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The Bottom Falls Out on the 1986 Dallas Cowboys

Most presumed that the 1986 Dallas Cowboys would at least make the playoffs, even if they did not look like Super Bowl contenders in early November. By December, the question was whether the 7-6 Cowboys would even finish with a winning record. The answer turned out to be no.

The 1986 Cowboys had plenty of time to sing at Christmastime.

Week 10: L.A. Raiders 17, Dallas 13

Dallas led the Raiders 13-10 in the fourth quarter, but a 40-yard TD pass from Jim Plunkett to Dokie Williams put the game away for Los Angeles. In his first game as a full-time starter, Steve Pelluer threw five interceptions.

Week 11: Dallas 24, San Diego 21

Two touchdown passes from Dan Fouts to Kellen Winslow gave San Diego a 21-10 lead in the fourth quarter. Touchdowns by Herschel Walker and Pelluer, though, were enough to give the Cowboys a three-point lead. Charger kicker Rolf Benirschke just missed a 55-yarder to tie the game at the end of regulation. The Cowboys won despite giving up 11 sacks.

Tom Landry’s comment: “We were born again today.”

Um, nope.

Week 12: Washington 41, Dallas 14

The score was 34-0 at halftime. The Cowboys did not manage to convert a third down until there was about four minutes left in the game. The highlight of the game may have been Reggie Collier’s only touchdown pass as a member of the Cowboys.

Week 13: Seattle 31, Dallas 14

The Cowboys celebrated Thanksgiving by falling behind 24-7 to the Seahawks. Walker and Tony Dorsett both scored in the game, but it was never a contest.

Week 14: L.A. Rams 29, Dallas 10

The Cowboys fell to the .500 mark when they were demolished by the Rams. Tom Landry received death threats at some point and had to be escorted off the field to be fitted with a bullet-proof vest.

Week 15: Philadelphia 23, Dallas 21

It looked like the Cowboys would at least ensure a .500 record when they led 21-16 against the Eagles in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia took the win, though, when Matt Cavanaugh hit Kenny Jackson on a 31-yard touchdown. The loss ruined a great game by Walker, who gained a total of 292 yards (122 rushing, 170 receiving).

Week 16: Chicago 24, Dallas 10

The Cowboys predictably failed to show up in the season finale, falling behind 24-0 to the Bears in a 24-10 loss.

Landry’s summary of the season: “We’re not a 7-9 team, and again we’re not as good as people thought early. We are somewhere in between.”

Not really.

50 Seasons Series: ’85 Cowboys Jump Out to a 6-2 Start

Most of the problems that the 1984 Dallas Cowboys had appeared to have disappeared when the squad jumped out to a 6-2 start. The Dallas offense gained more than 400 total yards in three of those games, while the defense forced a total of 29 turnovers, or 3.6 per game.

Tony Dorsett surpassed 10,000 career rushing yards in the team's 27-13 win over the Steelers in week 6 of the 1985 season.

Although the club did not appear as strong as the 1983 squad that started at 7-1, the ’85 Cowboys gave fans hope that the 1984 season was nothing more than a rebuilding year. The team’s 44-14 win over Washington in week 1 helped to build this perception.

Week 2: Detroit 26, Dallas 21

Danny White and Gary Hogeboom combined to throw for481 passing yards, but the team could not overcome five turnovers and a 26-0 deficit against the Lions at Detroit.

Week 3: Dallas 20, Cleveland 7

White rebounded from his poor performance against the Lions by throwing for one touchdown pass and receiving another from running back James Jones in a 20-7 Dallas win.

Week 4: Dallas 17, Houston 10

Tony Dorsett rushed for 159 yards, and the defense recorded 12 sacks. However

When the defense ties an NFL record with 12 sacks and provides the offense with five turnovers, a touchdown with less than two minutes left shouldn’t be needed to win. But who would expect Rafael Septien to miss 4-of-5 field goals and the offense to convert 1-of-14 third downs?

For the time being, it is clear the Cowboys have a Super Bowl-caliber defense and a popgun offense. Every game, apparently, is going to be a struggle until the offense gets itself straightened out.

