1999 Review: The Last Time the Cowboys Opened a Season at Washington…

Few who watched it could forget the season opener between the Cowboys and Redskins in 1999, which was the last time that the teams faced one another in the first week of the season. That streak, of course, ends on Sunday night.

In the first quarter and a half, it looked as if Dallas might run away with the game after Troy Aikman hit David LaFleur on two touchdown passes. The Redskins, however, stormed back, scoring 32 unanswered points to take a commanding 35-14 lead by the start of the fourth quarter.

The Triplets’ last hurrah didn’t last long in 1999 (more on that later), but against Washington, the trio reminded fans they had something left in the tank. Emmitt Smith rushed for 109 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown that cut the Washington lead to 35-21.

Then Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin went to work. Aikman threw his third and fourth touchdown passes to Irvin in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 35. Yes, this was the same Michael Irvin who disappeared in the Cowboys’ playoff loss to Arizona one year earlier.

The teams went to overtime, during which the Cowboys faced a 3rd and 2 from their own 24. Aikman gave a great play-action fake to Smith, and new acquisition Rocket Ismail found a seam down the middle of the field. Aikman hit Rocket at the Washington 40, and nobody was close to catch him.

Here is a clip of the play:

Aikman finished with 362 yards, marking the only time in 1999 he would surpass the 300-yard mark. Irvin recorded the last 100-yard game of his career, while Ismail recorded the first of five 100-yard games.

  • Jason Neighbors

    That season started out with such promise…(sigh) Who knew the end was so near?

    That was a great playcall because the Redskins had two backup safeties in the game by that point. One of the strangest games I ever saw. The Cowboys were totally dominating, then all of a sudden the Redskins looked as if they could just not be stopped, and then the momentum spun 180 degrees again just like that!

  • Such a range of emotions– at first, I was thinking it was great that LeFleur might be more of a weapon. Then Dallas completely fell apart (much like the team did in ’00 against the Eagles). The final quarter was one for the ages, even if the rest of the season wasn’t.

  • Anonymous

    that sure brought back some great memories watching troy throw that pass