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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.



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.


Flashback: Has it been 20 years already?

Anytime a team wins a Super Bowl it’s special no matter how they get there. The last two Super Bowl Champions didn’t make it into the playoffs until the final game of the season. The Packers got in back in 2010 as the 6th seed and won it all and the Giants got in last season as the 4th seed and won it all. I’m sure the fans of those teams loved every second of the postseason as their teams got hot at the right time. The Giants were 6-6 in 2011 at one point and were left for dead by most experts as well as their fans. The Packers back in 2010 needed to win in the last week of the season along with some help to back into the playoffs. All of the bad things from the regular season were forgotten once these teams won the Super Bowl. It’s rare to have one of those magical seasons from beginning to end, but when it does happen it’s the greatest ride ever.

I realized the other day that it has been 20 years since the Cowboys had one of those magical seasons and went on to win the Super Bowl. Back in 1992 the Cowboys were on a mission from the first game of the season right through the Super Bowl. It seems like just yesterday as I can remember every game they played and how they became more dominant as the season went on. It was Jimmy Johnson’s fourth season as head coach and the Cowboys had ended the 1991 season with a horrible playoff loss to the Lions, 38-6. Some thought the Cowboys were probably still a year or two away from seriously competing for a championship. The Cowboys thought differently.

The Cowboys fielded the youngest team in the NFL in 1992. They also had the top ranked defense in the league, but when it came time for Pro Bowl selections not one player from the Cowboys defense was selected. The defense did not really have house hold names other than Charles Haley, who the Cowboys traded for before the start of the season. Haley was looked at as the final piece the Cowboys needed for their Super Bowl run. Some of the others joining Haley on that top ranked defense were Russell Maryland, Tony Casillas, Jim Jeffcoat, Tony Tolbert, Leon Lett, Ken Norton Jr., Vinson Smith, Robert Jones, Larry Brown, Thomas Everett, Kevin Smith, James Washington and Darren Woodson.

On offense it seemed as though the Cowboys were unstoppable most of the time. It started up front with Erik Williams, John Gesek, Mark Stepnoski, Nate Newton and Mark Tuinei. From there defenses had to deal with Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Alvin Harper, Kelvin Martin, Jay Novacek and Daryl Johnston. With Norv Turner running the offense the Cowboys developed a balanced attack that opposing teams had a hard time defending them at times.

The Cowboys finished 1992 with a 13-3 record. There best record since going 12-2 back in 1977 when they went on to win Super Bowl XII. They were 7-1 at Texas Stadium in 1992. Their only loss was to the LA Rams 27-23. On the road they went 6-2 with losses to the Eagles 31-7 and the Redskins 20-17.  They beat out the Eagles for the NFC Eastern Division Championship, but came up short for home field advantage to the 49ers.

Here are a few games that will always stand out from that magical 1992 season.

Week 1: The Cowboys opened the season in Texas Stadium against the Redskins who were defending Champions. Issiac Holt Blocked a punt that went out of the end zone to give the Cowboys an early 2-0 lead and they never looked back. Emmitt Smith rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown and Kelvin Martin added a 79 yard punt return in the third quarter. The Cowboys went on to win 23-10.

Week 2: The Cowboys traveled to New Jersey to take on the Giants. It seemed to be no contest as the Cowboys jumped out to a 34-0 third quarter lead. The Giants scored twice before the end of the third quarter to make the score 34-14. What I remember most is that the scoreboard operator changed the score to show that the Giants had won the game 35-34 during the fourth quarter. The Giants did make it interesting, but the Cowboys held on for a 34-28 victory.

Week 9: Just a few weeks earlier the Cowboys were crushed by the Eagles 31-7 in Philadelphia. In the rematch the Cowboys defense took a stand and dominated as they only allowed 190 yards to the Eagles offense. Emmitt Smith rushed for 163 yards as the Cowboys won 20-10 and improved to 7-1.

Week 10: The Cowboys ended the 1991 season with a 38-6 loss in the playoffs to the Lions. In 1992 the Cowboys made a return trip to Detroit, but this time it would end much different. Emmitt Smith scored three touchdowns and Michael Irvin had 114 yards receiving and a touchdown. The Cowboys defense only allowed 201 yards to the Lions offense as they cruised to a 37-3 victory.

Week 13: It was Thanksgiving at Texas Stadium and the Giants were coming for a visit. Unlike the first match-up with the Giants this time it would not be close. The Cowboys defense once again dominated as they collected four sacks and only allowed 207 yards to the Giants offense. Emmitt Smith rushed for 120 yards and scored twice, which included a 68 yard score in the third quarter. The Cowboys improved to 10-2 with a 30-3 victory.

Week 16: The Cowboys traveled to Atlanta for a Monday Night game looking to lock up the NFC East title. The game included one of the most incredible runs in Emmitt Smith’s career. He seemed to get stopped by a wall of Falcon defenders, but then he bounced away and broke free down the right sideline as he beat Deion Sanders to the end zone for a 29 yard touchdown run. Smith added another 29 yard score and rushed for 174 yards. Troy Aikman completed 18 of 21 passes and threw three touchdown passes. The Cowboys won their first NFC East title since 1985 as they beat the Falcons 41-17.

Divisional Playoffs: For the third time in 1992 the Cowboys would be playing the Eagles and for the second time at Texas Stadium. It was also the first playoff game at Texas Stadium since 1983. Once again the Cowboys dominated the Eagles and won 34-10. The Cowboys defense only allowed 178 yards to the Eagles offense and sacked Randall Cunningham five times. Emmitt Smith added 114 yards and a score.