Week 5: Dallas 30, N.Y. Giants 29

In what was supposed to be a battle of defenses, the Cowboys and Giants combined for 896 yards. New York took a 26-14 lead thanks to three long touchdown passes by Phil Simms. However, the Cowboys came back, and Rafael Septien’s field goal with 2:09 left was enough to give Dallas a 30-29 win.

Week 6: Dallas 27, Pittsburgh 13

Tony Dorsett became the sixth player in league history to surpass 10,000 rushing yards for a career in the Cowboys’ 27-13 win over Pittsburgh. Dorsett scored on a 56-yard pass play and again later on a 35-yard run. The win was the first for Dallas over the Steelers since 1972.

Week 7: Philadelphia 16, Dallas 14

Dallas lost at Philadelphia for the first time since the 1980 NFC Championship Game. Dallas had taken a 14-6 lead, but Ron Jaworski’s touchdown pass to Kenny Jackson gave the Eagles a 16-14 lead with 10 minutes remaining. Dallas drove into Eagle territory, but a Tony Dorsett fumble killed the drive, and the Cowboys were unable to kick the game-winner.

Week 8: Dallas 24, Atlanta 10

Danny White threw for 362 yards and overcame three interceptions to lead the Cowboys to a 24-10 win over Atlanta. Tony Hill had 10 receptions for 161 yards and a touchdown in the win.

Quiz

Below are five questions related to the 1985 Dallas Cowboys. Answers will appear once you have answered these questions.

In August 1985, a member of the Cowboys appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The caption read, "Cowboy in Trouble." Who was this player?





In September 1985, a former Dallas running back was convicted of resisting arrest during a scuffle with police officers. The trial was taking place as the team prepared for its game against Detroit in week 2, and the distraction may have been the reason for the team's loss. Who was this player?





Between 1980 and 1985, how many times did the Cowboys begin a season by going exactly 6-2?





Tony Hill had the last of his 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 1985. How many times did he surpass 1,000 yards during his career?





Tony Dorsett surpassed 10,000 career rushing yards in 1985. At that time, each of the following players except for one also had more than 10,000 career rushing yards. Who did not?









50 Seasons Series: Playoff Streak Ends With Lackluster Finish to the ’84 Season

The second half of the 1984 season for the Cowboys was memorable, but for mostly all the wrong reasons. The Cowboys had a streak of nine consecutive playoff appearances on the line, and when the team improved its record to 6-3, it looked like the streak would extend to ten seasons. However, the team suffered some tough losses and watched the ’84 playoffs from home.

Missing the playoffs was hardly what the Cowboys had in mind when planning their 25th anniversary celebration.

Week 9: Dallas 22, Indianapolis 3

Danny White started his first game of the season in a 22-3 rout of the lowly Colts, who were suffering through a long first season in Indianapolis.  White threw touchdown passes to Doug Cosbie and Tony Hill in the win.

Week 10: N.Y. Giants 19, Dallas 7

For the first time since 1963, the Cowboys were swept by the Giants. The quarterback carousel returned in Dallas for the first time since the Staubach/Morton debacle in 1971. Landry alternated White and Gary Hogeboom throughout the game, but neither was effective.

Week 11: Dallas 24, St. Louis 17

Hogeboom completed only 12 of 33 passes for 147 yards, but his touchdown passes to Ron Springs and James Jones helped the Cowboys to a win over the Cardinals. The win kept the Cowboys in a tie for the NFC East lead.

Until…

Week 12: Buffalo 14, Dallas 3

In what was probably the biggest embarrassment to the franchise during its first 25 years, the 7-4 Cowboys were unable to stop rookie running back Greg Bell and lost to the previously winless Bills, 14-3. The defeat ended the Gary Hogeboom experiment.

Per Tony Dorsett: “We’re the laughingstock of the NFL right now. Everybody is sitting around the league and laughing at us.”

Week 13: Dallas 20, New England 17

The Patriots erased a 17-7 Dallas lead during the second half, but Danny White led the team on a drive during the final two minutes to set up the game-winning field goal by Rafael Septien. The Dallas defense recorded 10 sacks in the game.

