Ron Jaworski's 36th pass today landed somewhere in the mezzanine at Veterans Stadium, but surely the spiral must have been felt deep in the heart of Texas, too.
Jaworski's heave to the heavens followed the Philadelphia Eagles' dramatic 16-14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys before 70,114, many of whom seemed shocked by the outcome.
Who wouldn't be? The Eagles began today at 2-4. The Cowboys were 5-1, on one of those hot streaks that Coach Tom Landry has a habit of building.
But four Dallas turnovers later -- two fumbles by running back Tony Dorsett and two end zone interceptions of quarterback Gary Hogeboom, playing for injured starter Danny White -- the Cowboys had descended to 5-2, one game ahead of the New York Giants, and no longer reigning as the lone stars of the NFC East.
"I think we're for real," Jaworski said afterward.
Coach Marion Campbell said, "The last great win for this team was against this same team back in 1980 (in the NFC title game), and I told them today that if we could win this thing today, it would be the second-best ever."
Precious few might have believed all of this until today, when Jaworski -- the 34-year-old Eagles quarterback who regained his starting spot just two weeks ago from erratic rookie Randall Cunningham -- passed for a career-high 380 yards.
Jaworski completed 22 of 35 passes, punching holes in a defense that had vandalized opposing passers for a league-high 18 interceptions.
Call it "Jaws II," if you will. After all, it was Jaworski who heard the thunder of another Dallas blitz and looped a short pass that cornerback Everson Walls tipped, but that wide receiver Kenny Jackson caught and took 36 yards for what became the game-winning touchdown with 10:07 left.
Jackson held both arms aloft as he ran the final 15 yards, all by his lonesome. The Vet rocked like a teapot in a six-minute boil. It was as if somebody had let the pressure out of the valve of the Eagles, who have now beaten the Redskins, Cardinals and Cowboys, "three of the teams that, depending on who you talked to, were supposed to go to the Super Bowl this year," Eagles safety Ray Ellis said.
Before Jaworski's game-winning throw, Dallas blitzes had wrecked two Eagles drives, one that had reached first down at the Dallas five, and another that had reached first down at the Dallas 12. Both times, the Eagles settled for field goals by Paul McFadden.
The Cowboys had two chances to produce a game-winning field goal after the Jaworski-to-Jackson scoring play, but they failed both times. Consequently, Landry was left to lament the fact that, despite accumulating 192 yards in the first half, the Cowboys led by just 7-3.
"I knew when we went in at halftime and there were only seven points on the board that we weren't ready to play," said Landry, who said that White (bruised ribs) should be ready to play against Atlanta next Sunday. "I don't think we were totally flat, but we just weren't totally ready to play."
The Cowboys' upward spiral this season was reversed primarily because Hogeboom forced two throws that were intercepted in the end zone by safety Wes Hopkins and because Dorsett fumbled at the worst times.
Dorsett's first fumble (at the Dallas 30) arranged for McFadden's first field goal. Dorsett lost his second fumble at the Eagles' 23 with 8:24 to play.
Dallas again took possession on its 20 with 4:34 left, but went out in three plays. The Eagles were able to run out the final 3:24.
Dorsett rushed 20 times for 100 yards and scored both Dallas touchdowns.
Dorsett's biggest mistake came after he scored his second touchdown. He turned from hot wheels to hot dog. Once in the end zone, he waved the ball at Ellis and Hopkins, pointing the ball at each as if knighting them with it.
Landry said he didn't see Dorsett's taunts. "You better not be waving it at them. They may make you eat it before it's over," Landry said. "And they did."
Dorsett later confessed, "I was disappointed in me for sinking to that level. I did it and said, 'What am I doing?' But it was too late."
"He wanted to put the ball in our face, slam it at our feet," Ellis said. "You guys saw it. He taunted us, pointed at us. He said, 'Now, how 'bout that? How do you guys like that?'
"We saw that and said, 'We can play like that, too,' " said Ellis.
Now Dallas is 41-3 in games in which Dorsett has run for 100 yards or more.
Dallas safety Dennis Thurman groused about Jaworski's final toss into the mezzanine, saying, "Who does he think he is? They are a 3-4 team, and they are acting like they won the Super Bowl. I realize that beating the Dallas Cowboys is a big deal, but c'mon . . . There will come a day of redemption."