NFC Championship: Leading up to this game there seemed to be two stories. One was the last time the Cowboys played in San Francisco for the NFC Championship back in 1981, which ended with “The Catch” by Dwight Clark. The other was the muddy field conditions after a week of soaking rains. None of that mattered to this Cowboys team as they showed no fear against the 14-2 49ers led by Steve Young and Jerry Rice. What always comes to mind was early in the game Kevin Smith left the field for a play with a shoulder injury. On the next play Young connected with Rice on a long touchdown as he beat Issiac Holt who replaced Smith. But the 49ers were called for holding and the touchdown was called back. It seemed as though from that point on the Cowboys had the upper hand. The Cowboys defense controlled the 49ers offense and the Cowboys offense was able to move the ball and control the clock as they built a 24-13 fourth quarter lead. Young was able to bring the 49ers to within 24-20 late in the fourth quarter and most thought that Jimmy Johnson would try to get a few first downs and run out the clock. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff Troy Aikman connected with Alvin Harper across the middle as the defender fell down. Harper broke free and was finally taken down at the 49ers ten yard line after a 70 yard gain. From there Aikman sealed the game with a short touchdown pass to Kelvin Martin. The Cowboys beat the 49ers 30-20 to advance to Super Bowl XXVII. It was the first Super Bowl for the Cowboys since 1978. It was also the game that will be known for Jimmy Johnson yelling in the locker room “How bout them Cowboys!!”


Super Bowl XXVII: My first ever Cowboys game was Super Bowl XII against the Broncos back in 1977. I can’t really say I knew what was happening, but I remembered the star on the helmet. Now 15 years later I was enjoying every second of the Super Bowl including all the pregame leading up to it. I couldn’t wait to see the Cowboys name in the end zone as well as watching the player introductions. I took it all in and remember it like it was yesterday. I also remember the Cowboys being down 7-0 to the Bills after getting a punt blocked, which led to a Thurman Thomas touchdown. From that point on it was all Cowboys as they outscored the Bills 52-10. The Cowboys defense recovered five fumbles and collected four interceptions for a record nine turnovers in the game. The defense also scored two touchdowns by Jimmie Jones and Ken Norton Jr. It could have been three touchdowns and a Super Bowl record 59 points, but we all know what happened when Leon Lett celebrated too soon on his fumble return. Troy Aikman earned the game’s MVP as he competed 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns. Emmitt Smith added 114 yards and a touchdown and Michael Irvin added two touchdowns. All the great numbers aside, what really meant the most was the incredible journey from that 1992 season and then seeing the team holding the Lombardi Trophy and celebrating. It was a feeling unlike any feeling I have ever felt as fan.

It’s just so hard to believe that it has been 20 years since that magical season of 1992. The players have long been gone, but will never be forgotten. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin have all entered the Hall of Fame. Watching Jimmy Johnson every Sunday on Fox always brings back great memories. Charles Haley has been helping out the Cowboys defensive linemen recently as well as waiting for his own name to be called for the Hall of Fame. We also remember Mark Tuinei who passed away too soon back in 1999.

The 1992 Cowboys will always be remembered as one of the great Cowboys teams of all time as well as one of the great NFL teams of all time. Their magical season will never be forgotten.

“How bout them Cowboys!!”



Flashback, Cowboys vs Eagles – 1993

The Cowboys started the 1993 season with a 0-2 record as Emmitt Smith stayed away due to a contract holdout. After the second loss Jerry Jones realized the Cowboys needed Emmitt Smith to win and he signed him to a new contract. After signing his contract the Cowboys won their next four games as they entered a Halloween match-up with the Eagles. Against the Eagles Emmitt Smith took control and continued to add to his greatness.

On this Halloween afternoon in Philadelphia the rain came down in buckets at times and both teams realized early that the passing game would suffer. Troy Aikman had little to no success as he passed for only 96 yards in the game. The Eagles didn’t fare much better as quarterback Ken O’Brien managed only 107 yards passing. Both teams were able to get their running games going in the absence of any passing game.

The Cowboys took a first quarter lead when kicker Eddie Murray connected on a 35 yard field goal. They increased their lead to 10-0 in the second quarter when Kevin Williams took a reverse and scored from 11 yards out.

The Cowboys seemed to be in control, but with less than five minutes to go before halftime the Eagles put together an 80 yard drive. With 1:25 left Ken O’Brien found Herschel Walker for a three yard touchdown pass and the Eagles pulled closer, 10-7.

With the rain still falling and both offenses not being able to get much going. The Cowboys and Eagles exchanged field goals as the fourth quarter was approaching the midway point. The Cowboys were leading 13-10 when their drive stalled at the Eagles 23 yard line. With the rain coming down harder than at any point during the game, Eddie Murray attempted his third field goal of the game. His kick sailed through the rain, bounced off the crossbar and through to give the Cowboys a 16-10 lead.

“I didn’t know what the distance was,  said Murray. I just hit it like it was 55 yards away,” he said. “Now we know what my range is into a driving wind and rain.”

On the Eagles next possession Charles Haley put an end to the Eagles mounting a late drive against the Cowboys. Haley stripped the ball from Ken O’Brien on third down. The Eagles recovered the fumble, but they had to punt.

On the Cowboys second play after the Eagles punt, they put an end to the game with one run. Emmitt Smith broke through a hole on the left side of his offensive line and found himself in the Eagles secondary. Smith outran cornerback Eric Allen and scored from 62 yards to seal the game 23-10.

“Emmitt’s last run really broke our back,” said Eagles coach Rich Kotite

“It was not a day to throw the ball, it was a day to sit back and let Emmitt do the job,” wide receiver Alvin Harper said. “Thank God Emmitt did his job.”

“I’m happy, I’m tired and I’m excited all at the same time,” Smith said afterward

“The good thing about this team is that we were confident once we got everyone in that we’d be all right,” said Aikman. “We didn’t panic when we were 0-2.”

Emmitt Smith not only scored the game winning touchdown he showed why he is so important to the Cowboys success. Smith had a career day as he carried the ball 30 times for 237 yards. The Cowboys 0-2 start in 1993 was distant memory as they improved to 5-2 with Emmitt Smith and also shared first place in the NFC East with the Giants.

The box score can be seen here.


Flashback, Cowboys vs Cardinals – 1995

With the Cowboys playing on Christmas night this season, I thought I would flashback 15 years ago when the Cowboys also played on Christmas night. It was the final game of the 1995 season and the Cowboys were traveling to Arizona. They were looking to lock up home field advantage in the playoffs as well as trying to raise their game to the level they knew they should be at. In the weeks leading up to the Cardinals game the Cowboys had lost back to back games to the Redskins and the Eagles, which was followed by a narrow 21-20 victory over the Giants.

