In the light of all the Dallas boners, it was amusing to hear the Busch Memorial Stadium crowd yelling so happily for the recently lamented Cardinal defense. The Cardinal defense had almost nothing to do with all of those dropped passes. However it did distinguish itself on the goal-line stand after Charlie Waters had blocked the punt and Dallas had a first down at the St. Louis eight. Three running plays by Doug Dennison and Young gained seven yards and two feet. On fourth down the Cowboys sent Young over right guard, a good place to run, it seemed, since the Cardinals were down to their backup middle linebacker, a fellow named Tim Kearney. All Kearney did was stop Young and the play.
Actually, it was the St. Louis offense that won the game, along with the bouncing ball. Hart had the sort of day Staubach has been having, connecting on 22 of 33 for a whopping 346 yards, and the three touchdowns. Gray caught two of them, and there was considerable show biz involved. Gray had a reason. "They were bad-mouthin' me all day, the whole secondary, not just Cliff Harris," Gray said. "They said I had bad hands and no speed." Which seems an ill-considered remark to make to a fellow who has been known to burn 9.2 in the 100.
After Gray's first touchdown catch, he flipped the ball at Harris, and Harris batted it back as if it were a volleyball.
And then when Harris leaped and batted the ball in the end zone and it came down, fortuitously, into Gray's hands for the decisive St. Louis score, Gray dashed over, looked down at Harris and Benny Barnes sprawled on the Busch Stadium rug and hauled off and spiked the ball right between them.
"It's not a personal feud with Harris," Gray said. "I have these days with Washington's Pat Fischer and Philadelphia's Bill Bradley, too."
This was the third straight year the Cardinals had beaten the Cowboys in St. Louis. Tex Schramm, the Cowboys' venerable general manager, is certain he knows why. It is because the Cardinals insist that the Cowboys wear their blue jerseys when they come to town. It is widely known that Schramm has been superstitious of the Cowboys' blue jerseys ever since they lost their first Super Bowl wearing blue against Baltimore.
What the St. Louis upset of the Cowboys really did was to give the NFC East that old familiar look. The Cardinals and Cowboys are now tied at 5-1, and the struggling Washington Redskins are right behind at 4-2. All things normal.
So for now, anyway, Staubach can relax and stop competing with immortality. When he went 13 out of 15 against the New York Giants, he was permitted to joke, "Yeah, they dropped a couple on me." Last Sunday the Cowboys dropped everything except The Star-Spangled Banner.