Cowboys and Bills Do It Again
Dallas repeated and Buffalo four-peated. And, for a change, the Super Bowl wasn't a blowout. At least this one was close as the third quarter began. That's when the Cowboys went ahead and pulled away for a 30-13 victory over the Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII.
Emmitt Smith was the Most Valuable Player. The Dallas running back rushed for 132 yards on 30 carries and scored two touchdowns.
But Dallas had a star on defense too. James Washington, a backup safety who started in a nickel defense because Buffalo started three wide receivers, was responsible for three turnovers and one touchdown.
The Bills led 13-6 after two quarters. "At halftime, guys were looking at each other saying, 'Damn, these boys came to play,'" Dallas wide receiver Michael Irvin said of the Bills, who had already lost three straight Super Bowls. "If they had taken the second-half kickoff and gone down and scored (to make it 20-6), we would have said, 'Man, this one's slipping away.'"
That's when Washington made the play of the game. Dallas DT Leon Lett stripped the ball from Buffalo running back Thurman Thomas, and Washingtong scooped it up and ran 46-yards for the tying touchdown.
"I don't think I've ever seen a play in any football game that ignited an attitude among a team like that play," said Cowboys defensive coordinator Butch Davis. "It set the tempo for the second half."
Earlier, Washington had forced a fumble that set up the Cowboys' second field goal. And, in the fourth quarter with Buffalo threatening to tie the game, Washington intercepted a Jim Kelly pass.
Following Washington's touchdown, Smith took over when Dallas got the ball back. He carried the ball seven out of eight plays and scored on a 15-yard rush. In the fourth quarter, Smith scored from 1 yard out. Eddie Murray kicked three field goals for the Cowboys.
The Dallas defense limited the Bills to 87 yards on the ground and 5 of 17 effieciency on third downs. Thomas had his third straight miserable Super Bowl performance. He gained only 37 yards on 16 carries and fumbled twice. Later he admitted that his second fumble lost the game for the Bills. Kelly put the ball into the air 50 times, completing 31 of them, but he was unable to lead Buffalo to a score in the second half.
The Bills did look good in the first half, when Thomas scored on a four-yard run and Steve Christie kicked two field goals.
"Again, I am disappointed we lost the ballgame," said Bills DE Bruce Smith. "As far as embarassing, I think at any point and time that you sustain a loss, you have to hold your head up, especially if you gave it all you could. I think that is what we did today."
Emmitt Smith played with a separated shoulder. "The offensive line did a great job," he said. "They opened up holes for me to run the football. They controlled the whole line of scrimmage in the second half."
The Dallas victory was its fourth in a Super Bowl, tying a record held by Pittsburgh and San Francisco. The Cowboys have also played in a record seven Super Bowls. For Buffalo, the Super Bowl records are all negative ones. But at least they keep getting there.