A Better Era (1978): Cowboys Smother Saints to Earn Tie in the NFC East

The Dallas offensive line, along with tight end Jackie Smith (#81), open a hole for Tony Dorsett against the Saints in 1978.

Yesterday’s post about the Cowboys’ 42-17 loss to the Saints in 2006 was hardly positive. So today, we’ll focus on a better time period.

In 1978, the Cowboys ran into some trouble out of the gate. Dallas lost to Washington in week 5 to fall to 3-2 overall, which was two games behind the 5-0 Redskins. Dallas later lost two consecutive games to fall to 6-4, but a win over the Packers in week 11 improved the Cowboys’ record to 7-4. Meanwhile, Washington began a free fall and only had an 8-3 record at that point.

In week 12, the Cowboys hosted Archie Manning and the Saints, while the Redskins hosted the Cardinals. Dallas and Washington would face off on Thanksgiving Day.

New Orleans had some offensive talent in 1978, featuring not only Manning, but also Tony Galbreath, Chuck Muncie, Wes Chandler, Ike Harris, and Henry Childs. However, the Saints did not rush the ball very effectively, and the defense was mediocre at best. New Orleans still had a 5-6 record with hopes that the team could record its first winning season in franchise history.

The Cowboys had little trouble with the Saints that day. Tony Dorsett rushed for 152 yards, allowing him to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the second year in a row. Billy Joe DuPree was the biggest receiving threat, catching 3 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown.Dallas won 27-7.

Here is a video showing one of the TD drives:

The Cardinals beat the Redskins that week, meaning that the Cowboys and Redskins were tied at 8-4 on Thanksgiving. Dallas crushed Washington 37-10 en route to another NFC East title.

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