Tag: Tony Romo

This Day in Dallas Cowboys History- Three in One and a 13 Year Drought is Over

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Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo celebrates during Dallas 34-14 NFC Wildcard Playoff win over the Philadelphia Eagles on January 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.

How many times have we heard commentators indicate that it is next to impossible for an NFL football team to beat another team three times in one season?  Seven years ago today, the Dallas Cowboys became the exception to that rule with their 34-14 NFC Wildcard Playoff win over divisional foe Philadelphia.

In the 2009 regular season, Dallas edged Philadelphia 20-16 at Lincoln Financial Field behind 307 passing yards from Tony Romo.  In the season’s final week, Dallas blanked Philadelphia 24-0 to win the NFC East and to give Dallas the home field advantage in their wildcard contest against the Eagles.

Before an enthusiastic sellout crowd at Cowboys Stadium, the Cowboys scored a franchise playoff record 27 points in the second quarter to take control of a game Dallas would win 34-14.  The victory was the first Cowboys’ playoff win since a 40-15 victory over Minnesota at Texas Stadium in 1966.

The Cowboys’ first scoring drive of the game began at Dallas’ 45 yard line with 1:25 left in the first quarter.  After Romo connected with Miles Austin for 12 yards and a first down on a crucial third and eight play, Philadelphia’s Sheldon Brown interfered with Austin on a deep pass. The penalty put the ball at the Eagles one yard line, and Dallas quickly cashed in on a touchdown pass from Romo to backup tight end John Phillips.

After Philadelphia evened the score at 7-7 on a 73 yard touchdown strike from Michael Vick to Jeremy Maclin, Dallas took control of the game.  Dallas drove 85 yards for the go ahead score on a drive that featured a 12 yard run by Cowboys’ halfback Felix Jones, a 15 yard face masking penalty on Philadelphia and crucial Romo completions to Patrick Crayton, Roy Williams and Jason Witten.  Tashard Choice put the ball in the end zone on a one yard run to give Dallas a 14-7 lead.

Dallas’ next drive featured Romo completions of 36 yards to Austin and 17 yards to Williams that set up Shaun Suisham’s 25 yard field goal that put the home team ahead 17-7.

Two plays into the Eagles’ next drive, disaster struck for Philadelphia when Vick’s fumble was recovered by Dallas’ Bobby Carpenter at the Eagles’ 18 yard line.  Three plays later, Romo found Austin for a six yard scoring pass and Dallas had surged to a 24-7 lead.

Dallas’ final possession of the half ended with a 48 yard field goal by Suisham, and the teams went to their locker rooms with the Cowboys holding a commanding 20 point lead.

Any doubt about the outcome of the game was put to rest with 5:44 left in the third quarter when Jones sped 73 yards for a touchdown run that gave Dallas a 34-7 lead.  Jones’ scoring run is the longest post-season rushing touchdown in Cowboys’ history, and is one of only nine rushing scores of that distance or more since the NFL merger in 1970.

Dallas out gained the Eagles by 420 yards to 340 yards, and the final score of 34-14 would likely have been even more in Dallas’ favor if not for 14 penalties on the home team.   The Cowboys rushed for 198 yards, with second year man Jones gaining 148 on only 16 carries. Romo threw for 244 yards, two scores and did not throw an interception.  Austin led Dallas’ receivers with seven catches for 82 yards and a score.

The Cowboys forced four Eagles’ turnovers, sacked Philadelphia quarterbacks four times and held the Eagles to only 56 yards rushing in what was probably Wade Phillips’ finest moment as Cowboys’ head coach.

The win sent Dallas to Minnesota, where the team’s hopes of advancing were rudely put to rest in a 34-3 Vikings’ win.  That loss was a disappointing way to end the year, but the team’s 11-5 record, its first playoff win ever at Cowboys Stadium and a clean three game sweep of bitter rival Philadelphia were enough to take away some of the sting of the loss.

 

 

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This Day in Dallas Cowboys’ History- Dominance in December

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Tony Romo threw for four touchdowns and completed all but two of his pass attempts on the day in Dallas’ 42-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts on December 21, 2014.