Week 14: Dallas 26, Philadelphia 10

The Cowboys guaranteed that they would have a winning record for the 19th straight year by beating the Eagles, 26-10. The Dallas defense continued to play well, as Dennis Thurman scored on an interception return for a touchdown and John Dutton recorded a safety by sacking Joe Pisarcik in the end zone.

Week 15: Washington 30, Dallas 28

The Cowboys looked like they might be able to pull out the NFC East title when Dallas ran out to a 21-6 halftime lead against the Redskins. But the Cowboys turned the ball over four times in the third quarter, including an interception by Darrell Green that resulted in a touchdown. The Cowboys regained the lead in the fourth quarter on a 43-yard pass from White to Hill, but John Riggins scored with 6:34 left, and the Dallas offense could not get into field goal range for the rest of the game.

Week 16: Miami 28, Dallas 21

For Dallas to make the playoffs as a wildcard, they needed a bunch of help, followed by a win over the Dolphins in Miami. It marked the first time in team history that the Cowboys had to win in the final week of the season to make the playoffs, but it wasn’t to be.

Miami took a 14-0 lead, but the Cowboys managed to tie the game on two Timmy Newsome touchdown runs. The Dolphins regained the lead on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Dan Marino to Mark Clayton, but the Cowboys answered on a prayer of a play—a 66-yard touchdown pass from White to Hill on a tipped pass.

With 51 seconds left, Clayton got free over the middle on a 3rd-and-1 play, and Marino hit him for a 63-yard touchdown pass that ended the Cowboys’ season.

* * *

A few more notes about the 1984 season:

  • Dallas had not lost seven games since the 1965 season, when the team went 7-7.
  • The Cowboys had finished every season since the NFL/AFL merge ranked in the top 10 in both points scored and yards gained. In 1984, the Cowboys’ offense fell to 18th in points scored and 11th in total offense.
  • The Cowboys had a positive point differential every season since 1964. In 1984, the Cowboys scored exactly the same number of points as their opponents.

50 Seasons Series: '83 Cowboys Look Like Possible Contenders

For 14 weeks of the 1983 season, the Cowboys looked as if they could contend for the NFC title. The Cowboys started at 12-2 leading to a winner-take-all game against the Washington Redskins. We will get to that game a little bit later.

After the Cowboys opened the season with a 31-30 win over the Redskins, Dallas tore through its next six opponents. The Cowboys narrowly lost to the Raiders and Chargers, but Dallas’ high-scoring offense looked like it could compete against anyone.

Week 2: Dallas 34, St. Louis 17

Dallas erased an early 10-0 deficit and defeated St. Louis 34-17 in week 2. Ron Springs rushed for two touchdowns in the win.

Week 3: Dallas 28, N.Y. Giants 13

Two touchdown passes from Danny White to Doug Cosbie gave Dallas a first-half advantage, and defensive touchdowns by Michael Downs and Dexter Clinkscale secured the win for the Cowboys.

Week 4: Dallas 21, New Orleans 20

In one of the most bizarre wins in franchise history, the Cowboys trailed New Orleans 20-13 in the fourth quarter. The Saints lined up for a field goal, but Dallas blocked the kick, and Ron Fellows returned the ball 62 yards for a touchdown. Rafael Septien missed his first field goal attempt in three years, though, meaning that Dallas trailed 20-19.

With just over two minutes remaining, Danny White threw an interception in the end zone, but New Orleans defender Dennis Winston tried to run the ball out and only got to the New Orleans 5. On a second down pass play, Anthony Dickerson sacked Saint quarterback Ken Stabler for a safety, giving Dallas a 21-20 win.

Week 5: Dallas 37, Minnesota 24

The Cowboys overcame a 24-13 halftime deficit to beat the Vikings in the Metrodome. Tony Dorsett led the Cowboys with 141 rushing yards on 26 attempts.

Week 6: Dallas 27, Tampa Bay 24

The winless Buccaneers nearly pulled off the upset against the unbeaten Cowboys. With the Cowboys trailing 24-17 with only 57 seconds remaining, White hit fullback Timmy Newsome along the left sideline for a 52 yard touchdown. Here is a video clip of the play:

Septien kicked a field goal in overtime to  give Dallas a 27-24 win.

