Next came Football Follies play No. 2. On third-and-four from the Dallas 28, White hit Tight End Doug Cosbie on a curl pattern. The ball bounced off Cosbie's hands, Cowboy Drew Pearson snatched it, Skins Nickel Back Vernon Dean knocked it loose from him and Washington's 5'8" cornerback, Darrell Green, grabbed it, fell over Pearson, got up and sprinted to the five-yard line, where White yanked him out of bounds by the face mask. The Cowboys were coming apart. On the sidelines a few of them heaved their helmets in disgust.
Green was ruled to have been down on the Dallas 43. Dallas buckled up, expecting John Riggins left, John Riggins right. He had already carried 16 times, but he seemed to be just getting warmed up. The Skins had been in a formation designed to loosen things up for him—three wide receivers and only one tight end, with the littlest of the Smurfs, 5'7" Alvin Garrett, as the third wide-out. "They called up the wide receivers on Tuesday, our day off, and told us to come on in because they wanted to work on that formation for the Cowboys," Garrett said. "I was so excited about it I didn't even mind missing my day off."
"The idea was to spread their defense out so we could run at them," Theismann said. "Dallas' safeties are very run-conscious. They play almost like linebackers, so we wanted to get them away from the line and into coverage. It's easier running at seven guys than at nine."
And that's what Washington was doing. The Cowboys opened the game in their basic defense—three linebackers, four defensive backs—and the Skins ran. Then they began using their dime package—six secondary people, one linebacker—as their base defense, and the Skins ran some more. Riggins carried the ball seven times in the first nine plays. "He'll get tired," a member of the Dallas stat crew said in the press box. "Yeah," said the guy next to him. "Next week."
By halftime Washington had run the ball 23 times, for 109 yards, and thrown eight passes. Twice Theismann had crossed up the Cowboys by going deep on first down. One of those passes had given the Skins a 27-yard gain on an interference penalty, setting up their first score; the other had given them a TD—a 40-yarder down the middle to Tight End Clint Didier.
Now, after Green's third-quarter interception, the Redskins had first down on the Dallas 43 and Theismann crossed up the Cowboys once more. He let one fly to Monk, down the left sideline, 43 yards for a score, over Nickel Back Ron Fellows, who'd been caught in single coverage. The Fun Bunch gathered in the end zone for a group high five. All of a sudden there were two Cowboys in the middle of the celebrants, Downs and Cornerback Dennis Thurman, and that's when the real fun started. Downs took a shot at Garrett—then Monk—then Brown. "I was frustrated," Downs said. "I took it personally. I just didn't want to see that in Texas Stadium."
"It's funny now, but it wasn't then," Garrett said. "They said, 'Y'all aren't jumping in Texas Stadium.' I said, 'The hell we're not.' They kind of lost their cool. You win games by holding on to the ball, not fighting about some dance."
Dallas sent out only 10 men against the extra-point try. When the fourth quarter opened the Cowboys had the ball—and the short end of a 21-10 score. Pearson drew a clipping penalty. Tony Dorsett, who was to rush for only 34 yards on the day, drew a 15-yarder for heaving the ball at Tackle Darryl Grant. That Dallas drive, such as it was, ended with an interception by Williams, which set up Riggins' second short TD run. Williams also snuffed out Dallas' next possession on an interception. It set up a 38-yard Mark Moseley field goal.
The Cowboys will have a while to think about this horror show in Texas Stadium. They'd been on a roll—they'd averaged 37 points over their three previous games—but the Skins shut down their running, forced them to pass more than they wanted and held them to 10 points. The 295-pound Butz was a holy terror, getting three sacks and generally creating havoc.
Before the game there had been talk about Dallas' being able to throw deep on a Washington secondary that had lost two Super Bowl starters, Strong Safety Tony Peters (drug suspension) and Left Cornerback Jeris White (contract difficulties). Danny White did throw for one touchdown, a 29-yarder to Cosbie, but he also had three passes picked off.