All of us have days when everything seems to go perfectly.  For the Dallas Cowboys in December of 2014, there were a few of such days.  Probably the best example of that came two years ago today when the Cowboys demolished the Indianapolis Colts 42-7 to clinch a NFC East title and help silence the critics who seemed almost gleeful to question the Cowboys’ mettle in the season’s final month.

Dallas entered the game with two impressive December road wins already behind them, having beaten Chicago 41-28 on Thursday December 4th and having handled the Eagles at Philadelphia 38-27 ten days later.  With the team’s offense on a roll and with the Colts’ somewhat defensively challenged, conditions were ripe for a Cowboys’ clinching party and the home team did not disappoint the 91,899 in attendance.

Dallas dominated the game from the start, taking the opening kickoff and driving 80 yards in 15 plays over eight minutes and twenty four seconds to take a 7-0 lead on Tony Romo’s nine yard pass to Terrence Williams who was as wide open as an NFL receiver could possibly be.   A failed pass out of punt formation by the Colts set Dallas up on Indianapolis’ 19 yard line for its next possession, and Dallas struck quickly as Romo and Dez Bryant connected on a 19 yard toss to give Dallas a 14-0 lead.

The 2014 Cowboys, like this year’s squad, were built to grind out long possessions that were designed to break the will of opponents and to keep the Cowboys’ own defense fresh. Dallas’ next two drives, which went 75 and 67 yards, ended with a Romo scoring toss to Cole Beasley and a touchdown run by Demarco Murray to give the Cowboys a 28-0 lead at the half.

The second half was more of the same.  On its seventh possession of the game, Dallas went 75 yards in 10 plays over 6:17 to take a 35-0 lead on Romo’s 25 yard scoring pass to Jason Witten.   A fourth quarter scoring pass from backup quarterback Brandon Weedon to Williams gave Dallas a 42-0 lead, before the Colts put up a consolation score in the game’s final minutes to end the scoring.   The 35 point margin of victory remains the highest ever for the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Some other notes coming out of the dominant win include the following:

Romo’s 90% completion percentage is the highest ever for a Cowboys’ quarterback in a game where he’s thrown at least 11 passes.  Dak Prescott’s 88.9 completion percentage in this past Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay is the second best mark, with Romo’s 88.5 mark in a 2011 win over Buffalo in third place.

Romo’s 151.7 QBR rating was the 14th highest in Cowboys’ history for passers with at least 11 attempts in a game. Craig Morton’s 158.3 rating in a 1969 win over Philadelphia is Dallas’ best ever (Morton went 14 for 18 with 261 yards, three touchdown passes and no interceptions in the game), with Troy Aikman’s 158.2 rating on November 7, 1993 (Aikman was 11 for 13 for 162 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game with a leg injury) next in line.  There’ve been 18 150+ QBR rating games in Cowboys’ history and no player has more than Hall of Famer Roger Staubach, who had six in his magnificent career.

December 2014 was a month to remember for Romo, who led Dallas to a 4-0 record with some of the best performances of his career:

DT        OPP      Score      Comp     Att      Yrds    TD   Int    QBR

12/4      @Chi    41-28        21          26       205       3       0      138.0

12/14     @Phl    38-27        22          31        265      3       0      129.1

12/21       Ind       42-7          18          20       218      4       0      151.7

12/28      @Was   44-17       22          34       299      2       1       100.0

Cowboys’ quarterbacks have had at least four touchdown passes in a game 31 times. Romo’s effort against the Colts was his tenth such game, the most among all Cowboys’ passers. Danny White is next with eight such games, with Don Meredith in third with six.  Other quarterbacks with at least four touchdown passes in a game for Dallas include Aikman (three times), Morton (twice), Eddie LeBaron (once) and Staubach (once).

The 2014 Cowboys had a time of possession advantage in 11 of their 16 games.  So far in 2016, the Cowboys have done so in nine of their 14 contests.   The Cowboys have won 18 of the 20 games.

