Cowboys do Texas 2-step on Redskins Injured Smith gets 155 yards, 3 TDs in 21-10 Dallas win

Redskins' injury list grows

Dallas, Washington tied atop NFC East

November 29, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

DALLAS -- Quarterback Gus Frerotte left his playbook on the airplane Wednesday night and events spiraled out of control for the Washington Redskins on a dismal Thanksgiving trip.

The result was a 21-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys yesterday that tied the teams at 8-5 atop the NFC East. The Redskins are 0-5 in Thanksgiving Day games against the Cowboys.

Emmitt Smith decided in warm-ups to play on a sore ankle and rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns in a vintage performance he is known for when injured.

But for the Redskins, a lasting effect may be the long list of injuries they suffered:

Wide receiver Michael Westbrook injured his left knee on the second play of the game and did not return;

Leslie Shepherd, the other starting wide receiver, sprained his left ankle in the third quarter while scoring a touchdown;

Tackle Sean Gilbert, a mainstay on defense, was helped off the field early in the fourth quarter with a sprained left knee. He joined two other injured defensive starters, Sterling Palmer and Darryl Morrison, on the sideline.

Morrison said yesterday that he will not return this season because of a spinal injury that doctors in Los Angeles advised him Wednesday to rest. "At first, they thought it might be a career-ending injury," said Morrison, 25, a strong safety. "But they say I will be OK when the swelling goes down after a lot of rest."

The battered and beaten Redskins left Dallas tied with the Cowboys, but they are on a downward trend that is alarming. They are 1-4 in the second half of this season, and Norv Turner is 1-10 in November as Redskins coach.

"It was not a happy Thanksgiving," Frerotte said. "They were ready to play. I don't know if we were or not. They beat us physically. But I went to Sean Gilbert and told him to get healthy and I would do all I can to keep us from losing again."

Turner said, "Obviously the reports of Emmitt Smith's demise have been greatly exaggerated or however that saying goes. I could say a lot about [Smith] but I don't want to. He is a special player and one of the great competitors."

After not practicing this week and working out lightly on his own, Smith scored three times to pass Jim Brown for third place on the NFL rushing touchdown list (109).

Smith also passed former Baltimore Colt Lenny Moore for sixth on the career touchdown list (115). Smith also became the 12th player to rush for more than 10,000 yards (10,005).

"I was never buying into that Emmitt Smith injury rumor mill all week," Turner said.

Cowboys coach Barry Switzer said, "Anybody have any questions about Emmitt Smith now? I talked with him and the coaches talked to him. We knew it would be a game-day decision.

"After warm-ups, Emmitt said he felt better than he had the last few weeks. He said Wednesday he wanted the other guy [Sherman Williams] to start, but today he felt great. He slashed things up inside and did things we've seen him do [before]."

Smith, who remained calm after his fourth-quarter benching Sunday in a 20-6 loss to the New York Giants, was ready to talk at length yesterday.

"I feel I ran the ball the best I have all year," he said. "I think the rest and the way the ankle was treated was helpful. I thought I had running lanes last week, but this week I had a whole bunch of running lanes."

The benching?

"My first instinct was to get mad. But as I thought about it, I knew if I'm not doing my job, then I've got to take a back seat. To hear all the negative stuff this week, it was an insult to me. It cut deep. The ankle wasn't allowing me to play like I want to."

Smith's 42-yard run up the middle in the third quarter was the key play in a 77-yard, seven-play drive for a touchdown which wiped out a brief Washington lead, 10-7, that had come on a 26-yard pass from Frerotte to Shepherd. He scored but injured his ankle.

Smith scored on a 4-yard run around left end and the Cowboys took the lead for good with 6: 02 remaining in the third quarter.

After that, the Cowboys dominated as the Redskins' lines caved.

Even though Frerotte lost a fumbled snap that led to the first Dallas touchdown and misplaced his playbook, not all was lost. He drew praise from Turner for "hanging tough under adverse conditions'' as the line struggled.

Pub Date: 11/29/96

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