A Short History of Season Finales Between Dallas and Washington

Tony Hill came up huge in 1979 when the Cowboys came from behind to beat Washington and win the NFC East.

Tony Hill came up huge in 1979 when the Cowboys came from behind to beat Washington and win the NFC East.

On Sunday night, the Cowboys and Redskins will face off in a season finale for the sixth time in history. Here is a review of the previous five games.

1979—Dallas 35, Washington 34

Many fans remember the first time the teams met to end a regular season. Dallas and Washington were both 10-5 when they faced off at Texas Stadium on December 16, 1979. The winner would win the NFC East, while a Dallas loss would have sent the Cowboys to the wildcard game one week later to play the Eagles.

Washington took a 34-21 lead in the fourth quarter and had the ball with about four minutes left.

Nothing looked good for the Cowboys until a series of plays that allowed Roger Staubach to pull off one last miracle.

  • On a 3rd and 5 play with just under 4 minutes left, Clarence Harmon fumbled the ball, and Randy White recovered.
  • Staubach went to work right after the fumble, hitting Butch Johnson, Tony Hill, and Ron Springs on consecutive passes. The 26-yard pass to Springs for a touchdown cut the Washington lead to 34-28.
  • Washington faced a critical 3rd-and-2 with 2 minutes left. John Riggins tried to run outside, but Larry Cole burst through the hole and caught Riggins for a loss.
  • The Cowboys got the ball back with 1:46 at their own 25. Hill came up with another huge reception, picking up 20 yards on the first play of the drive.
  • On the next play, Staubach evaded the rush and hit Preston Pearson over the middle for another 23-yard gain.
  • Pearson’s second reception of the drive moved the ball to the Washington 8, which set up Staubach’s game-winning pass to Hill.

Here’s a video worth watching:

1996—Washington 37, Dallas 10

The Cowboys had nothing to gain when they faced the Redskins in the season finale in 1996. This was the last game ever played at RFK Stadium, and the Cowboys barely showed up in a 37-10 loss.

1998—Dallas 23, Washington 7

Two years later, the Cowboys hosted Washington with a chance to sweep the entire division. Dallas beat the Redskins but then turned around and lost to division rival Arizona one week later.

2002—Washington 20, Dallas 14

There was nothing on the line when the teams faced off in 2002. The game proved to be Emmitt Smith’s last with Dallas. He entered the game needing 38 yards to reach 1,000 for the 12th consecutive year. He managed just 13 yards on 18 carries.

2007—Washington 27, Dallas 6

Many thought the Cowboys needed momentum heading into the 2007 playoffs. Instead, the Redskins thumped Dallas, and two weeks later, Dallas lost to the Giants in the playoffs.

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Article by Matt Cordon

Blogging impatiently about the Cowboys since 2006. Being a fan since 1977 hasn't required quite as much patience.
Matt Cordon tagged this post with: , , , , , , , Read 1590 articles by
  • Todd Toombs

    I was at the 1979 game – my first at old Texas Stadium. What a fantastic game! Lets hope we can pull this win off Sunday night as well! HTTR (HATE TO THE REDSKINS)!

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