An Unusual Year in the Cowboys-Eagles Series

The Cowboys and Eagles had losing records in both of their games in 1963, including this 27-20 Dallas win on November 17.

The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles have faced one another 107 times, including the playoffs, since 1960. The Cowboys lead the series 60-47.

The rivalry is not especially interesting this year. Dallas entered the first game at 3-5 and came away with the 38-23 win. The Eagles were also 3-5.

On Sunday, the Eagles are 3-8. The Cowboys are 5-6.

This marks the first time since 1963 that the teams will play each other twice when each team had a losing record. In fact, in the 52-year history of the rivalry, this has occurred only two times.

Below is a summary. The numbers in the parentheses indicate each team’s record entering into the game.

1962

Dallas (1-2-1) 41, Philadelphia (1-3) 19

Philadelphia (2-8-1) 28, Dallas (4-5-1) 14

1963

Philadelphia (0-2-1) 28, Dallas (0-3) 14

Dallas (2-7) 27, Philadelphia (2-6-1) 20

* * *

I posted this on Facebook yesterday:

The Cowboys are 5-6 for only the third time in team history if we disregard ties. In 1962, the Cowboys were 5-6-1 but finished at 5-8-1. Trivia: in what season other than 2012 did the Cowboys start 5-6, and what was the team’s final record that season?

The answer is 1987, which was the year of the replacement players. Just as they did in 2012, the Cowboys in 1987 hosted the Thanksgiving Day game at 5-5 and needed a win to stay alive in the playoff chase. Instead, the Vikings knocked off the Cowboys in overtime, and Dallas ended up missing the playoffs with a 7-8 record.

 

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The Worst Thanksgiving Games for the Dallas Cowboys

English: Texas Stadium - Dallas Cowboys World ...

The Cowboys’ championship mural doesn’t include references to these Thanksgiving Day losses.

Thursday’s loss to the Washington Redskins was certainly not the first Thanksgiving loss for the Cowboys. Dallas now holds an overall record of 28-16-1 during the annual game, which is quite good.

However, the loss to Washington was one of the worst in team history on Thanksgiving. In fact, I am going to name it as the worst. Here is a list of the contenders.

10. Miami 16, Dallas 14 (1993)

This game just has to make the list, even though the Cowboys never lost another game and eventually won Super Bowl XXVIII. Dallas and Miami played in the snow at Texas Stadium, and the Cowboys appeared to secure the win by blocking a final field-goal attempt. However, Leon Lett tried to recover the loose ball. When he failed, Miami recovered and had one more chance. Pete Stoyanovich made his next try, giving Miami the win.

9. Houston Oilers 30, Dallas 24 (1979)

A Heisman Trophy winning player from Texas visited Dallas and torched the Cowboys. Sound familiar? Playing in his second year, Earl Campbell ran all over Dallas, gaining 195 yards and scoring two touchdowns. The Cowboys had a lead for much of the game, but the Oilers came from behind to win it. The loss dropped Dallas to 8-5, but the Cowboys won their remaining regular-season games.

8. Minnesota 44, Dallas 38 (1987)

At 5-5, the Cowboys had to beat the Vikings to have any realistic chance to make the playoffs. Sound familiar? Minnesota went up by 14 points on several occasions, but the Cowboys kept battling back. Danny White’s four touchdown passes kept Dallas in the game, but his interception during overtime killed the team’s chances. Minnesota won, White never played in a significant game again, and Tom Landry never competed for a playoff spot again.

7. San Francisco 31, Dallas 10 (1972)

 The 7-3 Cowboys hosted the 49ers trying to stay close to the 9-1 Redskins. Instead, it was the Skip Vanderbundt show. He scored touchdowns on fumble and interception returns in a game that was never close. Dallas ended up finishing one game behind Washington in the NFC East. Of course, Dallas managed to avenge the loss to San Francisco in the playoffs in Roger Staubach’s first miracle comeback.

6. Miami 40, Dallas 21 (2003)

The Cowboys were 8-3 when they hosted the Dolphins on Thanksgiving. Dallas had just won a big game over Carolina, and hopes were high that the Cowboys would do something in the playoffs. Instead, the Cowboys gave up 23 points in the first half in a bad loss. The Cowboys finished the season at 10-6 and lost to the Panthers in the playoffs.

5. Tennessee Oilers 27, Dallas 14 (1997)

The Cowboys entered this game at 6-6 and were still in the playoff hunt. Quarterback Steve McNair helped to end those playoff hopes by leading Tennessee to 24 first-half points. After the loss, the Cowboys quit and lost their final three games to finish at 6-10.

4. Denver 24, Dallas 21 (2005)

The 7-3 Cowboys needed a win to help their playoff chances. They trailed for much of the game but forced overtime thanks to a late touchdown from Drew Bledsoe to Jason Witten.  In overtime, though, Ron Dayne ran right through the Dallas defense on a 55-yard run, setting up the game-winning field goal. The Cowboys finished at 9-7 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

3. Philadelphia 27, Dallas 0 (1989)

The Cowboys weren’t contending for anything when they hosted the Eagles on Thanksgiving. Nevertheless, Dallas had to play for pride during the first infamous Bounty Bowl in which Buddy Ryan, father of the Cowboys’ current defensive coordinator, put a price on the heads of several Cowboys.  There was not much pride left in Dallas after the 27-0 loss.

2. Minnesota 46, Dallas 36 (1998)

A few thought the 8-3 Cowboys could contend with the 10-1 Vikings. Then rookie Randy Moss made his first visit to Texas Stadium. The Cowboys had no clue how to stop him as he caught three passes for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns. Troy Aikman threw for 455 yards, but Dallas was never really in the game. The Cowboys finished the season at 10-6 and lost to the Cardinals in the playoffs.

1. Washington 38, Dallas 31 (2012)

At 5-5, the Cowboys had hopes they could contend for the NFC East title. Instead, rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III rode into Dallas, and Rob Ryan’s defense had no clue how to stop him. It was 28-3 at halftime thanks to three RGIII touchdowns, and Tony Romo’s 441 passing yards meant nothing in the loss.

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Washington 38, Dallas 31: Some Bad Turkey

Robert Griffin III threw three touchdown passes in the first half in a 38-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving

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Not Many Home Overtime Games for the Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys played their first overtime game at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday, winning 23-20.

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Dallas 23, Cleveland 20: An Outrageous Win

The Dallas Cowboys overcame a poor start to beat the Cleveland Browns in overtime.

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All Simulations Favor Cowboys

Madden sim: Dallas wins 24-17. Others: 28-19 (Accuscore); 27-24 (WhatIfSports); 25-18 (Teamranking); 27-17 (Numberfire) twitter.com/kickholder/sta… — kickholder (@kickholder) November 18, 2012 Tweet

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Cowboys Once Had a Great Rivalry with the Cleveland Browns

The Dallas Cowboys faced the Cleveland Browns 19 times during the 1960s, but the rivalry died after that.

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Cowboys Make Team History with Returns for Touchdowns

The Dallas Cowboys scored on three returns in the same quarter on Sunday.

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Dallas 38, Philadelphia 23: It Must Be November

The Dallas Cowboys scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Philadelphia Eagles in a 38-23 Dallas win.

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Cowboys’ Rushing Statistics Are Among the Worst in Team History

The Dallas Cowboys have managed only 667 rushing yards in 2012. Unless the team improves, this would be among the worst rushing teams in franchise history.

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