The Cowboys came out in the first quarter and quickly went up 17-0 on the Cardinals. The first score came when Troy Aikman connected with Kevin Williams on a 25 yard touchdown pass. Williams had done an average job in 1995 as he became the starting wide receiver opposite Michael Irvin due to the departure of Alvin Harper to Tampa Bay.

Cardinals quarterback Dave Krieg was then intercepted by Cowboys safety Brock Marion who returned it 32 yards for the score. The Cowboys went ahead 14-0 early in the first quarter. Cowboy’s kicker Chris Boniol added a 39 yard field goal as the first quarter ended giving the Cowboys a 17-0 lead.

Then Kevin Williams got back into the Cowboys offense in the second quarter. Aikman found Williams open for a 48 yard touchdown pass that increased the Cowboys lead to 24-0. The Cowboys were looking like the team they knew they were capable of being. They were dominating the Cardinals, but then like in many other games in 1995 the Cowboys started to make mistakes and looked average.

Derek Kennard, who was playing center for the Cowboys,had some trouble with snapping the ball to Aikman late in the second quarter as they missed on two exchanges. One of those missed exchanges would cost the Cowboys the chance at more points as they fumbled the ball to the Cardinals. The Cardinals turned that into a field goal as the first half ended. The Cowboys went into the locker room with a 24-3 lead.

Things continued to get bad for the Cowboys as the third quarter started. Troy Aikman tried to connect with Michael Irvin, but Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams had other ideas. Williams jumped in front of Irvin for the interception and raced 52 yards for the score, which got the Cardinals to within 24-10 of the Cowboys.

On the ensuing kickoff Kevin Williams fumbled and the Cardinals recovered. The fumble resulted in another Cardinals field goal and a 24-13 Cowboys lead.

The Cowboys did manage to increase their lead to 27-13 before the third quarter ended with Chris Boniol’s second field goal of the game.

The fourth quarter was record setting for Emmitt Smith. With his fourth NFL rushing title in the last five seasons already wrapped up Smith was looking for another record. John Riggins from the Redskins had held the regular season record of 24 rushing touchdowns since the 1983 season. Smith had entered the game against the Cardinals tied with Riggins.

The Cardinals had controlled Emmitt Smith for most of the game. When the Cowboys reached the Cardinals three yard line late in the fourth quarter they knew they had to give the ball to Smith. Smith scored and finished the season with a record 25 rushing touchdowns. It also put the game out of reach as the Cowboys went ahead 34-13.

Chris Boniol added his third field goal of the game and the Cowboys won 37-13. They also earned home field advantage in the playoffs as they finished the season with a 12-4 record.

Troy Aikman led the Cowboys offense with 350 yards passing and two touchdowns. Emmitt Smith only managed 68 yards rushing, but with a fourth NFL rushing title and record setting 25th rushing touchdown, it made the 68 yards a little easier to deal with. Kevin Williams had a record game for himself with 9 receptions for 203 yards to go along with his two touchdowns.

The Cowboys defense held the Cardinals offense to 285 yards and also recorded three sacks and collected three turnovers.

“We made a statement to the NFL and to ourselves,” Cowboys safety Darren Woodson said. “We needed to play a good game.”

“I’ve always thought you wait until the end of the season and then add it up to see where you are,” Dallas coach Barry Switzer said. “We’re 12-4, and we’re going to be home for the whole thing. I don’t think many people thought we would be here a week ago.”

“We had a job to do, and we just went out and did it,” offensive lineman Nate Newton said.

A month after beating the Cardinals the Cowboys would return to Sun Devil Stadium in Arizona where they would beat the Steelers 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX. The Super Bowl victory would be the Cowboys third in four years and earn them the title of Team of the 90’s.

The box score can be seen here.


Flashback, Cowboys vs Redskins – 1989

When Jerry Jones hired Jimmy Johnson to coach the Cowboys in 1989 Johnson had a plan. He was going to build the Cowboys his way and bring back the glory days. Although the 1-15 record of 1989 was not a season to remember, there was one game that stood out as a stepping stone for future success for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys went into RFK Stadium to play the hated Redskins with a 0-8 record. Jimmy Johnson had young talent like Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston, Michael Irvin, Mark Stepnoski, Ken Norton Jr. and Tony Tolbert. Johnson also had some veteran holdovers from the Tom Landry days like Tom Rafferty, Bill Bates, Jim Jeffcoat and Ed (Too Tall) Jones.

On this night it would be an unlikely player taking the stage for the Cowboys. A dominating defense and a great running game brought the Redskins to their knees and gave the Cowboys their first and only win of 1989.

The Cowboys defense intercepted two passes from Redskins quarterback Doug Williams in the first half. Williams was starting his first game since back surgery in August. One came from cornerback Vince Albritton and the other came from safety Bill Bates with 24 seconds left in the second quarter. Bates made his interception at the Cowboys 48 yard line and returned it 18 yards to the Redskins 34 yard line. Steve Walsh playing for the injured Troy Aikman drove the Cowboys to the three yard line. After a Walsh incompletion, Jimmy Johnson settled for a Roger Ruzek 20 yard field goal to take a 3-0 halftime lead.

“I felt like we could win the game then,” Johnson said. “The way our defense was playing, I didn’t think Washington would score a lot of points.”

In the third quarter the Redskins tied the game at 3-3 with some help from instant replay. With the Redskins driving into Cowboys territory, officials ruled that Ark Monk fumbled at the Cowboys 35 yard line after Ron Francis stripped him giving the ball to the Cowboys. But after the officials went to instant replay the call was reversed because Monks knee was down before he was stripped. The Redskins got to the Cowboys 18 yard when kicker Chip Lohmiller connected on a 35 yard field goal to tie the game.

