Flashback, Cowboys vs Giants – 1985

It was a cold Sunday afternoon, late in the 1985 season when the NY Giants came to town. The Cowboys and the Giants had matching 9-5 records. The winner would capture the NFC East Division title.

The game did not get off to a good start in the first quarter as Danny White was forced to leave the game with an injury, which meant Gary Hogeboom had to take over. Hogeboom quickly went to work as he connected with Mike Renfro on a 58 yard touchdown pass. The Cowboys took the lead 7-0.

The second quarter would be a four touchdown explosion. The Giants tied the game 7-7 when wide receiver Bobby Johnson scored on a Phil Simms touchdown pass. The Giants then took the lead after Danny White came back into the game and threw an interception to Elvis Patterson at the Cowboys 33 yard line. He returned it 27 yards to the Cowboys six yard line. From there Simms threw is second touchdown pass of the second quarter, this time to running back Tony Galbreath. Giants now led 14-7 and had all the momentum.

As the second quarter continued the Giants continued to dominate. They drove to the Cowboys 22 yard line looking to increase their 14 point lead with two minutes remaining.  But it was the Cowboys defense that made a stand as Ed “Too Tall” Jones took an outside rush and beat his man. Jones did what he has done so many times in his career. He swatted a Simms pass high in the air. Jim Jeffcoat who was behind Simms saw the ball coming down and caught it on the run. Jeffcoat raced 65 yards untouched and scored to tie the game 14-14.

“I drove my man back six or seven yards trying to get to him,” Jones said.

“Phil Simms was in his throwing motion. I came over and the ball happened to come my way,” Jeffcoat said. “I think I have good hands. I haven’t dropped a pass yet. We practice tipping the ball to each other in a hot potato drill. But not like this.”

The momentum seemed to change in favor of the Cowboys with Jeffcoat’s interception return. And 46 seconds later the Cowboys scored again. As Giants punter Sean Landeta prepared to punt from his own two yard line Everson Walls applied pressure. Landeta stopped his punt and shoveled the ball forward. The ruling was an incomplete pass and the Cowboys took over on the 12 yard line.

One play after the Giants failed punt attempt the Cowboys took the lead. Danny White managed to come back into the game  and connected with Mike Renfro, who scored his second touchdown of the game and gave the Cowboys a 21-14 halftime lead. The bad news for the Cowboys was that on White’s touchdown pass he was knocked out of the game for good with a bruised left shoulder, bruised ribs and a bruised right hand from a hit by the Giants George Martin.

With the Cowboys and the Giants scoring two touchdowns each in the second quarter, they would end up going scoreless in the third quarter. On the first play of the fourth quarter Gary Hogeboom, who was back in for the injured Danny White, was knocked out of the game with a concussion by the Giants defense. The Cowboys then had to turn to third string quarterback Steve Pelluer who had not taken a regular season snap in his two years with the Cowboys.

The Cowboys offense had only managed seven yards when Steve Pelluer took over. On his second possession he drove the Cowboys 72 yards deep into Giants territory. A key play in the drive was a third and 15 from the Cowboys 48 yard line. Pelluer connected with rookie wide receiver Karl Powe on a Giants blitz for 28 yards to the Giants 24 yard line. Five plays later Cowboys running back Timmy Newsome scored from the one yard line giving the Cowboys what they thought was a commanding 28-14 lead.

The Giants were not about to give up the division title that easy. Phil Simms once again drove the Giants into Cowboys territory. With 2:09 left in the game Giants running back Joe Morris scored from the one yard line and pulled the Giants closer at 28-21.

The Giants defense forced the Cowboys to punt on their next possession. They got the ball back at their own 39 yard line with 1:37 left and two timeouts remaining.

The Giants were able to drive to the Cowboys 16 yard line with just 59 seconds left. Facing a third down it was Randy White who took an outside rush and flattened Phil Simms for the sack. On fourth down Simms attempted a pass to wide receiver Byron Williams that was intercepted by Cowboys cornerback Victor Scott at the nine yard line.

Steve Pelluer and the Cowboys offense ran out the rest of the clock and the NFC Eastern Division title was there’s. It was the Cowboys first Eastern title since 1981. There was not much celebrating after the game except for Everson Walls who had a couple of cans of Diet Coke and sprayed it on everyone. Everyone except for Coach Tom Landry that is.

“Sprayed it on everybody,” Walls said, “except for (coach) Tom (Landry). He had his hat on and was wearing a nice overcoat. I wanted to, but couldn’t.”

Tom Landry would eventually give Dennis Thurman a high five in celebration.

“He came over to shake my hand and I said, “Coach Landry, how about a high-5?’ I put his hand up, and we slapped,” Thurman said. “I don’t think he knew what it was, but he gave it to me.”

“You can’t believe the feeling,” Thurman said. “It’s exhilarating. It has been a long and tough struggle to get back to the top. We took our knocks along the way. It’s good to get the monkey off our back.”

“This feels great,” Landry said. “Winning the East was our outstanding goal this year. Nobody thought we could do it. But this is an amazing team. We can play so good, and we can play so bad. It’s kind of unusual.”

“It can’t match anything like a Super Bowl win,” Landry said. “But to win this after the disappointments of the last few years, it’s a big one. You have to win one like this before you think you can do it. Now that this team has done it, we will benefit in the future.”

“I still can’t believe I even got the opportunity to play, let alone help the team win the championship,” Pelluer said. “It’s a real thrill. Once I got the call, I knew I had to do it. There was nobody else.”

The following week which was the final week of the season the Cowboys lost to the San Francisco 49ers 31-16. They finished the 1985 season with a 10-6 record and had to travel to Los Angeles to play the Rams in the playoffs. They would end up losing to the Rams 20-0 as Eric Dickerson ran wild for 248 yards and two touchdowns.

You can see the box score of the win against the Giants here.


Flashback, Cowboys vs Vikings – 1983

The Cowboys went into the Metrodome in Minnesota with a 4-0 record early in the 1983 season. In the first four games of the season the Cowboys had to come from behind to win, this game against the Vikings would be no different.

The Vikings scored in the first quarter when Vikings quarterback Steve Dils went deep to wide receiver Sammy White. Everson Walls tripped as he was covering White, which allowed him to catch a 43 yard touchdown pass giving the Vikings a 7-0 lead. The Cowboys answered the Vikings score with a Rafael Septien 45 yard field goal as the first quarter ended.

