1979 Playoffs Rams 21 Cowboys 19

An an easy victory is preferable to a very close one.  It’s easier on the fans.  Teams can rest regulars and  give the reserves valuable playing time.   But to me the biggest factor is in the immediate aftermath of the game.   A team often comes  from behind to win and  falls flat the following week.  

On the last regular season game of 1979,  the Dallas Cowboys defeated  the Washington Redskins 35 to 34. As per usual, Roger  Staubach led a great come from behind effort.   Look at a recent article called Roger Staubach Last Miracle.  On the first round of the playoffs,  Dallas hosted the Los Angles Rams.  All signs pointed to any easy win.  After all:

Dallas defeated the Rams 28 to 0 in the previous year’s NFC Title  game.  Earlier in the current year,  Dallas demolished the Rams  30 to 6. Dallas’ record in 1979 was 11-5, two games better than the 9-7 Rams.   As might be expected, the Rams’ competition  in the NFC West was way below Dallas in the NFC East.   Los Angeles did not even have to win their final game.   The system would looked really  bad with a  .500 team in the playoffs.

This game was about the most even as possible.

Los Angeles Rams-Vince Ferragamo completed only nine passes but three went for touchdowns.  In the final minute,  VF covered 54 yards in a touchdown pass to Billy Waddy that  put the Rams ahead for good.   Wendell Tyler rushed  for 82 yards and  caught a 4o yard touchdown pass.

Dallas Cowboys-In the final game of his career,  Roger Staubach completed 12 passes in 28 attempts for 124 yards and a touchdown.  Tony Dorsett carried 19 times for 87 yards.   Staubach, under a fierce  pass rush,  threw a pass to an interior lineman which drew a penalty and ended the game.







1966 St Louis-A Big Dive

Now for 1966

The Cardinals brought a 7-1-1 record into Pitt Stadium to play the Steelers who were 2-5-1. Pittsburgh used special teams and defense to get the victory.

–Paul Martha returned an interception 38 yards to the Eagle 10. Ron Smith threw a touchdown pass to John Hilton on the next play.
–Andy Russell blocked a punt from Jacky Smith and returned it for a touchdown.
–D Hoak, on a pass option play, threw a touchdown for 38 yards to Roy Jefferson.

The Steelers denied St. Louis a touchdown on this game. Final Steelers 30 Cardinals 9

The very next week, with an oddity, the Pittsburgh Steelers went to St. Louis. This was a bitterly fought game full of penalties, turnovers, and sacks. The Cardinals gained 228 yards to just 80 yards for the Steelers. St Louis got two field goals and the Steelers got one. Final. Cardinals 6 Steelers 3.

The victory gave the Cardinals a 8-2-1 record and in contention for the title. However, they lost the final three games to finish 8-5-1. Among those three losses was a 16 to 10 embarrassment to the first year Atlanta Falcons

1979 Rogers Staubach’s Last Miracle

The last weekend of 1979 saw a tight situation in the NFC East.   Three teams the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins, and the Philadelphia Eagles,  had 1o-5 records.  As the math revealed, the Eagles had the Wild Card  and could do no better or worse.  The winner of the Cowboys and Redskins game would be in first place  heading into the post season.  The loser would have to plan for 1980.  A few weeks earlier at Washington, the Redskins  defeated the Cowboys 34 to 21.

At Dallas, the Redskins got off to a quick start leading 17 to 0.  The Cowboys came back and it was a back and fourth game until the fourth quarter.   With seven minutes left in the game the Diesel, John Riggins, went 66 yards for a touchdown  and a 34 to 21 lead for DC.   After a 7-1 start, Dallas had been floundering and few thought that Dallas would win. Then came Roger Staubach throwing  two touchdown passes-26 yards to Ron Springs and  eight yards pass to Tony Hill.  Only eight seconds remained in the game and the crowd went wild.