Late in the third quarter it was an unlikely hero who took control of the running game. Paul Palmer, who was part of the Herschel Walker trade in 1989, broke free for a 47 yard run. Blocks from Tom Raffery, Crawford Ker and Mark Tuinei allowed Palmer’s long run. Then with 2:17 left in the third quarter Palmer finished the drive with a two yard touchdown run. The Cowboys took the lead 10-3.

“Once I got through the line, I got some great blocks,” Palmer said. “I just didn’t have enough gas to take it to the house.”

With the Cowboys defense continuing to dominate the Redskins into the fourth quarter, Palmer’s touchdown would be all that they needed to come away with the victory. Palmer finished the game with 110 yards rushing on 18 carries.

The Cowboys added another Roger Ruzek field goal from 43 yards and the first victory of the season was theirs, 13-3. The win was an important step for Jimmy Johnson and the Cowboys.

“The rocky days are not over for the Cowboys,” said Johnson, whose NFL coaching record stands at 1-8. “But I’m happy to get the win. We’re going to have a lot of wins over the next so-many years in Dallas, and it’s good to get it started.”

“We caught the Redskins at a tough time,” said safety Bill Bates, whose interception led to the Cowboys’ first points. “They had a couple of players injured, and they were trying to get Doug Williams into the offense, so I know it was a good time to play them. But anytime you beat them is a good time.”

“I’m really happy for our club,” said Johnson, who immediately rewarded the players with a day off Monday. “They’ve been working very hard, and it’s been a very frustrating year.”

Steve Walsh only completed 10 of 30 passes for 142 yards, but controlled the game and never made any mistakes. The leading receiver for the Cowboys was Kelvin Martin who caught five passes for 93 yards.

The box score can be seen here.


Flashback, Cowboys vs Eagles – 1981

The Cowboys entered this Week 15 match-up against the Eagles looking to capture their 12th NFC East title in the last 16 years. The Eagles had taken the division title from the Cowboys one year earlier and now the Cowboys wanted it back.

Danny White drove the Cowboys offense into Eagles territory on their first two possessions to setup Rafael Septien field goals, but Septien missed both attempts from 48 and 43 yards.

The Eagles took a first quarter lead when kicker Tony Franklin connected on a 50 yard field goal to go up 3-0. The Eagles added to their lead in the second quarter after receiver Ron Smith beat Cowboys cornerback Steve Wilson on a 42 yard pass from quarterback Ron Jaworski. The long pass setup the Eagles deep in Cowboys territory. From there Booker Russell scored from the one yard line to give the Eagles a 10-0 lead.

Things got worse after the Eagles touchdown when Tony Dorsett coughed up the first of his three fumbles in the game. The Eagles were in great shape at the Cowboys 41 yard line and looking to add to their lead. They got to the Cowboys 29 yard line when Jaworski attempted a pass to receiver Harold Carmichael. But Ron Smith got his hand in the way of the pass and it deflected into the hands of Cowboys cornerback Dennis Thurman, who would total three interceptions in the game.

Danny White once again led the Cowboys into Eagles territory. The Cowboys faced a 4th and 1 from the Eagles 44 yard line with 1:37 left in the first half. Coach Tom Landry decided to punt, which led to the turning point in the game. Danny White lofted a high punt to Eagles returner John Sciarra. With five Cowboys surrounding Sciarra he fumbled the punt. Cowboys Anthony Dickerson recovered the fumble and the Cowboys had great field possession at the Eagles 20 yard line.

The Cowboys got to the eight yard line and with 38 seconds left in the first half when Danny White found Tony Hill for the score. The Cowboys were finally on the scoreboard and went into the half down 10-7.

The Cowboys got the second half kickoff and drove 80 yards to take their first lead of the game. Danny White threw his second touchdown pass of the game when he found Butch Johnson on a 36 yard pass to put the Cowboys ahead, 14-10.

The Eagles offense could only manage 59 yards in the second half. The Cowboys defense collected five turnovers with four of them coming on Ron Jaworski interceptions. His last interception came on the one drive that the Eagles got into Cowboys territory. At the 14 yard line rookie cornerback Everson Walls collected his eleventh interception of the season.

After the Walls interception and with the Cowboys facing a 3rd and 9 from their own 15 yard line, Danny White connected with Butch Johnson for 47 yards. The Cowboys drove to the Eagles 12 yard line and then put an end to the game and to any doubt who the division winner would be. Ron Springs scored from the 12 yard line and the Cowboys won the game 21-10 and won the NFC East.

In the game the Cowboys offense gained 412 yards with Danny White throwing for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Even with Tony Dorsett fumbling three times in the game he still rushed for 101 yards.

The Cowboys went into the final game of the 1981 season with a 12-3 record. They could not collect their 13th win because they lost to the NY Giants at Giants Stadium 13-10 in OT. They finished the season 12-4 and lost out on home field advantage in the playoffs to the San Francisco 49ers.

The box score can be seen here.


Flashback, Cowboys vs Colts – 1981

The 1981 Dallas Cowboys were in a habit of not playing their best football against lesser opponents. The Cowboys were 4-0 when they went up against the 1-3 St. Louis Cardinals and lost 20-17. They were 8-2 when they lost to the 4-6 Lions, 27-24. Then on Thanksgiving they were 9-3 and just got by the 3-9 Bears, 10-9.

When week 14 came along the Cowboys were 10-3 and had to travel to Memorial Stadium in Baltimore to take on the 1-12 Colts. The Colts were on a 12 game losing streak and the last thing the Cowboys wanted was to continue struggling especially with the playoffs coming up.

The Cowboys caught a break as the Colts started quarterback David Humm in place of injured Bert Jones. Humm was in his 7th season and this would be his first NFL start. On the Colts first play of the game Humm tried a screen pass to his right, but Ed Jones got his hands on the ball. He deflected the ball right to linebacker Bob Bruenig’s hands and the Cowboys took over inside the 20 yard line.

Four plays later the Cowboys took an early 7-0 lead when Ron Springs scored from a yard out. On the third play of the drive backup quarterback Glenn Carano playing in place of Danny White who had injured ribs, found Drew Pearson as he leaped for the reception at the Colts one yard line.

