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Kansas City at Dallas

Creative Cowboys pull off clutch win over Chiefs

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells challenged his struggling offense to "do something" to keep pace with the high-scoring Kansas City Chiefs.

Then he gave them some gimmicks to help pull it off.

Getting touchdowns on a flea flicker, an end around inside the 10-yard line and a pass to a blocker who hadn't scored in two years, the Cowboys kept their playoff hopes alive by pulling out a 31-28 victory over Sunday in a tense, thrilling game befitting a matchup between Parcells and Dick Vermeil.

Drew Bledsoe had his best game in months, throwing for 332 yards and matching his season-best with three touchdowns. He led Dallas (8-5) on a go-ahead drive early in the fourth quarter, then took the club 68 yards in 14 plays for the winning score -- a 1-yard pass to tight end Dan Campbell with 22 seconds left.

"That was really a great drive, probably the best one of the year," Parcells said.

Yet ending their two-game losing streak wasn't that simple. The Cowboys had to hold their breath as Lawrence Tynes went for a 41-yard field goal that would've forced overtime. After a low snap, it went wide right, ending a three-game winning streak for the Chiefs (8-5).

The victory for Dallas does more for their confidence and outlook than it does in the standings. The Cowboys could've lost this one and still had a chance to finish 10-6, but they would've been in a real funk with a three-game losing streak and the next two on the road.

"This is a hugely important game for us," said Bledsoe, who was 22-of-34 with no turnovers. He also moved into fifth place on the career completions list, 15th on the career TD passes list and matched Warren Moon for the most 3,000-yard seasons. "But we've got to keep winning," he added.

The final play was only part of the frustration for Kansas City. The Chiefs also wasted 143 yards rushing and three touchdowns by Larry Johnson and 340 yards passing by Trent Green, plus a chance to move up in the AFC wild-card chase because of a loss by division rival San Diego.

Kansas City missed a chance to put the game away early as its first five possessions reached at least midfield, but only two ended in touchdowns. The Chiefs were at the Dallas 9, poised to go up 21-10, when Green was sacked by former teammate Scott Fujita and fumbled. Defensive end Marcus Spears returned it 59 yards, leading to a 26-yard touchdown pass from Bledsoe to Jason Witten that put Dallas up 17-14 at halftime.

"I'm sick to my stomach," said Green, who was 20-of-32. "No missed field goal cost us this game. We had many opportunities to win. That's the disappointing part."

Johnson ran pretty much at will for three quarters, racking up 126 of his yards by then to set a Chiefs record with six straight 100-yard games. The Cowboys hung in, thanks mostly to Bledsoe and some big plays.

Their first touchdown came on a perfectly executed flea flicker, with the defense falling for the handoff and Terry Glenn speeding past the coverage. Bledsoe heaved it deep and Glenn caught it in stride for his longest play since December 1998, which also came from Bledsoe during their New England days.

Glenn surprised the defense again early in the fourth quarter by taking a handoff on third-and-1 from the 6. He wound up with the first rushing touchdown of his career, putting Dallas up 24-21.

Green regained the lead for Kansas City with a 47-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Kennison with 3:55 left. Then came Bledsoe's big drive.

He kept it alive with two third-down completions, then Marion Barber turned a short pass into a 21-yard gain to the 6. The Cowboys almost ran out of chances when Witten missed a fourth-down pass in the end zone, but holding was called. Officials pinned it on safety Greg Wesley, but replays showed linebacker Derrick Johnson was to blame.

"I was celebrating, thinking it was over," Wesley said. "Then I see a flag. I thought, 'Wow, way to give them a second chance.' ... I made a great play and they were bailed out by the referees."

Given a second chance, Bledsoe hit Campbell for his third reception of the season and first touchdown since Nov. 9, 2003.

Glenn led Dallas with 138 yards on six catches and Witten had 93 yards on seven grabs. Barber ran for 82 yards.

Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez caught five passes for 94 yards and Kennison had 92 yards.

Notes

  • Parcells is now 1-1 against Vermeil.
  • The Chiefs fell to 1-4 in games back in the area where they began in 1960 as the Dallas Texans.
  • Glenn has a career-best seven TDs this season, counting his rushing score.
  • Kansas City owner Lamar Hunt, a longtime Dallas resident, flipped the coin before kickoff and was honored with a video tribute after the first quarter.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Dallas clinches the victory on Dan Campbell's first touchdown since Nov. 9, 2003.
 
Dallas clinches the victory on Dan Campbell's first touchdown since Nov. 9, 2003. (AP)
 

 

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Sun. Dec. 11Final
777728
Dallas
(8-5)
01701431
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDLarry Johnson, 11 Yd run (Lawrence Tynes kick is good), 9:32. Drive: 6 plays, 54 yards in 2:49.
2ND QUARTER
FGBilly Cundiff 34 Yd, 8:00. Drive: 15 plays, 73 yards in 9:16.
TDLarry Johnson, 1 Yd run (Lawrence Tynes kick is good), 5:19. Drive: 5 plays, 59 yards in 2:41.
TDTerry Glenn, 71 Yd pass from Drew Bledsoe (Billy Cundiff kick is good), 3:55. Drive: 2 plays, 74 yards in 1:24.
TDJason Witten, 26 Yd pass from Drew Bledsoe (Billy Cundiff kick is good), 0:40. Drive: 3 plays, 26 yards in 0:22.
3RD QUARTER
TDLarry Johnson, 21 Yd run (Lawrence Tynes kick is good), 8:39. Drive: 9 plays, 88 yards in 4:48.
4TH QUARTER
TDTerry Glenn, 6 Yd run (Billy Cundiff kick is good), 13:07. Drive: 11 plays, 84 yards in 4:50.
TDEddie Kennison, 47 Yd pass from Trent Green (Lawrence Tynes kick is good), 3:55. Drive: 7 plays, 80 yards in 4:06.
TDDan Campbell, 1 Yd pass from Drew Bledsoe (Billy Cundiff kick is good), 0:22. Drive: 14 plays, 68 yards in 3:33.
Players of the Game

D. Bledsoe
Att 34
Comp 22
Yds 332
TD 3

L. Johnson
Rush 26
Yds 143
Avg 5.5
TD 3
 
Kansas City
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
T. Green20/3234010
RushingATTYDSTDLG
L. Johnson26143326
E. Kennison115015
D. Brown1303
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
T. Gonzalez594039
E. Kennison492147
S. Parker579024
D. Hall242034
L. Johnson328012
T. Richardson1505
Dallas
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
D. Bledsoe22/3433230
RushingATTYDSTDLG
M. Barber1582028
J. Jones124109
T. Glenn1616
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
T. Glenn6138171
J. Witten793126
K. Johnson335016
L. Polite333015
M. Barber232021
D. Campbell1111
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
NO 17 Final
ATL 36
DET 13 Final
GB 16
MIA 23 Final
SD 21
BAL 10 Final
DEN 12
SF 3 Final
SEA 41
NYG 26 Final
PHI 23
WAS 17 Final
ARI 13
HOU 10 Final
TEN 13
CHI 9 Final
PIT 21
OAK 10 Final
NYJ 26
STL 13 Final
MIN 27
IND 26 Final
JAC 18
CLE 20 Final
CIN 23
TB 20 Final
CAR 10
NE 35 Final
BUF 7