Cowboys’ Win over Atlanta in the 1978 Playoffs Is Too Close for Comfort
This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.
The Cowboys were 16-point favorites when they hosted the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round, but Dallas was unable to put Atlanta away until the fourth quarter.
The leading rushing for the game was Atlanta fullback Bubba Bean, who has 72 yards on 17 carries. The second leading rusher was Dallas fullback Scott Laidlaw (66 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns). Tony Dorsett was held to 65 yards on 14 carries, with a long run of just 12 yards.
Touchdown runs by Bean and Laidlaw, along with field goals by each team, left the score tied 10-10 in the second quarter. The Falcons took the lead when Steve Bartkowski hit Wallace Francis for a 17-yard score, and then the Cowboys got sloppy. Here is a video clip from the game:
Atlanta only managed a field goal as a result of the Dorsett fumble shown in this clip, giving the Falcons a 20-13 halftime lead. Dallas also lost quarterback Roger Staubach when he was hit in the head by Robert Pennywell.
Danny White performed admirably in relief, though, throwing a game-tying score to tight end Jackie Smith. When the Falcons botched punt in the fourth quarter, giving Dallas field position in Atlanta territory, the Cowboys marched in for a game-winning touchdown by Laidlaw.
With the win, Dallas had to travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams in the NFC Championship Game.
Box Score (P-F-R)