Dallas scored at least seven points in each quarter of the 42-7, marking the 62nd time in team history and the fourth time in 2014 that the team had achieved that feat.  Like the 2014 squad, the 1967 and 1983 Cowboys had four games where they scored at least seven points in every quarter. The franchise record for most such games is six, set by the explosive 1980 Cowboys’ squad.

The defense did its part in the division clinching win, intercepting Andrew Luck twice and holding the Colts to a single yard rushing in 10 attempts.  Since the merger, only two teams have held an opponent who ran the ball 10 or more times to fewer yards. On October 2, 1988 the Bears held Buffalo to zero yards rushing in 10 tries.  18 years and almost two months later, Detroit had minus three yards on the ground in 10 tries against Minnesota.

 

 

This Day in Dallas Cowboys’ History- Bullet Bob’s Breathtaking Birthday

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46 years ago today on his 28th birthday, Hall of Fame Cowboy Bob Hayes scored four touchdowns to help the Cowboys rout intrastate rival Houston 52-10 to clinch the NFC East.

To celebrate our birthdays most of us go to a ballgame or a movie, eat out at a favorite restaurant or attend a family party.  46 years today Cowboys’ receiver Bob Hayes celebrated his 28th day in the rarest of ways, catching four touchdown passes to spark Dallas’ 52-10 romp over the Houston Oilers to give the Cowboys a 10-4 record and a NFC East title.

Since the Cowboys have been in existence, there have been 120 instances where a player has scored four or more touchdowns.  Former Cowboys’ speedster Hayes is the only player to have done so on his birthday.

Dallas entered the week 14 showdown at the Cotton Bowl knowing it had to win its fifth straight game to give the team a shot at winning the division title.  After Houston’s Roy Gerela and Dallas’ Mike Clark traded early field goals, Dallas’ Craig Morton and his talented receivers began an unrelenting assault against the visitors’ secondary.  First Morton connected with Reggie Rucker for a 52 yard score to put Dallas up 10-3, and Morton’s first connection with Hayes (from 38 yards out) padded the Dallas lead to 17-3.

Another Morton to Hayes 38 yard score provided the only points of the second quarter, and Dallas took a 24-3 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Hayes’ speed was on full display in the third stanza, as he scored on passes from Morton of 15 and 59 yards to put Dallas on top 38-3.  An Oilers’ fumble return for a score gave the visitors their only touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter, but that six pointer was matched and raised by the Cowboys who got rushing scores from Calvin Hill and Claxton Welch to make the final score 52-10.

Dallas would go on to beat Detroit and San Francisco in the NFC playoffs before falling to the Baltimore Colts 16-13 in Super Bowl 5.

On the day, Hayes had six catches for 187 yards and four scores.  The 187 receiving yards was the third highest total in a  game in Hayes’ career. In his second year in the NFL in 1966,  the former Olympic sprint champion gained 195 yards on six catches in a 52-7 Dallas win over the Giants on September 8th and followed that up almost two months later with 246 receiving yards on nine catches in Dallas 31-30 win at RFK Stadium over the Washington Redskins.’

In his career, Hayes had 15 games where he had two touchdown passes and two games with three to go along with his four touchdown day against the Oilers.

Bullet Bob’s four touchdown performance against Houston is one of seven times a Cowboys’ player reached the end zone four times in a game.  Dan Reeves had four scores in Dallas 37-7 win over Atlanta on September 5, 1967.   In 1971, both Calvin Hill (on September 19th at Buffalo) and Duane Thomas (on December 18th at Texas Stadium against St. Louis) had four touchdowns in Cowboys’ victories during their first Super Bowl championship year.

Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith is the only Cowboys’ player who has scored four touchdowns in a game on two occasions.  In his rookie year of 1990, Smith reached paydirt four times in Dallas’ 41-1o demolition of the Phoenix Cardinals at Texas Stadium. On opening night 1995 at the Meadowlands against the Giants, Smith had four scores as Dallas drubbed New York 35-0.

The most recent four touchdown game in Cowboys’ history came on November 18, 2007 when Terrell Owens and Tony Romo hooked up for four touchdown passes as Dallas defeated the Redskins at home by a 28-23 score.

