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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…

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199112150phi.htm

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9IWaI1NVL4

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…

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198509090dal.htm

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_WGel23tU8

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…

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198410210dal.htm

Flashback: Dallas vs San Diego – 1980

Here we go with another Flashback post with a team Dallas does not have much history with. Dallas only owns a 6-2 record against the San Diego Chargers. After looking through the eight games nothing really stood out, so I decided to go old school. The Cowboys and the Chargers had a lot in common back in the early 1980’s just like they do today. A lot of talent, but just could not get over that hump to greatness.

Both teams were filled with star players back in 1980. The Chargers had an explosive offense with quarterback Dan Fouts, running back Chuck Muncie, wide receivers John Jefferson and Charlie Joiner and tight end Kellen Winslow. The Cowboys were also filled with stars like Danny and Randy White, Tony Dorsett, Drew Pearson and Tony Hill, Harvey Martin, Ed Jones, Dennis Thurman.

The Chargers offense started off quick in the first quarter on their first possession. Dan Fouts worked the team down the field on a few completions to John Jefferson and they found themselves on the Dallas 27 yard line when the drive stalled. Chargers kicker Rolf Benirschke kicked a 45 yard field goal to take the lead 3-0.

The Cowboys put together a drive of their own on their first possession, but kicker Rafael Septien missed his field goal attempt which would have tied the game.

The Dallas defense collected what would be their first of seven turnovers by the Chargers. Cornerback Steve Wilson jumped in front of a Fouts pass at the Dallas 30 yard line and returned it all the way to the Chargers 35 yard line. Danny White drove the Cowboys down to the 4 yard line where Ron Springs scored, putting the Cowboys ahead 7-3.

Early in the second quarter Septien missed yet another field goal attempt. From that point on the Chargers offense put it in high gear. The Chargers first touchdown of the game came when Fouts passed to Charlie Joiner. But after being hit by Steve Wilson the ball bounced off of Wilson and into the hands of John Jefferson who raced for the score from 58 yards out. This gave the Chargers a 10-7 lead.

On the Cowboys next series Danny white threw his only interception of the game, but it turned out to be a score for San Diego. The Dallas offense was backed up on their own 8 yard line and White attempted a pass to backup running back James Jones. White was intercepted by San Diego’s Woodrow Lowe who returned it 16 yards for the touchdown. This increased the Chargers lead to 17-7.

The Cowboys put together a 75 yard drive on their next possession and closed the lead to three points. White connected with Butch Johnson on a 17 yard touchdown pass as the second quarter was winding down.

San Diego was not done with their second quarter scoring as they scored their third touchdown of the quarter. Fouts drove his team 65 yards in only five plays and capped it with his second touchdown pass of the half. Kellen Winslow caught the nine yard touchdown pass and the Chargers went into halftime with a 24-14 lead on the Cowboys.

As the second quarter would be owned by the Chargers with 21 points. It was the Cowboys turn in the third quarter. White drove the Cowboys to the Chargers 10 yard line. But on first down White fumbled the snap and backup tight end Jay Saldi alertly picked it up and ran it down to the two yard line. From there Timmy Newsome scored and pulled the Cowboys back to within three points, 24-21.

The Dallas defense got the ball back for the offense and once again it was Danny White who led the team deep into Chargers territory. During the drive it was White who faked a punt from his own 39 yard line on a fourth and 11. White gained 12 yards to keep the drive going. Sitting at the Chargers one yard line it was Timmy Newsome once again scoring and putting the Cowboys back in the lead 28-24.

The Dallas defense went back to work and got the ball back again. This time it was Randy White who forced Chuck Muncie to fumble and linebacker Anthony Dickerson recovered at the Chargers 11 yard line. Two plays later White threw his second touchdown pass of the game as he hit Jay Saldi from 12 yards out. The Cowboys had scored their second touchdown in a 2:31 span and also their third of the quarter. They took a 35-24 lead into the fourth quarter.

As the fourth quarter started Fouts and the Chargers tried to pull closer. Fouts went deep to Winslow. Charlie Waters tipped the ball and Winslow came down with it and raced towards the end zone. Dallas cornerback Aaron Mitchell hit Winslow and forced a fumble at the Dallas 15 yard line. Dennis Thurman scooped up the loose ball and returned it up to the 29 yard line.

The Dallas defense came up with another interception on the Chargers next drive. Dallas took advantage as White threw his third touchdown pass of the game as he connected with Billy Joe DuPree from nine yards out. Dallas took a commanding 42-24 lead on the Chargers.

