Backup tight end Derek Tennell grabs a one yard scoring pass from Troy Aikman to start the Cowboys on their way to a 34-10 stomping of the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC Divisional Playoff game at Texas Stadium on January 10, 1993.
From the time the Dallas Cowboys came of age in the 1966 season through Tom Landry’s final NFL East champion team in 1985, the Cowboys’ match-ups with divisional foe generally ended in Dallas’ favor. Dallas won 31 of the 39 regular season games between the teams during that time period, enraging the Philadelphia fan base.
The tide turned from 1986 through 1991, with the Eagles winning nine of the 12 games between the teams. But in 1991 there were signs that the Cowboys were getting some of their mojo back, and Dallas’ 25-13 win at Veterans Stadium in Week 15 of the season clinched a playoff berth for the Cowboys.
Dallas’ 1992 regular season included a Week Four 31-7 thrashing at the hands of the Eagles at the Vet, but the young and hungry Cowboys bounced back to take a 20-10 decision over the Eagles at Texas Stadium in early November to establish themselves as the NFC East’s top dog.
By the time the 1992 NFL playoffs rolled around, Dallas was surging with the Eagles trying vainly to keep pace. Philadelphia earned a visit to Dallas with a wildcard round win at New Orleans, setting up a rubber match between the divisional rivals with the winner advancing to the NFC Championship game.
After the Eagles drove for a field goal on their first drive, it soon became apparent that the Cowboys would be the team advancing to the next round. Dallas’ response to the Eagles’ early score was a 10 play drive that ended with a Troy Aikman scoring toss to seldom used Derek Tennell that put the Cowboys up 7-3.
Late in the second quarter, Dallas blitzed the Eagles for 10 quick points. First, an Aikman 41 yard connection to Alvin Harper set up Jay Novacek’s six yard scoring pass with under a minute to play that put Dallas on top 14-3. On the ensuing kickoff, talented rookie Darren Woodson caused a fumble that veteran Thomas Everett recovered to set up a short Lin Elliott field goal that gave Dallas a 17-3 lead and a 10 gallon hat sized amount of momentum as the teams went to the dressing room at halftime.
Dallas’ dominance extended to the second half, with Emmitt Smith scoring on a beautiful 23 yard run to give Dallas a three score lead in the third quarter. Another Elliott field goal and a fourth quarter one yard plunge by Derrick Gainer gave Dallas 34 points on the day, and only a late scoring toss by Randall Cunningham to Calvin Williams allowed the Eagles to score in double digits.
Jimmy Johnson’s soon to be Super Bowl Champion team dominated the Eagles in all aspects of the game. Dallas had 160 yards rushing (114 by Smith) against the Eagles’ 63. Dallas sacked Cunningham five times, including two each by Tony Tolbert and Russell Maryland, while Aikman was only dropped twice. Dallas gained 346 yards, 168 more than the visitors with Aikman throwing for 200 in 15 completions.
The Cowboys’ 34-10 victory was Dallas’ first post-season win at Texas Stadium since 1982, and the win sent Dallas to the NFC Championship game for the first time since that same year. Unlike 1982 when the Cowboys would fall short in the conference championship game, Dallas would ride its 13-3 regular season record and its rout of a good Eagles team to an upset victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park that would send Dallas to Super Bowl 27.