Week 7: Dallas 37, Philadelphia 7

Dallas jumped out to a 23-7 first-half lead against the Eagles and never looked back. Four different players scored for the Cowboys, who improved to 7-0 on the season.

Week 8: L.A. Raiders 40, Dallas 38

In a seesaw battle that saw six lead changes, the Raiders prevailed in a 40-38 shootout. Mike Hegman’s nine-yard touchdown return of a fumble gave Dallas a 38-34 win, but the Raiders managed two field goals to pull out the win. The teams combined for 838 yards of total offense.

Week 9: Dallas 38, N.Y. Giants 20

White completed 15 of 33 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns in a 38-20 blowout win vs. the Giants. It marked the first time that White threw for five touchdowns in a game, tying a team record.

Week 10: Dallas 27, Philadelphia 20

White threw touchdown passes to Tony Hill and Timmy Newsome in a 27-20 win for the 9-1 Cowboys.

Week 11: San Diego 24, Dallas 23

Thanks to a great game by San Diego backup quarterback Ed Luther, the Chargers raced to a 24-6 lead in the third quarter, but the Cowboys roared back. Dallas cut the lead to 24-23 with just over eight minutes to play, but the Cowboys could get no further and suffered their second loss of the season.

Week 12: Dallas 41, Kansas City 21

Two Tony Dorsett touchdowns gave Dallas a 27-0 lead, and the Cowboys barely looked back in a 41-21 win over the Chiefs. Dorsett finished with 108 yards.

Week 13: Dallas 35, St. Louis 17

Though the Cowboys gave up a 71-yard touchdown pass from Neil Lomax to Roy Green early in the game, the Cowboys took a 21-7 halftime lead in a 35-17 win. Dorsett had another good day, rushing for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

Week 14: Dallas 35, Seattle 10

For the third consecutive game, Dorsett topped the 100-yard mark. The Cowboys outgained the  Seahawks 418 to 216 in the Dallas win.

More resources…

Box Scores

DMN Stories

50 Seasons Series: Cowboys Stun Redskins to Open 1983 Season

This post is part of the 50 Seasons Series.

The Cowboys may have struggled to find ultimate playoff success during the 1980s, but they were still one of the stronger teams in the league for the first half of the decade. To open the 1983 season, they had to return to RFK Stadium in Washington to face the defending Super Bowl Champion Redskins.

Washington raced out to a 23-3 halftime lead. The most memorable moment in the first half was a 77-yard run by Tony Dorsett, but even that play was overshadowed by rookie Darrell Green running Dorsett down from behind.

By 1983, Tony Hill had become the team’s best receiver, and when Danny White went deep to Hill in the second half, good things happened. White connected with Hill on touchdown passes of 75 and 51 yards to cut the Washington lead to 23-17. A White touchdown run followed by a TD pass to Doug Cosbie gave the Cowboys the lead for good. Washington scored late to close the gap to 31-30, but Dallas was able to run out the clock.

Here is a great video on YouTube by a user named rowisdan showing the highlights from this Monday Night Football game.

More references:

Cowboys Rally by Redskins, 31-30 (DMN)

Box Score

'82 Cowboys Down Tampa Bay and Green Bay in Playoff Wins

This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

1982 Playoffs

First Round: Dallas 30, Tampa Bay 17

For the second consecutive year, the Cowboys faced Tampa Bay in the playoffs. Tampa had rebounded from an 0-3 start (including a loss to Dallas) to finish at 5-4. The Cowboys in the meantime had lost momentum down the stretch.

Tampa Bay took a 10-6 lead in the game thanks to a fumble return by 60-yard Hugh Green. Dallas regained the lead by halftime, but the Buccaneers once again moved ahead, thanks to a 49-yard touchdown pass from Doug Williams to Gordon Jones.

Early in the fourth quarter, rookie defensive back Monty “Big Game” Hunter made the only significant play of his short Dallas career when he intercepted a Doug Williams pass and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown (see the clip above; Hunter is #34).

