Redskins 'Drop' Another, 24-18
By Dave Brady
DALLAS, Sept. 20 The Redskins played on a dry field today, but they still could not hold the ball and the Dallas Cowboys rode away with a 24-18 victory.
It was a cliff hanger. The Cowboys held onto the six-point lead by their fingernails for 6 minutes, 2 seconds while the Redskins resisted the heroic efforts of quarterback George Izo to turn a sorry performance into a spectacular "save."
The Redskins fumbled four times in presenting a victory to the Cleveland Browns last week. Today, they dropped 10 passes, three that almost certainly would have resulted in touchdowns.
Mitchell Muffs Toss
In the second quarter, he dropped a pass on the Cowboy 15-yard line that would have been an easy score.
In the third quarter, rookie halfback Charley Taylor dropped a pass in the clear that would have produced a touchdown.
Starting quarterback Sonny Jurgensen was playing on one leg and his aim was off. Meanwhile, the Cowboy defense ate up the Redskin runners, holding them to a net of 59 yards rushing.
Trap Fools Redskins
It was not until the fourth quarter that the Redskins scored a touchdown - on Izo's 29-yard pass to J. W. Lockett. Still they stayed within reach of the Cowboys on three field goals by 40-year-old Jim Martin, an unusual safety and interceptions by Sam Huff, Jim Steffen and Jim Carr.
The Cowboys intercepted two passes, one of which rookie Mel Renfro of Oregon returned 39 yards for a touchdown that vaulted Dallas into a 24-9 lead.
Jurgensen's Foot Cut
There were 12 minutes, 40 seconds remaining when Izo took over. He called on halfback Taylor for an option pass and the rookie completed it to Mitchell for 41 yards to the Cowboy 21-yard line. But when Izo tried to connect with left end Joe Hernandez, the throw was off target and low to line backer Dave Edwards of the Cowboys, who intercepted on his knees near the goalline.
Edwards was jostled hard and fumbled. Linebacker Lee Roy Jordan recovered over the Cowboy goalline and was tackled for the safety.
After Billy Lothridge kicked to the Redskins, Izo connected for 18 yards to Hernandez and then on fourth down, needing five yards at the 29-yard line of Dallas, he passes to fullback Lockett, who dragged defensive backs Cornell Green and Renfro over the goalline from the three, cutting the Cowboy lead to 24-18.
The Redskin defense showed its appreciation, forcing the first punt by the Cowboys, and Izo began a daring drive from his 35-yard line.
On third down, halfback Tom Tracy was inches short of a first down at the Redskin 44. When the Cowboys braced themselves for the big running play on fourth down, Izo scurried until Mitchell was five yards behind Green on the Cowboy 23. Izo lofted a picture pass to Mitchell, who gathered it in momentarily, then dropped it with nobody closer than Green.
A seven-pointer at that stage of the game, with just 2:29 to go, would have put the Redskins ahead, 25-24, and would have transferred the pressure to Dallas.
The Redskins got one more shot with 1:38 to go.
Izo used the new double wing formation and hit Taylor down the center for 17 yards, but the Cowboys went into a three-man rush that was still too much for Izo and he finally gave up the ball, needing 26 yards for a first down with 21 seconds left.
In the third quarter, Taylor was presented with a grand opportunity to reward those among the crowd of 25,158 who came over from his home town of Grand Prairie to see him play.
From the Redskin 12-yard line Jurgensen saw Taylor break away from the speedy Renfro at the Redskin 45.
Jurgensen evaded a rush from a seven-man line and scrambled until he could unload to Taylor, who had the ball in his hands and dropped it with nobody in front of him.
Mitchell had defensive back Green beaten badly in the first quarter but dropped a pass neatly delivered to him by Jurgensen deep in Dallas territory after Huff had intercepted at the Cowboy 37. Martin kicked a 31-yard field goal that accounted for all the scoring in the period.
Jurgensen and Mitchell made connections for a moment a the Cowboy 15-yard line in the second quarter, but Mitchell could not hold on to the ball. Martin kicked a 41-yard field goal to salvage three points.
Dallas went ahead when Renfro returned the kickoff 46 yards and Perkins finally pounded over from the one-yard line.
Dallas drove 74 yards for another score in the same period, Perkins going over from the three for a 14-6 lead.
Jurgensen failed to throw to Mitchell unattended in the end zone near the close of the half and Martin kicked a 32-yard filed goal to cut the Cowboy lead to 14-9.