The Cowboys could have added more points, but Septien missed his third field goal of the game from 44 yards out on the Cowboys next possession.

The Chargers made it a little closer as the game was about to end as Fouts threw his third touchdown pass of the game and second to Winslow.

The Cowboys came away with a 42-31 win against the San Diego Chargers which improved their season record to 6-2. The Dallas offense gained 425 yards on the Chargers as Danny White threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns. White also connected with nine different receivers. Keep in mind that the game was played without Tony Dorsett who was out with an injury.Ron Springs filled in for Dorsett and ran for 61 yards on 13 carries.

Although the Chargers came up short in this game their offense was still explosive as Fouts threw for 371 yards and three touchdowns. It was his four interceptions that really hurt his team. Chuck Muncie ran for 71 yards. John Jefferson had 160 yards for the game and Charlie Joiner had 110 yards. The Chargers offense gained 449 yards on the Dallas defense.

“Our offense played very well, particularly in the second half.” observed head coach Tom Landry. It was a great game, a very important one for us. It was one we needed to win.”

“No, things weren’t going by design out there tonight,” White said. “They had a great pass rush and we were able to salvage a lot of busted plays, particularly in the second half. Things seemed to bounce their way in the first half but we got ours in the second.”

You can view the box score here…

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198010260dal.htm

Flashback: Dallas vs Giants – 1995

As we get closer to the second meeting in 2009 with the Giants, it actually took some time to decide on a game to Flashback to. Not sure why it took so long, but for some reason I had a hard time deciding. Maybe it’s just a feeling of nervous excitement (If that makes any sense) about this Sunday’s game and what it means for the Cowboys. Maybe it’s because I have a good feeling about the game which makes me nervous about being too vocal.

So I ended up making my decision on which game to write about. It wasn’t a classic showdown. It was a game that allowed the Cowboys to send a message to the NFL. A message that even though they lost the NFC Championship the last time they were on the field they were still one of the best teams, if not the best in the NFL in 1995.

The stage…Monday Night Football

The site…Giants Stadium

When…Opening night of the 1995 season

The Cowboys entered the 1995 season looking to bounce back from a tough defeat to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. They were matched up against their division rival NY Giants. The Giants had finished second to the Cowboys in the NFC East in both 1993 and 1994 and they thought they were prepared to take over the division in 1995. But they seemed to forget one person who played for the Cowboys. His name? Emmitt Smith.

Emmitt Smith could not have started his 1995 season any better. On his first carry of the season he broke through a hole created by his offensive line and scored on a 60 yard run. As he got to the goal line he waved to the Giants cornerback who was chasing him. Some Giants player’s thought it was a sign of disrespect from Smith. But Smith later explained after the game that it was just a reaction due to all his hamstring problems from the 1994 season. The Cowboys were up 7-0 in the first quarter and that was only the beginning.

The Cowboys offense went back to work in the second quarter as Troy Aikman connected with Michael Irvin on a seven yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-0. Then Emmitt Smith would score his second touchdown of the game from one yard out to send the Cowboys into halftime with a commanding 21-0 lead on the Giants.

The Cowboys were dominating both sides of the ball, but the one piece of bad news from the first half was the season ending injury to cornerback Kevin Smith. The injury occurred in the end zone on a non-contact play and the result was a ruptured Achilles for Smith. It was just one day before that Smith had signed a $11 million contract. Although the injury was devastating to the Cowboys defense. It also opened an opportunity for owner Jerry Jones. Can anyone say Deion?

Emmitt Smith continued to slice up the Giants defense as he added his third touchdown of the game in the third quarter on the Cowboys first drive. Emmitt’s touchdown put the Cowboys on top 28-0 and that’s how the score would stay as the fourth quarter started.

In what would be a record breaking season for Emmitt Smith with his 25 rushing touchdowns and another rushing title. Smith got off to a great start in 1995 against the Giants as he scored his fourth touchdown of the game. His third from one yard out and increased the Cowboys lead to 35-0.

There was nothing better than beating the Giants on Monday Night Football, in Giants Stadium and not allowing them to score a single point. The Dallas defense only allowed the Giants offense 211 yards while sacking Giants quarterback Dave Brown twice and intercepting him once. The 35-0 nothing beating was probably one of most dominating performances against the Giants I’ve seen since becoming a Dallas fan.