In the second quarter Steve Dils went back to Sammy White. This time White was covered by Dennis Thurman, but the result was the same as the first quarter. Another touchdown for White, this time from 36 yards out and a 14-3 Vikings lead. The Vikings would add a field goal to increase their lead to 17-3 before Cowboys quarterback Danny White recorded their first touchdown of the game.

Facing a fourth and one from the Vikings two yard line, Danny White took the ball himself and ran in for the touchdown to get the Cowboys closer, 17-10.

With 45 seconds left in the first half the Cowboys faced a third down from their own eight yard line. The exchange between center Tom Rafferty and Danny White was fumbled and the Vikings recovered at the five yard line. On the next play the Vikings Ted Brown scored and increased the Vikings lead to 24-10.

After the Vikings kicked off the Cowboys got the ball at their own 19 yard line with 40 seconds left in the half. Coach Tom Landry thought the safe thing to do was to run out the clock and regroup at halftime. 

“It looked like the best thing was to get off the field with no more points being scored,” Landry said. 

Danny White had other ideas. Landry called in a running play for Tony Dorsett, but White did not agree and changed the play in the huddle.

“I was so confident we could move the ball,” White said. “I didn’t want to sit on it.”

White called for a pass to Doug Cosbie that could have gone for big yardage, but White overthrew Cosbie. It was clear that Landry was not happy with White changing the play and called for another running play to Dorsett. 

“He was sending me a message,” White said. “Actually, I got his message when I looked over to the sideline.”

Tony Dorsett gained ten yards on the next play and it was almost like Landry realized what White wanted to do. The next four plays were passes and White completed three of them gaining 54 yards. With the Cowboys sitting at the Vikings 28 yard line Septien kicked his second 45 yard field goal to end the first half and to get the Cowboys to within 24-13.

“I like for my quarterbacks to have freedom,” Landry said. “And we did end up with three points.”

“It would have been a real mistake to run out the clock without trying to get a field goal,” White said. “There were holes all over their defense. I knew we could move the ball. Sometimes you’ve got to react as a football player and do things on instinct.”

Midway through the third quarter the Cowboys defense forced the Vikings to punt. Rod Hill returned the punt 37 yards to the Vikings 47 yard line. From there Danny White led the Cowboys to the Vikings five yard line where Ron Springs scored to make the score 24-20 Vikings.

After a Danny White interception, the Vikings found themselves at the Cowboys 47 yard line looking to increase their lead. The Cowboys decided to run their 4-0 blitz package. For those who don’t remember the Cowboys loved to run a package of four defensive linemen, no linebackers and seven defensive backs, blitzing most of their secondary. This package sometimes got the defense into trouble, but other times the defense would capitalize. In this case it would be Dennis Thurman who blitzed from the outside and was able to raise his arm to obstruct Steve Dils vision. The result was Ron Fellows stepping in front of his receiver for an interception and racing 58 yards for a touchdown. This gave the Cowboys their first lead of the game, 27-24 with a little over two minutes to go in the third quarter.

“That ball was like a Christmas present,” Fellows said. “And if it’s free, I’ll take it.”

With the Cowboys defense controlling the Vikings offense in the second half. It was time for Dorsett to take control for the Cowboys offense. On a drive that consumed over six minutes, Dorsett had runs of 21 and 25 yards. From the Vikings 11 yard line White found Drew Pearson for an insurance score that increased the Cowboys lead to 34-24.

Tony Dorsett rushed for 141 yards against the Vikings despite dealing with a bruised thigh, bruised knee, sore ribs and a cracked bone in his right wrist.

“I was running for my life. I’m banged up all over my body,” Dorsett said.

Rafael Septien added his third field goal of the game to close out the scoring and giving the Cowboys a 37-24 victory. The Cowboys outscored the Vikings 24-0 in the second half to improve their record to 5-0. 

“It’s a legitimate 5-0,” Thurman said. “We can make plays like this all year and you’ll see us 14-2 or 15-1. The guys just don’t think they can lose. It’s a feeling you get in the huddle and the locker room. When we left for the second half, we knew something would happen.”

The Cowboys would push their record to 7-0 in 1983 before losing to the LA Raiders 40-38. They would finish the season with only a 5-3 record and lose in the playoffs to the LA Rams, 24-17.

The box score can be seen here.


Flashback, Cowboys vs Titans/Oilers

The 1982 NFL season was unlike any other season before. After the second week of the season all games stopped due to a strike. The strike lasted two months and would end up wiping seven games off the schedule. The Cowboys were coming off back to back NFC Championship game losses and they played the 1982 season looking to get to the next level.

With a 4-1 record the Cowboys traveled to Houston to take on the 1-4 Oilers on Monday Night Football.  The Cowboys found themselves behind early when Cowboys cornerback Dennis Thurman fell as he tried to cover Oilers wide receiver Mike Renfro. Sitting at their own 46 yard line, Oilers quarterback Archie Manning connected with Renfro at the Cowboys 18 yard line when Thurman fell. The result was a 54 yard touchdown for the Oilers and an early 7-0 lead.

The Cowboys seemed to have no spark in the first quarter. But during the second quarter the offense would wake up with a weapon that some people said was the Cowboys third best wide receiver. Danny White led the Cowboys to the Oilers 21 yard line. Then on 3rd and 7 White scrambled to his right and lofted a pass to the right corner of the end zone. That is where Butch Johnson made a great catch as he was able to keep both feet in bounds. The game was now tied at 7-7.

Rafael Septien gave the Cowboys the lead 10-7 as he kicked a 22 yard field goal midway through the second quarter. Then Butch Johnson took the stage again with his second touchdown of the game.

Once again Danny White led the Cowboys down the field with plays that included a 22 yard pass to Johnson and a 43 yard pass to running back Timmy Newsome. The Cowboys found themselves at the Oilers 18 yard line when White saw Johnson and Tony Hill standing side by side in the end zone. White once again went to Johnson and the Cowboys took a 17-7 halftime lead. It was also the second time that Johnson was able to show off his new “California Quake” dance.

With the Cowboys offense waking up and scoring 17 points in the second quarter and the defense shutting down the Oilers after giving up an early score, the Cowboys also had some luck on their side.

Leading 17-7, the Cowboys were once again in Oilers territory during the third quarter. With Oilers defensive lineman Ted Washington hanging onto Danny White, White threw a bad pass that was intercepted by defensive end Malcolm Taylor and he returned it 84 yards for a touchdown. But the officials ruled that White was in the grasp of Washington and took the Oilers touchdown off the board. Three plays later Septien kicked his second field goal and the Cowboys were up 20-7.

