end.

The Cowboys offense in the third quarter was playing so much better than they were in the first half. They were able to gain yards in the running game and Staubach was now able to find open receivers, but it just didn’t seem like the Cowboys that everyone was use to seeing. As the fourth quarter started the Cowboys offense quickly drove inside the Rams 10 yard line off the Harris interception. Then from the 2 yard line Staubach found tight end Jay Saldi wide open for the go ahead score with 12:46 left in the game. Staubach was hit hard on the play and was shaken up, but was able to walk to the sideline. From that point on Danny White was seen warming up just in case he was needed. The Cowboys now led the Rams 19-14.

The Rams once again were able to drive the ball on the Cowboys defense. They reached the Cowboys 32 yard line where they faced a 4th and 8. Instead of attempting a field goal they decided to go for the first down. Ferragamo threw to wide receiver Drew Hill and the pass fell incomplete. A flag was thrown for pass interference, but after a discussion between the officials it was ruled that there was no interference and the flag was picked up.

The Cowboys offense took over at the 32 yard line with 6:59 left. On the first play Dorsett hit a hole and raced up the middle for a 26 yard gain to the Rams 42 yard line. From there the Cowboys could not go any further and had to punt.

The Rams got the ball with 4:22 left and Ferragamo connected with wide receiver Billy Waddy for a 36 yard gain to the Cowboys 44 yard line. A holding penalty on the Rams pushed them back to the 46 yard line and they ended up punting back to the Cowboys.

With only 2:45 left and the Cowboys sitting at their 21 yard line all they needed to do was get a first down to seal the game, but they were not able to move the ball like they had done during the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter. On first down Robert Newhouse lost a yard. On second down, a screen pass to Tony Hill only gained a yard. On third down Staubach was rushed and he rolled out to his right and was tackled for no gain. In the process of stopping the Cowboys from getting a first down the Rams also used their last two timeouts and the Cowboys were forced to punt for the eighth time in the game.

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The Rams got the ball back at midfield with 2:16 left and no timeouts. On the first play Ferragamo fired a pass over the middle to Billy Waddy who caught it on the run at the Cowboys 28 yard line. Waddy then out raced the Cowboys defense and scored easily to take the lead 21-19.

After the kickoff the Cowboys took over at the 21 yard line. The Cowboys and their fans had seen this type of situation countless times in Cowboys history. There was only 1:57 remaining, the Cowboys had two timeouts, any kind of score wins the game and the great Roger Staubach was under center to work his magic that he had done so many times before in his career. The script couldn’t have been written any better for the Cowboys. But there was something was different about this game. The moment where the Cowboys took control of the game never seemed to come even after they took a 19-14 lead. If that moment was ever going to come it had to be this moment with 1:57 left in the game.

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On first down Dorsett gained 12 yard to the 33 yard line. On the next play Staubach over threw Tony Hill. Then on second down Staubach once again over threw Hill. Everyone seemed to be waiting for that one play that got the Cowboys rolling towards victory. What happened on third down has become Dallas Cowboys trivia for years. Staubach dropped back and threw a pass directly at offensive lineman Herbert Scott, who caught the ball. A flag was thrown for ineligible receiver and the Cowboys now faced a 4th and 20. It was the last chance for that Staubach magic to come through so that the Cowboys could advance to the NFC Championship game. Staubach dropped back and threw for Drew Pearson. The pass sailed high on Pearson and fell incomplete.

The Rams offense took over with 1:07 left. They played it safe and on fourth down they lined up for a field goal attempt with 13 seconds remaining. The Rams faked the field goal as holder Nolan Cromwell kept the ball and ran for the first down. The Rams won the game 21-19 and shattered the Cowboys hopes of a 6th Super Bowl in the 1970’s.

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The loss to the Rams in 1979 was one of the worst playoff defeats in Cowboys history. Some say the loss had to do with the dramatic game against the Redskins that put the Cowboys in the playoffs. Others believe that the Cowboys just over looked the Rams. Whatever the reasons were, the Cowboys season ended that Sunday in Texas Stadium. The Staubach magic also ended that day and on March 31, 1979 he announced his retirement from the Cowboys and the NFL after 11 seasons and two Super Bowl Championships.

