This is a 21 part fictionalized story about my beloved football team's quest for the mythical Super Bowl Three-peat.
Chapter 2 - "Bring it On"
I saw no reason why my wife, Maureen, and I shouldn’t spend a couple of days in Dallas on the expense account of the Trib.
I wanted the rest before we moved on to Arlington to get all tense and keyed-up over the Redskins-Dallas game. Dallas is one of the great eating cities. I rank it up there with Paris, New York, Venice, DC, Fort Worth and Austin in this respect, although the Texas towns only come into it for barbecue and Tex-Mex.
I was able to get us a room with a balcony that had a view of a man-made lake for only seven hundred and fifty dollars a night. The hotel was conveniently situated near the only place I wanted to dine, but for Maureen’s enjoyment, it was also near all of the elegant shops where you can watch billionaire oilmen buy an emerald the size of an elephant's eye for no more than eighty-nine thousand dollars and change.
I made Maureen eat three meals at Carlos O'Malley's. I had been going to Carlos O'Malley's for many years. Nothing fancy about the place. It was more the equivalent to a diner. You only need to say one thing to the slow-moving waiter: “Bring it on, por favor.”
What would be brought on was a steak that came out lean and sizzling on a platter with French fries and a green salad. The steak would swim around in a delicate brownish-golden sauce. All this, along with three Scotches, came close to being my favorite meal, cattle-country category.
Redskins Hand Dallas “The Truth,” 31-10
by Fidel Andrada
September 15 - After a week of an eye-rolling trash talk from Dallas regarding “The Truth” that this is going to be the Cowboys’ year, the shiny truth remains the same: the Dallas Cowboys got their butts handed to them by the Redskins today.
The Redskins defeated Dallas, 31-10, representing Washington's largest margin of victory in this rivalry. And they won in a manner that is all too familiar to most of the teams they have beaten in the past two seasons: They shut off the running game, forced their opponent to pass and, ultimately, forced interceptions.
The shiny truth will note that running back John Riggins ran for two short touchdowns (one in each half), and gained 89 yards on 27 carries. The stat sheet will note that quarterback Joe Theismann threw two touchdown passes, a 40-yarder to tight end Clint Didier in the first half, when Washington built a 14-10 lead, and a 43-yarder to Art Monk in the third quarter.
The truth will note that the game was made by Washington's gutty defense, which held Dallas scoreless in the second half and below 21 points. Defensive tackle Dave Butz sacked quarterback Danny White three times, and was clinging to his ankle like a buffalo-wing when White threw his touchdown pass.
Tony Dorsett: 34 yards on 14 carries
In all, Dallas netted 33 yards on 20 carries, its fewest rushing yards in team history. The Cowboys weren't much better with the passing, especially in the second half, when White was intercepted three times, and completed 20 of 35 for 197 yards.
Throughout the day, Butz and defensive end Dexter Manley helped control the line of scrimmage and kept White and running back Tony Dorsett doing Keystone Cops routine on midfield.
Dorsett, who had gained 151 yards in the opener, was held to only 34 yards on 14 carries. When asked about his tiring day trying to cross the line of scrimmage, he said, "Butz was all over me. Every time our guards pulled, he was trying to beat them to the point of the attack, and he pretty much did it all day.”
"Dave spent so much time in their backfield, I thought he played for Dallas." said Coach Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs.
Meanwhile, Ron Springs, the fullback, ran six times for minus 1 yard.
The grim fact is, Dallas netted just 95 yards in the second half. Cornerback Darrell Green intercepted a deflected pass near midfield in the third quarter. On the next play, quarterback Joe Theismann, sailed a 43-yard touchdown pass to receiver Art Monk and produced a 21-10 lead.
Furthemore, reserve free safety Greg Williams, who covered for starter Mark Murphy, who aggravated his pulled hamstring in the first half, intercepted two passes.
Rarely have the Cowboys looked so out of sorts.
"It's been a long time since we played this way," said Coach Tom Landry. "Sure, it's surprising when you get dominated like this. But we didn't play well."
Once, after being tackled and purposely driven into the artificial turf, a frustrated Dorsett threw the ball at defensive tackle Darryl Grant. And when Monk glided down the left sideline for the touchdown that ripped all of Dallas' hopes, defensive backs Michael Downs and Dennis Thurman jumped in the middle of the Fun Bunch end zone celebration, trying to stop it. There were a few shoves.