More luck came the Cowboys way during the third quarter. Cowboys punt returner Ron Fellows fumbled a punt and the Oilers recovered on the Cowboys 34 yard line. The Oilers drove to the Cowboys seven yard line when rookie running back Gary Allen fumbled after Ed Jones knocked the ball loose. Safety Michael Downs scooped up the ball and raced 86 yards for the touchdown. The Cowboys took a 27-7 lead as the third quarter ended.

Danny White threw his third touchdown pass of the game as he connected with Timmy Newsome, who broke three tackles and raced 46 yards for the touchdown. Newsome had plenty of playing time due to Tony Dorsett leaving the game in the second quarter with a bruised lower back. With the Newsome touchdown, the Cowboys led the Oilers 34-7.

The Cowboys closed out the scoring for the night with a third Septien field goal from 53 yards out. The Cowboys beat the Oilers 37-7 and improved to 5-1 staying tied with the Redskins in the NFC.

Danny White completed 21 of 27 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Timmy Newsome caught three passes for 92 yards and one touchdown. Butch Johnson had four receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns.

The Cowboys defense held the Oilers offense to only 199 yards, which included only 39 yards rushing. They also recorded six sacks and recovered three fumbles.

The Cowboys would finish the 1982 season with a 6-3 record and finished two games behind the conference champion Redskins who they would also lose to in the NFC Championship game.

The box score can be seen here.


Flashback, Cowboys vs Cowboys

Normally I would write a Flashback post for the upcoming game, but the series between the Cowboys and Texans really has no history at all. They have met only twice in the regular season and have split both games.

With the Cowboys entering the game this week with a 0-2 record and staring at a possible 0-3, I don’t see it as the Cowboys against the Texans, I see it as the Cowboys against themselves.

This offense currently has no identity and no direction. The play calling seems to be all over the place at times. With the weapons the Cowboys have on offense they should have a lot of production if those weapons are used correctly. That is where a good offensive coordinator will shine. In my opinion Jason Garrett just does not know how to use his weapons at the right times during the game. I understand that I have never called plays before and that I’m only a fan, but to watch other teams use their weapons and use them in the right situations just shows me that I’m not far off in my opinions. It just seems like Garrett selects plays at random from his large play sheet, but there is no actual plan to what he is calling.  As I sit and watch opposing defenses preparing to blitz the Cowboys offense, but the Cowboys don’t seem to see it, I say that is a problem that I see it and they don’t. 

The defense has not been much better. They seem to be out of place at times and just confused other times. It also amazes me that turnovers just don’t come the Cowboys way week in and week out. I see other defenses that always seem to be around the ball and are there to get the turnover, but the Cowboys don’t seem to be that way. Why is that?  I see other defenses putting constant pressure on the quarterback, but when the Cowboys send blitzes they all seem to hit a brick wall.

Are the players to blame for poor execution or are the coaches for what they are teaching these players? I will say it again that I’m only a fan and have never coached, but it my opinion the Cowboys issues have to be put on the coaching staff. These players are following the game plan that the coaches put in place and it’s just not working at this point. This Cowboys team has too much talent not to be putting points on the board and making stands on defense. That is why I say it comes down to the coaching staff.

Is there time to correct it before the season is a total loss? At this point in time I’m not sure. I’m not sure the team knows that answer. Will they go out and play hard against the Texans? I’m sure they will, but that does not mean they will win. Especially if the play calling remains the same from Jason Garrett on offense and Wade Phillips defense remains out of position.

I can write about how I’m a die hard fan and how the Cowboys will be my team forever. I don’t need to write those things because I know what kind of fan I am. I’m also the kind of fan that tells it like it is and won’t sugar coat things. I’m not going to paint a picture that everything is all sunshine and rainbows for the Cowboys.

This team better correct what is wrong fast because the schedule doesn’t get any easier with teams like the Titans, Vikings and Giants coming up. If they continue on this path it won’t be long before they start wondering if they will have a top ten pick in next Aprils NFL Draft.

Come tomorrow afternoon the Cowboys will up against themselves more then the other team from Texas. That’s a scary thought, but it’s the truth.

Flashback, Cowboys vs Bears – 1981

It was Thanksgiving Day in 1981 and the only thing the Cowboys seemed to be thankful for was getting past the 3-9 Chicago Bears with a victory. The win put the Cowboys in first place in the NFC East with a 10-3 record.

The Cowboys were one of the best teams in the NFL in 1981 and the Bears were one of the worst teams. But it didn’t seem that way as this Thanksgiving game started to unfold. Late in the first quarter Danny White led the Cowboys to a 3-0 lead when Rafael Septien kicked a 41 yard field goal.

The Bears tied the game at 3-3 early in the second quarter and then things went bad for the Cowboys. With seven and half minutes to play in the first half Danny White was hit in the back and was lost for the game. In came rarely used backup quarterback Glenn Carano to lead the Cowboys.

“Losing Danny (White),” said coach Tom Landry. “Limited some of the things we could do.”

The score stayed tied at 3-3 until the fourth quarter. The Bears put together a drive after the Cowboys made a mistake when Ron Springs attempted an option pass, which was intercepted in the end zone. With the Bears starting at their own 20 yard line they drove 80 yards in 16 plays. Of the 80 yards, 74 of them were gained rushing the ball in 14 plays. Quarterback Vince Evans finished the drive as he scored from the two yard line. On the extra point Ed Jones penetrated the Bears line to block the kick. The Bears had the lead 9-3 with 13:39 to play in the game.

After the Bears took the lead, Glenn Carano drove the Cowboys 83 yards down to the Bears two yard line. Facing a fourth and goal, Tom Landry decided to go for it instead of attempting a field goal. Carano’s pass to tight end Billy Joe DuPree was knocked down and the Cowboys came away with no points.

The Cowboys defense was able to hold the Bears without a first down and got the ball right back. Once again Carano started to drive the Cowboys deep into Bears territory. Sitting at the six yard line, Ron Springs took the hand-off and ran left towards the end zone. He barely made it into the corner of the end zone for the touchdown. With Septien’s extra point the Cowboys took the lead 10-9.

The Bears got the ball back with only 5:09 left in the game. Facing a 4th and 10 from their own 40 yard line, the Bears had no choice but to go for it. The Cowboys were called for pass interference, which allowed the Bears to continue their drive. They reached the Cowboys 32 yard line where on fourth down they lined up for the game winning field goal. But Bears kicker John Roveto’s attempt sailed wide right and the Cowboys walked away with the victory, 10-9.

