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Cowboys Give Shuler Game to Forget : NFC: Redskin quarterback's first NFL start is a rough one as Dallas overwhelms Washington, 34-7.

October 03, 1994|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Redskin quarterback Heath Shuler will have no fond memories of Sunday's game.

Shuler, making his first NFL start, completed only 11 of 30 passes for a mere 96 yards as the Dallas Cowboys, behind Troy Aikman, trounced the Redskins, 34-7, at RFK Stadium.

Afterward, Aikman said he knew exactly how Shuler felt.

"Like I told him after the game, there are better days ahead," said the Dallas quarterback, who began his career in 1989 with a 1-15 season. "Sometimes, it's hard to have faith when you start like this, but I had several (games like that). He's an outstanding player and a good kid. I think he's going to be OK."

There were some bad times for the Cowboys too, as Emmitt Smith left the game at the end of the first half because of a strained hamstring and did not return. Dallas trainer Kevin O'Neill said it would be a few days before he could gauge the seriousness of the injury.

With Shuler replacing John Friesz, the Redskins fell apart completely--committing penalties and turnovers that enabled Dallas to take a 31-0 lead by halftime. It was the Redskins' worst start in a game since Nov. 9, 1980, when Chicago led, 35-0, at the half.

"The way we were playing, we couldn't beat anybody, and we were playing the world champions, we were playing the best team in football," said Redskin Coach Norv Turner of the team he helped to two Super Bowl titles as offensive coordinator before being hired by the Redskins last spring.

"I'm going to put it in a nutshell: my job is to get the team ready to play, and they were not ready to play, so I didn't get my job done today."

Shuler said he was overanxious.

"I had so much adrenaline built up inside, I kept on throwing them high, high and out of bounds, but I can work on that."

Washington's running game told the story: 18 carries for 28 yards.

But while the Redskins took themselves out of the game with mistakes, they also were outclassed by a clearly superior and motivated opponent. The Cowboys were coming off a 20-17 overtime loss to the Detroit Lions on Sept. 19.

"We played the running game well today," said Dallas Coach Barry Switzer. "Their offensive line couldn't block us and they didn't have Barry Sanders."

Lincoln Coleman was the Cowboys' workhorse of the offense, carrying 22 times for 74 yards and one touchdown. Smith carried 16 times for 48 yards and two touchdowns before being hurt.

Aikman completed 20 of 28 passes for 181 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Figures Shuler would have been happy to have.

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