 

Cowboys-Packers: Iconic Franchises That Have Battled Fiercely

The Dallas Cowboys invade Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers tomorrow looking to keep the momentum of a 4-1 record forged in large part by the contributions of raw rookies.  Maybe those young stars are just what Dallas needs to reverse a trend that has seen it drop nine of ten games the Cowboys have played at the Packers’ storied stadium.

The Cowboys-Packers rivalry has, over the years, been largely one-sided toward the home team. While the Packers are 9-1 at Lambeau Field against their Lone Star state rivals, the Cowboys dominated the Pack at Texas Stadium by an 11-2 mark which included three playoff losses for Green Bay.  Here’s a look at some of the interesting games and accomplishments between two teams who don’t play often but almost always produce excitement when they do.

THE CHAMPION HOLDS OFF THE CHALLENGER

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In 1966, the upstart Dallas Cowboys became a force in the NFL after six years of struggles.  Dallas finished with a 10-3-1 record and earned its first NFL Divisional title.  The Cowboys’ sterling record earned them a spot in the NFL Championship Game where’d they’d be matched up against reigning NFL champion Green Bay.

In the match-up at the Cotton Bowl, the Cowboys and Packers played a game that has been forgotten over the years due to their rematch in the Ice Bowl in Green Bay one year later but was one of the more exciting playoff contests in NFL history in its own right.

The first quarter of the game provided a year’s worth of ups and downs in 1967’s first day, as Green Bay jumped out to a 14-0 lead only to see the Cowboys rally to tie the game at 14-14.  The game remained close until the fourth quarter, when two scores by the veteran Packers seemed to put the Cowboys in a hole they’d not be able to get out of as Dallas trailed 34-20.

Soon Dallas and quarterback Don Meredith proved that they were not done yet, as Dandy Don teamed up with Frank Clarke for a 68 yard touchdown pass that pulled Dallas within seven points of Green Bay, shocked the Packers’ defense and sent the partisan Cowboys’ crowd into a frenzy.  The tension only increased moments later, when Dallas got the ball back and drove deep into Green Bay territory. However a series of mishaps by the young Cowboys at the end of the game led to a Green Bay win, and it would be the Packers instead of the Cowboys who would be representing the NFL in Super Bowl I.

A TALE OF TWO HOLIDAYS

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The Cowboys and Packers have squared off twice in the annual Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas and while both games were entertaining, they were as different as turkey and cranberry sauce.

On Thanksgiving Day 1970, the Cowboys were in the midst of a run that would take the team from a 5-4 early November record to five straight wins, a NFL East title and their first Super Bowl berth. The Packers were a shell of their championship teams from the mid-60’s, and the Doomsday Defense made sure Dallas would have its first ever victory against the Packers.  Holding the Packers to a paltry 129 yards of offense, Dallas won 16-3 behind three Mike Clark field goals and a fourth quarter 13 yard touchdown run on a reverse by speedy Cowboys’ received Bob Hayes.

24 years later the teams squared off again on Thanksgiving Day, this time at Texas Stadium, in a game that is remembered among Cowboys’ fans as the “Jason Garrett Game”.  Standing in for injured first stringer Troy Aikman and his back-up Rodney Peete, Garrett led the Cowboys to a thrilling come-behind 42-31 victory that saw the Cowboys offense dominate the contest in the second half. Garrett threw for 311 yards and touchdowns to Alvin Harper and Michael Irvin, which helped offset Sterling Sharpe’s four touchdown catches for the Packers.

A PAIR OF ACES

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The 1978 Dallas Cowboys did not win the Super Bowl title as the 1977 Dallas team did, but they came close and only ended up in the loss column in the NFL title game due to a sterling performance against them by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The lack of a Super Bowl ring was a tough pill to swallow for the Cowboys, but it did not take away the fact that the 1978 Cowboys were one of the most talented teams in league history. Their abilities were on display in a big way on November 12th of the year as Dallas rolled over the Packers 42-14 at County Stadium in Milwaukee.