The Cowboys defense held the Bears offense to only 272 yards in the game. But it was Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton who gained 179 of those yards rushing as he shredded the Cowboys defense all afternoon. The Cowboys defense did hold Vince Evans to only 60 yards passing.

The Cowboys offense was less than special as Glenn Carano only managed 131 yards passing as he filled in for the injured Danny White. Tony Dorsett rushed for 72 yards.

“Who would’ve thought,” Tony Dorsett said, “that a blocked extra point would be the difference between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys?”

“Who would’ve thought,” said Ed Jones, the man who blocked the extra point, “we would need that kind of play to win?”

The box score can be seen here.



Flashback, Cowboys vs Redskins – 1979

It was December 16, 1979 when the Washington Redskins came to Texas Stadium tied with the Cowboys for first place in the NFC East with 10-5 records. This game would turn out to be one of Roger Staubach’s finest moments as well as his last great comeback in his Cowboys career.

The NFC East showdown between these heated rivals did not start out the way the Cowboys had wanted. On the Cowboys first two possessions of the game they fumbled and the Redskins took full advantage of the recoveries.

It took only two plays on the Cowboys first possession before rookie Ron Springs fumbled at the Cowboys 34 yard line. The Redskins took over and drove to the Cowboys three yard line. On third and goal Larry Cole sacked Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann and forced the Redskins to kick a field goal by Mark Mosley for an early 3-0 lead.

On the Cowboys second possession they once again fumbled the ball away. This time it was Robert Newhouse who gave the ball to the Redskins on the Cowboys 45 yard line. The Redskins drove to the Cowboys one yard line, but this time Theismann made sure there would be no field goal attempt as he scored himself, giving the Redskins a 10-0 lead.

With the Redskins leading 10-0 going into the second quarter and the Cowboys offense showing no signs of life, the Redskins offense went back to work with an 80 yard, 7 play drive. They finished the drive when Theismann connected with running back Benny Malone who eluded a tackle by D.D. Lewis. Malone raced down the right sideline for a 55 yard touchdown giving the Redskins a commanding 17-0 lead.

The Cowboys offense seemed to wake up on their next possession. They put together a 13 play, 70 yard drive. From the Redskins one yard line it was Ron Springs who would make up for his earlier fumble as he scored the Cowboys first touchdown of the game. The Redskins were now leading 17-7 with a little more then four minutes left in the first half.

With only 1:48 left in the first half the Cowboys got the ball back on their own 15 yard line. Staubach went to work as he connected with Tony Hill three times and Drew Pearson once to get to the Redskins 26 yard line. With only nine seconds remaining Staubach connected with Preston Pearson for the touchdown as Pearson made a diving catch in the end zone. The Cowboys had fought their way back into the game with two second quarter touchdowns. They went into the half down 17-14.

In the third quarter the Cowboys defense shutdown the Redskins offense. The Cowboys offense took advantage and scored the only touchdown of the quarter, which gave them their first lead of the game. After a short Redskins punt the Cowboys took over at their own 48 yard line. They needed only nine plays, which included a Butch Johnson reverse that gained 13 yards. Preston Pearson took a short pass from Staubach and got the Cowboys to the two yard line. Like Ron Springs in the first half, it was now Newhouse’s turn to make up for his earlier fumble. He scored from the two yard line, giving the Cowboys a 21-17 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter the Redskins drove to the Cowboys 7 yard line where they would have to settle for a Mark Mosley 24 yard field goal. That made the score 21-20 Cowboys.

Staubach threw his only interception of the game when he went deep over the middle from his own 13 yard line where there was no receiver in sight. Redskins safety Mark Murphy came down with the ball and returned it down to the Cowboys 25 yard line. On the Redskins first play Theismann threw into the end zone for receiver Ricky Thompson. Cowboys safety Cliff Harris bumped Thompson and was called for pass interference. The penalty placed the ball at the Cowboys one yard line where John Riggins scored to give the lead back to the Redskins, 27-21.

With less than seven minutes to play in the game, it was Riggins who seemed to put the game out of reach for the Cowboys.  Riggins broke to the outside at his own 34 yard line as he outran Cowboys linebacker Mike Hegman and then broke a tackle by Cliff Harris. Riggins then raced away from Cowboys cornerback Dennis Thurman down the right sideline and scored from 66 yards for a 34-21 Redskins lead.

With 3:49 left in the game, Randy White recovered a Redskins fumble. Roger Staubach only needed three plays to get the Cowboys closer as he connected with Ron Springs for a 26 yard touchdown. Springs caught the pass at the five yard line and dragged Redskins cornerback Ray Waddy into the end zone. The Redskins still had a 34-28 lead with 2:20 left in the game.

With time running out and the Redskins facing a third and one, veteran Larry Cole threw Riggins for a two yard loss and forced the Redskins to punt.

The Cowboys stood 75 yards away from an NFC Eastern Division title. Roger Staubach went back to work like he had done so many times in his career. He drove the Cowboys in only seven plays. During the drive he connected with Tony Hill for 20 yards, then to Preston Pearson for 22 yards. With 1:01 left in the game Staubach went back to Preston Pearson for a 25 yard gain to the Redskins 8 yard line. From there Staubach lofted a pass into the end zone that Tony Hill came down with.

The Cowboys won the game 35-34 over the Redskins and also won their 11th Eastern title in the teams 20 year history. The win also gave the Cowboys a week off and home field advantage in the playoffs. With the win it also knocked the Redskins out of the playoffs

Roger Staubach finished the game with 336 yards passing and three touchdown passes. It was also the 21st time he guided the Cowboys to a fourth quarter win and the 14th time he turned defeat into victory for the Cowboys in the final two minutes of a game.

Tony Hill led all receivers with eight receptions for 113 yards and the game winning touchdown. Preston Pearson followed Hill with five receptions for 108 yards and one touchdown. Rookie Ron Springs who started in place of the injured Tony Dorsett, rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown. He also added 58 receiving yards with one touchdown.

“What can I say about him?” asked Tom Landry. “Roger is simply super in these kinds of situations. He’s done it before and knows he can do it.”

You can see the games box score here.


Video of Larry Cole’s third down stop of John Riggins last in fourth quarter.

Video of some plays from winning Cowboys drive.

“The Catch” Was So Much More!