“We were expecting a tougher ballgame, no question,” Aikman said. “I think they’re a better football team than that.”

“It was total domination in all areas,” Switzer said. “When the Dallas Cowboys run the football like that, we’re very difficult to beat.”

Emmitt Smith of course led the Cowboys offense with 163 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Aikman connected on 15 of 20 passes for 228 yards and one touchdown. Irvin caught 7 passes for 109 yards. When both Smith and Irvin gained over 100 yards in the same game the Cowboys were 11-0.

Also, with the season ending injury to Kevin Smith. It pushed owner Jerry Jones to go out and sign Deion Sanders to what would be a seven year contact.

“We’re devastated about Kevin Smith’s injury, said coach Switzer. I think it’s probably a season-ending injury. I told Jerry (Jones) after the ballgame to go get Deion. It’s not showtime anymore. It’s serious business.”

You can view the box score here…

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199509040nyg.htm

Flashback: Dallas vs Raiders – 1983

It took me a couple of weeks before making a decision on this match-up between the Cowboys and the Raiders. You would think there would be a lot of history between these two teams on the field, but the fact is that they have only played nine times. The Cowboys have won six of those nine games, but the Raiders have won the last three. Every single time I thought about this game I would keep going back to 1983. It was Sunday Night Football at Texas Stadium and the Cowboys were off to one of their best starts of any season as they entered the game against the Raiders with a 7-0 record.

As the first quarter got under way the Dallas defense got their first of the Raiders  six turnovers on the night as quarterback Marc Wilson fumbled the snap from center and Ed (Too Tall) Jones recovered at the Raiders 33 yard line.

It would not be your normal night as coach Tom Landry went deep into his bag of tricks. With the Cowboys at the Raiders 15 yard line Danny White went into the shotgun. On the snap running back Ron Springs who was lined up in the slot got the hand-off from White as he ran from right to left like it was a sweep play. While this was happening White kind of wandered off to the right sideline. Springs then stopped and passed the ball to White who was all alone for the 15 yard touchdown pass. Dallas took the lead 7-0 with just over 2:00 gone in the first quarter.

The Raiders answered the Cowboys touchdown with ten of their own points in the first quarter. Their points came thanks to Cowboys rookie punter John Warren who could only manage a 30 yard punt and a 34 yard punt on back to back Cowboys possessions. On the 34 yard punt Warren twisted his knee and the punting went back to Danny White for the night.

Danny White’s first punt attempt of the night was fumbled by the Raiders and Cowboys special teams specialist Rod Hill recovered at the Raiders 38 yard line. Dallas took advantage again of the turnover and from the two yard line Ron Springs scored and gave Dallas the lead back, 14-10 early in the second quarter.

On the Raiders next possession Marcus Allen fumbled and the Cowboys once again recovered at the Raiders 20 yard line. Dallas converted that turnover into a Rafael Septien field goal for a 17-10 lead.

The Raiders got back into the game with the running of Frank Hawkins who rushed for 118 yard in the game. He ran untouched into the end zone from 23 yards out and score was tied 17-17.

Even without the benefit of a Raiders turnover the Cowboys drove on the Raiders number ranked defense. Dallas put together a 76 yard drive in 8 plays and then capped the drive with a Danny White to Butch Johnson touchdown. Dallas took the lead again 24-17. Those looking for Butch Johnson’s famous California Quake dance after the touchdown were disappointed. Johnson was unable to do his dance because before the season Landry said there would no end zone dancing during the season.

The wild second quarter continued as the Raiders tied the game again on another Frank Hawkins touchdown pass from Marc Wilson. As the first half was coming to an end Danny White threw an interception on the Raiders 22 yard line. This time it would be the Raiders who would take advantage of the turnover. Marc Wilson drove the Raiders into Dallas territory. With nine seconds left the Raiders lined up for the go ahead field goal. Marc Wilson was also the holder on field goals and when he took the snap he stood up to attempt the fake. As he threw the ball he was hit by Dallas cornerback Dennis Thurman. The ball landed well in front of the intended receiver, but Dallas linebacker Anthony Dickerson was called for pass interference on the receiver even though he had no chance to catch the ball.

The pass interference penalty put the ball at the Dallas one yard line with only three seconds left in the first half. Instead of going for the field goal, Raiders coach Tom Flores sent his offense onto the field. Marc Wilson found tight end Todd Christensen over the middle for the easy score. The Raiders ended the wild first half of football with the lead, 31-24.