The highlight of the game for the Cowboys was the fact that two of their running backs, Tony Dorsett and Robert Newhouse, ended up with over 100 yards rushing with each scoring two touchdowns.  Dorsett’s 149 yards and his partner Newhouse’s 101 marked only the second time in Cowboys’ history to that point where they’d had a pair of 100 yard rushers in a game.  There’s been only one other such game since then (the first duo with 100 yards plus rushing each was Calvin Hill and Walt Garrison against Washington in 1972, and Emmitt Smith and Chris Warren joined the exclusive group in a 1998 game..also against Washington).

AS EASY AS ONE, TWO, THREE

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Any NFL defensive back would likely consider an interception in a post-season game to be a highlight moment.  In a 1982 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Texas Stadium, Cowboys cornerback Dennis Thurman tripled his fun as his three picks off of Green Bay’s Lynn Dickey led Dallas to a 37-26 win.

Thurman’s thievery included a 39 interception return for a score that put Dallas up 20-7 going into the half.  The three interception effort is one of two such games in Cowboys’ post-season history.  In 1977 Charlie Waters had three interceptions in a playoff game, not against Green Bay but v.s. the Packs’ bitter rivals the Chicago Bears.

LUCKY SEVEN

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When an NFL team fails to score a touchdown in a game, chances are that team will be ending up in the loss column.  On November 18, 1996 at Texas Stadium the defending champion Cowboys did not reach the end zone but still beat the Green Bay Packers for the fifth straight time at home largely due to the efforts of the smallest man on the roster.

Chris Boniol set a Cowboys record and tied an NFL mark with seven field goals to lead Dallas to a 21-6 victory that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.  The accurate and reliable Boniol connected from 45, 37, 42, 45, 35, 39 and 28 yards to help offset the Cowboys’ inability to reach the end zone against a team that would go on to win its first Super Bowl crown in 29 years.  Boniol’s Cowboys’ record of seven field goals in a game would later be equaled by Billy Cundiff in a 2003 contest against the Giants.

THURSDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

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On November 29, 2007 at Texas Stadium, a national television audience witnessed a match-up of 10-1 teams that was billed as the battle for NFC supremacy.  Both Dallas and Green Bay played well on offense but at the end of the day, the quarterback wearing the Cowboys’ star on his helmet was QB1.

Tony Romo threw for 309 yards and four scores, two to Patrick Crayton, as the Cowboys rolled to a 37-27 win.  Young Aaron Rogers replaced starter Brett Favre and was impressive with 201 yards passing and a touchdown pass in his first extended action behind center.  At the end of the year, both Dallas and Green Bay would be left on the outside looking in as each team suffered a home playoff game loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

Cowboys v. Bengals: Infrequent Opponents Who Have Experienced Some Rare Moments Against Each Other

2016-cowboys-vs-bengalsWhen the Dallas Cowboys and the Cincinnati Bengals square off at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, the teams will be meeting for only the 12th time. The Cowboys will be looking to improve upon their 7-4 lifetime record against the reigning AFC North champions, while the Bengals will be trying to win for only the second time in seven trips at Dallas.

The teams rarely play each other, but their eleven games so far have produced some interesting moments, great performances and unlikely heroes.  Here’s a look at some of the highlights of the Cowboys-Bengals match-ups.

JORDAN RULES

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Middle linebacker Lee Roy Jordan anchored the Dallas Doomsday Defense from 1963 through 1976 and during his time in the NFL, no linebacker intercepted more passes than the Excel, Alabama native’s 32.

On November 4, 1973 at Texas Stadium, Jordan had a career high three picks in Dallas’ 38-10 rout of Ken Anderson and the Bengals.  Jordan returned one interception 31 yards for a score for the third and final touchdown of his sterling career.

Jordan, who many believe belongs in Canton, trails only defensive backs Mel Renfro (52), Everson Walls (44), Charlie Waters (41), Dennis Thurman (36), Michael Downs (34) and Cornell Green (34) on the Cowboys’ all-time interception list.

HOMETOWN HERO 

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Few athletes, or celebrities in general for that matter, are more associated with the city of Dallas, Texas than Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach. But before Roger the Dodger made it big deep in the heart of Texas, he was a high school hero in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Staubach only faced his hometown Bengals twice in his career, but led Dallas to easy victories both times.  The Cowboys’ signal caller was particularly sharp in his first game ever against the Bengals.