We all have that one game that stands out to us. It may have been a great game, a strange game, a disappointing loss. Maybe even a little bit of everything. To me that game was the 1981 NFC Championship game against San Francisco. I recently had the pleasure of reading “The Catch” by Gary Myers. He tells the story of the great NFC Championship game back in 1981, along with other stories in the years leading up to the game as well as stories  years after the game for both the 49ers and the Cowboys.

On the Cowboys side he tells of the relationship that coach Tom Landry had with his players. How he loved his players, but always knew where the line was as far as being too close because after all, this was a business and there was always that chance he would have to cut someone one day.

He tells the story about Danny White and how he could have been considered an elite quarterback in the NFL if he had just won one of the three NFC Championship games from the early 80’s. Also, how he began to lose the respect of this teammates during the 1982 strike when he sided with management.

Said Tom Landry…

“Danny White was probably as fine a winner as we have had in football. He wasn’t gifted as some quarterbacks were, but he knew how to win football games. I don’t think anybody could have followed Roger (Staubach) and done as well as Danny. If we got to the Super Bowl in 1981, we might have won the Super Bowl a couple more times. I think Danny would have gotten us there again. Danny was a solid winner and nobody recognized that too much”

Gary Myers also tells how coach Tom Landry passed on Joe Montana in the 1979 NFL Draft as well as Walter Payton in 1974 and Dan Marino in 1983.

The story of Bill Walsh and how the 49ers organization turned everything around and became the team of the 80’s. The relationship between Joe Montana and Dwight Clark and whether or not Montana really was throwing the ball to Clark on that last touchdown or was he simply trying to throw it away?

All of this and so much more as these were stories that led up to the 1981 NFC Championship game and how the two teams went in different directions after the game. Gary Myers captures it all and brings it all back after 29 years.

As far as myself, this game has always stayed with me. It’s always been a game that I thought the Cowboys should have won. A game that over the years I have also come to realize was one of the greatest games I have ever watched. The Cowboys and the 49ers were the two best teams in the NFL that year. This game was the Super Bowl as far as I’m concerned. They battled for four quarters. Back and forth with six lead changes. And it all came down to one play. Not “The Catch” as it became known as, but “The Fumble” that most fans don’t even remember.

There was only 47 seconds left in the game when the Cowboys got the ball back after Dwight Clark scored giving the 49ers a 28-27 lead. The Cowboys also had two timeouts. Plenty of time for America’s Team. On their first play Danny White connected with Drew Pearson (which was his only catch of the day) for a 31 yard gain to the 49ers 44 yard line. Pearson would have most likely scored, but it was Eric Wright who got hold of Pearson’s jersey and was able to drag him down. That tackle would have been a horse collar today. History would have changed if Pearson could have broke away from Wright’s tackle. Now with 38 seconds left on the clock all the Cowboys needed was another 14 yards to get in range for a Rafael Septien field goal attempt. Only 14 more yards! But on the next play with the 49ers rush all around Danny White, the ball came loose and the 49ers recovered.  White argued that his arm was going forward at the time.

“My arm was going forward. 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”

It’s just amazing to think how so many things could have changed in those last 58 seconds for both teams. What if Dwight Clark never caught the ball? What if Drew Pearson was never tackled? What if Danny White never fumbled?

Danny White left the ball on the ground that afternoon as well as the Cowboys dreams of a Super Bowl. The team was in shock as well as the fans. But 29 years later the game is still talked about and is still considered one of the greatest games of all time.

Gary Myers “The Catch” is a book that once you start it you won’t want to put it down. There were many things that Mr. Myers wrote about that surprised me about the Cowboys over those years before and after the 1981 NFC Championship game. Here are a few…

It was defensive coordinator Ernie Stautner who with 4:54 left in the game and the 49ers on their own 11 yard line, wanted to run his nickel defense. It was also safety Charlie Waters who confronted Stautner about what a bad idea it was to be in the Nickel defense with so much time left on the clock. Stautner told Waters…

“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”

For the entire 49ers final drive the Cowboys played their Nickel defense up until that last play when the 49ers scored.

Before the 1979 draft the Cowboys had their three quarterbacks (Roger Staubach, Danny White and Glenn Carano). Coach Landry thought Joe Montana was a wasted draft pick, saying…

“If we take him, I’ll probably cut him in training camp”

“I don’t know if initially he will be better than the guys we got”

Back in 1974 the Cowboys traded quarterback Craig Morton to the Giants for their 1st round pick in 1975, which turned out to be the 2nd pick overall. That pick turned out to be Randy White.

Before the 1981 Draft the Cowboys offered the New Orleans Saints who had the 1st overall pick that year, their own 1st rd pick (26th) along with running back Ron Springs, defensive tackle Larry Bethea and linebacker Guy Brown for the Saints 1st pick. The Cowboys wanted to trade up to draft Lawrence Taylor, but the Saints said no and then drafted running back George Rodgers and the Giants of course drafted LT with the #2 pick.

During the 1988 season (before Jerry Jones came to town), Tex Schramm wanted Jimmy Johnson to be the Cowboys defensive coordinator in hopes that he would replace coach Landry when he retired. This was mainly because the Eagles were interested in Johnson as their head coach in 1989. Of course we all know what happened after the 1988 season ended.

The difficult times of Drew Pearson as he lost his father before Thanksgiving in 1980, but still played in the Thanksgiving Day game. Then in 1984 the car he was driving crashed into a truck killing his younger brother. Pearson to this day has no idea what happened. The accident also ended his football career due to a lacerated kidney. His depression from the loss of his brother and his family never telling him that he was not to blame. Then on Christmas Eve 2001 teammate and best friend Harvey Martin passed away. Pearson stayed with Martin instead of going to see his mother for Christmas and a month later his mother passed away. All these things and more that he still lives with today.

The special friendship between Everson Walls and Ron Springs. The decision by Walls to give up one of his own kidneys to save Springs life. Also, how he lived with being the defender on the Dwight Clark touchdown pass. How he never put much thought into it being such an historic game.

“The Catch” has all of this and so much more. Gary Myers takes you back to one of the greatest games ever played and also takes you down roads that you have never been down before. Although the game still hurts 29 years later, it’s still one of the greatest games between two great teams. Thank you Gary Myers for writing such a great book.

