Cowboys Exhibition becomes demolition, 38-10
Monday, July 31st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
IRVING â€“ Tom Landry lost his first preseason game as Cowboys head coach, and he finished his career as the third-winningest coach in NFL history.
So there's at least one positive new coach Dave Campo can take from the Cowboys' 38-10 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday night at Texas Stadium.
It was the Cowboys' worst preseason loss since 1988, when Houston beat Dallas, 54-10, in Landry's last preseason game.
Dallas (0-1), which is 1-10 in the preseason since 1998, will depart for Tokyo on Wednesday and play Atlanta on Saturday night at the Tokyo Dome.
"We did some good things on both sides of the ball in the early part of the game," Campo said. "In the second quarter, it got a little out of hand because we turned it over so many times. You won't win when you make that many mistakes."
Campo's biggest question entering training camp dealt with how the Cowboys would function without Deion Sanders.
Three draft picks and one preseason game later, the answer is still pending. The early results, however, were not good.
The Cowboys, penalized once for pass interference in the end zone, allowed four completions of 24 yards or more in the first half.
Second-round pick Dwayne Goodrich, sixth-round pick Mario Edwards and NFL Europe co-defensive MVP Duane Hawthorne were beaten for big plays or touchdowns or both.
Fourth-round pick Kareem Larrimore, the best of the rookie cornerbacks so far in training camp, broke his hand in the first half and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.
"We had some big plays against us in some one-on-one situations," Campo said. "Obviously, our corners have to be more physical and have to go up and get the football. Kordell [Stewart] threw the ball up there and let his receivers make some plays."
The Cowboys' offense looked good, even though Emmitt Smith sat out with a sprained toe.
Offensive coordinator Jack Reilly was hired in the off-season to improve an offense that finished 16th in the NFL last season. The Cowboys are using a timing-based passing attack with shifting and motion that should make it resemble the schemes Washington and St. Louis used last season.
With Troy Aikman and Randall Cunningham in the game, Reilly called 13 passes and four runs. On the Cowboys' second possession, Aikman showed the offense's big-play potential.
He completed consecutive passes of 25 and 23 yards to Joey Galloway and Raghib Ismail, moving Dallas from its 46-yard-line to Pittsburgh's 6. Chris Warren finished the four-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run, tying the score at 7-7.
Last year, the Cowboys ranked 24th in the NFL with 21 completions of 25 yards or more. Washington ranked first with 45, and Super Bowl champion St. Louis was third with 42.
Aikman participated in 11 plays, Cunningham seven. The Cowboys totaled 119 yards in three possessions with them, then netted only 104 yards in 10 possessions with Paul Justin and Clint Stoerner at quarterback.
"We're not going to show a lot of stuff, and neither is anyone else," Aikman said. "The main thing I wanted to do was get used to a pass rush again because you get a false sense of security in practice."
Galloway, who cost the Cowboys two No. 1 draft picks and $42 million over the next six years, caught two passes for 39 yards.
"It was good to finally get in the stadium and play a game," Galloway said. "I enjoyed working on my timing with Troy in a game setting. The first group executed well with the few opportunities we had."
Cunningham, protected by the starting offensive line, played a series and flashed the mobility that has been his trademark with a 21-yard scramble to the Pittsburgh 30.
But Dallas settled for Tim Seder's 48-yard field goal â€“ pulling the Cowboys within 14-10 â€“ after consecutive drops by Wane McGarity and Chris Brazzell ruined the drive.
Paul Justin couldn't match Aikman and Cunningham's efficiency.
Dallas committed four turnovers on his first four possessions, including three interceptions that allowed Pittsburgh to score 24 consecutive points.