The Cowboys defense held the Colts on their second possession. The Colts could only manage a 26 yard punt and the Cowboys took over again in Colts territory at the 43 yard line. The offense got to the 25 yard line before the drive stalled and Rafael Septien came on to kick a 42 yard field goal to make the score 10-0. Septien’s field goal made him the Cowboys All-Time leader with 70.

With the first quarter only half over the Cowboys for the third time got the ball in Colts territory at the 37 yard line. By the time the drive ended Ron Springs had his second rushing touchdown of the quarter and the Cowboys took a 17-0 lead on the 1-12 Colts.

With the Cowboys dominating in the first quarter and the Colts looking for their first down, the Colts caught the Cowboys sleeping. With about a minute left in the quarter Colts running back Curtis Dickey got into the Cowboys secondary and raced untouched for a 67 yard touchdown. The brief moment of excitement for the Colts ended when their kicker, Mike Wood missed the extra point attempt. At the end of the first quarter the Cowboys led 17-6.

As the second quarter started Coach Tom Landry was not taking any chances that the Colts were gaining any confidence off the Dickey touchdown. He called for an option pass from Drew Pearson to Tony Hill that gained 59 yards and put the Cowboys at the Colts nine yard line.  Ron Springs scored his third touchdown of the game when Glenn Carano connected with him from two yards out to make the score 24-6. Septien added another field goal before halftime and the Cowboys had a 27-6 lead at cold and windy Memorial Stadium.

The third quarter was quiet except for another Curtis Dickey touchdown to make the score 27-13 entering the fourth quarter. Dickey was the only bright spot for the Colts as he ran through the Cowboys defense for 130 yards and two touchdowns in the game.

Danny White who was still punting for the Cowboys even though he was not playing quarterback ran a fake punt in the fourth quarter. He gained 13 yards to keep the drive alive. The drive ended at the Colts 14 yard line and Septien kicked his third field goal of the game. The Cowboys increased their lead to 30-13. With the game all but over the Cowboys added one more score when backup running back James Jones broke loose for a 59 yard touchdown run. The Cowboys beat the Colts 37-13 to improve their record to 11-3. They remained at the top of the NFC East as they headed back home for an important division game against the Eagles the following week.

Tony Dorsett led the Cowboys offense with 175 yards rushing on 30 carries. He went over the 6,000 yard mark in only his fifth season. His 175 yards also put him at 1,506 yards rushing for the season, which was nine yards ahead of the Saints rookie running back George Rodgers.

“I always feel sorry for them (the Colts) because I’ve been there before,” Tom Landry said. “They just couldn’t do anything right. They do things, like go offside, where there is no explanation.”

“It’s hard when you’re up 27-6 to get rolling,” said Landry. “I wanted to get this game out of the way and get on with the business of next week.”

The box score from the game can be seen here.


Flashback, Cowboys vs Saints – 1983

It wasn’t a game that will go down in Cowboys history. Actually, it wasn’t even a game that the Cowboys had any business winning.  What the Texas Stadium crowd got in week 4 of the 1983 season was an ending that amazed even the players.

The Cowboys scored first when Danny White connected with Drew Pearson on four yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. The Cowboys followed that score with a Rafael Septien 41 yard field goal that gave them a 10-0 lead.

In the second quarter it would be the Saints that would battle back to tie the Cowboys. Saints kicker Morten Anderson kicked a 19 yard field goal. Then Saints running back Wayne Wilson scored on a two yard run to tie the game at 10-10.

Before halftime the Cowboys took the lead 13-10 when Rafael Septien kicked his second field goal of the game from 34 yards.

The Saints tied the game again with the only points of the third quarter. Morten Anderson kicked his second field goal of the game from 42 yards. The game was tied at 13-13 as the fourth quarter started and the fireworks were about to begin.

On the third play of the fourth quarter and the Cowboys sitting at their own three yard line, Coach Tom Landry reached into his bag of tricks. Danny White took the snap from center and threw a lateral to Drew Pearson who would look to throw and take the Saints by surprise. White’s pass to Pearson was tipped, but still made it to Pearson. The tip interrupted the timing of Pearson’s pass attempt to fellow wide receiver Doug Donley who was streaking down the left sideline.

Saints cornerback Johnnie Poe, who was covering Donley left coverage and ran towards Pearson. Poe hit Pearson’s arm as he attempted his pass and the ball was then tipped high in the air by the Saints Frank Warren. Tony Elliot from the Saints jumped high to grab the ball, but he could only deflect it. The deflection went right back to Frank Warren who came down with the interception. Four plays later the Saints took their first lead of the game when Wayne Wilson scored from the one yard line. The Saints now led 20-13 with 12:35 left in the game.

The mistakes for the Cowboys continued on the kickoff as Ron Fellows fumbled the ball and the Saints recovered at the 20 yard line. The Saints were looking to add to their lead, but on 3rd and 12 Saints quarterback Kenny Stabler fumbled the ball from center and Cowboys Larry Bethea recovered.

The Cowboys could not take advantage of the turnover as Danny White added to the Cowboys fourth quarter mistakes. White threw an interception that the Saints returned to the Cowboys 35 yard line. The Saints once again were looking to add to their 20-13 lead. On 4th and 1 Saints Coach Bum Phillips decided to go for the field goal.

As Morten Anderson attempted his 43 yard field goal, Cowboys Ed Jones got his hands on the ball for the block. Ron Fellows recovered the block on one hop and returned it 62 yards untouched for the touchdown.

“I wasn’t thinking anything but picking up the ball,” Fellows said. “I knew it had to be six.”

Rafael Septien looked to tie the game at 20-20 with the extra point, but the Saints Tyrone Young blocked the kick and the Cowboys remained behind 20-19 with 7:05 left in the game.

The Cowboys got the ball back at their 20 yard line with 4:30 left in the game. Four plays later the Cowboys were at their 49 yard line. Tony Dorsett took a pitch-out from Danny White as the Saints were blitzing. Dorsett broke free into an empty secondary and scored what the Cowboys thought was the go ahead touchdown from 49 yards out. But the officials ruled that Dorsett stepped out of bounds at the 15 yard line.

