Tony Tolbert

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Cowboys Make Team History with Returns for Touchdowns

Dwayne Harris came up huge with a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown on Sunday.

The Dallas Cowboys may have saved their season thanks to three returns they made for touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Philadelphia. Until that fourth quarter, the Cowboys had not scored on any type of return for nearly an entire calendar year. The last touchdown on a return came against the Buffalo Bills on November 13, 2011 in a 44-7 Dallas win.

This was not the first time the Cowboys have had multiple touchdowns from non-offensive touchdowns (i.e., those made on returns on special teams or defense) in a single game. It was also not the first time the Cowboys scored on three returns in the same game. However, it was the first time the Cowboys scored on three returns in the same quarter, which makes the feat even more remarkable.

Scoring on multiple returns is not common. The Cowboys have now done so only 11 times in team history. Here is a summary:

3 Returns for Touchdowns

The Cowboys scored three touchdowns on Sunday thanks to a punt return by Dwayne Harris, an interception return by Brandon Carr, and a fumble recovery return by Jason Hatcher.

The only other time the Cowboys scored on three returns was almost exactly 47 years ago. On November 7, 1965, in a game against San Francisco, the Cowboys scored on a kickoff return by Mel Renfro, a fumble recovery return by George Andrie, and an interception return by Bob Lilly. These touchdowns did not occur in the same quarter, but they did occur in the same half.

Dallas won the game 39-31. It took a fourth quarter touchdown pass from Don Meredith to Bob Hayes and a field goal by Danny Villanueva to put the game away.

2 Returns for Touchdowns

In nine other games, Dallas managed two returns for touchdowns. In chronological order:

October 14, 1962, Dallas 41, Philadelphia 19: Amos Marsh returned a kickoff 101 yards, and Mike Gaechter returned an interception 100 yards. It marked the first time in NFL history that two players on the same team had returns of at least 100 yards.

October 3, 1966, Dallas 52 Pittsburgh 21: Lee Roy Jordan returned an interception for a score, and Renfro returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

September 18, 1983, Dallas 28, N.Y. Giants 13: Dexter Clinkscale returned an interception for a score, while Michael Downs returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

September 9, 1985, Dallas 44, Washington 14: Happy birthday to Joe Theismann.  Interception returns by Victor Scott and Dennis Thurman.

December 19, 1994, Dallas 24, New Orleans 16: Emmitt Smith suffered a costly hamstring injury in this win. Tony Tolbert and Darrin Smith returned interceptions for touchdowns.

September 21, 1998, Dallas 31, N.Y. Giants 7: Jason Garrett would remember this one because he started for the Cowboys. Deion Sanders would also remember it. He scored on both an interception return and a punt return.

October 3, 1999, Dallas 35, Arizona 7: This was Michael Irvin’s last full game. George Teague returned an interception for a score, while Greg Ellis returned a fumble 98 yards for another touchdown.

November 4, 2001, N.Y. Giants 27, Dallas 24: Dexter Coakley and Mario Edwards scored on interception returns, but Clint Stoerner’s four interceptions killed the Cowboys in a loss.

December 5, 2010, Dallas 38, Indianapolis 35: Interception returns by Orlando Scandrick and Sean Lee kept the Cowboys in the game at Indianapolis, which the Cowboys won in overtime.

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Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #92


[tags]Dallas Cowboys, Tony Tolbert[/tags]

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #92

Four Cowboys have worn #92. All were defensive linemen.

[Note: This list does not include Marcus Dixon, who is currently on the practice squad and has never played in a regular season game]

Jermaine Brooks, DT, Arkansas, 2003

Statistics: Brooks recorded a total of five regular season tackles, all in one game.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He was active for the final game of the 2003 season as well as the playoff loss to Carolina in January 2004.

Intangibles: Brooks was on the practice squad for a couple of years and saw action only during the end of the 2003 season.

Demetric Evans, DE, Georgia, 2001-02

Statistics: Evans recorded one sack with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Evans was a backup for the Cowboys before moving on to play in Washington, where he has been for the past five seasons.

Ray Perkins, DE, Virginia, 1987

Statistics: Perkins recorded two sacks for the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in two replacement games in 1987.

Intangibles: n/a

Tony Tolbert, DL, Texas-El Paso, 1989-97

Statistics: Tolbert recorded 59 sacks with the Cowboys along with 531 tackles.

Accolades: He was named to one Pro Bowl.

Longevity: Tolbert played nine seasons for the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Dallas drafted Tolbert as a 226-pound outside linebacker, but after bulking up to more than 260, became a standout defensive end. He was the key to the Cowboys defense becoming so tough against the run during the early 1990s.


Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #92.

Greatest #92

  • Tony Tolbert (93%, 63 Votes)
  • Demetric Evans (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Ray Perkins (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Jermaine Brooks (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 68

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My Vote: Tolbert

Tony Tolbert

Tony Tolbert

This one wasn’t much of a contest. Tolbert was one of the best draft picks (4th round, 1989) in franchise history. He was the key to the run defense, and he was also quite effective as a pass rusher. Knee injuries slowed him down towards the ends of his career, though he still had five sacks and 30 tackles during the 1997 season, his last.