Not Top 10 game for Aikman

January 17, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

IRVING, Texas -- Troy Aikman wasn't as sharp yesterday as he was Tuesday when he was tossing passes into the back windows of New York taxicabs on "The Late Show with David Letterman."

Although he completed 28 of 37 passes for three touchdowns, Aikman was intercepted twice -- breaking his playoff string of 111 throws without an interception -- and sacked four times in the Dallas Cowboys' 27-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers. He also fumbled a snap and tripped over a lineman.

"We had more turnovers than what we're accustomed to having in the ballgame. It was John Gesek's first start at center, and we were working out the kinks. We did get off to a slow start," he said.

Aikman, though, said his appearance on Letterman wasn't a sign that he was taking the game for granted. The Packers used that appearance to try to fire themselves up for the game.

"I don't know what to say about that. Tuesday's our day off, and I do pretty much what I want to on that day. I never let anything take away from my preparation for a ballgame," he said.

He added: "I really believe the media wanted us to be overconfident or tried to give the impression to Green Bay that we were overconfident."

He said that on the first interception, Kevin Williams didn't run the route he expected.

"On the second one, I had a comeback to Michael [Irvin] on the outside, and I just thought I could get it over the underneath coverage," he said.

Terrell Buckley got in front of Irvin and picked it off.

It turned out the Packers didn't cash in on either interception.

As the Cowboys prepare for their NFC title-game rematch against the San Francisco 49ers, Aikman brushed off the Cowboys' 26-17 victory over the 49ers in October.

"I think they're definitely a better team than what they were when we played them," he said. "They're a veteran team that has played in a lot of big games."

Smith sore but OK

Emmitt Smith was sidelined most of the second half when he hurt his separated right shoulder trying to block.

Smith, who wore special shoulder pads to protect the injury, rushed 13 times for 60 yards and caught two passes for 27 yards before coming out after trying to block Tony Bennett. After the game, Smith said his shoulder was "fine."

"There was just a short burst of pain," Smith said. "It was stupid. I got myself into a bad situation. I had to deliver a blow and hurt myself."

Trainer Kevin O'Neill said: "Emmitt is no worse for wear. He'll be sore. But he was rested in the second half, and that will help him."

No distractions for Turner

Norv Turner, the Dallas offensive coordinator, said he hadn't been distracted because the Washington Redskins apparently plan to hire him as their head coach. They might have done it before the playoffs started, but commissioner Paul Tagliabue ruled they had to wait until the Cowboys' season was over.

"I think the commissioner really helped me. After he said, 'No, you can't talk to anyone' for a couple of more days, I got a lot of calls from friends and coaches and people who were looking for jobs. But then it really quieted down, and it really helped me to concentrate on this game," he said.

He ducked questions on the reports that he plans to hire Ron Lynn, who resigned last week as defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, as Redskins defensive coordinator.

"I don't have a job, so it's hard for me to have a defensive coordinator," Turner said.

Lett on the ball

Defensive lineman Leon Lett, who hadn't touched the ball since his Thanksgiving Day gaffe when he touched a blocked FTC kick to give the Miami Dolphins a second shot at the game-winning field goal, touched it twice yesterday. In the first quarter, he recovered Brett Favre's fumble and, in the fourth period, he tipped a Favre pass that Charles Haley intercepted.

Lett, though, declined to comment after the game. He hasn't given any interviews since Thanksgiving.

Why Bates didn't switch

Coach Jimmy Johnson said Bill Bates shouldn't have run the fake punt in the first period, because the Packers had seven players on the line.

Bates said: "I probably should have called it off, but I thought it was open."

Bates was stopped for no gain, leading to a Packers field goal.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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