In the same game where Jordan had his three interceptions, Staubach was 14 for 18 for 209 yards and three touchdowns to lead Dallas to victory. Staubach’s quarterback rating on the day was 154.6, the highest rating he’d have in a Dallas home game.  Staubach’s other highest QBR games also came in 1973, a season where he’d lead the NFL in passing.  On December 2, 1973 at Mile High Stadium, Staubach posted a 155.8 rating in the Cowboys’ 22-10 over Denver. Two weeks later, Staubach led Dallas to a 30-3 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis while putting up a 155.2 QBR.

LOWERING THE BOOM(ER) 

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On December 8, 1985 at chilly Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, the eventual NFC East Champion Cowboys ran into a buzz saw against a talented Bengals team that featured a high-powered offense.

The Bengals, led by quarteback Boomer Esiason’s three touchdown passes and James Brooks’ 109 yards rushing and two scores, routed Dallas 50-24 and put up an amazing 570 total yards in the process.  The 50 points allowed was the third highest total ever allowed by a Cowboys’ defense, and the 570 total yards surrendered was the fourth most in Cowboys’ history.

A 60 MINUTE ROLLER COASTER RIDE

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The amusement park Six Flags Over Texas is not too much more than a Troy Aikman bomb’s distance from the Cowboys new home at AT&T Stadium. When the Cowboys and Bengals squared off at Texas Stadium in Irving on October 13, 1991 they were not in close proximity to any theme parks, but the events of that game provided all the thrills of any roller coaster.

In 1991 the Cowboys under Jimmy Johnson were emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the NFC, and the Bengals were a talented team that could score from anywhere on the field.  The Bengals showed their quick strike ability by putting up the game’s first 10 points, but Dallas rallied for three touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 21-10 lead. The visitors would score the game’s next 13 points to take a 23-21 advantage, but Dallas had the last laugh in the contest’s final period.   An Emmitt Smith touchdown run and rookie linebacker Dixon Edwards’ 36 yard interception return for a score sealed the deal for Dallas in the Cowboys’ 35-23 victory.

TOUCHDOWN TIM

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When you think Dallas Cowboys’ touchdowns,  the names Smith, Dorsett, Irvin, Hayes, Pearson and Bryant come to mind.   On November 12, 2000 at Texas Stadium, an unlikely player joined the ranks of Cowboys who’d reached the end zone in Dallas 23-6 victory over the Bengals.

With the Cowboys holding a slim 10-6 lead midway through the third period, defensive end Ebeneezer Ekuban sacked Bengals’ quarterback Akili Smith and forced a fumble that he recovered putting the Cowboys in position to pad their lead.  Six plays later, Dallas found itself facing a fourth and goal from the Bengals’ two.  In came rookie kicker Tim Seder, apparently to attempt a chip shot field goal that would put Dallas up by seven points.

But the Cowboys shocked both the Bengals and the crowd at Texas Stadium, as holder Micah Knorr handed the ball to Seder who ran in for the first touchdown ever scored by a Cowboys’ kicker.  Seder would reach the endzone again in 2001, scoring another touchdown on a fake field goal in a 28-21 loss to the Raiders at Oakland.

T.O. MEANS K.O FOR CINCINNATI 

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Cincinnati Bengals’ Leon Hall tries to stop Dallas Cowboys’ Terrell Owens as he heads to the end zone to score a fourth quarter touchdown. The Cowboys defeated the Bengals 31-22, at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, Sunday, October 5, 2008. (Sharon M. Steinman/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

 

After losing in the first round of the 2007 playoffs after posting an NFL best 13-3 record, the 2008 Dallas Cowboys looked to make amends behind an offense that featured talented players at virtually every position.

On October 5th of that season, Dallas’ weapons were on display in a 31-22 victory over the Bengals.  Quarterback Tony Romo threw for three touchdowns, running backs Felix Jones and Marion Barber combined for 180 rushing yards and Terrell Owens electrified the crowd with a fourth quarter 57 yard touchdown catch and to spark Dallas’ effort.

