Cowboys Capitalize on Redskins
By Dave Brady
DALLAS, Nov. 28 Jim Ninowski persisted against all kinds of adversity tonight and brought the Redskins back from a 17-0 deficit to a 20-19 lead over the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter at the Cotton Bowl.
But the Cowboys, 21-point favorites, finally clinched a tie for the Capitol Division title in the National Football League by coming up with a 23-yard field goal by Mike Clark, his second, and a five-yard runback of an interception by defensive end Larry Cole for a touchdown and a 29-20 victory.
Ninowski threw three touchdown passes, 29 yards to flanker Charley Taylor, 11 to split end Jerry Smith, and finally four to tight end Pat Richter, throwing a brief scare into the defending Eastern Conference champions who went into the game with the highest-powered offense in the league.
Don Meredith took the Cowboys to a 10-0 lead. Fumbles by running back Bob Brunet of the Redskins set up Clark's first field goal and a touchdown by the Cowboys.
Meredith was knocked out of the game in the second quarter when hit by defensive end Spain Musgrove and defensive tackle Danny Crane on an intentionally grounded pass, but substitute Craig Morton's first pass went for 41 yards to flanker Lance Rentzel to the Redskins' 13-yard line, setting up a nine-yard touchdown run by fullback Don Perkins.
17-7 at Halftime
A 30-yard runback of a kickoff by Dick Smith gave the Redskins position on their 42-yard line and Ninowski capitalized on some of the punishment he took from 260-pound defensive tackle Jethro Pugh.
As Ninowski scrambled and threw a 13-yard pass to running back Brunet, he was roughed by Pugh and the 15-yard penalty advanced the play to the Dallas 30.
From the 29, Ninowski hit flanker Taylor on the dead run. Cornerback Cornell Green fell on his face at the eight-yard line and Taylor scored with ease.
Graham Gets 15
Graham became so incensed when a fumble by kickoff returner Craig Baynham was awarded to teammate Malcolm Walker instead of Redskin Pete Larson that he threw the penalty flag at an official. It gave the Cowboys a first down on the Redskins' 44.
The Cowboys did not score but Ron Widby punted to the Redskins' seven-yard line and four plays later, Ninowski was hit in the end zone by Pugh and fumbled out of bounds, for an automatic safety, boosting the Dallas advantage to 19-7.
The play before that flanker Taylor caught a 40-yard pass but it was nullified by a holding penalty against the Redskins.
On the Cowboys' next series of downs, safety Jim (Yazoo) Smith of the Redskins appeared to have wrestled a reception away from flanker Rentzel but it was ruled an incompletion. Graham and assistants Mike McCormack and Mo Scarry demonstrated their protest at the call.
Ninowski took the Redskins to a touchdown in the same period, despite being pushed back into a second-an-48 situation by two holding penalties.
He passed 56 yards to split end Jerry Smith for a first down on the Cowboys' six-yard line and alarm spread through the crowd of 66,076 following an 11-yard pass to Smith for a touchdown.
Charlie Gogolak's second conversion cut the Cowboys' margin to 19-14 and there were cries of "We Want Morton." The No. 2 quarterback had stayed in for only three plays in the second quarter and Meredith was not showing to advantage after returning to the game.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, safety Brig Owens of the Redskins intercepted his eighth pass of the season for the NFL lead and ran 31 yards to the Cowboys' 32.
Ninowski passes 20 yards to flanker Taylor, who burned cornerback Green again on a gain to the four-yard line. On the next play, 6-foot-5 tight end Richter outreached defensive back Dick Daniels for a four-yard touchdown pass in the end zone.
Gogolak's conversion attempt was blocked by defensive end George Andrie but the Redskins had the lead for the first time, 20-19, with 2:12 gone in the quarter.
Then things began going wrong again.
Baynham ran back Gogolak's kickoff 20 yards and a 15-yard personal foul penalty against the Redskins put the ball on the Dallas 42. Split end Bob Hayes beat cornerback Rickie Harris on a 22-yard reception that put the ball on the Washington 22 and on fourth down, Clark kicked a 25-yard field goal to put the Cowboys ahead to stay.
Ninowski was hit hard by defensive end Andrie and his pass went incomplete. Ninowski apparently was still feeling the effects of Andrie's jolt on the next play because he far overthrew a pass to Larson. On third down, he was mauled by Pugh as he let go a pass and defensive end Cole intercepted it and bulled five yards for a touchdown.
Cole also ran 21 yards with a recovered fumble for a touchdown in Washington when the Cowboys won, 44-24.
In all, Ninowski was intercepted three times and was thrown six times for losses of 60 yards. He completed 18 of 34 passes for 280 yards, exceeding the combined efforts of Meredith and Morton.
The Redskins, swept by the Cowboys for the first season in their series history, lost all three of their big games in 12 days - to Dallas, Green Bay and Dallas - and came out of it with a 4-8 record, their worst season since 1963, when they had a 3-11 performance under coach Bill McPeak.