Dallas 38, Philadelphia 27: A Signature Win

Dez Bryant was nearly unstoppable, catching three touchdown passes in the Cowboys' 38-27 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Dez Bryant was nearly unstoppable, catching three touchdown passes in the Cowboys’ 38-27 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

In October last season, I wrote a post noting how I had completely lost faith in Jason Garrett. Dallas had just lost a game to the Detroit Lions even though Dallas had the ball in Detroit territory with less than 90 seconds remaining in the game.

It looked as if the Cowboys might add another signature loss to Garrett’s resume. Dallas had a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter but watched that lead evaporate. When Darren Sproles scored with 5:42 left in the third quarter, the lead was gone.

What Dallas did on the ensuing drive after the Sproles touchdown could be a defining moment of the season. In four plays, Dallas moved the ball into Philadelphia territory. From the Eagle 44, DeMarco Murray made a tough run off left tackle and rumbled 21 yards to the Eagle 23. Tony Romo then hit Dez Bryant down to the 2, and Murray scored from there. The Cowboys did not trail again.

It was Murray’s second touchdown of the game. The Eagles contained him for the most part, but he made some critical runs when they mattered most.

The real hero on offense, though, was Bryant, who scored two touchdowns in the first half. After J.J. Wilcox recorded an interception in Eagle territory on the final play of the third quarter, the Cowboys were again in scoring position. Bryant scored his third touchdown to increase the Dallas lead to 11.

The Eagles never gave up and cut the Dallas lead to 35-27 on the next drive before holding Dallas to a three and out.

It looked as if Philadelphia had made a first down on the next drive, but tight end Brent Celek lost the ball on what was first called a first-down reception. The replay showed that he fumbled the ball. The Cowboys could not score a touchdown after taking the ball in Eagle territory again, but Dan Bailey’s field goal gave the Cowboys a 38-27 lead.

Bruce Carter put the game away by intercepting a Mark Sanchez pass with less than two minutes remaining.

At 10-4, Dallas controls its destiny. Wins over the Colts and Redskins guarantee an NFC East title. We need not discuss right now what happens if Dallas loses either of those games.

 

Dallas Cowboys: Ten Pivotal Regular Season Games, Part 6 (1991)

This is the sixth part of a ten-part series focusing on ten pivotal regular season games in the history of the Dallas Cowboys.

Not all famous games will appear on this list. For example, Roger Staubach’s final regular-season game against the Redskins was unforgettable, but the Cowboys turned around two weeks later and lost to the Rams in the playoffs.

Instead, this series focuses on games that marked turning points—good and bad—in franchise history.

Steve Beuerlein came to the rescue in a 1991 game at Washington.

Steve Beuerlein came to the rescue in a 1991 game at Washington.

November 24, 1991

Dallas 24, Washington 21

“A Dynasty Is Born”

By 1991, the Dallas Cowboys had rebounded from two years as the league’s worst team to become a mediocre team. The 1990 squad just missed the playoffs with a 7-9 record, thanks largely to horrific performances by backup quarterback Babe Laufenberg, who filled in for an injured Troy Aikman during the final two games.

The 1991 squad won four straight during September and October to improve to 5-2. However, the team then lost three of four, including a 22-9 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants in Week 12.

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Dallas had to travel to Washington to face the undefeated Redskins. Washington had come from behind to beat the Cowboys in September, and the Redskins had beaten the Steelers 41-14 one week before hosting Dallas.

Despite a start that included an interception return for a touchdown by Washington’s Martin Mayhew, the Cowboys managed to take a 14-7 halftime lead thanks to an Emmitt Smith touchdown and a Hail Mary play to Alvin Harper in the end zone just before the end of the second quarter.

However, it was hard not to think of the 1990 season when Aikman went down again with an injury. The backup in 1991 was former Notre Dame player and former Raider Steve Beuerlein, who had thrown only five passes in 1991 before replacing Aikman.

Early in the fourth quarter, though, Beuerlein found Michael Irvin on what turned out to be a 24-yard touchdown pass. The Cowboys held off a Washington rally and handed the Redskins their first defeat of the season.

Dallas did not lose another regular season game in 1991 and even beat Chicago at Soldier Field that season. Dallas lost to Detroit in the second round of the playoffs, but the franchise’s fortunes had changed.

Consider this: Between the first game of the 1988 season and the Week 13 game at Washington, Dallas had a combined record of 17-42 with no playoff appearances.

Between the Week 13 win at Washington and the end of the 1995 season, Dallas recorded an overall record of 54-15 during the regular season with a playoff record of 11-2.

That, friends, was a dynasty.

Previously:

Part 1, December 5, 1965: “A Loser No More”—Dallas 21, Philadelphia 19

Part 2, November 22, 1970: “Road to the Super Bowl Begins in Washington”—Dallas 16, St. Louis 13

Part 3, November 7, 1971: “The Dodger Era Begins”—Dallas 16, St. Louis 13

Part 4, December 13, 1975: “Wildcard Berth It Is”—Dallas 31, Washington 10

Part 5, November 2, 1986: “Goodbye Danny, So Long America’s Team”— New York Giants 17, Dallas 14

Dallas 41, Chicago 28: 8-8 No More

The Dallas Cowboys jumped out to a huge fourth quarter lead before holding on for a 41-28 win over the Chicago Bears.

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Dallas Cowboys: Ten Pivotal Regular Season Games, Part 5 (1986)

This is the fifth part of a ten-part series focusing on ten pivotal regular season games in the history of the Dallas Cowboys.

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Philadelphia 33, Dallas 10: No Thanks

The Dallas Cowboys did not give their fans many reasons to give thanks on Thursday, falling to the Philadelphia Eagles in a 33-10 loss.

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Dallas 31, N.Y. Giants 28: A Spark from Another Unlikely Source

The Dallas Cowboys came from behind to beat the New York Giants, thanks largely to two key plays by receiver Cole Beasley.

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Dallas Cowboys: Ten Pivotal Regular Season Games, Part 4 (1975)

This is the fourth part of a ten-part series focusing on ten pivotal regular season games in the history of the Dallas Cowboys.

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Dallas 31, Jacksonville 17: Redemption Was Across the Pond

Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys scored twice in the second quarter to lead the team to a 31-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Dallas Cowboys: Ten Worst Performances by Backup Quarterbacks in Team History

Review the ten worst performances by backup quarterbacks in the history of the Dallas Cowboys.

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Arizona 28, Dallas 17: Without Romo, “We Done”

The Dallas Cowboys struggled on offense without quarterback Tony Romo in a 28-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

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