DENVER, NOV. 17 -- Having two gifted halfbacks on the same team isn't the blessing it would seem to be. The Dallas Cowboys, going into a second season with Herschel Walker and Tony Dorsett, still hadn't figured out quite how to use both men when Walker virtually demanded to start last week.

Walker's 60-yard game-winning touchdown run in overtime and 173-yard effort almost guarantees a spot on the bench for Dorsett, who carried once for five yards. Dorsett, a few months older than the Bears' Walter Payton, had been the league's oldest starting running back.

In Chicago, where second-year back Neal Anderson has become one of only three players in the league to gain more than 300 yards rushing and more than 300 receiving, the 33-year-old Payton shed tears over his reduced role with the Bears and said he thought about retiring before the end of this season.

"I feel I don't even belong here," Payton said last week. "These are feelings I never felt before."

While Payton and Dorsett are ending their careers, the Raiders and the Colts have perhaps even more difficult situations because each team has two backs who should be in their primes. The Raiders were involved in a tight game Sunday with San Diego, yet Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson -- whose salaries total nearly $2 million a year -- combined for only 21 rushes and 127 yards.

When Eric Dickerson was traded to the Colts, everyone assumed it would mean pine time for incumbent Albert Bentley. But he rushed for 83 yards Sunday against Miami, to supplement Dickerson's 154.

Indianapolis Coach Ron Meyer said before the game, "I'm going to find a way to play them both. I know people are going to ask, 'How come you're not playing this guy more, or that guy more?' But there's got to be a way to use them both." So far, Meyer is the only coach who has found out how to do it. Help for Drinking Woes

When wide receiver Hassan Jones became the sixth Minnesota Vikings player to be arrested for drunken driving in the past year, it prompted club vice president-general manager Mike Lynn to say he will ask the Hazelden Foundation Substance Abuse Treatment center to help his team.

Quarterbacks Tommy Kramer and Rich Gannon, nose tackle Tim Newton, tight end Steve Jordan and cornerback Issiac Holt have all been charged with drunk driving in the last year. Kramer and Holt already have undergone month-long alcohol treatment sessions at Hazelden.

"This is not an acceptable behavior that we are going to condone any longer," Lynn said. "Anytime you put youth, money, fame and free time together, you're going to have problems. This is not acceptable to us."

Jones, a second-year player from Florida State, was arrested Monday after being found asleep in a car stopped in a parking lot with the lights on and engine running . . .

Every time the Cowboys win a game it seems as if they've turned things around, only to lose the next week to an opponent like Detroit. It hasn't been lost on quarterback Danny White, who said Sunday's overtime victory over New England could send the Cowboys on their way, "or we could very well go in the tank next week. Who knows?"

With White's sore right wrist concerning the Cowboys, Steve Pelluer will get more work with the first team this week and could start against the Miami Dolphins, Coach Tom Landry said . . .

Former Redskins coach George Allen doesn't have any trades to make, but now that he's writing occasional columns, he can evaluate trades candidly. Of the recent Dickerson trade, Allen wrote, "Having made 133 trades in the NFL during my career . . . it never should have happened. {The Rams} knew Eric Dickerson was dissatisfied months ago. It was mishandled . . . I would never consider trading Eric Dickerson for draft choices." Stats and Facts

When Jim McMahon passed for 311 yards in a losing effort at Denver Monday night, it was the first time a Bears quarterback had passed for 300 or more yards since Vince Evans, most recently a Raiders replacement quarterback, did so in 1983 . . .

The reason the St. Louis Cardinals have drafted so poorly over the years is that the coaches, even now, have limited or no input in the draft process that is still controlled by chairman and president Bill Bidwill. For example, Coach Gene Stallings wanted to draft defensive lineman Jerome Brown, who is developing into a terror with the Eagles. But Bidwill overruled in favor of quarterback Kelly Stouffer in the first round. He is still unsigned.The Upset Pick

With a season record of 2-4, the Upset Pick boldly goes with the Raiders over the Broncos.