The Cowboys put the game away later in the quarter when Danny White hit Timmy Newsome on a 10-yard touchdown pass. Here it is:

White was suffering from an infected tooth and also injured his hand during the game. However, he managed to complete 27 of 45 passes for 312 yards. The Dallas defense held Tampa Bay to 218 total yards.

Box Score

Cowboys in Super Hunt, 30-17

Second Round: Dallas 37, Green Bay 26

In the first playoff matchup between Dallas and Green Bay since the Ice Bowl in 1967, the Cowboys led for much of the contest. However, Green Bay continued to come back, and Dallas could not put the game away until Robert Newhouse scored with less than two minutes remaining.

Green Bay had 466 total yards, including 308 net passing yards. Dallas countered with a strong effort by Tony Hill (7 rec., 142 yds.) and Tony Dorsett (27 carries, 99 yards). Both teams had interception returns for touchdowns.

With the win, the Cowboys advanced to their 10th NFC Championship Game in 13 years. It would be their last, of course, for the next decade.

Box Score

Cowboys Pack for Washington

Playoff Drought

The Cowboys’ 37-26 win over the Packers marked the Cowboys’ last playoff win under Tom Landry. Dallas would not win another playoff game until nine years later. Who could imagine a longer drought?

We can. Right now.

Years Between Playoff Wins

3. 7 years: 1960-1967

Dallas did not win a playoff game until after the 1967 postseason, when the Cowboys beat the Browns in the game that preceded the Ice Bowl.

2. 9 years: 1982-1991

Dallas lost to the Rams in the Cowboys’ only two remaining playoff games during the 1980s. The Cowboys did not manage another playoff win until Dallas beat Chicago in the 1991 playoffs.

1. 13 years: 1996-present.

And, of course, counting.

Cowboys Finish '82 Season at 6-3 After Player Strike Ends

This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The Cowboys returned from the player strike of 1982 on November 21. The remainder of the season was odd to say the least, given that teams were rusty from the two-month hiatus. With so many games canceled, the league came up with a modified playoff format under which eight teams from each conference made the playoffs. The Cowboys secured the number 2 seed in the NFC playoff tournament by finishing with a 6-3 record.

November 21: Dallas 14, Tampa Bay 9

Dallas trailed the Buccaneers 9-7 in the third quarter, but a Robert Newhouse touchdown in the third gave Dallas the lead. The Newhouse score was rather ironic. He was the team’s union representative and was booed by the small crowd of under 50,000 (the game marked the first home non-sellout in 45 games).

With just a five-point lead, Dallas held off Tampa Bay to pull out the win. The Buccaneers outgained the Cowboys by nearly 200 yards.

November 25: Dallas 31, Cleveland 14

The Dallas offense looked sharp against the Browns, gaining 299 rushing yard in routing Cleveland, 31-14. Tony Dorsett had 116 yards on 20 carries.

December 5: Dallas 24, Washington 10

In a preview of the NFC Championship Game, Dallas travelled to Washington and beat the Redskins 24-10. The Dallas defense sacked Joe Theismann seven times, and Ron Springs had the longest touchdown run of his career when he scampered 46 yards for a touchdown that put the game away for Dallas. Washington had been unbeaten prior to game, but both teams stood at 4-1 after the Dallas win.

December 13: Dallas 37, Houston 7

Danny White threw three touchdown passes, including two to Butch Johnson, as the Cowboys destroyed the Oilers, 37-7. White finished with 279 yards passing.

December 19: Dallas 21, New Orleans 7

Dallas scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, enough to give Dallas a 21-7 win over the Saints. Tony Dorsett scored two of those touchdowns to go along with 105 rushing yards. The win secured a playoff spot for Dallas.

The bad news was that Dallas played a poor second half, and the sloppy play continued for the rest of the regular season.

December 26: Philadelphia 24, Dallas 20

Dallas ran out to a 20-14 lead over the Eagles, but a Ron Jaworski touchdown pass to Harold Carmichael in the fourth quarter gave the Eagles the lead. The Eagles extended their lead to 24-20 in a Tony Franklin field goal, and Dallas could not come back.