Four minutes and 54 seconds that will live forever in Cowboys history

The 49ers sat at their own 10 yard line with 4:54 left on the clock. The Cowboys were ahead 27-21 and all they needed to do was prevent a touchdown and stand tall like they had done so many times before in the 1981 NFC Championship game. A victory over the 49ers would send the Cowboys to Super Bowl XVI to play the Cincinnati Bengals. The Cowboys defense had already forced six 49ers turnovers during the game, which included three interceptions off Joe Montana.

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From the start 49ers Coach Bill Walsh saw that the Cowboys were playing their nickel defense, consisting of one linebacker and seven defensive backs. Walsh wanted to take advantage of that by keeping the Cowboys on their heels and guessing. It was Cowboys safety Charlie Waters who confronted Cowboys defensive coordinator Ernie Stautner as to why it was a bad idea to be playing nickel defense with so much time left on the clock. Stautner’s response to Waters was…

“Look, we’ll get out of the nickel, but it’s going to be all on you.” 

…meaning that Waters would have to answer to coach Landry. And Waters responded…

 “No thanks”

So the Cowboys stayed in their nickel defense as the 49ers started on their 14 play drive. Over the years some have said that the 49ers called more rushing plays on the drive due to the Cowboys nickel defense, but the fact is that the 49ers actually ran 8 passing plays and 6 running plays on the drive. Of the 14 plays on the drive 11 of them went for positive yardage. The 49ers seemed to move down the field with ease and the 4:54 that was on the clock when the drive started dwindled down to just 58 seconds left when Joe Montana faced 3rd and 3 from the Cowboys six yard line. It was at that point Ernie Stautner removed his nickel defense and replaced it with the Cowboys base 4-3 defense.

I’m sure we have all seen the play more than we have wanted over the years. Joe Montana rolled to his right while being chased down by Ed Jones, Larry Bethea and D.D. Lewis. He then threw into the back of the end zone before being knocked to the ground. Dwight Clark leaped high with Everson Walls covering and came down with the ball for the touchdown. The play became one of the most famous in NFL history. It also became one of the greatest plays in 49ers history and one of the worst in Cowboys history. The score put the 49ers ahead 28-27 with just 51 seconds left in the game.

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The Cowboys returned the kickoff to their 25 yard line and the offense took over with just 47 seconds left to play. With two timeouts left and a great kicker in Rafael Septien, the Cowboys knew there was a sense of urgency, but at the same time there were no signs of panic or a need to rush as Danny White and the offense broke the huddle.

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On first down Danny White dropped back and fired the ball into triple coverage as Drew Pearson neared midfield. Pearson made the reception and never broke stride as he crossed midfield. If it wasn’t for 49ers cornerback Eric Wright dragging Pearson down by the back of the jersey chances are that Pearson would have scored or at the very least gained enough yards to put the Cowboys in field goal range. Pearson gained 31 yards on the play to reach the 49ers 44 yard line and the Cowboys quickly called a timeout with 38 seconds left.

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The Cowboys were looking to get as close to the 30 yard line as possible if not past it to give Septien the best chance to kick the game winning field goal. But it wasn’t meant to be as the game came to a crashing end on the next play. Danny White dropped back looking for Tony Hill on the left sideline.  49ers defensive lineman Lawrence Pillers bull rushed Cowboys guard Kurt Petersen who never had a chance. Pillars knocked Petersen off his feet and slammed into White. The ball came loose and the 49ers recovered to end the game and to end the hopes of the Cowboys advancing to Super Bowl XVI.

Watching the play over and over again it does look as though Danny White’s arm was going forward when he was hit. White can also be seen jumping to his feet after the play and motioning to the official that his arm was going forward, but all the arguing in the world wasn’t going to change the call and the 49ers took possession and ran out the clock.

“My arm was going forward, White said after the game. I was throwing the ball. I told Jim (Jim Tunney, who was the referee), but he said no. He said my arm was coming up rather than throwing. Tony (Hill) was open on the sidelines. I knew the rush was closing in, but I didn’t feel any guy in particular. I didn’t want to take a sack. I was in the middle of throwing when I got hit.”

A few years back I was able to interview Danny White and I asked him about that particular play.

Q. Watching the 1981 Championship game recently, I’ve always wanted to ask you if you thought your arm was going forward on that last play?

A. Danny White: “It was. However under the rules at that time I think it was the right call. Today it would definitely be an incomplete pass.”

I also asked White if he thought the 1981 Cowboys had the best chance of making the Super Bowl and winning it.

Q. Do you think the 1981 team had the best chance to make the Super Bowl and win it? 

A. Danny White: “I think 80, 81 and 82 would all have won the Super Bowl if we had played the Championship games at home.”

