Redskins' Last Effort Doesn't Upset Cowboys
By Dave Brady
By 20-10 the Cowboys improved their record to 11-2-1 as they headed into the Eastern Conference playoff against Cleveland here next Sunday. And they demonstrated their defense is ready by shutting out the Redskins' offense without a touchdown.
The Cowboys used Washington as their patsy in being the only one of the four NFL division champs to evade defeat this last day of the regular season.
It was the first time since Sonny Jurgensen joined the Redskins in 1964 that Dallas prevented him from throwing a touchdown, although he did complete 61 percent of his passes despite a breakdown by his blockers.
Thrown Five Times
A 23-yard punt by Mike Bragg of the Redskins into a stiff wind presented the Cowboys a scoring opportunity at the Washington 44-yard line and quarterback Craig Morton passed to tight end Pettis Norman, who broke a tackle by Pat Fischer at the three-yard line on his way to a 26-yard touchdown.
The Dallas defense then took over and held the Redskins to a 34-yard field goal by Curt Knight in the second quarter.
The Redskins did not score a touchdown until 50 minutes 22 seconds elapsed. Right linebacker Chris Hanburger scooped up a fumble by running back Calvin Hill of the Cowboys and carried it 10 yards for a score, eluding tight end Norman at the eight-yard line.
Split end Charley Taylor of the Redskins caught six passes for 80 yards, but lost the receiving title to Dan Abramowicz of New Orleans, who caught eight against Pittsburgh. Roy Jefferson of the Stelers, who had been tied with Taylor and Abramowicz going into the game, was held to one reception by New Orleans.
Taylor dropped two passes in the fourth quarter.
And Jurgensen's pass was intended for Taylor in the first quarter when Renfro intercepted. Taylor also fumbled one of his catches that might have kept a drive going if he had gone on to a first down. Flanker Bob Long recovered it.
Tight end Jerry Smith and running backs Larry Brown and Charley Harraway also dropped passes. Harraway inside the Cowboys' 20-yard line.
There were other flagrant evidences that the Redskins were not prepared. Once more a kick was blocked, a 27-yard field goal try by Knight in the third quarter.
As far back as the exhibition season coach Vince Lombardi became irritated by the repeated flubs of the kicking teams and said, "We are the laughing stock of the league." He appeared equally unhappy on the sidelines after today' flub.
In this 20th game of the year for the Redskins they were so disorganized they almost punted with only 10 players on the field, but Jerry Smith hurried into the lineup just in time.
The Cowboys were playing for keeps, despite coach Tom Landry's pregame hints that he would probably rest his front-line players for the upcoming game with Cleveland.
Morton went all the way at quarterback. Hill all the way at running back despite only recently having recovered from an ailing big toe.
And when grandstand quarterbacks among a crowd of 56,924 in the Cotton Bowl pleaded with Landry to go for a first down on fourth-and-one at the Washington 47 on the third play of the fourth quarter, he opted to protect a 13-3 lead by ordering a 54-yard field goal attempt that, with the wind, was almost as safe as a punt.
Clarke's kick was seven yards short and Rickie Harris brought it back 16 yards to touch off a drive to the Dallas 16, from where the Redskins were driven back by two sackings of Jurgensen. Knight tried a 42-yard field goal into the wind that was wide.
It was on the Cowboys' first play following the touchback that Hill fumbled and Hanburger recovered the ball and ran for a touchdown, with 5:22 gone in the final period, narrowing the gap to 13-10.
Knight's ensuing kickoff into the wind carried only to the Dallas 10 and former hurdler Richmond Flowers ran it back 30 yards.
Morton passed 18 yards to Rentzel but handed off to Hill and fullback Walto Garrison for eight of the other nine plays. Hill swept to his left for nine yards to the six and went the rest of the way on a sweep to his right after breaking out of the graps of rookie end John Hoffman at the line of scrimmage.
A holding penalty set the Redskins back to their 10-yard line after Clark of the Cowboys kicked off into the end zone. Jurgensen's pass intened for Taylor was intercepted by left cornerback Cornell Green but Dallas was charged with pass interference at the Cowboy 27.
Jurgensen got the Redskins down to the Dallas 24 with three seconds remaining, but on third-and-nine he was subjected to a savage rush and unloaded in desperation to running back Harraway.
Left linebacker Dave Edwards flung Harraway to the ground with almost contemptuous disdain and almost in the same motion turned on his heel and headed toward the dressing room.
The final gun found the Redskins in a fourth-and-38 lurch, epitomizing their helplessness before the bullybug defense of Dallas.
In the dressing room, a 7-5-2 season in the books, Lombardi reacted with unemotional realism. "The next order of business is getting ready for the draft," he said.