Staubach settled down in the second half and led the Cowboys on a 75-yard scoring drive that was a thing of considerable beauty. He scrambled twice for nice yardage and connected on the only three passes he tried, the last one to Preston Pearson from the five-yard line for the touchdown. This made it 24-10, and with Kilmer out and only 5:09 remaining, all the parties in those $50,000 private suites in the stadium began to liven up. Dallas scored again when Kilmer's substitute, Randy Johnson, threw a ball hopelessly up in the air and Charlie Waters ran under it and danced his way into the end zone, holding the ball aloft as if it were George Allen's head.
The simple fact was Dallas outhit the Redskins all day long. As Landry said, "Even when we were behind by 10 points, I saw that we were eager and hitting and I felt it had to pay off. This is an amazing team. I never thought we would do what we've done."
Nor did anyone else at the beginning of the season. The Cowboys were without some rather familiar people: Bob Lilly, Walt Garrison, Calvin Hill, Cornell Green, John Niland. Landry had 12 rookies on the roster, and he still does not have a high-quality running back, although there is something to be said for the way Robert Newhouse runs underneath everybody at times. A couple of the linebackers are somewhat aged, but Lee Roy Jordan recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass, and Dave Edwards was his customary dependable self.
It is a strange team. It has to put its trust in the shotgun formation much of the time, the shotgun being that thing they used to call the spread in which Staubach takes an actual snapback from the center and begins looking around for his receivers or a place to run. And the Cowboys fall apart at times. They lost to the likes of Green Bay and Kansas City, and the Cardinals humiliated them. On the other hand, Dallas has plenty of class in some key positions, like Staubach and Drew Pearson and Cliff Harris.
And as Tex Schramm, the general manager, was telling himself and anyone who cared to listen after the Cowboys had won another of those big ones they aren't supposed to win, "In the playoffs it doesn't matter who you are. Anybody can win three games."
A great deal of the action in these Dallas-Washington games happens off the field. It has become one of the better rivalries in the NFL, a natural matchup of cities, Dallas with its money and Washington with its power, and the owners and in-group fans have come to enjoy it immensely. Last Friday night's goings-on were rather typical of the attitudes brought to the game. Kilmer had dinner with some close Dallas friends in one of those restaurants where Murchison and gang loiter. And outside in the parking lot Darrell Royal, the University of Texas coach and good pal of the Cowboys, sat in a bar-equipped bus listening to a country-music guitar picker. Down the street the guys in leisure suits were milling through a Tom Thumb grocery store hoping to meet some ladies in denim and feathers.
Came Saturday in Texas Stadium and the place was a party two hours before the kickoff. In one of those private suites the Christmas decorations were up and the host, dressed like Santa Claus, was passing out Bloody Marys. In the Cowboy Club, which spans one entire end zone, a country band was playing. Up and down the carpeted halls of the complex, people milled about with their cocktails, as if they were at a convention in a hotel. Except when they looked out the windows later they were going to see a football game instead of a freeway. And what they wound up seeing, most of all, was a team, their Cowboys, who in 1975 were far better than anybody had ever imagined they would be.