I guess both teams must have been tired from all the first half excitement because only a field goal was scored in the third quarter. That was from the Raiders who recovered a Danny White fumble on his own 20 yard line. They converted that into a Chris Bahr field goal and entered the fourth quarter with a ten point lead on the Cowboys, 34-24.

Dallas got the scoring going early in the fourth quarter with Danny White throwing his second touchdown pass of the game. White connected with receiver Doug Donley from 17 yards and cut the Raiders lead to 34-31.

The Dallas defense went back to work on the Raiders. With a little over 13:00 to play Anthony Dickerson forced a Marc Wilson fumble. Linebacker Mike Hegman scooped up the ball and ran it in for the go ahead touchdown from nine yards out. Once again the Cowboys had the lead at 38-34.

The Raiders were able to put another field goal on the board to tighten the Cowboys lead to 38-37. From that point things seemed to be good for the Cowboys.

With 7:00 remaining and the Raiders at the Cowboys 35 yard line, Dennis Thurman forced a fumble by Raiders receiver Dokie Williams. Dallas linebacker Dexter Clinkscale recovered.

The Cowboys moved the ball into Raiders territory with just over 3:00 to play in the game. On a 3rd and 15 Danny White looked deep for Tony Hill, but was intercepted by the Raiders at the 13 yard line and it was returned up to the 25 yard line.

Marc Wilson started to drive the Raiders. With some great passes to receiver Dokie Williams the Raiders got to the Cowboys nine yard line with only 20 seconds left in the game. Chris Bahr lined up for a 26 yard field attempt. As Bahr kicked the ball and it sailed over his offensive line, up jumped Dallas cornerback Michael Downs from behind his defensive line. Downs came within maybe an inch or two from blocking the kick, but the ball continued to sail up and through for the winning points. The Raiders had pulled off the upset in a wild night at Texas Stadium, 40-38.

The loss for the Cowboys was their first of the 1983 season. They would go 5-3 the rest of the season and finish with a 12-4 record. Their 1983 season would end at home in the playoffs to the LA Rams, 24-17.

You can view the box score here..

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198310230dal.htm

Flashback: Dallas vs Washington – 1983

Opening night of the 1983 season found the Dallas Cowboys back at a place that held bad memories. The last time they were in RFK Stadium to play Washington was the 1982 NFC Championship game where not only did they lose their quarterback Danny White, but they lost the game as well, 31-17. It was the Cowboys third straight loss in the NFC Championship and now they were back at RFK Stadium to open the season on Monday Night Football.

From the start of the game the Cowboys just seemed to be hanging onto the loss in the Championship game. While the Redskins marched on as they pushed and shoved the Dallas offense and defense all over the field. It was a first half performance by the Cowboys that just made you shake your head and want to turn the television off and go to bed.

The Cowboys offense would gain only 85 yards in the first half. Tony Dorsett would gain 77 of those yards on a long run in which he was dragged down by rookie cornerback Darrell Green. It would also be the only time Dallas crossed mid-field in the first half. Quarterback Danny White would only complete one pass out of nine in the first half. The Dallas defense was no better as they gave up 261 yards to the Redskins offense.

Before the Dallas defense could get their cleats dirty they found themselves down 10-0 to the Redskins. The lone points for the Cowboys came after Dorsett’s 77 yard run that turned into a Rafael Septien field goal and a 10-3 Redskins lead.

The Reskins offense would score 13 more points in the second quarter and go into halftime with a comanding 23-3 lead on the Cowboys.

The Cowboys came out in the third quarter running the ball on four straight plays. On the fifth play of the drive Danny White made a nice play fake and went long for receiver Tony Hill. The pass was a perfect strike to Hill who caught it at the Redskins 30 yard line and outran the Redskins defense scoring from 75 yards with less than three minutes gone in the third quarter. Washington now lead 23-10.

The Dallas defense would finally hold the Redskins offense on their next drive following Hill’s touchdown and forced a punt. From there White and Hill would go back to work. From their own 49 yard line White once again unloaded a pass to Hill who made a great one handed catch over a Redskins defender at the Washington 20 yard line and scored from there. Dallas had closed the lead to just six points. Now only down 23-17.

Early in the fourth quarter things were still going the Cowboys way. The Redskins seemed to have gained a first down deep in Dallas territory on a Theismann to Don Warren reception. But Warren was called for pass interference and the Redskins were forced to attempt a field goal. Kicker Mark Mosley lined up for a 31 yard field goal, but the ball sailed wide right and the Cowboys got the ball back with a little over 9:00 to play in the game.

