1992 Review: Cowboys Knock Off Eagles and 49ers to Reach Super Bowl XXVII

Jimmy Johnson celebrates after the Cowboys knocked off the 49ers to earn a trip to Super Bowl XXVII.

This post continues the discussion of the 1992 Dallas Cowboys.

Divisional Playoffs: Dallas 34, Philadelphia 10

The Cowboys‘ 13-3 record and NFC East title ensured that the team would host its first playoff game since 1983.

For only the second time in franchise history, the Cowboys would face the Philadelphia Eagles in the postseason thanks to the Eagles’ 36-20 win over the Saints. The Cowboys had only managed a 2-9 record against Philadelphia since 1987, but those two wins had occurred during the previous three games.

The game turned out to be a blowout. Dallas ran out to a 17-3 halftime lead, and by the time Derrick Gainer had scored in the fourth quarter, the game was all but over. The Cowboys outgained the Eagles 346 yards to 178. Emmitt Smith had a strong day, gaining 114 yards on 25 carries. In his first playoff start, Troy Aikman was sharp, completing 15 of 25 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns.

NFC Championship Game: Dallas 30, San Francisco 20

Much was made of the parallels between the 1981 NFC Championship and the 1992 contest. San Francisco was the more experienced team, and given that the game was played at Candlestick Park, the 49ers were the favored team.

In one of the great games in franchise history, the Cowboys pulled out the win. After the teams managed a 10-10 tie at the half, the Cowboys grabbed the lead in the third quarter to cap off a 78-yard drive. Dallas looked as if it had iced the game when Emmitt Smith scored on a 16-yard touchdown reception with 12:25 left, and on the ensuing drive, Ken Norton Jr. picked off a Steve Young pass.

Dallas drove the ball to the 7 and faced a 4th-and-1. Jimmy Johnson decided to put the game away, so he went for it even though a field goal would have increased the Dallas lead to 27-13. The 49ers held, and four short minutes later, a San Francisco touchdown cut the Dallas lead to 4 at 24-20.

When the Cowboys got the ball back, most expected heavy doses of Emmitt Smith. Instead, Aikman threw a slant pattern to Alvin Harper, who broke free of the 49er secondary and ran the ball all the way to the San Francisco 9. A touchdown pass from Aikman to Kelvin Martin three plays later gave Dallas a 30-20.

For the first time since 1978, the Cowboys were going back to the Super Bowl.

Here’s the NFL Films version of the 1992 NFC title game. Enjoy.

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  • Mike Little

    The Frisco game ranks right behind the first Superbowl win over Miami for me.It healed most of the pain for a lot of us who still hurt from “The Catch” 10 years earlier.It set up the run of success for the club in the 90’s.I do not beleive that Dallas would have accomplished this without Charles Haley.For the first time it gave us the oppurtunity to compare the winning of the Landry generation to the JJ generation.It was sweet,but different.I love the Aikman story about Staubach as an honorary captain being so nervous he felt like he could suit up.The defining game of the decade.

  • Jon

    The Frisco game was so sweet. The ’81 NFC Championship is my earliest memory as a Cowboy fan. 1992 was sweet revenge. Loved every minute of it. How ’bout them Cowboys!!