Danny White continued the drive as he looked to put the Cowboys back on top. White looked for Doug Donley over the middle at the goal line as he beat cornerback Johnnie Poe. But White never saw Saints linebacker Dennis Winston who intercepted White in the end Zone. Instead of taking a knee for the touchback Winston came out of the end zone. He managed to get to the five yard line before being tackled. The Saints offense took over with 2:07 left in the game and still holding onto a 20-19 lead.

All the Saints needed to do was run out the clock and they would improve to 3-1 on the season and hand the Cowboys their first loss of the season. On first down running back Wayne Wilson, who had scored twice in the game was tackled after gaining only one yard. On second down the Saints were looking to put some room between them and the goal line.

Kenny Stabler dropped back into the end zone looking for receiver Jeff Groth, but Everson Walls had him covered. This allowed Cowboys linebacker Anthony Dickerson who was blitzing to beat Wayne Wilson and sack Stabler for the safety. The Cowboys took the lead and won the game 21-20. It was the first time that a team losing by one point won by one point on a safety.

It was a game the Cowboys had no business winning as they turned the ball over six times and allowed seven sacks on Danny White. The lone bright spot for the Cowboys came from Tony Dorsett who rushed for 124 on 16 carries.

“I’ve never been in a game as bizarre as this one,” Everson Walls said. “Were we lucky? That’s an understatement.”

 “That was probably the most bizarre game I’ve ever been involved in,” Dorsett said. “We did everything possible to lose the game, and we still won it.”

“They deserved to win the game, there’s no question about it,” White said.


With the strange win by the Cowboys over the Saints they improved their record to 4-0 in 1983. The Cowboys would make a habit of coming from behind in the first half of the 1983 season as they built a 7-0 record with five come from behind wins. Their luck would end in week 8 as they fell to the L.A. Raiders 40-38.

The box score from this game can be viewed here.


Flashback, Cowboys vs Lions – 1981

The Cowboys entered the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit with an 8-2 record and tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East. The Lions were 4-6 and five of their six losses had come in the final minute. The Cowboys were considered Super Bowl contenders in 1981 and they came out in this game ready to hand the Lions their seventh loss. What this game came down too would be the leg of a certain Lions kicker as well as a penalty flag that never fell to the ground. 

The Cowboys defense got the game started by forcing Lions running back Billy Sims to fumble at the Lions 39 yard line. Danny White drove the Cowboys offense to the Lions ten yard line and completed the drive with a ten yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson. The Cowboys took a 7-0 lead.

The Lions then drove down to the Cowboys four yard line looking to tie the game, but Billy Sims fumbled again. The Cowboys were able to add a Rafael Septien field goal to take a 10-0 lead in the second quarter.

The Cowboys defense seemed to have their way in the first half as they sacked Lions quarterback Eric Hipple four times. After forcing a Lions punt, Danny White drove the offense 62 yards in five plays to the Lions 12 yard line. From there he found Pearson again for their second touchdown connection and a commanding 17-0 lead on the Lions.

Like in so many of the Lions games in 1981 they would not go away. Eric Hipple got his passing game going as he connected with receiver Eric Hill for 30 yards. Then the Lions caught the Cowboys by surprise by running a reverse to receiver Mark Nichols that gained another 30 yards, which put the ball at the Cowboys three yard line. From there Billy Sims scored with just 15 seconds left in the first half to get the Lions on the scoreboard. The Lions were down by ten points at halftime, 17-7.

The Lions picked up where they left off at the end of the second quarter as the third quarter got under way. Defensive end Al Baker from the Lions intercepted a Danny White pass that came off of Tony Dorsett’s fingertips. The Lions converted the turnover into an Eric Hipple to Mark Nichols six yard touchdown pass. The Cowboys now led only 17-14.

On the next Cowboys drive Danny White threw his second interception as Lions linebacker Gary Cobb stepped in front of Drew Pearson and gave the ball back to the Lions offense. From there that certain Lions kicker tied the game 17-17 with a 37 yard field goal.

The Lions got the ball back and had taken all the momentum from the Cowboys who once led 17-0. They were looking to take their first lead of the game when Eric Hipple found a wide open Billy Sims for a sure touchdown, but Sims dropped the pass with just over seven minutes to play in the game. The Cowboys offense got the ball back and looked to put the Lions away.

Danny White led the Cowboys offense on an 80 yard time consuming drive. White capped off the drive with his third touchdown pass of the game. This time he White found tight end Jay Saldi for a 14 yard score to give the Cowboys the lead back, 24-17 with 2:37 left in the game.

Once again this Lions team would not go away. With the Lions sitting at their own 19 yard line it took them only 20 seconds to answer the Cowboys go ahead score. Eric Hipple found Billy Sims one-on-one against Cowboys linebacker D.D. Lewis as he streaked down the left sideline. Sims caught Hipple’s pass at the Cowboys 40 yard line and scored easily to tie the game 24-24 with just over two minutes remaining.

With the score tied the Cowboys thought that overtime would be the best way to go. It became obvious that the Lions were not thinking about overtime like the Cowboys were. The Cowboys ran three plays and were unable to gain a first down. The Lions used all their timeouts and forced the Cowboys to punt the ball back to the Lions with 1:13 left in the game.

Eric Hipple started the Lions drive at the 18 yard line. Quickly Hipple connected with David Hill on passes of 15 and 30 yards. Then with 25 seconds left he found tight end Ulysses Norris for an 18 yard completion to the Cowboys 30 yard line. With the Lions facing a third down and no timeouts it was thought that Hipple would just spike the ball to stop the clock, but the offense and special teams became confused. In what can only be described as confusion for the Lions as the clock continued to run, that certain Lions kicker came running out onto the field. Eric Hipple looked around not knowing whether to run a play or hold for a field goal attempt. Hipple went to a knee and took the snap from a makeshift offensive line. That certain Lions kicker approached the ball with just four seconds left. His 47 yard field goal attempt sailed up and through the uprights as time expired. The Cowboys just stood there in disbelief as the Lions celebrated their 27-24 victory.

