Darkness Descends on Redskin Ruins, 34-0
By William Gildea
The Cowboys surrounded them in the first half. The second half was disaster. In the final 30 minutes, the Redskins managed no first downs, minus two yards passing and 17 yards rushing and, not surprisingly, failed to get out of their own territory.
It was the first time the Redskins suffered a shutout since their 53-0 embarrassment 130 regulation games ago in New York in 1961. It was the first time Sonny Jurgensen was shutout as a Redskin. It was their fifth straight loss in a lost season. It was painfully sad with Larry Brown and Charley Harraway and Charley Taylor all out of the battle.
It was laughable for Cowboy partisans. Their sides must have ached in the fourth period when all kinds of ludicrous things happened: a beefy Redskin lineman piling on Bob Hayes long after the smoke had cleared, a Cowboy leaping for an impossible catch to set up their least crucial touchdown of the season in the last minute, a Redskin fumbling and chasing the bouncing ball upfield and watching a Cowboy cover it at the gun.
The horrible mugging, right out there in the open before 57,936 and a television audience, raised Dallas' hopes in the National East race. The Cowboys closed within a half game of St. Louis, which lost, and stayed even with New York, which won.
There were three highlights in the Redskins' team effort.
In the first period, they penetrated all the way down to the Dallas 31-yard line. Success was then spoiled by an incomplete pass, a double reverse into the arms of three Cowboys, a thrown quarterback and a short field goal attempt.
In thie second period, big John Hoffman reached up and blocked a 21-yard field goal attempt.
In the third period, the Redskins dared to punt twice on consecutive plays, proving the snap away from center is no longer a pressure play for them. They punted on a fourth-and-seven situation, then accepted an offsides penalty and punted again on fourth-and-two. The newly discovered center, Gene Hamlin, delivered admirably.
While the Redskins were allowing 34 more points, making the total devastation 141 points in the last four games. Dallas proved for today this was a game only one could play.
The Cowboys rolled up 276 yards rushing, a club record. Rookie Duane Thomas may not have shouted halelujah, but he was thrilled to see the Redskins again. He gained 104 yards against them in Washington, 123 today. Walt Garrison added 74 more.
Garrison scored two touchdowns. So did Dan Reeves.
The Redksins ended up with no touchdowns and almost no runners. With injured Brown and Harraway on the sidelines, Henry Dyer suffered a dislocated shoulder in the second period. That made it incumbent upon Dave Kopay and rookie Danny Pierce to finish in one piece.
The Redskins held Dallas to a scoreless tie in the first period thanks to Jon Jaqua. The first-time starter at safety knocked the ball loose from Thomas and recovered at the Redskins' two-yard line after the Cowboys gained their scoring chance on an interception of a Jurgensen pass by Mel Renfro.
The day-nightmare began in earnest for the Redskins in the second period.The Cowboys held the ball for 7 minutes 48 seconds anddrove 82 yards, 61 by Thomas. Reeves scored the touchdown on a six-yard sweep around right end.
While two holding penalties choked off the Redskins in the second period, further damage was prevented by Hoffman's block of Mike Clark's field goal effort after another Cowboy drive, this one for 61 yards.
Then it happened. Somebody said they had to play a second half. The Cowboys liked the idea from the beginning.
Rookie Mark Washington, who returned a kickoff 100 yards as Dallas won 45-21 in Washington two weeks ago, only made it for 72 this time. But the rest was easy. Garrison was open for a Craig Morton pass from the six for the score.
The Cowboys then swiped another Jurgensen pass, intended for Kopay, with Herb Adderley running 30 yards to the Washington 12. Garrison scored standing up after running up the middle from the eight.
That was 21-0, and it could have been worse. A 70-yard punt return by Hayes for an apparent tuchdown was called back on a holding penalty against Rayfield Wright, who got the game ball in Washington, but not this time.
No matter. Clark kicked two field goals in the fourth period, from the 38 and the 15, to make it 27-0 and set up the final touchdown. Converting the first of two Pierce fumbles in the last four minutes, the Dallas second stringers drove from the 50 as most of the 57,936 stayed to cheer.
Reggie Rucker, an Anacostia High product with little Redskin alliegance, somehow captured a 39-yard pass from Roger Staubach to set up the last score. Coach Tom Landry sent Reeves in with the play, which was Reeves himself carrying the ball on fourth-and-one at the one against an 11-man Redskin line with 49 seconds left.
He scored, naturally, as thousands cheered.
At the gun, Dallas had the ball back. A reserve named Ron East found it on the AstroTurf. He patted Jurgensen tenderly and everybody went home.