It was 32 seasons ago that the Cowboys left the ball on the field in the 1981 NFC Championship game, along with so many questions. What if the Cowboys had not played in the nickel defense on that last 49ers drive? What if the Cowboys rush had been a second quicker getting to Joe Montana on that touchdown to Clark? What if White’s fumble was actually called an incomplete pass? The “what ifs” really mean nothing other than interesting conversations. And even though the game was heart breaking for the Cowboys and their fans and still is to this day, there is no mistaking that it was also one of the greatest football games I have ever watched.

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Flashback: What really happened to the Cowboys in the 1980 NFC Championship game?

When it comes to all the great games the Cowboys have played in their history I have no problem writing articles about them and trying to relive them the best I can through words, but what about some of the big losses in their history? People may find it strange that some of the Cowboys big losses intrigue me as well. I’m not talking about recent losses; I’m talking about going back in time to the losses that aren’t mentioned that much. I understand that losses aren’t something that fans like to talk about, but at the same time the losses are part of Cowboys history just as much as the victories.

I found myself thinking about the 1980 NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles the other day. I kind of remember watching the game, but I was just 12 years old at the time and all that mattered back then was if the Cowboys outscored the other team. I pride myself in knowing as much as I can about the Cowboys history, which means the good and the bad. I wanted to know more about the championship game against the Eagles and how the Cowboys lost. For those who remember the Cowboys lost 20-7, but was it closer than the score showed or was it domination by the Eagles?

Back in the 1970’s and into the early 80’s the Cowboys had blue jerseys that some thought were bad luck since the Cowboys seemed to lose more then they won when they wore them. The Eagles knew this and decided to wear their white jerseys for the NFC Championship game and force the Cowboys to wear their blue jerseys.

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It was a cold January day in Philadelphia as temps would continue dropping to as low as 17 below with the wind during the game. Veterans Stadium was packed full of rabid Eagles fans. This was the Eagles chance to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in their history. The Eagles were led by players like Ron Jaworski, Wilbert Montgomery, Harold Carmichael, Carl Hairston and Herman Edwards. They were NFC East Champions which was why the Cowboys had to travel to Veterans Stadium for the game.

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The Cowboys were going to through plenty of changes in 1980. The great Roger Staubach had retired following the 1979 season and Danny White took over as the starting quarterback. The Cowboys also lost All-Pro safety Cliff Harris to retirement. The Cowboys secondary had three new starters going into 1980 as cornerback Aaron Mitchell replaced Aaron Kyle, as well as safety Charlie Waters replacing Randy Hughes and Dennis Thurman moving from cornerback to safety. Even with all the changes the Cowboys finished with a 12-4 record and were one of the best teams in the NFL.

The Cowboys were coming off an incredible 30-27 comeback win on the road against the Falcons in the Divisional Playoff game. Now it was a trip to Philadelphia for the third meeting of the season with the Eagles. They had split the first two meetings during the 1980 season and now the third meeting would be for a trip to Super Bowl XV.

The first quarter consisted of one huge play that came on the Eagles second play of their first possession. Wilbert Montgomery broke into the Cowboys secondary like the defense wasn’t even there and scored easily from 42 yards to give the Eagles an early 7-0 lead. On the Eagles second possession they were looking for more points as they lined up for a field goal attempt, but the Cowboys were able to block the attempt to keep the Eagles from increasing their lead to 10-0. The Cowboys offense could not get anything going in the first quarter as they punted on all three of their possessions.

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Heading into the second quarter and the Cowboys offense continuing to struggle. It was once again the Cowboys defense that came up with a big play. The Eagles lined up for another field goal attempt, but this time the snap was high and the Cowboys defense tackled the Eagles kicker as he tried to make a play. The Cowboys offense took over on their 31 yard line and quickly went to work. With a long screen pass to Tony Dorsett along with a completion to Drew Pearson and the running of Robert Newhouse, the Cowboys got into scoring position. The capped the drive with a short touchdown run by Dorsett and tied the game at 7-7.

On the ensuing kickoff the Eagles fumbled on their own 28 yard line, but they recovered. The Eagles put together another drive and got to the Cowboys 25 yard line. Ron Jaworski connected with Harold Carmichael on a 25 yard touchdown pass, but a personal foul was called on the Eagles and the touchdown was called back. With the personal foul penalty the Eagles were pushed back to the 40 yard line and ended up punting. It was another break for the Cowboys to go along with the two missed field goals by the Eagles. The Cowboys and Eagles went into halftime tied 7-7.

