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Dallas Cowboys: Ten Worst Performances by Backup Quarterbacks in Team History

Brandon Weeden looked decent in relief against the Washington Redskins last week, but he struggled nearly all day against Arizona on Sunday.

In light of Weeden’s performance, here is a look at ten of the worst performances by backup quarterbacks in team history, including Weeden’s.

10. Brandon Weeden, November 2, 2014

Filling in for an injured Tony Romo, Weeden struggled hitting anyone not named Jason Witten all day. He threw two costly fourth-quarter interceptions that killed any chance for a Dallas comeback.

Stats: 18-33, 183 yds., 1 TD, 2 Int.

9. Jon Kitna, October 31, 2010

When the Cowboys lost Romo for the year in 2010, they turned to Jon Kitna to salvage the season. And he did an admirable job that year, leading the Cowboys to four wins in nine starts. However, his first start against Jacksonville was a disaster, as Kitna threw four picks in a 35-17 Dallas loss.

Stats: 34-49, 379 yds., 1 TD, 4 Int.

8. Randall Cunningham, November 5, 2000

Many fans wanted to see Cunningham start over Troy Aikman during the 2000 season, as he looked generally impressive in two starts against the Cardinals and Redskins. However, when he started his final game as a Cowboy against his old team, the Philadelphia Eagles, on November 5, 2000, the results were hardly positive. He completed just 14 passes for 109 yards in a 16-13 loss.

Stats: 14-22, 109 yds., 0 TD, 1 Int.

7. Ryan Leaf, November 18, 2001

Most fans would prefer to forget the Ryan Leaf experiment. It did not last long. He started three games, and the low point was his performance in a 36-3 loss to Philadelphia on November 18, 2001. He completed just 11 passes and threw two interceptions, both of which the Eagles returned for touchdowns.

Stats: 11-26, 102 yds., 0 TD, 2 Int.

6. Kevin Sweeney, November 13, 1988

Kevin Sweeney became a fan favorite due to his performance as a replacement player in 1987. With the Cowboys’ record at 2-8, Tom Landry turned to Sweeney, looking for magic. Instead, Sweeney threw four picks in a 43-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Yuck.

Stats: 10-28, 93 yds., 0 TD, 4 Int.

5. Steve Pelleur, November 9, 1986

The Cowboys lost quarterback Danny White on November 2, 1986. One week later, Pelleur got the start against the Los Angeles Raiders. Five interceptions later, the Cowboys lost 17-13.

Stats: 14-30, 168 yds., 0 TD, 5 Int.

4. Brad Johnson, October 19, 2008

The Cowboys seemed to have confidence in Brad Johnson, the former Super Bowl champion, as the backup in 2008. However, when the team lost Romo for several weeks, Johnson showed what he did not have left in a 34-14 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Although he threw for 234 yards, he struggled all day.

Stats: 17-34, 234 yds., 1 TD, 3 Int.

3. Clint Stoerner, November 4, 2001

Before Tony Romo, there was a no-name backup QB in Dallas named Clint Stoerner. After leading the Cowboys to a 17-3 win over Arizona (with a whopping 93 passing yards on 9 completions), he got off to a hot start at New York. He led the Cowboys to a 24-7 halftime lead. However, his four second-half interceptions killed the Cowboys, who fell in overtime, 27-24.

Stats: 13-23, 177 yds., 1 TD, 4 Int.

2. Anthony Wright, December 25, 2000

Anthony Wright was not supposed to start a game for the Dallas Cowboys at quarterback in 2000. He proved that on Christmas night against the Tennessee Titans.  Five completions. 35 yards. Passer rating of 0.0.

Stats: 5-20, 35 yds., 0 TD, 2 Int.

1. Babe Laufenberg, December 23, 1990

The 1990 Cowboys were on the verge of making the playoffs, one year after the franchise had recorded a 1-15 record. But when Troy Aikman went down with an injury against the Eagles, Jimmy Johnson had to turn to Babe Laufenberg. The result: four interceptions in a 17-3 loss. Laufenberg was no better one week later in a loss to the Falcons, which knocked Dallas out of the playoffs.

Stats: 13-36, 140 yds., 0 TD, 4 Int.

Dallas Cowboys History: 6-Game Winning Streaks


After a poor performance to open the 2014 season, the Dallas Cowboys have stunned many people by winning six consecutive games.

Historical context: this is the eighth time in team history that the Cowboys have won six straight regular season games. The team made the playoffs during each of the previous seven times. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl during three of those seasons.

The history—


The Cowboys opened the season by going 6-0 and finished the regular season with a 12-2 record. However, the Cowboys fell apart in the playoffs, losing to Cleveland.


For the second consecutive season, Dallas started with a 6-0 record. However, after finishing 11-2-1, the Cowboys stumbled again in the playoffs, losing to the Browns.


The Cowboys stumbled out of the gate in 1971, recording a 4-3 record after seven weeks. However, Roger Staubach took over as the full-time starter and led Dallas to an 11-3 finish. The Cowboys won their first Super Bowl that year.