Danny White went back to work and drove the Cowboys offense 80 yards on 12 plays. One of the 12 plays was a fourth and 1 from the Washington 26 yard line where White pushed his way for a first down. A few plays later from the one yard line White rolled to his right looking for tight end Billy Joe Dupree in the back of the end zone. Seeing Dupree was covered White tucked the ball away and scored on his own. Dallas had finally taken the lead for the first time, 24-23.

On the next drive for the Redskins, cornerback Ron Fellows intercepted Theismann at the Washington 37 yard line and returned it to the four yard line setting up a first and goal for the Cowboys. White threw his third touchdown pass of the second half, this time to tight end Doug Cosbie with only 1:49 left in the game. Dallas increased their lead to 31-23.

The Redskins would score with just ten seconds left in the game against the Dallas prevent defense, but it was too little too late for them. The Cowboys had played an amazing second half of football outscoring the Redskins 28-7. Danny White more than made up for his 1 for 9 passing in the first half to complete 8 of 11 passes in the second half and four touchdowns. Three passing and one running. Dorsett finished the game with 151 yards rushing on just 14 carries. Tony Hill had 133 yards on three receptions and both third quarter touchdowns

The win may not have made up for the NFC Championship loss to the Redskins in 1982, but it was still a great comeback by the Cowboys in this heated divison rivalry. Down 23-3 at the half and looking horrible only to mount a comeback and pull out the game 31-30 showed that this Cowboys team did not have any quit in them.

It was coach Tom Landry who told them at halftime to not give up.

“I told them at halftime that it was just a matter of pride,” Landry said. “We were down and hadn’t done a thing and the defense had been on the field two quarters. That’s when you’ve got to draw from deep down. Our team showed it did have something.”

“If Washington had won, it might have gotten a little cocky and thought it could beat the world.”

You can the box score of the game here.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198309050was.htm

Flashback: Dallas vs Green Bay – 1995

Looking back on my memories between the Cowboys and the Packers a few games come to mind. One being a second round playoff game from the strike shortened 1982 season where the Cowboys beat the Packers 37-26 at Texas Stadium. But then I started to think more and decided to write about one of the greatest NFC Championship games I have ever seen. The game was the 1995 Championship game at Texas Stadium with the winner earning a trip to Super Bowl XXX in Arizona.

When I think about Green Bay I always think about the cold weather. As the game was about to begin, up on the screen showed the temperature in Green Bay which was 25 degrees with a wind chill of minus 1 degree. In Dallas at the same time was 72 degrees and of course no wind chill. So I was very happy that the Cowboys were home for this game.

The game did not start off well for Dallas. On their first drive Reggie White beat right tackle Eric Williams and sacked Troy Aikman which forced a Dallas punt. The punt from Dallas punter John Jett was blocked by the Packers deep in Dallas territory. Brett Favre actually threw a touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead, but a delay of the game penalty on Green Bay took the touchdown off the board and they had to settle for a field goal and only a 3-0 lead on the Cowboys.

On the Cowboys second drive of the game Deion Sanders got involved in the offense by running a double reverse for a short gain. Then he caught a short pass from Aikman at the Packers 40 yard line and turned on the speed before being pushed out of bounds at the Packers 10 yard line. A few plays later Aikman connected with Michael Irvin from 6 yards out for the touchdown and a 7-3 lead.

Brett Favre and the Packers offense could not get anything going on their first two drives as they did not gain one yard on the Dallas defense. On their third drive things only got worse. Favre dropped back and attempted a screen pass that Leon Lett jumped up for and came down with the interception at the Packers 12 yard line. Dallas took advantage of the turnover and once again Aikman found Irvin for their second touchdown connection of the quarter from 4 yards out. Dallas took a commanding 14-3 lead, or so they thought.

On the first play of the Packers next drive after the kickoff, the Packers found their spark. Favre found his speedy receiver Robert Brooks as he blew past Dallas cornerback Larry Brown and scored on a 73 yard touchdown pass pulling the Packers closer at 14-10 as the first quarter ended.

The Packers finally forced a Dallas punt on their next possession and once again the Packers found a spark. This time it was their other speedy receiver Antonio Freeman who fielded the punt and raced towards midfield. Dallas punter John Jett was the only one left between Freeman and the Dallas end zone. Jett pulled down Freeman and at the same time grabbed his facemask and received a 15 yard penalty. This gave the packers great field position at the Dallas 35 yard line.

