2001 Review: Two Four-Game Losing Streaks Don’t Help
Most remember the 2001 season as a lost cause—and mostly because it was a lost cause. Dallas opened the season at 0-4, and after winning two, the team went on another four-game losing streak. Rookie QB Quincy Carter returned from an injury in December, though, and he led the team to three wins in the final six games of the year. Thus, there was some hope for improvement even with the disappointment of another 5-11 season.
Week 1: Tampa Bay 10, Dallas 6
Playing against a superior team in the Buccaneers, the Cowboys actually had a 6-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter of the season opener. However, Brad Johnson’s one-yard run in the fourth quarter was all that Tampa Bay needed. Carter only completed 9 of 19 passes for 34 yards in the loss. His interception with 1:17 left effectively ended the game.
Week 2: San Diego 32, Dallas 21
Anthony Wright filled in for an injured Carter, and Wright tried to keep the team in the game with three touchdown passes. However, he also threw three picks, while San Diego QB Doug Flutie threw for 348 yards in the Dallas loss.
Week 3: Philadelphia 40, Dallas 18
Wright and Clint Stoerner both struggled as the Eagles dominated the Cowboys. Troy Hambrick had his first 100-yard game as a pro, though gaining 107 on 10 carries.
Week 4: Oakland 28, Dallas 21
The Raiders jumped out to a 21-7 halftime lead and held off the Cowboys in the second half. Carter started the game, but he was injured after completing just one of five passes.
Week 5: Dallas 9, Washington 7
The Cowboys and Redskins were both winless heading into their Monday Night Football matchup in week 5. Emmitt Smith had his first 100-yard rushing effort in a tight 9-7 win. Tim Seder kicked a 26-yard field goal as time expired to give Dallas the win.
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: Dallas 17, Arizona 3
The Cowboys were forced to start Stoerner, who as an undrafted free agent was not what the team had in mind as a savior. But in his first NFL start, he managed to lead the team to a win over Arizona, though he only compelted 9 of 19 passes for 93 yards. At 2-4, Dallas was only a game behind in a poor NFC East.
Week 8: N.Y. Giants 27, Dallas 24
Stoerner looked like he might be a keeper for one half of the week 8 matchup in the Meadowlands. Dallas jumped out to a 24-7 lead, thanks in part to Stoerner’s touchdown pass to Joey Galloway along with touchdowns by linebacker Dexter Coakley and cornerback Mario Edwards on interception returns. The Giants completely turned the game around in the second half, picking off Stoerner four times. Morton Anderson’s field goal in overtime gave the Giants the win.
Week 9: Atlanta 20, Dallas 13
Rookie Michael Vick was hardly impressive against the Cowboys, completing only 4 of 12 passes for 32 yards. However, he and Doug Johnson threw touchdown passes, while new Dallas starter Ryan Leaf struggled in a 20-13 loss for the Cowboys.
Week 10: Philadelphia 36, Dallas 3
The Cowboys showed they weren’t any closer to beating the Eagles in a 36-3 blowout. The worst play occurred when Jeremiah Trotter picked off Leaf late in the second quarter and returned the pick 50 yards for a touchdown.
Week 11: Denver 26, Dallas 24
Denver dominated most of the game and had a 26-3 lead at one point. Dallas clawed its way back in the game, but when Reggie Swinton returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown, coach Dave Campo elected to kick the field goal instead of going for a two-point conversion. Dallas still trailed by nine, and a late Troy Hambrick touchdown was not enough to avoid the loss.
Week 12: Dallas 20, Washington 14
Quincy Carter returned to the lineup and led the Cowboys to another win over the Redskins. Emmitt Smith rushed for 102 yards on 25 carries with a touchdown.
Week 13: Dallas 20, N.Y. Giants 13
Carter once again did not put up big numbers, but he did enough to help Dallas to another win within the division. The Cowboys erased a 13-3 New York lead, and touchdowns by Smith and Jackie Harris were enough to give Dallas the win.
Week 14: Seattle 29, Dallas 3
The team that had stolen two first-round picks from the Cowboys for Joey Galloway completely dominated Dallas. Galloway caught 7 passes for 82 yards, marking his best game up to that point in a Dallas uniform. However, it was not enough, as the Cowboys fell to 4-9.
Week 15: Arizona 17, Dallas 10
The Cowboys had a 10-7 lead at one point against Arizona, but the team made too many mistakes to pull out a win. Deep-snapper Mike Solwold botched two snaps on field goal attempts in the loss.
Week 16: Dallas 27, San Francisco 21
One year after Terrell Owens danced on the Cowboys’ star, Dallas pulled out the win against San Francisco, which had an 11-3 record heading into the game. Smith gained 126 yards on 24 carries, giving him a chance to gain more than 1,000 yards for the 11th straight season.
Week 17: Detroit 15, Dallas 10
In the final game ever played in the Pontiac Silverdome, Dallas could not beat the 1-14 Lions. Smith gained 77 yards to give him 1,021 for the season, as he became the only player in NFL history to gain more than 1,000 yards in 11 straight seasons.