"I personally didn't want them to do that," said Downs. " It was a personal insult."
“Fun for some, I guess,” Monk said with a grin.
Skins use Three Wide-Outs
The Redskins reached deep into their bag of strategy today. Because the Dallas safeties had made so many tackles, clogging the middle, and blitzed so often in their previous meeting resulting in a Dallas 31-30 victory last season, Gibbs opted to take out a tight end and used three wide receivers. Reserved wide-out Alvin Garrett became a starter and said," I found out about this Tuesday. I was at home taking it easy on the day off and they called me in to tell me that I’m starting. It worked.”
"They still took their safeties and snucked them up from the middle when they were going to blitz. They tried to be low-key about it, but we knew it was coming," said Jeff Bostic.
The Redskins scored on their first two drives, taking a 14-0 lead and leaving toast burns on the stunned Cowboys defense.
The first drive ended with Riggins outrunning linebacker Bob Bruenig for a three-yard touchdown around the left side, giving Washington a 7-0 lead with 10:43 left in the quarter. The key play of the drive came when Downs was called for pass interference against wide receiver Charlie Brown, giving Washington a 27-yard gain and first down at the seven.
The Redskins second touchdown came off a play fake to Riggins that left safety Dexter Clinkscale confused and on the ground, leaving Didier wide open over the middle. The 40-yard touchdown represented a 14-0 lead using a play they used many times last season when Didier caught five touchdowns after the same play-fake to Riggins.
A sad, slow country song for the Cowboys
Dallas achieved its only burst of momentum late in the first quarter. It came when the Redskins opted to try for a first down on fourth and inches from their 48. Riggins was held for no gain in a pile-up on the right side.
Two plays later, on came the Cowboys: White lobbed a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Doug Cosbie, who beat linebacker Mel Kaufman at the right corner of the field. Cosbie dove for the catch at the goal line and rolled into the end zone. Dallas was within 14-7 with 37 seconds left in the first quarter. When Rafael Septien kicked a 35-yard field goal, after a lengthy drive with 49 seconds left in the half, Dallas trailed just 14-10.
The second half played like a sad, slow country song for the Cowboys. Their confusion reached its fretful height on the first drive of the third quarter. On fourth and one from his 49, White tried a long count, hoping to draw the Redskins offsides.
With four seconds left on the 30-second clock and Landry on the sideline yelling, “No! Danny, No!" White did a blundering no-no: he took the snap and handed off to surprised running back Ron Springs, who was hit for a two-yard loss. Butz said he heard White arguing with center Tom Rafferty.
The Redskins didn't capitalize here. Neither did they capitalize on their next possession, which was chock full of possibility after Mike Nelms returned White's punt from the end zone a quick-step 42 yards, to the Dallas six.
Three plays later, Theismann, who completed 11 of 17 for 203 yards, threw an interception at the goal line. He was searching for running back Joe Washington, who curled over the middle. It was the same pattern the running back used to beat the Los Angeles Raiders, 37-35, with a touchdown catch last season. This time, Downs stepped in front of Washington and returned the ball to the Dallas 23.
One possession later, the Redskins at last capitalized on a Dallas mishap. Dropping back from his 28, White threw a pass that deflected off Cosbie's raised hands into the arms of receiver Drew Pearson near the Dallas 35. Cornerback Vernon Dean slammed into Pearson, causing him to fumble the ball into the air and into the intercepting arms of cornerback Darryl Green, who fell to the ground at the Dallas 43.
On came the touchdown pass to Monk and the 21-10 lead. Then came Williams’ first interception, which led to a one-yard dive by Riggins on fourth, giving the Redskins a 28-10 lead with 11:19 to play.
How easy was this victory? With eight minutes left, the Cowboys' crowd began heading for the exits, ending a day that their belief of “The Truth” and superiority to the back-to-back Super Bowl champions was nothing more than a hope for a wildcard berth at the playoffs.
Chapter 3: Print Media & The Colts
- My Tale of Perfection - IV
With the Redskins ahead by 24 points midway through the fourth period, Coach Joe Gibbs was still running Joe Washington on end-around plays and sending Art Monk deep down the middle on fly patterns.