Cowboys 9, Redskins 7

Tuesday, October 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ The way the Dallas Cowboys celebrated, you would've thought they won much more than the ``Gutter Bowl.''

When Tim Seder's 26-yard field goal went through the uprights to give Dallas a 9-7 victory over Washington as time expired Monday night, flash bulbs sparkled throughout Texas Stadium.

Players rushed the field from the sidelines. Running back Troy Hambrick tore off his helmet and spun it as if he was celebrating a touchdown in the end zone.

All that for beating a team they'd beaten the seven previous meetings? All that for beating a team that hadn't come within 14 points of victory all season?

Well, yeah - especially when you consider the alternative.

``It would've been ugly to go into the bye week 0-5,'' safety George Teague said. ``When you haven't won any games, it plays on you mentally. It's good to come out and win against a rival team, regardless of what our records were.''

``We can't say we're on a roll,'' said running back Emmitt Smith, ``but it's a good feeling. We did things out there that we deserved to win.''

Washington, which is two losses from starting 0-7 for the second time in four years, can take its only consolation in barely losing. The Redskins had been beaten by at least 14 points in every game while getting outscored 135-25.

``It's miserable,'' coach Marty Schottenheimer said. ``I wouldn't have thought that this was possible. It's difficult. There are no prizes for losing.''

Both teams came in at 0-4 and playing so poorly that Washington defensive end Kenard Lang called this the ``Gutter Bowl'' because both teams ``are trying to climb out of it.''

For the first three quarters, the teams played down to the game's nickname. Instead of being so equally bad that the game was competitive, they traded silly mistakes.

Then came an exciting fourth quarter that featured three of the game's four scores.

Tony Banks started it with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Westbrook that put the Redskins up 7-3. A 39-yard field goal by Seder made it 7-6 with 6:36 left.

Washington answered with a long, slow drive that was supposed to run out the clock, or leave Dallas with little left. Then Stephen Davis, who had 99 yards on 23 carries, changed everything by fumbling at the Cowboys 38.

``I made a mistake, and you just can't do that,'' Davis said. ``I'm upset, but I have to get over it.''

With 2:40 to play and two timeouts left, Anthony Wright completed passes to Darrin Chiaverini and Raghib Ismail - his only healthy receivers - to reach the Washington 34, then Dallas shifted to its ground game.

The runners kept the chains moving, with Hambrick converting a third-and-2 and Smith setting up the game-winning kick with a 13-yard run that put him over 100 yards for the first time in seven games.

``We made the plays when we had to,'' said Smith, who had 107 yards on 25 carries. ``We were kind of limited. We worked with what we had, like we have all year long.''

Seder's final kick was perfect. He showed none of the ill effects of having his right leg grazed by a horse that was on the field for pregame festivities. The kicker backed into the horse and their legs accidentally met.

``It rubbed a little luck off on me,'' said Seder, who put Dallas up 3-0 with a 28-yarder just before halftime, but also missed from 41 and 52 yards. ``It turned out pretty well. It was a little excitement for the pregame.''

If not for the exciting ending, this game might have been remembered for the long injury report for both teams.

Washington's Pro Bowl tight end Stephen Alexander sprained his right ankle and rookie cornerback Fred Smoot sprained his left knee.

Dallas lost receivers Joey Galloway (sprained left ankle) and Reggie Swinton (strained right hamstring) and fullback Robert Thomas (sprained left ankle).