Dallas had its strongest start in team history in 1977, going 8-0. The Cowboys finished the season 12-2 and won Super Bowl XII.


The Cowboys looked like world-beaters in 1983, starting at 7-0. However, the team stumbled in the season half of the season and was knocked out of the playoffs in the wildcard round.


Dallas started the 1993 season by going 0-2 while Emmitt Smith held out. Once Smith returned, the Cowboys won seven straight and finished the regular season at 12-4 before winning Super Bowl XXVIII.


The last time anyone considered the Cowboys to be among the best in the league was 2007. Dallas started at 5-0 and won seven straight later in the season to improve to 12-1. However, the team lost two of its last three and finished 13-3. Dallas then lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants in the playoffs.

Instant Trivia: Cowboys vs. Saints

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Trivia: Dallas Cowboys, Come-from-Behind Wins

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Animated Trivia: Dallas Cowboys vs. L.A. Rams

Here is an animated GIF from an old-school game between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams. Trivia questions are below the image.


1. The Cowboys beat the Rams on Thanksgiving Day. During which season did this game take place?

2. Who was the L.A. running back being tackled by Bob Lilly and Cornell Green?

3. Which former Cowboy caught a 41-yard pass for the Rams?

4. Which Dallas player scored the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter?

5. The Rams had changed from their gold-and-blue uniforms to blue-and-white uniforms in 1965. When did the Rams return to gold and blue?

The Jason Witten 10,000-Yard-Mark Watch

Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys

Jason Witten should surpass 10,000 career receiving yards this season.


Jason Witten will someday become a member of the Ring of Honor, and he has a chance to become a member of the Hall of Fame.


His career, though, appears to be on the decline. After two weeks, he has only 46 yards on six receptions.


He now has 9,845 receiving yards, meaning he needs 155 more yards to surpass 10,000. He ranks 42nd in NFL history in receiving yards. Among tight ends, he ranks third behind Tony Gonzalez and Shannon Sharpe. Witten should surpass Sharpe soon, as Witten trails Sharpe by 215 yards.





Instant Trivia: Cowboys vs. Titans


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Animated Trivia: James Hanna’s Touchdown vs. San Diego

Brandon Weeden found James Hanna for the Cowboys' only score against San Diego.

Brandon Weeden found James Hanna for the Cowboys’ only score against San Diego.

The Dallas Cowboys did not play starters Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, or Jason Witten against the San Diego Chargers. That meant we saw Brandon Weeden, Joseph Randle, Terrance Williams, and James Hanna.

The Cowboys lost 27-7 in a game featuring no defense by the Cowboys. San Diego did not have a single incomplete pass until the beginning of the fourth quarter.

As you can see from the GIF, Hanna scored the Cowboys’ lone touchdown. Given the lack of other highlights, here is some trivia about Hanna:

  • Hanna is one of two players from the University of Oklahoma on the Cowboys’ roster. The other is, of course, Murray. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have six players who played at Oklahoma State on the roster right now.
  • The Cowboys selected Hanna in the 6th round (#186 overall) of the 2012 draft. He was among 12 tight ends taken in that year’s draft. Another of those tight ends was Ladarius Green, who had two receptions for the Chargers tonight.
  • Hanna has never scored a touchdown in a regular season game, having caught just 20 career passes in two seasons. However, he did score seven touchdowns for the Sooners in 2010. That was the year that Weeden threw 34 touchdowns to the likes of Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State.
  • This was Weeden’s first game since starting for the Cleveland Browns against the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 1, 2013 in a 32-28 loss for the Browns.
  • True or False? This was Hanna’s first preseason touchdown of his career.
  • True or False? Hanna did not catch a single pass during the 2013 preseason.

The Franchise Career Record Tony Romo Might Break in 2014

Tony Romo can set his sights on a new team passing record in 2014.

Tony Romo can set his sights on a new team passing record in 2014.

Tony Romo is not likely to play in the Cowboys’ first preseason game on Thursday night as he tries to stay healthy for the team’s season-opener.

If he can stay healthy during his eighth full season as a starter, Romo could break a significant franchise career record.

He already has the most career touchdown passes, and his career 95.8 passer rating his higher than any other starter in team history.

The next mark would be career passing yards. He currently has thrown for 29,565 yards, putting him 3,377 behind Troy Aikman. The only time Romo has thrown fewer than that since 2007 was 2010, when he was limited to six games because of an injury.

Here is a list of the top 10 Dallas passers by career passing yards.

It will take Romo at least two seasons to surpass Aikman for most career attempts and completions.

Animated Trivia: Cowboys vs. Packers

The Dallas Cowboys faced the Green Bay Packers in three consecutive NFC playoffs during the 1990s and won all three. Here is an animated GIF from one of those games.

At the time, this was the longest TD reception in NFL playoff history. Here are some questions about the game and that play.

(1) Who was on the receiving end of this touchdown pass from Troy Aikman?

(2) The play was a 94-yard touchdown. Who later broke this record?

(3) The receiver in the GIF signed with another team the following year. Which team?

(4) Which Dallas running back scored two touchdowns in this win?