Joe Theisman had a good game but he was no match for Roger Staubach.  RS completed 24 of 46 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns.  Tony Hill caught eight of these passes for 113 yards  and three touchdowns.   John Riggins kept the Redskins in the game by carrying 22 times for 151 yards and three touchdowns.  This was the last of the Staubach lead come from behind victories.

The Eagles, on the road, defeated the Houston Oilers 26 to 20.

Slow Starts, Late Wins 2006-2011 Why?


2006-After 11 games, the Eagles were 5-6;  counting playoffs the Eagles then won six in a row;  defeated the New York Giants twice in a four game span;  lost to the New Orleans Saints 27 to 24 in the second round of the playoffs;  lost earlier in the season to the Saints by the same score.

2007-Floundering through 13 games with a record of 5-8;  the team should have won five of the eight but simply could not turn the page for a happy ending;  Eagles won their final three games to reach .500; the first of these three was a 10 to 6 win over the Cowboys at Texas Stadium;  with Dallas winning 13 games,  this was no small feat.

2008-What Eagle fan forget this  sensational comeback winning six of seven after going 5-5-1 ?  This included two wins over the New York Giants, 20 to 14 and 23 to 11, with both games at the Meadow Lands.  The loss to the Cardinals in the NFC Title Game 32 to 25 was to me the  biggest disappointment  in over 60 years of rooting for Philadelphia.

2009-In Week 9, the Eagles  gave away a 20 to 16 game to the Dallas Cowboys in Philadelphia.  After that the Eagles won six in a row.  In three of these games,  the team was passing up scoring opportunities, muffing pass interceptions,  and not always making third down stops.  They were close rather than easy wins.  Before playing at Dallas in the final game, I had doubts about how good the team  really was.

Dallas white washed the Eagles 24 to 0.  Instead of a BYE and the home field advantage, the Eagles went to Dallas on the Wild Card Week.  Playing in Dallas on successive weeks is cruel and unusual punishment.  Cowboys won 34 to 14. 

2011-After  12 weeks, the Philadelphia Eagles were 4-8. They caught fire and won their last four games by  comfortable margins.The biggest win was a 20 to 7 affair with at the Dallas Cowboys.

A  footnote- the Eagles won both games with the Dallas Cowboys.  They came very near a double shut out.   In Philadelphia  the Eagles were leading 34 to 0 with about four minutes left in the game.  Tony Romo threw a 56 yard touchdown pass to Laurent Robertson bringing the score to 34 to 7.  In Dallas it looked like a sure shout out.   The Eagles were leading 20 to 0 with only 25 seconds left.   Our guys  were  punting from their own goal line.  After Russ Carter blocked a punt,  Stephen McGee threw a four yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin.    Final again Eagles 20 Dallas 7.

Here were the four games.

@ Miami won 26 to 10;

@ home defeated the New York Jets 45 to 19;

@ Dallas won 20 to 7;

@ home  defeated the Washington Redskins 34 to 10.      


1972 Roger Staubach First Comeback

The Dallas Cowboys had defeated the San Francisco  the NFC title in both 1970 and 1971.    1970 at San Francisco 17 to 10;  1971 at Dallas 14 to 3.  In 1972 it looked like it would be different.   On Thanksgiving Day, San Francisco demolished Dallas 31 to 10.  The 49ers lead 14 to 10 at halftime and Dallas did nothing in the second half.  Ted Kwalick, the Penn State All American, caught four  passes for 68 yards.

The defense and linebacker Skip Vanderbunt were the real st0ry.  The 49ers sacked  Craig Morton and Roger Staubach nine times for 66 yards in loses.  Skip Vanderbunt had a day that defensive players wish for.  In the first quarter, Vanderbunt recovered a fumble and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown.  With less than three minutes remaining, he sealed the game with an interception and return 21 yards for another score.   Dallas finished 10-4  to 8-5-1 for the 49ers;  but this day the 49ers were clearly better. 

One month later, the Cowboys went to San Francisco in the first round of the playoffs.  Despite the better record the 49ers were first in the NFC West while Dallas was second to the Redskins in the NFC East.  This game had some novel twists. After three quarters, the 49ers lead  28 to 13.  