The first half was mostly about the defenses. The Cowboys defense held their own outside of the long touchdown run at the start of the game. They seemed to bend at times, but they never broke. They harassed Jaworski most of the first half and got a few breaks along the way. Wilbert Montgomery was becoming the focal point of the Eagles offense as he rushed for over 100 yards in the first half. The Eagles defense seemed to smother the Cowboys offense for most of the first half. Danny White could not get into any rhythm and outside of a few good runs by Robert Newhouse the offense only gained 97 yards.

The Eagles had the advantage in the running game in the first half, but for the most part the stats were close for both teams. It was the passing game for both teams that were struggling. Danny White completed only 6 of 13 passes for 37 yards and Ron Jaworski completed 7 of 17 passes for 54 yards.

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The third quarter is where this game was won. After a turnover free first half, there were four in the third quarter and it was the Cowboys who committed three of the four turnovers.

The Cowboys had forced the Eagles to punt on their second possession of the third quarter. Cowboys punt returner James Jones fumbled and the Eagles recovered at the Cowboys 27 yard line. Like in the first half the Cowboys defense made a play and stopped an Eagles scoring threat. Cowboys’ linebacker Anthony Dickerson intercepted a Jaworski pass at the Cowboys 19 yard line and the Cowboys offense took over. But as quick as the Cowboys got the ball they gave it right back to the Eagles. Danny White dropped back and was hit hard by the Eagles defense and fumbled the ball at the Cowboys 11 yard line. Even though the Cowboys defense continued to play tough, the Eagles were able to capitalize on the fumble and kicked a 26 yard field goal to take the lead 10-7.

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Even with two fumbles early in the third quarter the Cowboys were still in the game. Danny White facing a 3rd and 17 connected with tight end Jay Saldi for a 28 yard gain to the Eagles 40 yard line. But on the very next play the Eagles recovered a Dorsett fumble and returned it to the Cowboys 38 yard line. Once again the Eagles capitalized on the turnover as fullback Leroy Harris scored from the 9 yard line to increase the Eagles lead to 17-7.

After the ensuing kickoff the Cowboys offense took over at the 34 yard line. The first play was a 20 yard pass from White to Butch Johnson who was playing for the injured Tony Hill. The completion put the Cowboys at the Eagles 46 yard line as the third quarter ended and the Cowboys still down 17-7.

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On the first play of the fourth quarter the Cowboys faced a 3rd and 8 from the Eagles 44 yard line. White went deep to Butch Johnson who was covered by four Eagles. White’s pass was intercepted at the 2 yard line, but the Eagles were called for off-sides. Now the Cowboys had a 3rd and 5 from the 39 yard line. White dropped back and found a wide open Dorsett for a sure first down, but Dorsett dropped the ball and ended any chance of a Cowboys score.

Danny White dropped the fourth down punt at the Eagles 5 yard line. The Cowboys defense was hoping to keep the Eagles pinned against their goal line, but the Eagles running game was too strong. Behind the running of fullback Leroy Harris the Eagles got to the 20 yard line. From there Wilbert Montgomery slashed and cutback on his way to a 55 yard gain to the Cowboys 25 yard line. But just when it looked like the Eagles would increase their lead, it was the Cowboys defense that made another big play. Jaworski threw into the end zone for Carmichael, but Cowboys’ cornerback Aaron Mitchell came down with the interception for a touchback.

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With over nine minutes still to play in the game the Cowboys offense once again took over looking to get points. White connected with Preston Pearson for a 24 yard gain to the Cowboys 46 yard line. But once again like so many times during the 1980 NFC Championship game the Cowboys offense failed to generate a drive and to score points. The Cowboys punted and the Eagles took over at their own 35 yard line with 8:58 to play.

The Eagles started running the ball again because they knew the Cowboys were unable to stop them. The combination of Montgomery and Harris was just too much for the Cowboys. The Eagles drove to the Cowboys 40 yard line when Jaworski, who had only completed one pass in the second half up to that point, completed his second pass when the Cowboys least expected it. Jaworski threw to the right sideline looking for his tight end Keith Krepfle. Charlie Waters dove for the ball, but missed and Krepfle made the reception and raced to the Cowboys 23 yard line. The Cowboys defense held the Eagles at the 3 yard line, but it was too little too late. The Eagles had eaten up over six minutes on the drive and capped it off with a field goal with just over two minutes to play to increase their lead to 20-7.

