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1960-69 | 1970-79 | 1980-89 | 1990-99 | 2000 and Beyond

The Rivalry: 1980-89

Nov. 27, 1980: The Cowboys practically begged to be upset today. But even their six turnovers could not revive a Redskin offense that has forgotten how to score. The Washington cause was not helped when quarterback Joe Theismann aggravated his hamstring pull late in the first half of this 14-10 loss and had to leave the game, allowing the Cowboys front four a chance to tee off on his substitute, Mike Kruczek.

Sept. 6, 1981: Washington decided the only way to beat Dallas in the season opener yesterday was to all but ignore the run and pass, pass, pass. But the Cowboys shot down that strategy by intercepting four of Joe Theismann's passes in defeating the new-look Redskins, 26-10.

Nov. 22, 1981: By losing, 24-10, to the Dallas Cowboys today, the Redskins once again proved they can't compete against more talented oppponents, unless Joe Washington stays healthy and their nickel defense improves dramatically.

Dec. 5, 1982: Dallas stunned the Redskins yesterday with some uncharacteristic blitzing tactics, then used a daring fourth-period run off a fake punt to end the Redskins' hopes of a fifth straight victory this season. The Cowboy blitzes led to a staggering seven sacks of quarterback Joe Theismann, disrupting Washington's normally well-meshed offense. But when the Redskins recall this 24-10 defeat, their first of this season, they probably will remember Danny White's suprising decision not to punt from his 21 with seven minutes left.

Jan. 23, 1983: It couldn't get much sweeter than this for the Washington Redskins. In a madhouse called RFK Stadium, they got all the revenge and respect they wanted yesterday by beating the Dallas Cowboys, 31-17, to earn their second trip to the Super Bowl.

Sept. 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.

Dec. 11, 1983: Tilt the picture of the game in any direction and the shiny truth remains the same: the Washington Redskins dominated the Dallas Cowboys today. The Redskins defeated Dallas, 31-10, before 65,074 at Texas Stadium, representing Washington's largest margin of victory in this rivalry. Consequently, after 15 weeks of first-place residence, the Cowboys are a chasing posse again.

Oct. 14, 1984: Maybe it wasn't propaganda after all. Only one day before the rout, Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs had said the Dallas Cowboys had purposely played down their talents to give the Redskins a false sense of security. Perhaps he'll reconsider now. Yesterday, the Redskins defeated the Cowboys, 34-14, before 55,431 at RFK Stadium, thereby claiming sole possession of first place in the NFC East Division, while leaving Tom Landry's fedora flattened under a steamroller of Riggo Drills.

Dec. 9, 1984: The Washington Redskins' season dangled from a ledge late today at Texas Stadium. They trailed the Dallas Cowboys by 15 points at halftime and their playoff hopes, it seemed, were a blink away from becoming remote. But then Redskins cornerback Darrell Green returned an interception 32 yards for a score. That was the spark that rekindled the flame of the team that has appeared in the last two Super Bowls. The Redskins defeated the Cowboys, 30-28.

Sept. 9, 1985: What a disastrous way for a football team to start a season. What a miserable way for a guy to spend a birthday. What a score. What a loss. The Washington Redskins, notoriously slow starters under Coach Joe Gibbs, began 1985 with their worst defeat in six seasons, losing tonight to the Dallas Cowboys, 44-14.

Oct. 12, 1986: What more could have gone wrong today for the Washington Redskins? Two controversial calls by officials hurt them badly, Herschel Walker tore them apart early and often, and their own mistakes beat them in the end. It was another miserable day for Washington in Texas Stadium, and when it was over, the Dallas Cowboys (4-2) had thoroughly defeated the previously unbeaten Redskins, 30-6, before 63,264.

Nov. 23, 1986: When the Washington Redskins spoke last week of getting their revenge against the Dallas Cowboys, there was no way anyone could have imagined exactly what they had in mind. Now we know. Fed up after losing three consecutive games to the Cowboys, the Redskins jumped to a series-record 34-point halftime lead and coasted to an incredibly one-sided 41-14 victory before 55,642 yesterday at RFK Stadium.

Oct. 19, 1987: This wasn't supposed to be. The replacement Washington Redskins, playing without any of their veterans and without quarterback Ed Rubbert for more than three quarters, weren't given much if any chance to beat the Dallas Cowboys tonight. But they did. Stopping a furious Dallas comeback bid on fourth down at the Washington 13-yard line with two seconds to play in the game, the Redskins upset the Cowboys, 13-7, to end an improbable undefeated replacement season in first place in the NFC East.

Dec. 13, 1987: What more could you ask of the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys? Yesterday, they fought, clawed, kicked and were so nasty that a helmet even was yanked off a player's head. A big Washington lead all but evaporated into the chilly air at RFK Stadium; a late Dallas comeback fell short due to a controversial mix of a questionable coaching decision, an unusual non-measurement that infuriated Tom Landry, several penalties and an instant replay review. The Redskins won a game that meant next to nothing, 24-20, but it left opposing players pointing fingers at one another, spitting fire and complaining well into the night. Isn't that what this rivalry is all about?

Oct. 9, 1988: The Washington Redskins' disappointing 2-3 record entering today's game against the Dallas Cowboys was due in large part to a tendency to give up big plays but make very few. The team's minus-eight turnover ratio entering the game was next to last in the NFC, tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That ratio improved substantially in Washington's 35-17 victory at Texas Stadium.

Dec. 11, 1988: Quarterback Doug Williams' fluttering, fourth-down lob to tight end Don Warren seemed as catchable as a fluff pillow yesterday until Michael Downs' fingertips intervened. The ball hit the ground, 10 delirious Dallas Cowboys hit Downs and the Washington Redskins hit cold pavement. The defending Super Bowl champions have no more playoff mathematics after a 24-17 loss at RFK Stadium.

Sept. 24, 1989: Besides a rocky coin flip and another one of those haunting 77-yard fumble returns, the Washington Redskins today took an unimpeded path through the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium, 30-7.

Nov. 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.

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