Keeping the game close for Dallas was Craig Morton throwing yard 27 yard touchdown pass to Lance Alworth.  Then game a 27 yard field goal from Tony Frisch.  For San Francisco, Vic Washington  returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.  Larry Scieber  capped three  touchdown drives with 1 yard plunches.  Dallas recorded five sacks for 33 yards.

Behind 28 to 30, Tom Landry inserted Roger Staubach at quarterback in the fourth quarter.  There was allot of second guessing when the Cowboys kicked a field goal making the score 28 to 16.   Fans thought it was too late for that  The next two drives Staubach threw  for touchdowns- 20 yards to Bill Parks and 10 yards to Ron Sellers.   The Cowboys were really ecstatic jumping all over the  bench.  The crowd was quite; Dallas had beaten the Forty Niners in the playoffs  for three consecutive years.  Twice in the NFC Title game and now at the first round.

Often teams with great come behind victories fall flat the following week.   And so with the Dallas Cowboys  in the NFC Title game that year.  They were like jelly fish going to DC.  The Redskins beat them 26 to 3.  

This was Roger Staubach’s first come from behind victory.  

Harold Carmichael HOF

The Philadelphia Eagles, during Harold Carmichael playing years,  were in the Super Bowl only once.   Multiple Super Bowl appearances really grease the road to Canton.   In the 1980 season, the Eagles at home defeated the Oakland  Raiders 10 to 7.  Minus an 86 yard touchdown pass, Jim Plunkett to Cliff Branch, this was a splendid defensive performance.   Ron Jaworski threw a 43 yard pass to Leroy Harris to set up the winning touchdown.    The Eagles sacked  Jim Plunkett eight times for 62 yards in losses;  and the  Eagles got two turn overs.

Two months later saw the Eagles and Raiders in  Super Bowl XV at New Orleans.    Harold Carmichael was to make the biggest mistake of his career.   Behind 7 to 0 at the enemy 45, Harold went in motion,  something he had never done during the season.  He  cut sharply to his left as Jaworski lofted a 45 yard touchdown pass to Rodney Parker.   The penalty negated the score.  There were two other plays in the first half, neither involving  Carmichael, that the Eagles failed to make.  Oakland won easily 27 to 10.

Here are some highlights for Carmichael:

In 1973, he lead the NFL with both receptions with  67 and yards gained  with 1,115.  He also gained 1,078 yards in 1978 and 1,025 yards in 1981;

1975 at home vs. the Redskins.  Caught a pass deflected off Charlie Young and ran into the End Zone;  17 point underdogs Eagles won 26 to 10.

1979 at the New York Jets.  Caught two touchdown passes and blocked an extra point.  Eagles won 17 to 9. 

1983 at home with the Baltimore Colts.  On an End Around play threw a 45 yard touchdown pass to Mike Quick.  This was the only pass attempt in his career.

St Louis Cardinals 1963 to 1965

Previously I mentioned the Cardinals  late season losses.     In 1963,  St Louis  lost two of the last three to finish 9-5.   In 1964, there was a midyear  dip where the Cardinals lost three of four games.  The final record was 9-3-2 one half game behind conference winning Cleveland Browns.  For consolation, the Cardinals bettered the Browns  head to head games.  There was an early season tie at Cleveland 33-33 and they defeated the Browns 28 to 19 at home in December.

1965- For a complete picture I mentioned the 1965 season a few weeks ago.  After losing to the Philadelphia Eagles on opening day, the Cardinals won four consecutive games.  The 49 to 13 win at Cleveland was one of the best games  in St Louis history.  The final game of that  stretch was a 20 to 7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.  They lost the next two bringing their record to 5-3. 

In week nine,  Charley Johnson fired a 59 yard touchdown pass to Billy Gambrel for a 21 to 17 win.  Then came disaster came as the  Cardinals lost their  remaining six games for a 5-9 record.