Don McIlhenny

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Cowboys vs. 49ers: Their First Meetings

Don McIlhenny picks up a short gain in a 16-10 loss to San Francisco during the preseason on August 6, 1960.

Don McIlhenny picks up a short gain in a 16-10 loss to San Francisco during the preseason on August 6, 1960.

The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers will face one another for the 34th time, including playoffs, since 1960 on September 7. It will mark the first time since 2011 that the teams have played.

The rivalry dates back to the Cowboys’ inaugural season of 1960. In fact, the 49ers were the first team the Cowboys ever played during preseason. On a hot afternoon in Seattle on August 6, 1960, the Cowboys fell just short of a win. Trailing 16-10 late in the game, Dallas took over the ball at its own 37. Eddie LeBaron moved the team to the San Francisco 28 with about a minute left. However, Dave Baker picked off a LeBaron pass to end the drive and secure the win for San Francisco.

More than three months later, the teams played again during the regular season at the Cotton Bowl. LeBaron struggled in the contest, throwing three interceptions. However, his 76-yard touchdown pass to Frank Clarke early in the fourth quarter gave Dallas a 14-9 lead.

Nevertheless, the 49ers roared back and scored 17 unanswered points to win the game 26-14.

Dallas secured its first win over the 49ers on November 7, 1965.

During regular season matchups, Dallas has a 11-14-1 record against San Francisco. The Cowboys’ playoff record against the 49ers is 5-2. Thus, both teams are 16-16-1 in combined regular season and playoff games.

Cowboys’ Rushing Statistics Are Among the Worst in Team History

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 14:  Quarterback Tony ...

BALTIMORE, MD – OCTOBER 14: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 hands the ball off to running back DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Tony Romo is currently on pace to set personal records for attempts, completions, and yards (and, um, interceptions) in a season. It is generally well-known, though, that putting the ball in Romo’s hands usually isn’t a good answer for the Cowboys.

The reason why Romo’s stats are up across the board? This Dallas rushing “attack” may be the worst in team history. Yes, much of this is because DeMarco Murray has been injured, but the incompetence is beyond ridiculous.

Dallas currently has 667 rushing yards, for an average of 83.4 per game. That ranks 29th in the pass-happy NFL of today.

At this rate, the Cowboys would finish with 1,334 rushing yards and 8 TDs.

Now consider these forgettable seasons:

1960: Dallas infamously finished with a record of 0-11-1.

With the likes of L.G. Dupre and Don McIlhenny, the Cowboys had 1,049 rushing yards with 6 TDs.

That’s an average of 87.4 yards per game, which is better than what Murray, Felix Jones, and company have managed so far.

1989: Dallas infamously finished with a record of 1-15.

The Cowboys traded Herschel Walker after five games and were left with Paul Palmer and pre-Moose-hype Daryl Johnston. The team finished with 1,409 rushing yards.

Of course, that’s better than the 2012 team would have at the current pace.

2010: Dallas started with a 1-7 record before finishing at 6-10.

Dallas has had similar problems running the ball in the recent past. Remember 2010? That was the year that the team started 1-7, leading Jerry Jones to fire Wade Phillips.

The offensive coordinator during those first eight games was Jason Garrett. The rushing stats during those eight games:

605 yards. 2 TDs.

It’s worth noting that the 2010 Cowboys ran the ball considerably better in the second eight games, gaining at least 100 yards in each of those games. The 2012 Cowboys have managed to reach the century mark as a team in only two games. The exact stats may not matter, but the ground game had better improve if this team wants to finish better than 6-10.

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