The Cowboys had a history of big game comebacks in the 1970’s and even though this game looked out of reach the Cowboys offense went down trying when they got the ball back. Danny White got the Cowboys close to midfield and with only 30 seconds left threw deep in hopes of maybe getting a penalty, but ended up throwing an interception and ending the game.

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In the end the Cowboys offense gained just 206 yards and could not move the ball consistently. They were also not able to take advantage of the turnovers they got from the defense. The Cowboys defense although it played tough could not stop the Eagles running game that gained 263 yards rushing. Most of that came from Wilbert Montgomery who rushed for 194 yards.

Some people may say the Cowboys were dominated in the 1980 NFC Championship game, but to me the Cowboys had their opportunities many times throughout the game. They just couldn’t do anything with those opportunities, but the Eagles were able to capitalize at times and made a few more plays than the Cowboys. Those plays are what doomed the Cowboys and their chance of advancing to Super Bowl XV.

 

Brian Waters needs to start for the Cowboys now!

After watching the Cowboys victory over the Rams again from this past Sunday, I came away with one major change that is needed. The Cowboys need to get Brian Waters in as their full time right guard ASAP. There is a reason why Waters has gone to six Pro Bowls. He is a force on the inside and dominates from the first level to the third level. I understand the Cowboys have been trying to work Waters back into football shape, but I think the time has come to insert him as the starting right guard come Sunday against the Chargers. As I watched Waters against the Rams I saw a player who took care of business at the line of scrimmage and then moved on to the next level with no hesitation.

With the addition of Waters to go with Tyron Smith, Ron Leary, Travis Frederick and Doug Free, the Cowboys have what could be their best offensive line in years. A group of guys that can open up the running lanes, which will then help Tony Romo and the passing game.

Outside of one holding call against the Rams, Waters seemed to dominate every play he was in. One play out of many that stood out was at the start of the third quarter on the Cowboys second play. As DeMarco Murray broke loose on a long run, it was Waters who took care of his initial block and then got to the next level and dove at another defenders legs to knock him down. By doing this the play was extended and Murray was allowed to gain more yards.

The more this line plays together the better they will get and hopefully become an outstanding unit, which is something the Cowboys have been lacking in recent years.

 

Yesterday’s Game – Cowboys vs. Giants

The season opener on Sunday could not come soon enough for me. My stomach has been craving game day pizza rolls since July and it was finally satisfied last night along with my hunger for some Sunday Night Football.

Demarcus Ware delivered immediately with an interception that only an elite defender with almost a decade worth of experience could make. Eli and Co attempted a drive starting halfback screen that ended with Ware being on the receiving end of Eli’s pass. This was just a sign of things to come as the new look defense continued to be opportunistic throughout the game, finishing with five turnovers. Where they looked weak was when Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks were able to get behind the safeties and when Rueben Randle was surprisingly able to win almost any one on one matchup against the Cowboy’s corners. Morris Clairborne went out with a shoulder injury that seems like it will hinder him for the remainder of the season. This is a big blow to the secondary, especially considering that the roster only includes a mere four cornerbacks. Will Allen, the 32 year old safety, got his first start in a Cowboys uniform. He was involved in two turnovers, one pick one fumble, but was also mainly responsible for the deep strikes Manning launched to Nicks and Cruz, as he let them slip behind him and wasn’t able to catch back up fast enough to cripple the play.

The offense was underwhelming to say the least. Miles Austin barely averaged over a dime per reception, and the running game was lacking in big plays and consistency. Murray Managed 86 yards behind an improved but still porous offensive line. The right side with Mackenzy Bernadeau and Doug Free was especially dismal to watch. They combined to become the most expensive door greeters in Texas as they consistently let the Giants defensive line through to say a very painful “Hello!” to poor little Romo. On one particularly vicious hit he became a manwich between Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Trattou. Luckily he only had the wind knocked out of him, and was back in action after the half.

This game had some positives and negatives to take away from it. The defense looks more aggressive, and is getting turnovers. On the offensive side of the ball showed that center Travis Frederick is the real deal and when paired with the already solid Tyron Smith, it gives us something t look forward to in the future from the trenches. Hopefully next week against the Kansas City Chiefs, Romo and Murray get into a groove and put up more efficient numbers. Let’s make this 2-0 next week Cowboys!!!