January 3: Minnesota 31, Dallas 27

In a game that the Cowboys and Vikings were supposed to play on September 26, Dallas lost thanks to a Minnesota comeback. Dallas had a 10-0 lead thanks to a Dennis Thurman interception for a touchdown, but the Vikings roared back to take a 24-13 lead. With the Cowboys backed up to their own one-yard line in the third quarter, Tony Dorsett burst through the Minnesota defense for a 99-yard touchdown run, which is (of course) the longest in NFL history. Dallas took a 27-24 lead later in the 4th quarter on a Ron Springs touchdown run, but Tommy Kramer brought the Vikings from behind to win 31-27.

The shortened season resulted in Tony Dorsett failing to reach 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. However, he managed to lead the NFC in rushing for the only time in his career, even though in finished with just 745 rushing yards. Here is a link to a YouTube video showing a few of Dorsett’s most famous Monday Night Football plays, including the 99-yarder against the Vikings.

More references…

Box Scores

DMN Stories

'82 Steelers End Cowboys' Opening Game Win Streak at 17

This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The Cowboys in 1964 lost their season opener to the St. Louis Cardinals. That was the last time that Dallas fans had to endure an opening-game loss for the next 17 seasons. The Cowboys’ opening-game streak remains one of the most impressive feats of a professional sports team.

Here is a look:

Week 1, 1964: St. Louis 16, Dallas 6
Week 1, 1965: Dallas 31, N.Y. Giants 2
Week 1, 1966: Dallas 52, N.Y. Giants 7
Week 1, 1967: Dallas 21, Cleveland 14
Week 1, 1968: Dallas 59, Detroit 13
Week 1, 1969: Dallas 24, St. Louis 3
Week 1, 1970: Dallas 17, Philadelphia 7
Week 1, 1971: Dallas 49, Buffalo 37
Week 1, 1972: Dallas 28, Philadelphia 6
Week 1, 1973: Dallas 20, Chicago 17
Week 1, 1974: Dallas 24, Atlanta 0
Week 1, 1975: Dallas 18, L.A. Rams 7
Week 1, 1976: Dallas 27, Philadelphia 7
Week 1, 1977: Dallas 16, Minnesota 10
Week 1, 1978: Dallas 38, Balimore 0
Week 1, 1979: Dallas 22, St. Louis 21
Week 1, 1980: Dallas 17, Washington 3
Week 1, 1981: Dallas 26, Washington 10
Week 1, 1982: Pittsburgh 36, Dallas 28

The 1982 Cowboys had Super Bowl aspirations heading into their opener against the Steelers, but after the loss, the team had a bunch of questions. Pittsburgh ran out to a 33-14 lead early in the fourth quarter, and though Dallas closed the gap to 33-28, a Gary Anderson field goal late in the game sealed the win.

Box Score

Steel Curtain Closes on Cowboys

Week 2, 1982: Dallas 24, St. Louis 7

Tony Hill caught eight passes for 101 yards, and Danny White threw touchdown passes to Doug Cosbie and Drew Pearson, as the Cowboys beat the Cardinals, 24-7.

Box Score

The teams played on September 19, and the NFL would not play another game until November 21 due to the players’ strike.

Cowboys Demolish the Rams on the Way to Super Bowl X

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This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

The Cowboys headed into the 1975 NFC Championship Game trying to become the first wildcard team to make the Super Bowl. It turned out to be no contest.

The Rams had gone 12-2 in 1975 and bowled over the Cardinals in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Cowboys made it to the NFC title game thanks to some very good fortune.

By the time the first half was over, the Cowboys had built a 21-0 lead on three Roger Staubach touchdown passes. Staubach threw a fourth– his third to Preston Pearson– to extend the lead to 28-0 in the third quarter. The Rams did not manage a score until the fourth quarter, and that was due largely to a questionable pass interference call on cornerback Mark Washington.

Here is a video clip of the introduction to the game [there is no sound for the first few seconds]

With the win, the Cowboys were set to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers at the Orange Bowl in Miami on January 18, 1976.

More References

Box Score

DMN: Dallas Paints LA in Cowboy Blue

50 Seasons Series: ’67 Cowboys Start Fast but End with a Clang

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This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

For the first nine games of the 1967 season, the Dallas Cowboys played as if they were true contenders for the NFL crown. However, the team dropped three of its last five games to finish at 9-5. Fortunately, none of the other teams in the new Capital Division came close to matching the Cowboys, so Dallas headed into the playoff for the second straight season.