Green Bay took advantage of the punt return and the penalty as Favre tossed his second touchdown pass of the first half. This time he found tight end Keith Jackson on a 24 yard touchdown pass. This gave the Packers their first lead of the game at 17-14.

The Dallas offense was able to gather themselves and put together a nice drive that stalled at the Green Bay 17 yard line. From there they settled for a Chris Boniol 34 yard field goal to tie the game at 17-17.

The Dallas defense forced a Packers punt, but as the punt rolled towards the end zone for what Dallas thought would be a touchback. The ball took a strange bounce on the Texas Stadium turf and rolled out at their own 1 yard line. The Packers end zone was 99 yards away. Dallas started the drive with who else? Emmitt Smith. Smith found a huge hole created by his great offensive line and he went for a 25 yard gain. With a mix of passing and running by offensive coordinator Norv Turner the Cowboys drove 98 yards to the Packers 1 yard line. The final yard of the 99 yard 11 play drive was by Emmitt Smith who started the drive. Smith scored and Dallas was back on top 24-17 as the first half ended.

The first half leaned to Dallas in almost every way.

Time of possession, Dallas 23:00 – Green Bay 7:00

Offensive plays, Dallas 49 – Green Bay 21

First Downs, Dallas 16 – Green Bay 4

Rushing yards, Emmitt Smith 86 – Green Bay 16

Green Bay would control the third quarter for the most part. Their first drive would result in another field goal that pulled them closer to the Cowboys, 24-20. On their second drive of the quarter Favre threw his third touchdown pass of the game. Sitting on the 1 yard line of the Cowboys, the Packers caught Dallas in their goal line defense and substituted Robert Brooks late. Fave then tossed a 1 yard touchdown pass to Brooks and took the lead again, 27-24. The Packers would outscore the Cowboys 10-0 in the third quarter.

The Cowboys started a drive as the third quarter ended and continued on with that drive at the start of the fourth quarter. Once again it was a mix of running by Emmitt Smith and passing from Aikman to tight end Jay Novacek. From the Packers 5 yard line Smith followed big Nate Newton and Daryl Johnston and scored his second touchdown of the game. Dallas took the lead back, this time for good 31-27.

Brett Favre made is second mistake of the game as the Dallas defense flushed him from the pocket and forced him to the sideline. Instead of just throwing the ball away, Favre tried to force it to receiver Mark Ingram. Larry Brown stepped in front of Ingram at the Dallas 21 yard line and came up with the Cowboys second interception of the game with 10:00 remaining in the game.

On the first play of the drive for Dallas after the interception, Aikman found Irvin down the left sideline. Irvin actually managed to tip the pass to himself while being covered by a Packers cornerback. Not only did Irvin come down with the pass at the Packers 25, but he was able to keep his balance before going out of bounds at the 16. The Packers were called for pass interference which Dallas declined. On the second play Emmitt Smith found the end zone for the third time in the game. Scoring from 16 yard out Emmitt gave Dallas a 38-27 lead in the NFC Championship game.

It would be Emmitt Smith who put Dallas on his back in the fourth quarter as he gained 50 yards and scored twice. For the game Smith carried 35 times for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Dallas would actually drive once again into Packers territory late in the fourth quarter, but kicker Chris Boniol missed a field goal with 2:35 left.

The Dallas defense turned it up a notch on the Packers last drive as they recorded three of their four sacks of Favre in the fourth quarter. The defense would also hold the Packers running game to only 48 yards in the game.

After a failed fourth down by the Packers, the Cowboys would take over and run out the final 1:12 of of the game. Dallas earned a third trip to the Super Bowl in four years as they beat the Green Bay Packers 38-27 in the 1995 NFC Championship game. Super Bowl XXX would be the Cowboys fifth Championship in eight tries as they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning them the team of the 90’s.

“We’re going to the Super Bowl,” said Irvin, who had seven receptions for 100 yards. “We let someone else borrow our house last year. We’re going home. That’s where we belong”.

“I think with our offensive line and the way we stayed committed to running the football, that kind of continual pounding would wear teams down,” Aikman said.

“To their credit, we jumped up 14-3 on them and they never backed down,” Aikman said. “They were never completely out of the ballgame.”

