Monday, December 14, 1998
Cowboys continue free fall
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The free-falling Dallas Cowboys could
take little good out of Sunday's 20-17 loss to the Kansas City
They failed for the second consecutive week to clinch the
NFC East title -- and a playoff berth. Their running game continues
to sputter. Yet another star player -- this time Michael Irvin
-- suffered an injury.
And coach Chan Gailey said the Cowboys continue to be vexed
by all-around inconsistency.
"You've got to fight," Gailey said. "We fought
at times in all phases tonight, but at times we had lapses, and
lapses will get you.
"I'm going to go back to that word I used earlier in
the year -- consistency -- and we're not there now. We've got
to get that back in order to get this thing where we want to
Thrown into an unfamiliar spoiler's role by a six-game losing
streak that took them out of playoff contention, the Chiefs (6-8)
converted two Dallas turnovers into third-quarter touchdowns
and handed the Cowboys (8-6) their third straight loss.
Dallas, playing again without injured cornerbacks Deion Sanders
and Kevin Smith, answered the Chiefs' two third-quarter TDs with
two of their own in the fourth period. But Pete Stoyanovich's
43-yard field goal and the power running of Bam Morris proved
the difference for the Chiefs, who made the playoffs seven of
the eight previous years.
The Cowboys are just one game ahead of Arizona in their division,
although they do hold the tiebreaker over the Cardinals.
"We've got to get ourselves organized and regrouped and
whatever other term you want to use and get ready to go win a
football game and fight our way into the playoffs," Gailey
After Stoyanovich made it 20-10 with 5:56 left, Troy Aikman
drove the Cowboys 72 yards downfield in just nine plays, hitting
Emmitt Smith with an 8-yard touchdown pass that pulled Dallas
within three points with 2:48 remaining.
But the Cowboys kicked deep, and Morris' running made sure
Dallas never touched the ball again. Morris carried 27 times
for 137 yards.
"To be out of the playoffs and playing a good team that
has everything to play for, and beat them, it means a lot,"
offensive lineman Glenn Parker said. "It tells people we
care a lot about how people perceive us. We don't want to be
perceived as crybabies or losers or showboats."
After a dull first half ended 3-3, the Chiefs jumped on two
Dallas turnovers to seize a 17-3 lead at the end of the third
Greg Manusky recovered a fumble by Tyrone Hughes on a punt
return late in the third quarter, giving the Chiefs the ball
on the 50. Rich Gannon scrambled 12 yards for a first down on
third-and-10, retreating as far as the Kansas City 35. A moment
later, Morris went over from the 1.
A few minutes later, Jerome Woods made a leaping interception
and returned the ball 28 yards to the 35. On first-and-goal from
the 9, Gannon went back to pass, then faked and froze safety
George Teague, who stood in the end zone as Gannon darted in
for the score.
"I got caught in a bad situation," Teague said.
"Do I go get him or let him throw to the end zone? Hindsight,
of course, I should have went on and made it a little tougher
on him. But I felt like I was in a lose-lose situation either
The Cowboys, held to a field goal in a loss to New Orleans
a week ago, responded with a 10-play, 63-yard drive and their
first touchdown since Nov. 26 against Minnesota. On fourth-and-10
from the 28, Patrick Jeffers caught Aikman's pass on the 15 and
went untouched into the end zone, making it 17-10 with 10:25
"I think there was more urgency in the fourth quarter,"
Aikman said. "(That) was what separated the play in the
fourth quarter compared to the first three quarters."
Irvin left the game with back spasms, and Gailey said he would
be re-examined today in Dallas. He's just one more name on a
laundry list of injured Cowboys.
Aikman said the injuries are no excuse for the Cowboys' paltry
output over the past month.
"We can't dwell on the fact that those guys aren't playing,"
he said. "When someone's not in the lineup we've still got
to execute, we've still got to play. We've got to do our jobs."
The Chiefs managed only a 24-yard field goal by Stoyanovich
in the first quarter, capping a 14-play, 82-yard drive keyed
by Morris' 25-yard run.
The Cowboys tied it 3-all with 4:21 left in the half on Richie
Cunningham's 32-yarder, set up by Hughes' 35-yard punt return.
Chiefs wide receiver Derrick Alexander praised the backups
for Sanders and Smith, who have been highly criticized in recent
"I went up to them afterward and told them nice game,
and I meant it," he said.
KC--FG Stoyanovich 24, 5:21.
Dal--FG Cunningham 32, 4:21.
KC--Morris 1 run (Stoyanovich kick), 4:01.
KC--Gannon 9 run (Stoyanovich kick), :37.
Dal--Jeffers 28 pass from Aikman (Cunningham kick), 10:25.
KC--FG Stoyanovich 43, 5:56.
Dal--Smith 8 pass from Aikman (Cunningham kick), 2:48.
Time of Possession--22:40--37:20
RUSHING--Dallas, Smith 14-42, Davis 1-8, Irvin 1-1. Kansas
City, Morris 27-137, Gannon 6-23, Anders 3-17, Bennett 2-6.
PASSING--Dallas, Aikman 18-35-1-199. Kansas City, Gannon 19-41-0-200.
RECEIVING--Dallas, Jeffers 5-74, Smith 4-41, Bjornson 3-16,
Davis 2-27, Ogden 2-20, Williams 1-12, Irvin 1-9. Kansas City,
Gonzalez 5-65, Alexander 5-53, Anders 4-39, Morris 2-18, Rison
1-11, Horn 1-9, Bennett 1-5.
MISSED FIELD GOALS--None.
All content copyright 1998,
AP, KRT, The Abilene Reporter-News
and Reporter OnLine
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