Here are some links to stories, stats, and such from the 1967 season:

Dallas Morning News: Index to the 1967 Season

Pro Football Reference: 1967 Dallas Cowboys Statistics and Players

Wikipedia: 1967 Dallas Cowboys Season

DallasCowboys.com: 1967 Season

Game Summaries

Week 1: Dallas 21, Cleveland 14

The Cowboys took care of their old foe, the Cleveland Browns, to open the 1967 season. Don Meredith threw touchdown passes to Bob Hayes and Dan Reeves to give the Cowboys a 14-7 halftime lead. Chuck Howley returned an interception 28 yards for another score, as Dallas cruised to a 21-14 win.

Week 2: Dallas 38, New York Giants 24

Despite the presence of newly acquired quarterback Fran Tarkenton on the Giants, the Cowboys jumped out to a 21-10 halftime lead en route to a 38-24 win over New York at the Cotton Bowl. Meredith was on fire again, throwing four touchdown passes. Hayes caught two of the TD passes, while Reeves and Pete Gent caught the others. The 1967 season marked the third straight year that Dallas had started 2-0.

Week 3: Los Angeles 35, Dallas 13

For most of the 1967 season, the Rams and Colts looked like the best teams. They finished with identical 11-1-2 records, and both recorded wins over the Cowboys. In week 3, the Cowboys and Rams were knotted up a 7-6. However, Los Angeles scored 28 second half points and blew the Cowboys out.

This was the summary from the Dallas Morning News:

Why, in the final period, things had regressed to such depths for the
Cowboys that Roman Gabriel looked like Johnny Unitas, Les Josephson
like Gayle Sayers, Dick Bass like Mighty Mouse and Cowboy tacklers like
the were looking for pennies on the ground. They did not find many,
however. The Rams, who have now won six pre-season games and three
regular season ones, won this one with a boom, 35-13.

The Rams lost their next game to the 49ers but did not lose another game all season. The 22-point loss was the Cowboys’ worst since falling 45-21 to Green Bay in 1964.

Week 4: Dallas 17, Washington 14

It looked as if Dallas would lose its second straight at Washington. The Cowboys trailed 14-10 thanks to touchdown pass from Charley Taylor to Sonny Jurgensen. The Cowboys moved the ball downfield but faced a 4th-and-4 play from the Washington 36, and only 18 seconds remained in the game. Meredith lofted a pass to Reeves on the left sideline, and Reeves was able to take the play in for the game-winning touchdown.

Week 5: Dallas 14, New Orleans 10

In the first game ever played between Dallas and New Orleans, the Cowboys pulled out a win in the mud at the Cotton Bowl. Dallas led 14-7 at halftime, thanks to touchdowns by Don Perkins and Lance Rentzel. New Orleans had several chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but the Dallas defense made the stops when it had to.

Week 6: Dallas 24, Pittsburgh 21

With Don Meredith out of action for the second straight week thanks to injured ribs, Craig Morton threw three touchdown passes to lead Dallas to a 24-21 win. The Cowboys had blown a 14-0 lead in the fourth quarter, thanks to two Pittsburgh touchdowns, but Morton’s five-yard TD pass to Pettis Norman gave the Cowboys the win and a 5-1 record.

Week 7: Philadelphia 21, Dallas 14

Since the Cowboys joined the league in 1960, the Eagles had given Dallas all sorts of trouble. Including the week 7 loss in 1967, Philadelphia won 10 of the first 14 matchups between the teams. In week 7, the Eagles jumped out to a 21-0 lead, and despite Craig Morton’s two touchdown passes, Dallas ran out of miracles and lost. With the loss, Dallas stood at 5-2, just one game ahead of the Eagles in the Capital Division.
 
Week 8: Dallas 37, Atlanta 7

Dan Reeves was born in Rome, Georgia, at against Atlanta, Reeves came to life. He scored a total of four touchdowns, including a 60-yard TD pass from Don Meredith in the first quarter. Lee Roy Jordan scored on an interception for a touchdown.