“This football team has been in this situation before,” Aikman said. “We get the ball late in the fourth quarter and you have to take time off the clock to put them away, and we were able to do that”.

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IMG00336-20091110-1948

You can see the box score from the game here…

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199601140dal.htm

Flashback: Dallas vs Philadelphia – 1992

The Cowboys 1-15 season in 1989 seemed so far ago. They had shown improvement every season following 1989, the team was getting stronger with coach Jimmy Johnson leading the way. The Cowboys finished the 1992 season with a 13-3 record. Their most wins in franchise history. They were champions of the NFC East and received a first round bye in the playoffs. Their first opponent in the 1992 playoffs? The hated division rival Philadelphia Eagles. There was something different about this Cowboys team. A confidence that just could not be explained.

Texas Stadium would be the site for this Divisional round game. And it would be the Eagles who scored on their first possession and took a 3-0 lead after a penalty on the Cowboys. Cornerback Issiac Holt jumped off-sides on an Eagles punt, giving them a first down which resulted in the Eagles field goal.

The Cowboys would score the next 34 points in the game and never looked back. Their first score came in the first quarter as newly signed tight end Derek Tennell caught a short touchdown pass from Troy Aikman. Dallas took the lead 7-3.

After a very slow second quarter Dallas exploded for 10 points in the last 47 seconds of the quarter. A 41 yard Aikman to Alvin Harper reception put the ball at the Eagles six yard line. From there Aikman threw his second touchdown pass of the first half as he connected with Jay Novacek for the score and a 14-3 lead. On the kickoff Eagles return man Vai Sikahema fumbled the ball and Dallas recovered. Dallas kicker Lin Elliott kicked a field goal as the half ended and the Cowboys went to the locker room with a 17-3 lead.

The Cowboys continued their dominating defensive play in the third quarter as they stopped the Eagles offense with each possession. The Dallas offense put up ten more points before the third quarter ended. Emmitt Smith who finished the game with 114 yards rushing, scored on a 23 yard touchdown run. And once again Lin Elliott kicked a field goal to increase the Cowboys lead to 27-3 as the third quarter ended.

The Cowboys lone fourth quarter score came from seldom used running back Derrick Gainer who scored from one yard out with 3:19 left and put Dallas ahead 34-3.

The only Eagles touchdown? That came with only 50 seconds left in the game as Randall Cunningham threw a touchdown pass to receiver Calvin Williams. The Cowboys beat the Eagles 34-10 and earned a trip to San Francisco for the NFC Championship game.

The score itself (34-10) shows how much the Cowboys dominated the Eagles in this playoff game, but if you look a little closer at some of the numbers the domination was so much more. The Cowboys had the number one ranked defensive unit in the NFL in 1992 and they showed it against the Eagles by shutting down their running game as well as their passing game.

The Dallas defense held the Eagles offense to only 178 yards in the game. Cunningham passed for 160 yards, but 102 of those yards game in the fourth quarter with Dallas in command. Cunningham was also sacked five times for losses of 45 yards by the Dallas defense .

The Eagles running game didn’t do much better as they only rushed for 63 yards. Herschel Walker rushed for 29 yards during the Eagles first possession of the game and did not gain another yard the rest of the game. Heath Sherman who replaced Walked managed only 12 yards on six carries during the game.

It was a dominating performance from the entire Dallas team against the Eagles. A performance that would vault the Dallas Cowboys organization into being the team of the decade in the 1990’s with three Super Bowl Championships.

“I felt like we would win before the game started”, said Jimmy Johnson

“It’s a big win for us,” said Johnson. “We’ve got bigger wins coming.”

“We could have done better. We could have shut them out”, said Russell Maryland

“They are a great team,” said Cunningham. “And today they whipped our butts. They’re a young team and they’ll be around for a while, so we and others better get used to them.”

You can see the box score of the game here…

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199301100dal.htm

Flashback: Dallas vs Seattle – 1980

It was Thanksgiving Day in 1980 when Dallas met up with the Seattle Seahawks, who back then played in the AFC West. Seattle took the giving part of Thanksgiving way too far in this game in the form of points they gave up to Dallas.

The Cowboys came into the game with a 9-3 record, but still looking up to division leader Philadelphia. The Cowboys offense got off to a quick start with Danny White connecting with Tony Hill on an 18 yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead.

