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Memories of the Cowboys vs. Redskins

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In honor of the Cowboys/Redskins game tonight, I thought I'd post a few summaries - courtesy of the Washington Post - of some memorable Cowboys victories in the rivalry over the years. If you want to read the full article and remember all the details, click on the date above each summary.

November 29, 1974

The Washington Redskins were 35 seconds away from clinching a berth in the 1974 NFC playoffs today when "that rookie," Clint Longley - also known as the Mad Bomber - shocked them with one of the more improbable touchdown passes of recent football history for a 24-23 Dallas Cowboys victory.

Longley, a rookie from Abilene Christian making his first appearance in a regular-season game, threw 50 yards to former goat Drew Pearson for the winning score with 28 seconds remaining.

"I don't have very much to say," coach George Allen said when it was over. "It was probably the toughest loss we ever had."

The Redskins had done everything in their power to deal the Cowboys a killing blow. They recovered four fumbles, they intercepted a pass, they had three field goals from Mark Moseley and two touchdowns from Duane Thomas. And what should have been most important, Dave Robinson knocked Roger Staubach out of the game on a brutal tackle with 9:57 to play in the third quarter.

December 16, 1979

The Redskins came within 140 seconds today of reaching their impossible dream. Then the brilliance of Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach turned the afternoon into a 35-34 nightmare that will haunt them the rest of the winter.

"The Lord giveth and He can take it away in a hurry; that's the only way to understand what took place here," said Coach Jack Pardee, still stunned by a Cowboy comeback that erased a 13-point Redskin lead and knocked Washington out of the playoffs.

Until the final 140 seconds, the Redskins were on the verge of winning the NFC East title. Two Staubach touchdown passes, one with 2:20 to play, the last with 39 seconds left, brought the world crashing around their heads. It also allowed the Chicago Bears to gain a wild-card berth on the basis of a four-point edge in point differential.

September 5, 1983

In a comeback that will dissected and cursed for days to come in Washington, the Dallas Cowboys rallied from a 23-3 halftime deficit last night to defeat the Redskins, 31-30, in a nationally televised season opener before a sellout of 55,045 at RFK Stadium.

The Redskins were so competent in every way in the first half, but the walls of their Jericho came crashing down in the second half.

After quarterback Danny White, held to one measly completion in the first half, threw touchdown passes of 75 and 51 yards to wide receiver Tony Hill, closing Dallas within 23-17 with 6:35 left in the third quarter, the Redskins' trouble multiplied again and again.

November 5, 1989

Quarterback Doug Williams found himself shaking off mothballs last night, and the Dallas Cowboys finally found a team they could handle -- the embarrassed Washington Redskins.

Running back Paul Palmer, a Potomac native, rushed for 110 yards at RFK Stadium and personally produced the drive to his touchdown that broke a 3-3 tie. Then his 14-yard, fourth-quarter scamper set up an insurance field goal sealing the Cowboys' first victory of the NFL season and the first win of Coach Jimmy Johnson's pro career, 13-3.

Dallas (1-8) held the Redskins to 50 yards rushing, roughed up starting fullback Gerald Riggs and had only its second halftime lead, 3-0, of the entire season. Rookie quarterback Steve Walsh stayed away from interceptions, and Palmer kept scurrying free on timely draw plays. His longest run from scrimmage was a 47-yarder when he faked safety Clarence Vaughn every which way in the third quarter. A minute later his touchdown dive made it 10-3 and made the crowd of 53,187 antsy.

November 24, 1991

The Washington Redskins had talked about playing teams that would gamble, about onside kicks and Hail Marys and game plans that were both aggressive and free-wheeling. The Dallas Cowboys were all of those things yesterday, and though the Redskins may have known what was coming, they were still knocked off balance and handed their first loss of the season, 24-21, before 55,561 at RFK Stadium.

After a furious fourth-quarter rally fell short, the previously unbeaten Redskins said they'd never expected to go 16-0, and that their larger goals -- winning the National Football Conference's Eastern Division and getting home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs -- were still attainable.

"We had a great start," middle linebacker Matt Millen said, "but it's not how you start that people remember. It's how you finish."

At 11-1, the Redskins lead the NFC East by four games over three 7-5 teams -- the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants. And with three of their final four games on the road, they still lead the Bears and Saints (both 9-3) by two games in the race for home-field advantage.

Here's a short version cartoon of the history of the Cowboys vs. Redskins.