Flashback: Triple H Metrodome History

Here we are about to play in the divisional round of the 2009 playoffs against the Minnesota Vikings. The Cowboys have played a handful of games against the Vikings since 1961 and hold a 15-12 record over them. The Cowboys and Vikings have played a total of six times in the playoffs dating back to 1971 and Dallas has a 4-2 advantage. Of course none of this means anything and I did not want to pick out just one game to write about. So what I thought of was looking back at the games the Cowboys and Vikings have played in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The Metrodome opened in April of 1982. The Cowboys were supposed to play their first game in the new dome during the third week of 1982, but the players strike canceled the game. They did end up playing in Minnesota at the end of the 1982 season. So here is a list of games between the Cowboys and Vikings at the Metrodome. Some memorable, some not so much.

1982 – Dallas loses to Minnesota 31-27

Although the Cowboys lost the game this could be the most memorable game in the Metrodome for the Cowboys, Tony Dorsett took center stage as he ran for 153 yards. He also scored one touchdown on a record breaking run that will never be broken. On their own one yard line and only ten players on the field. Dorsett took the hand-off from Danny White and broke through the middle of his offensive line. He got into the Vikings secondary and with the help of some down field blocking from Drew Pearson, Dorsett scored from 99 yards.

1983 – Dallas beats Minnesota 37-24

Minnesota took a 24-10 lead in the second quarter. But then the Cowboys scored the next 27 points and won the game 37-24. Once again Tony Dorsett led the way with 141 yards rushing. The defense held the Vikings to 272 yards on offense which included just 44 yards rushing. The defense also intercepted three passes, returning one for a touchdown by Ron Fellows.

1993 – Dallas beats Minnesota 37-20

The Cowboys entered this game with an 8-4 record, but there just seemed to be something wrong with the offense. Which continued into this game before Troy Aikman connected with Michael Irvin for a touchdown to take a 10-6 lead. From there the offense seemed to wake up and Dallas took a commanding 27-6 lead into the third quarter. Emmitt Smith led the running game with 104 yards and a touchdown and Irvin ended the day with 125 yards receiving.

1995 – Dallas beats Minnesota 23-17 in OT

This game was a battle from start to finish and ended in overtime with a great Emmitt Smith touchdown run from 31 yards out. Smith finished the game with 150 yards and two touchdowns and Michael Irvin collected 107 yards and one touchdown

1999 – Dallas loses to Minnesota 27-17

This could have been a career day for Emmitt Smith. One week after the passing of the great Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith wanted to dedicate this game in Payton’s memory. Smith ran wild in the first half gaining 140 yards on just 13 carries. He scored twice, once from 63 yards and the other from 24 yards. But on his second touchdown he got his fingers caught in a Vikings face-mask and had to leave the game. No one could predict what Smith could have gained if he didn’t leave the game. He left the game with the Cowboys leading 17-0. From that point on the Vikings scored the next 27 points and won the game.

1999 – Dallas losses to Minnesota 27-10 in Wildcard Round

This was their second meeting of the 1999 season, but not memorable as far as the Cowboys were concerned. They never really challenged the Vikings in this playoff match-up. Emmitt Smith ran for 99 yards and scored once. Rocket Ismail caught eight passes for 163 yards.

2004 – Dallas loses to Minnesota 35-17

This was the opening game of the 2004 season. Another game that was not memorable for the Cowboys as it was their first of ten losses during the 2004 season. Vinny Testaverde led the Cowboys with 355 yards passing and one touchdown. Receivers Antonio Bryant had 112 yards and Keyshawn Johnson had 111 yards.

Again, this history lesson does not mean a thing. What really means something is this Sunday’s divisional playoff game in the Metrodome. The Cowboys will face a Minnesota team that was on fire most of the 2009 season. It’s now the Cowboys who are on fire and confident in what they can do and what they want to do.

Good luck Cowboys!! Sunday can’t come soon enough.

“I didn’t hear no bell”

Flashback: The Wildcard Playoffs at Home

Normally with my Flashback posts I write about a past game against the opponent that the Cowboys are about to play. This week the Cowboys are preparing for their third meeting against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wildcard round of the 2009 Playoffs. Dallas has played the Eagles three times in the Playoffs over the years. They lost to the Eagles 20-7 in the 1980 NFC Championship game. They beat the Eagles 34-10 in 1992 and 30-11 in 1995. Both of the wins coming in the Divisional Round. Since there is not much Playoff history between the Cowboys and the Eagles I thought I would take a look back at the Cowboys Wildcard history at home.

1980 – Dallas defeats the LA Rams 34-13

This was the very first Wildcard Playoff game the Cowboys played in. Both teams played to a 13-13 halftime tie before the Cowboys took full control in the second half behind the running of Tony Dorsett. The Cowboys outscored the Rams in the second half 21-0 as Dorsett ran for 160 yards and a touchdown. Dorsett also added a receiving touchdown from Danny White. The Cowboys offense out-gained the Rams offense 528 to 260. Of those 528 yards 338 were gained running the ball.

1982 – Dallas defeats Tampa Bay 30-17

1982 was the strike shortened season when the NFL threw out the divisions and made it so the top eight teams in the NFC and AFC made the playoffs. The Cowboys finished the season 6-3 and took on Tampa Bay in the first round. The Buccaneers actually had a 17-16 lead going into the fourth quarter before the Cowboys scored twice and took the game. Tony Dorsett ran for 110 yards and Danny White threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys out-gained the Bucs 456 to 218. The Cowboys defense collected five sacks and three interceptions off of Bucs quarterback Doug Williams.

1983 – Dallas loses to the LA Rams 24-17

This game did not start off well for the Cowboys as Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo led them down the field on their first possession and took a 7-0 lead. It was a game mostly dominated by the Rams as they held a 24-10 fourth quarter lead before the Cowboys scored late to make it closer than it actually was. The Rams held the Cowboys to only 63 yards rushing and collected four turnovers while sacking Danny White three times.

1996 – Dallas defeats Minnesota 40-15

This Wildcard game was kind of the end of the Dallas dynasty from the 90’s. It’s also the last time the Cowboys won a playoff game. The Cowboys took a commanding 30-0 lead at halftime behind the running of Emmitt Smith who ran for 116 yards and scored twice. The Cowboys out-gained the Vikings on the ground 255 to 63. Michael Irvin caught eight passes from Troy Aikman for 103 yards.

1998 – Dallas loses to Arizona 20-7

A game that was dominated by the Cardinals from the start. The Cowboys could not get anything going on offense or defense. The Cowboys offense was not able to score until the fourth quarter after the Cardinals already had a 20-0 lead. The offense also could only manage 260 yards as Emmitt Smith was held to 74 yards and Troy Aikman threw for just 191 yards and three interceptions.