On Seattle’s second possession they tried to fool the Dallas defense from their own 14 yard line. Quarterback Jim Zorn (Yes, the same Zorn who now coaches the Redskins) handed off to running back Lawrence McCutcheon who then lateraled the ball back to Zorn who was now standing in his own end zone. Feeling the pressure from Dallas linebacker D.D. Lewis, Zorn quickly threw the ball. The pass landed near one of the Seattle offensive lineman and Zorn was penalized for intentional grounding which resulted in a safety since he was in the end zone when he passed the ball. Dallas took a 9-0 lead in the first quarter.

A side note about Jim Zorn that most people may not know. Zorn was a Dallas Cowboy before being released by the team back in 1975.

Things would only get worse for Seattle during the second quarter as Dallas scored 21 points. Randy White sacked Jim Zorn on back to back plays, forcing Seattle to punt from their own five yard line. Danny White drove the offense down the field and threw his second touchdown pass of the first half, this time to tight end Billy Joe DuPree. Dallas increased their lead to 16-0.

On the kickoff the Seattle returner was stripped of the ball by rookie linebacker Anthony Dickerson. Doug Cosbie recovered for the Cowboys at the Seattle 19 yard line. A couple of plays later Ron Springs scored from three yards out and a 23-0 lead.

The turnover trend continued for the Seahawks in the second quarter, Zorn was sacked by Harvey Martin and fumbled. Larry Cole fell on the loose ball at the Seattle 32 yard line. Dallas turned to their running game with Tony Dorsett and Robert Newhouse to move inside the five yard line. From there Newhouse scored from the three yard line with under two minutes left in the first half.

In the first half alone Jim Zorn was sacked four times by the Dallas defense, intercepted once and was responsible for one of the two Seattle fumbles.

Opening the second half Jim Zorn found himself standing on the sidelines watching backup quarterback Sam Adkins take his share of the Seattle beating on this Thanksgiving Day. The Seahawks actually made it to the Dallas one yard line in the third quarter thanks to a 44 yard pass interference penalty on Dallas cornerback Benny Barnes. Seattle failed on first and second down runs. Adkins attempted a pass that fell incomplete on third down and on fourth down Adkins tried to sneak into the end zone, but was stopped by the Dallas defense. There would be no scoring for either team in the third quarter.

As the third quarter ended Dallas linebacker Mike Hegman intercepted his second pass of the game and gave the Dallas offense the ball at the Seattle 26 yard line. Tony Dorsett got involved in the scoring at this point with a one yard run which increased the Dallas lead to 37-0.

On the kickoff Lawrence McCutcheon was hit hard by Hegman causing a fumble which Dallas recovered at the Seattle 11 yard line. From there Dorsett recorded his second one yard touchdown run of the game and a 44-0 lead.

Once again on the kickoff Anthony Dickerson forced another Seattle fumble. Not wanting to be left out, it was Dallas kicker Rafael Septien who recovered the fumble and actually returned it 11 yards to the Seattle 14 yard line.

Dallas finished off their scoring when backup quarterback Glenn Carano threw a 12 yard touchdown pass to Billy Joe DuPree for his second score of the day. Dallas now had the lead on Seattle 51-0.

With only two and half minutes left in the game the Seahawks actually put together a scoring drive against mostly Dallas backups and prevented the shutout on the day. The score actually came from a short Jim Zorn pass as he came off the bench. This Thanksgiving Day game ended with the Cowboys completely destroyed the Seahawks 51-7.

On the day the Dallas defense registered six sacks, recovered four fumbles and intercepted three passes.

“We went into the game hoping our front four could dominate,” Cole said. “And I think we did a pretty good job.”

“I kinda feel for them,” said Dorsett, who managed 107 yards on his 24 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. “But it was a good game for us. We got some things going today that we’ve needed. The running game, for instance, has picked up considerably in the last few weeks and that’s a good sign.”

“I felt for Seattle,” said head coach Tom Landry afterward. “They’ve had injuries, the extra travel, the short week and their losing streak. On the other hand, we had a good first half (building a 30-0 advantage), both on offense and defense. And I thought our specialty teams were exceptional.”

“As I’ve said before, it’s nice to be in a playoff position, but what we really want to do now is continue to play well,” he declared. “If we can play well the next three weeks against the kind of competition we’re going to face (Oakland, Los Angeles and Philadelphia), we’ll be ready for a playoff shot.”

“If you score 51 points, even in a dummy scrimmage,” he said, “You’ve got to have something going for you.”

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You can see the box score from the game here…

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198011270dal.htm