Redskins KO 2 quarterbacks but are punchless against Cowboys

November 21, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

IRVING, Texas -- The Washington Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys everywhere but on the scoreboard yesterday.

The Redskins knocked out the Cowboys top two quarterbacks, Troy Aikman and Rodney Peete, and had the edge in first downs and total yardage in a bizarre game in which both teams used three quarterbacks and a total of seven players threw passes.

It'll go into the record books as a typical 31-7 victory at Texas Stadium for the Cowboys, who swept a season series from the Redskins for the first time since 1985.

The Cowboys have beaten the Redskins by a 103-17 margin in the last three games and have had a 76-10 edge in the first halves of those games.

But Cowboys coach Barry Switzer didn't sound like a big winner after the game because he lost Aikman for two to four weeks with a sprained ligament in his left knee and Peete possibly for the season with a sprained right thumb.

"It was a frustrating day for us. When you lose your starter and your top backup, you can't be happy," Switzer said.

Aikman, who was taken to Baylor University Medical Center for treatment, is hoping to be back for the Dec. 4 game against Philadelphia.

That leaves Jason Garrett, who's played in the Ivy League, the World League and the Canadian League, but had thrown just 19 NFL passes before yesterday, to start for the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day against the Green Bay Packers.

With upcoming games against two tough defensive teams -- the Eagles and the Cleveland Browns -- the 9-2 Cowboys need Aikman to make a quick return and they'll have to find a backup to Garrett.

"Right now, I don't know where you find them [quarterbacks]. You can't find them at 7-Eleven," Switzer said.

The quarterback injuries dealt a setback to the Cowboys chances of becoming the first team to win three straight Super Bowls.

The Cowboys will have to do some quick healing before Thursday because their post-game injury report listed 15 players.

The Cowboys may have exaggerated their injuries somewhat because they were fined for not listing Aikman's thumb injury a week ago before the 21-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

For example, running back Emmitt Smith, who gained 85 yards in 21 carries, was listed as having reaggravated his left shoulder sprain although he had no trouble putting his ear ring on when he was relaxing on the sidelines in the Cowboys quarter.

But the Cowboys know it's not going to be easy.

"It's been a strange year," said wide receiver Michael Irvin, who predicted before the game Dallas was going to win the rest of its games.

"As far as distractions and hurdles go, this has been tough so far this season. It was hard seeing Troy go down. Any time you lose a guy like Troy, it's going to be a struggle," Irvin said.

They weren't even that effective with Peete once Aikman went out with two minutes left in the second quarter on a Ken Harvey hit when the Cowboys were protecting a 17-7 lead.

On his fourth play, Peete threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Alvin Harper to give the Cowboys a 24-7 lead. The Cowboys, who got just one first down in the second half, wrapped up their scoring with an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown by Kevin Williams in the third period.

Peete completed just two of five passes before he went out after Dexter Nottage's hand hit his thumb late in the third period. Garrett was 1-for-5 in the fourth period.

Even Washington coach Norv Turner pointed out the Cowboys weren't the same without Aikman.

"Not to say anything negative, but obviously, when Aikman went out of the game, Dallas' situation changed a great deal," Turner said.

The 2-9 Redskins, though, were inept regardless of which quarterback played.

Turner yanked rookie Gus Frerotte after he completed just one of his first six passes and had one intercepted. John Friesz came in and led the team to its only touchdown on an 84-yard drive with the no-huddle offense.

But Dallas adjusted on the next series with a nickel defense and the nickel back, Brock Marion, intercepted Friesz.

Friesz, who completed 16 of 35 passes, was pulled in the fourth quarter and rookie Heath Shuler, who hadn't played since Oct. 16 when he threw five interceptions against the Arizona Cardinals, finished up and completed five of nine passes.

"It's been a confusing situation, obviously," Turner said.

Turner now appears ready to go back to Shuler as his starter against the New York Giants next Sunday, but he said he would talk to his staff before making any announcement.

Despite his setback, Frerotte said he was happy for the opportunity.

"I think some people saw I can play in this league," he said. "That's a better situation than I was in before."

Shuler said he felt more comfortable than in the past.

The interception that hurt the Redskins the worst wasn't thrown by a quarterback. After Brian Mitchell returned the opening kickoff 67 yards, Turner had Mitchell try an option pass on the team's second scrimmage play. The Cowboys weren't fooled and Kevin Smith intercepted it in the end zone.

The Cowboys drove for touchdowns on the next two drives.

"It was just a tough day," Turner end.

In the end, though, the quarterback injuries may have made it a tougher one for the Cowboys.

THREE'S A CROWD

The Cowboys and the Redskins each used three quarterbacks in yesterday's game. Here's how each one fared:

COWBOYS Player .. .. Com .. Att .. Yds .. TD .. Int

Aikman .. .. . 8 ... 13 ... 87 ... 0 .. . 0

Peete ... .. . 2 .. . 5 ... 20 ... 1 .. . 0

Garrett . .. . 1 .. . 5 .. . 4 ... 0 .. . 0

REDSKINS Player .. .. Com .. Att .. Yds .. TD .. Int

Frerotte ... . 1 .. . 6 ... 18 ... 0 .. . 1

Friesz .. ... 16 ... 35 .. 193 ... 1 .. . 2

Shuler .. .. . 5 .. . 9 ... 32 ... 0 .. . 0

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