Dallas 21, Houston 14: Cowboys Retain Governor’s Cup…and Preseason Is Finally Over!

This is not the actual Texas Governor's Cup.

(This is not the actual Texas Governor’s Cup.)

[Do not take any apparent melancholy below over the Governor’s Cup seriously. Really.]

The Dallas Cowboys trailed the Houston Texans 7-0 at halftime after barely moving the ball all game. It looked as if this was the same team that had not won a preseason game since 2013. It looked like the team that had held a lead in only one of the previous three preseason games. It appeared to be the same team that had only scored 27 points in the previous three games combined.

But less than five minutes into the second half, Dallas came to life. A cornerback named Corey White stepped in front of a Tom Savage pass and ran it all the way (three yards) for a touchdown. The game was tied, and the Cowboys might live.

Just two plays later, Savage was sacked, and the Texans appeared to lose a fumble. Although referees called the play dead, the Cowboys challenged and won. Dallas had the ball at the Houston 21.

It took just one play for the Cowboys to take the lead. A 21-yard touchdown run by Gus Johnson put the Cowboys ahead 14-7.

Head coach Jason Garrett showed his faith in quarterback Dustin Vaughan, because the coach left the probable third-stringer in for the entire game.

But Dallas didn’t need a great game from Vaughan because the Cowboys had Johnson and Ben Malena. Johnson had a good game with 68 yards on 16 carries, but it was Malena who stole the show with 88 yards on 15 attempts.

Lucky Whitehead returned a punt midway through the fourth quarter into Houston territory, and Vaughan and Malena took over from there. In eight plays, Dallas moved the ball 48 yards, and when Malena scored from five yards out, Dallas had control.

The Texans could not move the ball. Dallas ran out the clock. And the Governor’s Cup stayed with the Cowboys.

* * *

So really, I missed the first half thanks to my attendance at a jiu jitsu seminar. I did record the game and tried to catch up by watching the first half. Thank goodness for a fast-forwarding option.

* * *

No live blogging last night. And given that nobody but me read my live blogs, only I was disappointed.

* * *

As for the players on the field last night, just a few thoughts—

  • Looks as if Malena and Johnson could be a practice-squad players.
  • I did not know who Corey White was until the pick-6. I need to learn more of the names, given that he might make the team.
  • Can’t remember the last time a single Dallas QB played an entire preseason game. When I ran a poll a few weeks ago, the majority thought Vaughan should be #2 instead of Brandon Weeden, but Vaughan did not look great in any of the last three games.I would not be surprised if Dallas went with two QBs.
  • Jameill Showers only played on special teams last night. Nice having you.



Thursday’s Then and Now: The Governor’s Cup

A picture from the first Governor's Cup in 1967.

A picture from the first Governor’s Cup in 1967.

The Dallas Cowboys will face the Houston Texans on Thursday night for the Governor’s Cup. This marks the 12th time the Cowboys have faced the Texans for the Cup, with Dallas holding a 6-5 edge in previous games. The Cowboys beat Houston in overtime last year on October 5.

Of course, the Cowboys used to face the Houston Oilers for the Cup, with Dallas winning 18 of 31 games dating back to 1967.

Notwithstanding the nearly complete lack of interest in tonight’s game, here is a comparison of the first Governor’s Cup game and tonight’s matchup.

Then (1967): The Cowboys traveled to Houston to face the Oilers at Rice Stadium. A total of 53,125 came to watch the teams face one another in an interleague exhibition for the first time.

Now: Both the Cowboys and the Texans play in state-of-the-art facilities. Dallas will host tonight’s game at Cowboys Stadium, which has a capacity of about 80,000.

* * *

Then: The game between the Cowboys and Oilers was unofficially dubbed the Texas Championship. The game was not officially played for the Governor’s Cup until 1969.

Now: As noted above, the Cowboys have won the Governor’s Cup 24 times over the years.

For several years, however, the Governor’s Cup had gone missing. The Cowboys’ former vice president, Joe Bailey, told the press that he had given the Governor’s Cup to a Houston equipment manager, who then lost the Cup. It was found in a cardboard box in a Houston office building in 1987.

* * *

Then: The Cowboys beat the Oilers in 1967 thanks to the passing of Don Meredith and Craig Morton.

Now: Dallas will try to avoid its second consecutive winless preseason with Dustin Vaughan and Jameill Showers leading the way.

* * *

Then: Houston QB Don Trull had all sorts of problems with the Dallas pass rush, and the Oilers only managed 54 yards during the first three quarters. Another QB, Jacky Lee, had better luck, leading Houston to two touchdowns. Dallas, however, still managed the win, 30-17.

Pete Beathard ended up staring nine games for Houston in 1967. Lee started three games but could only manage one win. Trull completed just four passes all year.

Now: The Texans have named Brian Hoyer as the starter after he beat out Ryan Mallett for the job. Chances are pretty good that in 48 years, folks won’t remember the names Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett any better than fans remember the names Don Trull and Jacky Lee.

* * *

Then: The 1967 Houston Oilers were a good team, finishing the season at 9-4-1. They lost to Oakland in the AFL Championship Game. Dallas lost to the Green Bay Packers in the 1967 Ice Bowl for the NFL Championship.

Of course, this means that the Cowboys and Oilers were one win a piece from having a second Texas Championship/Governor’s Cup that year, only the teams would have faced off at the Miami Orange Bowl in Super Bowl II.

Now: Dallas has not been the Super Bowl since the 1995, but the Cowboys won the NFC East in 2014 with a 12-4 mark. The Texans finished the 2014 season at 9-7 after winning just two games in 2013. Nobody expects a Cowboys-Texans Super Bowl, but stranger things have happened.

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