Redskins Win After Trailing by 21-0
By Dave Brady
The Redskins - bless their fumbling hearts - recoiled from a 21-0 deficit and bombed, boomed, and entombed the Dallas Cowboys, 34-31, yesterday at D.C. Stadium.
Quarterback Sonny Jurgensen put a happy face on the Eastern Conference standings in the National Football League by pitching the Redskins into a tie for second place with two touchdown passes in 2 minutes, 16 seconds of a 21-point fourth quarter. He threw for another touchdown, in the second period, in passing for 411 yards.
It was much more exciting than that as the Redskins won the fifth of their last six games, Jurgensen took them 80 yards in 37 seconds for the winning score, a five-yard touchdown pass to left end Angelo Coia, a sudden hero.
Sanders Blocks Kick
He qualified for an acting award with his nonchalance as he seemed to be dallying behind the line before the ball was snapped. But when linebacker Sam Huff and tackle Fred Williams suddenly opened up a seam for him in the Cowboys' shoe-to-shoe defense, Sanders boomed in on Villanueva and blocked the ball.
It went bounding crazily. The Redskins' Willie Adams got a hand on it for a moment before safety Jim Steffen rooted it out from a gaggle of Cowboys, and the clock ran out.
The savage Redskins' defense asserted itself at that juncture and forced a 45-yard field goal attempt by Villanueva that was short, setting up the 80-yard challenge to Jurgensen with 1:49 left.
There was an apprehensive groan from the sellout crowd of 50,205 when Jurgensen committed the Redskins' seventh fumble, because all of the Cowboys' scores had been set up by Redskins' mistakes.
But Jurgensen recovered and picked up a nine-yard gain. He seemed to be short on a pass to Jerry Smith, who fell diving for the ball, but Smith had been interfered with by linebacker Chuck Howley, and the penalty amounted to nine more yards.
Jurgensen went right back to Smith for a 22-yard pass-run to the Cowboys' 40-yard line.
With 1:16 to go, flanker Mitchell slanted in on a goalpost pattern and Jurgensen drilled the ball low to avoid a possible interception. It was a fortuitous development, because defensive halfback Cornell Green was jackknifed over Mitchell's back when the ball came hip-high to Mitchell, who caught it while bent nearly doubled a the five-yard line.
Coia Fools Livingston
With 1:12 remaining, Jencks came through with a booming kickoff so deep into the Cowboys' end zone that former Olympic sprinter Bob Hayes decided not to run the ball out.
Fullback Don Perkins dropped a swing pass by quarterback Don Meredith and then tackle Joe Rutgens threw Meredith for a six-yard loss as the clock whittled the Cowboys' hopes.
But against the Redskins' "prevent" defense, flanker Pete Gent got a 20-yard gain on a pass reception before Sanders caught him at the Cowboys' 34-yard line.
Defensive halfback Johnny Sample broke up a home-run shot to flanker Buddy Dial and, with 46 seconds left, Rutgens again threw Meredith for a six-yard loss.
Then it was that Olympian Hayes struck fear into the Redskins, taking a short pass and scooting 35 yards before safety Paul Krause brought him down at the Redskins' 37.
The clock showed seven seconds left when Villanueva attempted the field goal that was aborted by Sanders' charge.
Cowboys Build 21-0 Lead
In the first quarter, Jurgensen fumbled and Dallas tackle Bob Lilly went 41 yards to the Redskins' six-yard line before Redskin halfback Charley Taylor caught him. On third down, halfback Perry Lee Dunn took a swing pass from Meredith and scored from the six-yard line.
Fifty-one seconds later, Taylor fumbled for the second time after a three-yard gain to the Redskins' five and defensive halfback Cornell Green recovered the ball on the run and scored for the Cowboys.
Gaechter Blocks Kick
The Redskins got moving after Villanueva missed a 25-yard field goal attempt. From his 20-yard line, Jurgensen hit Taylor with a 22-yard pass and Taylor rambled 16 more. It came up fourth down with the Redskins needing a yard at the Cowboys' 33 and they not only gambled for it, but Jurgensen went to the air. Tight end Smith took a flare pass for seven yards.
Two plays later, from the Cowboys' 26, Jurgensen calmly took the pressure from the onrushing linemen, waited until Taylor got a lead on defensive back Warren Livingston and linebacker Dave Edwards, then zipped a pass his way. Taylor gathered it in at the ten-yard line and took it the rest of the way, cutting the Cowboys' advantage to 21-6. Jencks' extra-point attempt was blocked.
In the third quarter, Villanueva kicked a 30-yard field goal after Taylor fumbled for the third time, Edwards recovering on the Redskins' 42.
The Redskins then went 90 yards to score. Big plays were a 21-yard pass to Coia, a 16-yard run by Taylor, and a pass to Mitchell for 22 yards, on top of which was tacked 15 yards of the 135 the Cowboys drew in penalties.
From the Cowboys' 22, Jurgensen hit Coia with a low 14-yard pass that he caught on his knees at the sideline. Jurgensen finally shouldered his way over the goal line from a half yard out on third down, reducing the Cowboys' edge to 24-13.
The Redskins went 75 yards at the beginning of the fourth quarter, mostly on 17 and 19-yard passes to Smith, and a 21-yarder to Taylor that put the ball on the Cowboys' two as Taylor limped off the field. Fullback Danny Lewis smashed over from there.
Jurgensen set up the Cowboys' last touchdown with a pass that came up short and was intercepted by Edwards on the Cowboys' 48-yard line. Two plays later, Meredith connected with end Frank Clarke on a 53-yard pass-run for a score, making it 31-20 for the Cowboys.
The Redskins then met the challenge and next visit the Cleveland Browns, who clinched the Eastern title yesterday with a 9-2 record. The Redskins are 5-6 and hoping to finish second.