IRVING, TEX., SEPT. 9 -- The neediest team in the NFL got a gift today.
Troy Aikman sneaked in from one yard with 1:58 to play after a daring San Diego gamble backfired, giving the Dallas Cowboys a 17-14 victory over the Chargers and ending the league's longest home losing streak at 14 games.
The smallest home crowd to see the Cowboys in 26 years, 48,063, watched them get their first win at Texas Stadium since Sept. 25, 1988, against Atlanta.
Aikman, winning his first game after 11 losses as a rookie in 1989, directed a 53-yard scoring drive after San Diego tried a fake punt on fourth and six with 5:15 to play. Gary Plummer, a linebacker playing up back, was stopped by Bill Bates and Daniel Stubbs after two-yard gain.
"I knew something was up," said Bates, captain of the special teams. "We expected them to try something. The tackle didn't try to block me like he does normally."
"It was a mistake," Chargers Coach Dan Henning said. "I was hoping somebody would bail me out on it but it wasn't blocked correctly. I should have called it off. It's a disappointing loss, the kind I'll carry around a long time."
Dallas took over on its 47. Tommie Agee ran 16 yards, but Aikman produced the big play with a 24-yard pass to Kelvin Martin to the Chargers 1-yard line.
"We've got some happy players in this locker room," Cowboys Coach Jimmy Johnson said. "We could have folded in the fourth quarter but we didn't, then we got the break we needed."
The Cowboys drove 84 yards after taking the opening kickoff. Aikman was on target with passes of 16 yards to Agee, 18 to Jay Novacek and 19 to Martin. The payoff came on a 28-yard scoring strike to Dennis McKinnon.
San Diego came back with a 62-yard drive climaxed by Mark Vlasic's 14-yard pass to Craig McEwen.
Marion Butts scored after a controversial pass interference penalty to give the Chargers a 14-7 lead at halftime. Issiac Holt was ruled to have interfered with Anthony Miller in the end zone.
The penalty covered 41 yards and Butts scored on the next play from the 1 with 5:43 left.