Looking like the Cowboys of sainted memory, Dallas beat the New York Giants today, 28-7. They used three Roger Staubach-to-Drew Pearson passes to do it. They also used an emotional goal-line defense. And, according to Harvey Martin, they used a breach of etiquette by the Giants.
Martin is a very large Cowboy defensive end who fancies himself a devouring monster. As one of three team captains, he went to midfield for the pregame coin flip. All 45 of the Giants came onto the field. Harvey didn't like that.
"I was screamin' at 'em," Martin said later when asked to explain the finger-pointing that went on at midfield. "What are they trying to do? Intimidate the Cowboys in Dallas ? So they beat the Redskins last week. We're not the Redskins.
"I'm tired of the Giants. I'm tired of everybody in this conference. It's time to do what we got to do . . . The Giants were saying I better watch my knees, they were comin'. I See said 'C'mon, I'm here all day. Open season . . . Let's play some football.'"
In a strong second-half performance that Coach Tom Landry called "the best we've played in every area this season," the Cowboys broke a 7-7 halftime tie today to end a three-game losing streak and set up a Big Game for next Saturday.
That's when Dallas goes to Philadelphia, the leader in the NFC East, a 31-21 winner over the Cowboys here tow weeks ago.
Stopped with only 70 yards offense in the first half, Dallas came back with 246 second half, a 66-yard march opening the third quarter and a 92-yarder in the last period following the memorable goal-line stand.
It was still a game, at 21-7, when Phil Simms' 47-yard pass to Gary Shirk moved the Giants to the Cowboys' four-yard line.
In the five-week journey into melancholy for Dallas, during which the Cowboys lost four times, they have been unable to stop anyone down close, giving up 95 points in the last three games alone.
But they stopped the Giants this time. Two plunges into the right side gained the Giants three yards to the one. Then, on third down, they gave the ball to their big man, Billy Taylor, who had accounted for 48 yards in 12 carries when New York took the opening kickoff 79 yards for its touchdown.
Taylor, too, headed over right tackle.
Until he met Harvey Martin.
Martin came from five yards away to nail Taylor for a one-yard loss.
"I'm tired of people thinkin' they could run over us any time they wanted to," the big man said.
On fourth down, quarterback Simms was sacked for a six-yard loss by Martin and Dave Stalls.
Instead of 21-14, then, the score became 28-7 when the Cowboys took over and used nearly 10 minutes to move 92 yards in 17 plays, all but two of them runs.
Tony Dorsett carried 10 times on the drive for 42 yards, including the last one.For the day, Dorsett had 29 carries for 108 yards, giving him a season's total of 1,071 yards. He became only the second runner in NFL history to gain 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons (the other was John Brockington at Green Bay in 1971-2-3).
Drew Pearson, on the first three-touchdown game of his pro career, also passed the 1,000-yard mark. His five catches for 88 yards gave him 1,006 yards. He has eight scoring catches this year.
Pearson decorates his touchdowns with spikes. On his first, a seven-yarder that tied the game in the second period, he leaped and threw the ball backward between his legs. On the second, an eight-yarder, Pearson leaped and threw the ball into the stands -- a $150 fine.
And he twisted his knee coming down.
"My spiking days are over," an abashed Pearson said later. The knee injury wasn't serious, though, as Pearson demonstrated a series later when he beat a Giant cornerback on a post pattern for a 44-yard strike from Staubach.
The Cowboys saw today's game as a contination of improvement that began against Houston on Thanksgiving Day.
"November is over," Martin said.
"We don't play until our backs are to the wall," Pearson said.
"We are back on even keel," Landry said. "We played well in the Houston game, but the second half today was the best we've played in every area this season. We got the turnovrs (three, which led to no points but created good field position), we had a great goal line stand and we had a strong offensive drive at the end."