The win moved Dallas to a 4-1 record on the year, but trouble was on the horizon for the Cowboys in the form of an injury to Romo.  Their quarterback’s injury led to Dallas losing three of its next four games, and a solid November streak of three impressive wins in a row couldn’t offset a December collapse (1-3 mark) that had Dallas on the outside looking in for the 2008 post-season.

HANGING TOGETHER 

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On December 9, 2012, the Cowboys took on the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium only a few days after teammate Jerry Brown was killed in a motor vehicle accident that was the fault of fellow Cowboy Josh Brent. With the team reeling over the loss of one of its own, the Cowboys and Jason Garrett faced a tough task against a Bengals team that would finish 10-6 and earn an AFC wildcard playoff spot.

Dallas played valiantly throughout most of the game but with a nine point deficit as the fourth quarter began, it appeared as though the Cowboys were destined to lose the game. That was, of course, before Tony Romo and the Dallas’ offense went to work.

Taking over at their own 32 yard line with a little less than 10 minutes left in the game, Romo led Dallas on a scoring drive that ended with 27 yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant that pulled the Cowboys within two at 19-17.  A key sack of Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton by Anthony Spencer got the ball back for Dallas, and the took possession at their own 28 yard line with 3.44 left in the game.

While the Cowboys’ touchdown drive earlier in the quarter featured big plays (Romo hit Kevin Ogletree for 23 yards and Miles Austin for 15 in addition to his 27 yard scoring pass to Bryant), their final drive chewed up yardage in small chunks.  Heavily featured in the drive was running back Demarco Murray, who gained 32 yards combined and helped set up Dan Bailey for the winning 40 yard field goal as time expired.

 

 

Cowboys v. Bears- My Top Ten Memories

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The Doomsday Defense, featuring a bevy of talented players like Jethro Pugh (#75), tormented Bob Avellini and the Chicago Bears defense all day long on December 26, 1977 as the Cowboys routed the visiting Bears 37-7 at Texas Stadium in the first round of the NFL playoffs. The Cowboys would go on to win Super Bowl XII.

The Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears do not play each other often enough to be considered big rivals, but they have fought some interesting battles over the year including two post-season games. Dallas is 12-11 in the regular season and 2-0 in the post-season against the Bears, but they’re 0-2 against Chicago at AT&T Stadium.

Here are 10 memories that come to mind for me when I think of the Cowboys-Bears contests over the years.

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#10- An Afternoon to Forget

The 1985 Dallas Cowboys were a division winning team, but the Chicago Bears of that season were a cut above not only the Cowboys but over the rest of the NFL as well. On November 17th of that season, the Bears embarrassed the Cowboys at Texas Stadium by a 44-0 score that was one of the worst losses in Cowboys’ history.  Dallas has had some excellent defensive teams over the years and they’ve faced some top level squads over the years, but I don’t think one would get too many arguments by claiming that the 1985 Bears team featured the best defensive team the Cowboys have ever gone up against.

 

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#9- Ending a Drought

By December of 1991, the Jimmy Johnson-led Dallas Cowboys were coming into their own as a legitimate NFL contender.  At Soldier Field on December 29th, the Cowboys won their first playoff game since 1982 in a 17-13 victory over the Bears.  Fittingly, the gritty Cowboys’ win was secured when long-time Cowboys favorite Bill Bates intercepted a Jim Harbaugh pass.

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#8- The Replacements

In their glory days, the Tom Landry-era Dallas Cowboys were known for having excellent depth at most positions. That depth was tested twice in six years in Cowboys-Bears games at Texas Stadium at perhaps the most crucial position on the field.

On October 24, 1976, first year Cowboy Danny White replaced an injured Roger Staubach in the second half and threw two touchdowns to Preston Pearson to help Dallas to a 31-21 victory.

On Thanksgiving Day 1981, it was White’s turn to go out with an injury.  White was replaced by third year Cowboy Glenn Carano, who led a fourth quarter drive that allowed Dallas to escape with a 10-9 win over the Bears.

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#7-  A Tale of Two Games

The Dallas Cowboys traveled to cold Chicago in December in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Both games were played at night and both featured lots of scoring, but the results could not have been different.