So the Cowboys are 3-2 in Wildcard games at home. What does all this mean? Absolutely nothing! It’s just fun to look back at the games. Well, it’s fun to look back at the games they won.

Now as we move closer to the most recent Wildcard game which is this Saturday night. The Cowboys are red hot winning their last three games of the season and they are confident. They will need to continue everything they have done in recent weeks to beat the Eagles for the third time this season. Maybe even a trick or two if the timing is right.

Congratulations to the 2009 NFC Eastern Division Champion Dallas Cowboys. This ride is far from over.

And as Rocky Balboa said in Rocky V…”I didn’t hear no bell”.

Flashback: Dallas vs Philadelphia – 1991

So here we are. The last game of the 2009 regular season against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys have already earned a spot in the playoffs and have a chance to win the NFC East if they beat the Eagles on Sunday. They also have an outside chance of getting the #2 seed and a bye. I guess you could say that the last two weeks have been kind of a coming out party for the Cowboys. They go to New Orleans and beat the undefeated Saints, then they go to Washington and shutout the Redskins.

I guess the term “coming out party” was the reason why I selected this game against the Eagles from 1991. It was coach Jimmy Johnson’s third year in Dallas. You could see the progress of the team. The talent level was also increasing. They just needed to get over that hump and get themselves into the playoffs. So on a cold mid December day in 1991 the Cowboys went to Philadelphia’s Veteran Stadium with a 9-5 record looking to get over that hump. The game was not too exciting and the stats will not jump out at anyone, but what you did see was a team coming together and doing something they had not done since 1985. They earned their way into the playoffs.

The Cowboys jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a Ken Willis 50 yard field goal. They increased their lead to 5-0 when Manny Hendrix tackled John Booty in the end zone after the Eagles fumbled the ensuing kickoff.

The Eagles came right back in the second quarter and took the lead 7-5 when quarterback Jeff Kemp connected with Maurice Johnson on a 31 yard touchdown pass. The Eagles added a field goal before halftime and took a 10-5 lead into the locker room.

The only points in the third quarter came from another Ken Willis field goal which cut the Eagles lead to 10-8. The Cowboys would take control of the game in the fourth quarter.

Dallas punt returner Kelvin Martin fielded an Eagles punt his own 15 yard line and raced up-field.  After breaking a few hand tackles Martin found himself at midfield with only Eagles punter Jeff Feagles in front of him. Feagles lunged at Martin’s feet, but Martin was able to keep his balance. After getting past Feagles it was Eagles running back Robert Drummond who was racing after Martin from behind. As Martin passed midfield he saw that Dallas cornerback Issiac Holt, who was now in front of him was directing Martin to go to his right. As Martin passed him, Holt took aim at Drummond and hit with a bone crushing block that made every highlight film that night. Martin finished his 85 yard punt return for a touchdown and gave the Cowboys the lead at 15-10. I tried my best to find the video of Issiac Holt’s block because it was one of the best blocks I have ever seen. You could actually see Drummond crumble to the ground.

“That block will make ESPN’s highlights,” Avezzano said. “That guy would have caught Kelvin.”

The Eagles answered back with a field goal and closed the Cowboys lead to 15-13. There was still 9:46 left in the game and the Cowboys had the ball at their own 20 yard line. Instead of going conservative, offensive coordinator Norv Turner ran a play-action pass on first down. Eagles linebacker Byron Evans bit on the fake which allowed Jay Novacek to run past him. Cowboys quarterback Steve Beuerlein hit Novacek in stride for a 32 yard gain putting the Cowboys in Eagles territory.

“It was very aggressive play-calling,” Beuerlein said. “Norv (Turner, the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator) knows you’ve got to make plays to win ball games – and he gave us a chance.”

Steve Beuerlein did not have a great game. He was only 9 of 31 for 145 yards. He also started the game with ten straight incompletions. But the important thing was that he never turned the ball over and neither did anyone else on the Cowboys.

The Cowboys continued their drive after the Novacek reception and found themselves at the Eagles four yard line. Beuerlein then found Michael Irvin in the end zone for the touchdown and a 22-13.

The Cowboys would add a third Ken Willis field goal to finish out the game and walked away with a 25-13 win. The win also clinched a playoff spot for the Cowboys for the first time since 1985 and the first time under coach Jimmy Johnson.

“We shocked the house,” Cowboys safety James Washington said.

“At halftime, the whole talk was that we were one play away from taking the lead,” Johnson said. “Just hang in there, be patient and execute the plan.”

“It’s our biggest win to this point,” Johnson said. “But we’ve got bigger wins coming.”

Dallas would finish the 1991 season with an 11-5 record. They would have to travel to Chicago in the first round of the playoffs where they upset the Bears 17-13. But then their season would come to an end in Detroit the following week as the Lions handed the Cowboys a horrible 38-6 loss.

You can view the box score here…


UPDATE: I was able to locate the video of Kelvin Martin’s punt return. This video starts with the punt return and then shows other highlights from 1991 and 1992.

Flashback: Dallas vs Washington – 1985

The 1985 season started on Monday Night Football for the Cowboys for the third time in the last four years. It was the second time in three years that the Cowboys would be opening against division rival Washington. It also was quarterback Joe Theismann’s 36th birthday. It also was Theismann who took the saying “It’s better to give then to receive” a bit too far as he threw five interceptions in the game.

Unlike the 1983 season opener when the Cowboys had to come from a 23-3 deficit to win the game. This game the Cowboys took the lead and never looked back.

The only scoring in the first quarter came from Rafael Septien on a 53 yard field goal giving the Cowboys a 3-0.

In the second quarter the Cowboys put together a 98 yard drive that took up 8:49 of the clock. Timmy Newsome finished the long drive with a one yard touchdown run to put the Cowboys up 10-0.

The Redskins scored on a John Riggins touchdown run to make the score 10-7, but that would be as close as they would get to the Cowboys as the Cowboys took full control of the game.

The Cowboys closed out the first half scoring as Danny White connected with  receiver Mike Renfro on a 55 yard touchdown pass with only six seconds left in the half. Dallas went to the locker room leading the Redskins 17-7.

The second half would be a dominating performance by the Cowboys defense as they confused Joe Theismann and the Redskins offense with different coverages and blitzes. The Redskins first three possessions of the third quarter all ended in turnovers and resulted in points for the Cowboys.