Week 9: Dallas 27, New Orleans 10

A total of 83,437 people showed up in New Orleans to watch the Cowboys visit the Saints. New Orleans took an early lead, but touchdown runs by Don Perkins and Dan Reeves gave the Cowboys a 14-7 halftime lead. In the third quarter, Frank Clarke scored the only rushing touchdown of his career on a 56-yard end run.

Week 10: Washington 27, Dallas 20

Washington avenged its defeat from earlier in the season by beating Dallas, 27-20. Four Sonny Jurgensen touchdowns gave the Redskins a 27-6 lead, and though Craig Morton threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, they were not enough.

Lance Rentzel had a huge game for the Cowboys, catching 13 passes for 223 yards.

Week 11: Dallas 46, St. Louis 21

The Cowboys improved their record to 8-3 on Thanksgiving Day by routing the St. Louis Cardinals, 46-21. Thanks to two Jim Hart touchdown passes, including a 67 yarder to Jackie Smith, the Cardinals kept the game close in the first half. However, Dallas started airing it out and scored 23 unanswered points to turn the game into a blowout. Lance Rentzel and Bob Hayes both scored two touchdowns, and both gained more than 100 receiving yards. Dan Reeves threw the first touchdown pass of his career, a 74-yarder to Rentzel.

The Cowboys stood at 8-3 with the win. Dallas held a three-game lead over the Eagles with three games to go.

Week 12: Baltimore 23, Dallas 17

The Colts scored 13 fourth quarter points to pull out a win over Dallas in week 12. However, a loss by Philadelphia meant that Dallas had clinched the Capital Division title. Thanks to a touchdown pass from Don Meredith to Bob Hayes, along with a touchdown return from an interception by Dave Edwards, the Cwoboys led 17-10 heading into the fourth quarter. Two Lou Michaels field goals cut the lead to 17-16. Then with 1:35 remaining in the game, Lenny Moore scored from two yards out to give Baltimore a 23-17 win.

Week 13: Dallas 38, Philadelphia 17

Dan Reeves recorded a touchdown run, touchdown reception, and touchdown pass in the same game, as the Cowboys routed the Eagles, 38-17. The Cowboys were playing without Bob Hayes and then lost quarterback Don Meredith with a broken nose. Nevertheless, Craig Morton filled in just fine, as the Cowboys rolled to a win.

Reeves’ performance took place about a month after Sports Illustrated had run a story indicating that Reeves was “The Unwanted Cowboy,” indicating that Reeves did many different things well but was not superior at anything.

Week 14: San Francisco 24, Dallas 16

San Francisco’s backup quarterback, George Mira, threw three touchdown passes in the first half, giving the 49ers a lead they would never relinquish. Dallas scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, but they were not enough. Running back Craig Baynham scored his first career touchdown with a 1-yard run.

Final Standings

The winners of each of the four NFL divisions made the 1967 playoffs. As champions of the Capital Division, the Cowboys faced the Browns, who win the Century Division. Here were the final standings:

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Capital                  W  L T   PF  PA
Dallas Cowboys           9  5 0  342 268
Philadelphia Eagles      6  7 1  351 409
Washington Redskins      5  6 3  347 353
New Orleans Saints       3 11 0  233 379  
Century                  W  L T   PF  PA
Cleveland Browns         9  5 0  334 297
New York Giants          7  7 0  369 379
St. Louis Cardinals      6  7 1  333 356
Pittsburgh Steelers      4  9 1  281 320

Coastal                  W  L T   PF  PA
Los Angeles Rams        11  1 2  398 196
Baltimore Colts         11  1 2  394 198
San Francisco 49ers      7  7 0  273 337
Atlanta Falcons          1 12 1  175 422

Central                  W  L T   PF  PA
Green Bay Packers        9  4 1  332 209
Chicago Bears            7  6 1  239 218
Detroit Lions            5  7 2  260 259
Minnesota Vikings        3  8 3  233 294

1967 Playoff Schedule:

Cleveland (9-5) at Dallas (9-5)

Los Angeles (11-1-2) at Green Bay (9-4-1)