On December 9, 2013, Bears’ backup Josh McCown carved the Cowboys’ defense up like it was a Christmas turkey, throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-28 win that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

Almost one year later on December 4, 2014, it was the Cowboys’ turn to flex their offensive muscles as Dallas surged to a 35- 7 lead after four quarters and won 41-28.  The Cowboys’ attack was led by Tony Romo (21-26, 205 yards, three TDs) and Demarco Murray (32 carries, 179 yards, one TD) in a game that effectively ended the Bears’ chances for a playoff spot in the 2014 season.

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#6- Tuna on Turkey Day

Thanksgiving Day 2004 saw the Bears visit Texas Stadium to take on Bill Parcells and the Cowboys. And while the 2004 edition of the Cowboys didn’t achieve a playoff berth like the team did in Parcells’ first season in Big D in 2003, the late November holiday game had a happy ending for the home team.  Rookie Julius Jones was the grand marshal of the Cowboys’ holiday parade, gaining 150 yards rushing and scoring two touchdown in a 21-7 Dallas win.

 

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#5-  A Clean Cut by the Barber

The 2007 Dallas Cowboys came to Solider Field on Sunday night September 23rd sporting a 2-0 record and looking very much like a team that would be a force to be reckoned with in the NFC.   As a game progressed, it was clear that the Bears weren’t the ones who were going to stop the Cowboys’ rush toward a 13-3 record and a division title.

Marion Barber was the driving force in Dallas’ win, gaining 102 yards rushing and scoring two touchdowns as the visitors out-gained the Bears by almost 200 yards. Romo also starred in the nationally televised contest, throwing for 329 yards and two touchdowns.

 

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#4-  It is Always Darkest Before the Dawn

An October 1971 visit by the reigning NFC Champion Cowboys to Soldier Field ended in a shocking 23-19 loss to a seemingly inferior Bears team, with an added wrinkle being that the defeat came with Dallas alternating quarterbacks Craig Morton and Roger Staubach on every play.  Dallas moved the ball well but was hurt by penalties and turnovers, in a game that convinced Coach Tom Landry that he needed to select one of the quarterbacks to lead the team going forward.

Landry ultimately made the right choice, as he selected Staubach to quarterback a team that would not lose over the rest of the year in route to a 24-3 victory over Miami in Super Bowl VI.

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 Cornerback Deion Sanders #21 of the Dallas Cowboys in action  Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport

#3-  Prime Time Returns

There are fewer more exciting plays in a football game than a punt return for a touchdown. Two of the more exciting Cowboys’ punt returns for scores have come in home games against the Bears.

In September 1997 at Texas Stadium, Deion Sanders electrified the sellout crowd with an 83 yard punt return touchdown that salted away a 27-3 Cowboys’ victory.  In September 13 years later, rookie Dez Bryant scored the first touchdown of his career on a 62 yard punt return that staked Dallas to an early lead.  Unfortunately for Bryant and the Cowboys, the Bears would win that game 27-20.

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#2-  Aye, Aye Roger

One of the more exciting games in Texas Stadium history came in a week three Cowboys-Bears matchup that saw Roger Staubach lead Dallas to a 24-20 comeback win over a game Chicago team that got 134 yards rushing from Hall of Famer Walter Payton and scored on two long Vince Evans passes (one to former Cowboy Golden Richards) to keep Cowboys’ fans on the edge of their seats all game long.

Fortunately for Dallas, Staubach was at his best on this day throwing for 222 yards and three touchdowns including a 22 yarder to Tony Hill with less than two minutes to go that allowed Dallas to escape with a thrilling win.

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#1- Charlie In Charge

The 1977 Dallas Cowboys were arguably the best team in the storied franchise’s history. On the day after Christmas in the first round of that season’s playoffs, the Cowboys proved their power to the Bears in a 37-7 rout that was a mismatch in every sense. Perhaps the biggest star for Dallas on that day was Charlie Waters, a player who gave his heart, soul and body to the team. Waters intercepted three Bob Avellini passes on the day, as the Cowboys’ defense controlled the game from the start.