Everson Walls got things started as he stepped in front of a Theismann pass and intercepted it, giving the Cowboys the ball at the Redskins 44 yard line. The Cowboys could only manage a Septein field goal and a 20-7 lead.

On the Redskins next possession linebacker Eugene Lockhart forced Redskins running back George Rodgers to fumble and Dexter Clinksdale recovered at the Redskins 40 yard line. But once again the Cowboys had to settle for a Septien field goal. Dallas was now up 23-7.

Third possession for the Redskins and third straight turnover as Ron Fellows intercepted Theismann and returned it to the Redskins 13 yard line. This time the Cowboys were able to get into the end zone as Tony Dorsett burst through the middle of his offensive line and scored from nine yards out. Dallas was now up on the Redskins 30-7.

With all the turnovers the Dallas defense was getting, they decided that they wanted to do some scoring themselves. Cornerback Victor Scott collected his own interception off of Theismann early in the fourth quarter and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown which put the Cowboys ahead 37-7.

The Redskins managed a touchdown of their own as all the Dallas scoring was going on and made the score 37-14.

Dallas cornerback Dennis Thurman finished the scoring as he intercepted Jay Schroeder who replaced Theismann and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown. The Cowboys completed their domination of the Redskins and won the game 44-14.

Joe Theismann threw five interceptions to five different Cowboys and only managed 206 yards passing in the game. Joe Gibbs took him out of the game midway through the fourth quarter and as Theismann sat on the bench something began to be heard. It started low and then got louder and clearer. It was the Texas Stadium crowd who started singing Happy Birthday to Theismann over and over again.

“It was a hot night, and we were hot,” coach Tom Landry said.

“I’m really surprised,” Landry said. “It doesn’t happen like that very often. It was one of those nights when they didn’t have anything going for them, and we had everything going for us. You don’t ever expect to beat the Redskins like this. We shouldn’t have even been favored. Somebody must have been crazy.”

“I just couldn’t be more pleased with the play of our defensive backs,” Landry said. “They were in great position all game. When you win this way, the other team has a lot to do with it. We just kept on the pressure. Right now we are at an emotional high as you might expect.”

“Hey, if I hit a couple of passes after those turnovers, we could have scored 64 points,” White said. “We were just missing against the blitz. Our offense didn’t even have to show up tonight. The defense scored twice and set up up so many times in plus territory.”

You can see the box score of the game here…


I also found this video that shows all six of the Cowboys interceptions in the game.


Flashback: Dallas vs New Orleans – 1984

The 1984 season will not go down in Cowboys history as one they want to remember. Actually it’s one of those seasons that should be forgotten. The Cowboys finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs. It was also the season that coach Tom Landry made the preseason decision to make Gary Hogeboom the starting quarterback over veteran Danny White.

The Cowboys went into the game against the Saints with a 4-3 record. They started strong with their first drive of the game as Hogeboom drove them to the Saints 20 yard line before the drive stalled on a Hogeboom sack by Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson. Rafael Septien kicked a field goal and the Cowboys took a short lived 3-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter the Saints punted and pinned the Cowboys on their own one yard line. The Cowboys were forced to punt after three plays and no yards gained. Danny White could only manage a 36 yard punt and the Saints took over on the Cowboys 39 yard line. Two plays later the Saints took the lead on a Richard Todd (Yes, the same Richard Todd who played for the Jets in the late 70s and early 80’s) to Tyrone Young 36 yard touchdown pass as Young streaked across the middle beating Everson Walls and Ron Fellows. The Saints went ahead 7-3.

The Cowboys could only manage another Septien field goal before the Saints went back to work. The Saints alternated running backs in 1984. Their first back was Earl Campbell (67 yds rushing in the game) and they also had George Rodgers (52 yds rushing in the game). But it was fullback Hokie Gajan who took center stage in this game as he ran for 78 yards and a touchdown. His score came after Ed Jones got a hold of him in the backfield, but Gajan managed to break free and went untouched from that point and scored from 62 yards out. This gave the Saints a 14-6 lead with 2:54 left before halftime.

Saints kicker Morten Anderson added a field goal at the end of the first half increasing the Saints lead to 17-6. Things would only get worse for the Cowboys in the third quarter.

Morten Anderson kicked his second field goal of the game early in the third quarter. With the Saints leading 20-6 things went from bad to worse for the Cowboys as Hogeboom was intercepted by Dirt Winston who then returned it 43 yards for a Saints touchdown. The Saints now led 27-6.

On the interception Hogeboom hit his wrist on a Saints helmet and forced him to the bench for the rest of the game. With the injury, it forced Danny White into the game. The entrance of White seemed to wake the Cowboys up.

Early in the fourth quarter Cowboys special teams player Chuck McSwain blocked a Saints punt and the Cowboys recovered on the Saints three yard line. From there Tony Dorsett ran it in and got the Cowboys closer at 27-13.

Late in the fourth quarter with only 3:59 to play Danny White threw a 12 yard touchdown pass to receiver Mike Renfro. This closed the Saints lead to 27-20.

With 2:53 left in the game and veteran Kenny Stabler in at quarterback for the Saints because of Richard Todd’s injury early in the fourth quarter, the Dallas defense made a stand. Stabler attempted to pass from his own nine yard line as Randy White came crashing through the line and sacked Stabler forcing a fumble. The ball rolled into the end zone where Jim Jeffcoat fought through a wild scramble of players and recovered the fumble for the touchdown. With the extra point the Cowboys tied the game at 27-27.

The Cowboys actually got the ball back two more times in the final 1:20 of the game on two Stabler interceptions, but could not move the ball into scoring position. The game would go into overtime.

The Cowboys won the coin toss in overtime. From their own 29 yard line Danny White attempted a pass to Tony Hill who was interfered with, which resulted in a 24 yard penalty. Then White completed a 15 yard pass to Renfro to set up Septien for the winning field. Septein kicked a 41 yard field goal to complete the comeback and the Cowboys won the game 30-27. The comeback was the Cowboys biggest in team history.

“I always feel we can come back and win it,” coach Tom Landry said. “Our guys found out how hard you have to work to win a football game.”

“I feel good about our team now, said Landry. Better than I felt all year. We just haven’t played with the tough emotion we played with in the fourth quarter. It may be the difference the rest of the season. I’ve been saying all along we have to play hard to win.”

“I thought all along I should start. But I don’t think because of the way Gary played I should start,” White said. “I’d love to start to be back in there, where I should have been all along. But that’s up to coach Landry. It meant a lot for my confidence.”

You can view the box score here…