In the newspaper the next morning a picture appeared showing the Lions last second field goal attempt. What was interesting was that the Lions players all had a number listed above them. What was even more interesting was that the numbers totaled 12. The Lions had 12 men on the field on their last second field goal attempt. With all the confusion of the last play for the Lions the officials never saw that they had 12 players on the field and a flag was never thrown. Of course nothing could be done at this point as league officials admitted their mistake. The Lions had the last second field goal to win the game and the Cowboys with the loss had fallen one game back of the Eagles in the NFC East.

I’m sure you are all wondering why I have not mentioned the name of the Lions kicker in this game. There became a connection with the Cowboys and this Lions kicker many years after this game. Because of the way this game ended there were many Cowboys fans who took a disliking to this kicker. He not only beat the Cowboys, but he beat them on a play that should have never happened. But like so many other times, there are opposing players who are disliked until they become a part of your favorite team and help them win. The kicker in this game was Eddie Murray, who became a member of the Cowboys in 1993. Murray kicked the game winning field goal in overtime against the Giants in the final game of the season. The win also earned the Cowboys the NFC East division title and home field advantage in the playoffs. Of course as Cowboys fans know, Eddie Murray went on to collect a Super Bowl Championship that season as he kicked three field goals in Super Bowl XXVIII as the Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills. It’s strange how things work out in life. Eddie Murray goes from being disliked by Cowboys fans in 1981 to being loved by Cowboys fans in 1993.

The box score from the Lions game can be seen here.


The video of game winning kick for the Lions can be seen here.


Flashback, Cowboys vs Giants – 1992

Going into the second game of the season against the NY Giants in 1992, the Cowboys had only beaten the Giants once in the previous eight meetings. The Cowboys were looking to go 2-0 for the first time since 1986 and they got off to a good start.

On their first possession of the game the Cowboys drove 72 yards on the Giants defense. They took a 7-0 lead when Emmitt Smith scored from the five yard line.

Later in the first quarter the Cowboys defense forced the Giants to punt. On the punt attempt Cowboys linebacker Ken Norton Jr. blocked the punt by Sean Landeta. Special team’s player Robert Williams recovered the ball at the three yard line and crawled into the end zone to give the Cowboys a 14-0 lead.

Cowboy’s kicker Lin Elliott kicked two field goals in the first half to put the Cowboys ahead, 20-0. Then with 32 seconds left before halftime the Cowboys offense led by Troy Aikman found themselves sitting at the Giants two yard line. From there Aikman connected with Jay Novacek for the touchdown to give the Cowboys a commanding 27-0 halftime lead.

Less than a minute into the third quarter Cowboys safety James Washington intercepted a Phil Simms pass. That set up Troy Aikman’s second touchdown pass of the game. This time he found Michael Irvin from 27 yards out to increase the Cowboys lead to 34-0.

The Cowboys were dominating in all three phases of the game. Offense, defense and special teams could do nothing wrong. While the Cowboys were building a 34-0 lead early in the third quarter, the Giants offense could only manage two first downs.

With such a large lead the Cowboys seemed to relax or maybe they were just too young of a team and did not know how to finish off an opponent. The Giants took full advantage and put together scoring drives of 80, 80, 62 and 55 yards in the second half.

Running back Rodney Hampton got the Giants on the scoreboard first with a five yard touchdown run. Not long after Hampton’s touchdown, fullback Jarrod Bunch scored on a Phil Simms pass to get the Giants within 34-14 of the Cowboys as the third quarter ended.

Phil Simms threw his second touchdown pass of the second half when he connected with wide receiver Stephen Baker from six yards to make the score 34-21 Cowboys.

Each team seemed to reverse rolls from how it was in the first half. Now in the second half it was the Giants dominating and the Cowboys struggling. Phil Simms led the Giants again deep into Cowboys territory and threw his third touchdown pass of the half. Tight end Howard Cross caught a two yard touchdown pass from Simms which got the Giants to within six points of the Cowboys, 34-28 with 6:52 left in the game.

The Giants defense forced a Cowboys punt on their next possession and the Giants got the ball back with 3:42 left in the game. With the Giants stadium crowd watching such an incredible comeback by their team and the Giants about to start their drive, the scoreboard operator decided to get involved in the game. Giants Stadium flashed the final score on the scoreboard as…Giants, 35, Cowboys, 34.

The Giants started their drive with 3:42 to play on their own 18 yard line. They had sliced a 34 point deficit to just six points and were looking to finish off the Cowboys with their fifth touchdown of the second half. The Cowboys defense seemed to pick the right time to finally wake up. On first down Phil Simms went down field, but the pass fell incomplete. On second down Simms passed to Hampton who was tackled by Kenneth Gant and Tony Casillas after a two yard gain. On third and eight Simms went to Dave Meggett who was brought down for no gain by Darren Woodson and Bill Bates. The Giants punted hoping to stop the Cowboys offense once again and get the ball back.

This time it was the Cowboys offense that woke up. Emmitt Smith ran for a first down. Then Michael Irvin caught a 12 yard pass from Aikman on a third and seven with 1:40 to play. The Giants were out of timeouts and the Cowboys ran out the rest of the clock to win the game 34-28. It was the Cowboys first win at Giants Stadium since 1987.

“It’s just a relief to get out of New York alive with this one,” said coach Jimmy Johnson, who is 2-0 for the first time as an NFL coach. “This tells you how young a team we have. We had a big lead and didn’t know how to react.”

“When Simms got hot and their receivers started catching everything and we started missing tackles, they got back in it, said Johnson. They’re to be commended for getting back in the game. By the same token, our guys have to be commended for coming through in a true character test.”

“I’d hate for anybody to think that we let up,” Aikman said. “But the thing we didn’t do offensively is sense the urgency of each drive.”

“It’s the first time to be 2-0 since I’ve been here,” Aikman said. “It’s a great feeling. Last year we were 1-2 after three games, and it seemed like all we ever had after that were must-win situations. I think we’re going to find out a lot about this football team.”

Troy Aikman led the Cowboys with 238 yards and two touchdowns. Emmitt Smith rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown and also added 55 yards on eight receptions. Michael Irvin caught four passes for 73 yards and one touchdown.

The box score for the game can be seen here.


Flashback, Cowboys vs Packers – 1982

Although the Cowboys are in the middle of a very disappointing season I thought it would be a good idea to continue my Flashback posts. It’s always nice to dive into a classic game that involved some all-time great players. 

The 1982 season was a strange season with a strike that cancelled seven games of the regular season. The divisions in both conferences were wiped out and when the games started it up again the NFL decided to just do the AFC and the NFC. The top eight teams in both conferences would make the playoffs. 

In the second round of the playoffs the Cowboys took on the Green Bay Packers at Texas Stadium. The first quarter was slow as the Cowboys could only manage a 50 yard field goal from Rafael Septien. He added a second field goal early in the second quarter and the Cowboys took a 6-0 lead.

The Cowboys defense had kept the high scoring Packers offense in check until mid way through the second quarter. Packers quarterback Lynn Dickey drove his offense 73 yards to the Cowboys six yard line. Dickey’s two wide receivers James Lofton and James Jefferson lined up to the left. Lofton put a fake on Dennis Thurman and caught the touchdown pass from Dickey to put the Packers ahead, 7-6. Thurman would get his revenge later in the game with three interceptions of Dickey.

The long drive by the Packers did not seem to bother the Cowboys offense as they say waiting on the sidelines. When the Cowboys got the ball back Danny White drove them 80 yards to the Packers two yard line. From there Timmy Newsome scored to give the lead back to the Cowboys, 13-7.

The Packers got the ball back on their own 25 yard line with 1:13 left in the first half. Instead of running out the clock, Packers coach Bart Starr instructed Dickey to throw a sideline pass to Jefferson. Dennis Thurman, who was in single coverage on Jefferson read the play and then made the play. Thurman stepped in front of Jefferson at the Packers 39 yard line and took it the distance for the touchdown. The Cowboys took a commanding 20-7 lead at halftime.

“He tried to push me off,” said Thurman, who had Jefferson in single coverage. “At that point, I knew he was running an out pattern. I read his route and got underneath him.”

Even down by 13 points the Packers came out in the second half ready to play. Their offense went to a three wide receiver set and started to put some drives together against the Cowboys defense. Although the Packers were dominating in the third quarter they only managed two field goals from Jan Stenerud and pulled closer to the Cowboys, 20-13.

The Cowboys needed a spark, which came from rookie kick returner Rod Hill. After the Packers kicked their second field goal of the third quarter Hill took the kickoff and raced 89 yards to the Packers 24 yard line. The Cowboys could only manage another Septien field goal to increase their lead to 23-13 as the third quarter ended. The wake up call was just what the Cowboys needed for an action packed fourth quarter.

The fireworks started early in the fourth quarter for the Packers. On the first play of the quarter from the Packers 29 yard line Dickey handed off to running back Eddie Lee Ivery. Ivery then handed the ball to Lofton who had cut across the backfield for the reverse. Lofton then raced untouched through the Cowboys defense with some timely blocks and scored from 71 yards out. Rod Hill got into the act again as he blocked the Packers extra point. The Packers were now down 23-19.

The Cowboys offense came right back as Danny White led them 80 yards on their next possession. White capped the drive with a seven yard touchdown pass to tight end Doug Cosbie to put the Cowboys up 30-19.

The Packers were forced to punt on their next possession. The Cowboys got the ball at their own 15 yard line with 7:23 left in the game. Danny White attempted a pass to Newsome coming out of the backfield. The pass was a little behind Newsome and bounced off his hand. Packer’s cornerback Mark Lee was there for the deflection and raced 22 yards for the touchdown. The Packers were now only down by four, 30-26.

Like so many times before in this game the Cowboys took the momentum back from the Packers on their next drive. The Cowboys faced a third and four from their own 43 yard line. Danny White found Doug Cosbie for a seven yard gain to midfield and a first down.

“If your looking for the key play of the game, there it is,” said White 

With the Cowboys sitting at midfield Tom Landry remembered a play from the second quarter and so did Drew Pearson and Tony Hill. Danny White threw a screen pass to Pearson that only gained three yards, but Landry, Pearson and Hill noticed that the Packers defenders all came up on the play to stop Pearson, which left Tony Hill all alone.

Tom Landry called the same screen pass to Pearson from midfield, but this time Pearson had the freedom to unload if the situation was right. Pearson had some experience at quarterback from when he was in high school. After Pearson received the screen pass from White he decided it was time to throw it down field. The pass was not pretty as it wobbled and went over Tony Hill’s wrong shoulder. But Hill came down with the pass and was tackled at the one yard line.

“We had to have a big play,” Landry said

“He (Landry) said if I don’t have the touchdown, then I don’t have anything,” Pearson said. “I just threw it up, and Tony made the play.”

“When I saw Drew wind up, I thought he was going to throw it out of the stadium,” Hill said. “It was a great pass.”

On the next play the Cowboys put the game away with 4:24 left. Robert Newhouse scored from the one yard line and the Cowboys won the game 37-26.

The Cowboys defense collected four sacks on Lynn Dickey and three interceptions, all by Dennis Thurman.

Danny White led the Cowboys offense with 225 yards passing and one touchdown. Tony Dorsett gained 99 yards on the ground. Tony Hill had 142 yards receiving.

The win put the Cowboys back in the NFC Championship game for the third season in a row. They would have to travel to Washington to face the Redskins in RFK Stadium this time. The Redskins fans were ready as they chanted “We want Dallas” in the stands while the Redskins were beating the Vikings in their second round playoff game.

“We’re looking forward to it.” he said. “I saw everybody (the Redskins fans) wanted us back. I’m glad we can accommodate them.”

The box score from the game against the Packers can be seen here.