IRVING, Tex. — The Dallas Cowboys, resisting the temptation to look ahead to San Francisco, were in a fighting mood after losing one of their best players.
Emmitt Smith rushed for 163 yards and scored twice and Troy Aikman threw a touchdown pass and ran for another Monday night in a 38-10 victory over the New York Giants that cost them wide receiver Alvin Harper.
The two-time Super Bowl champions improved to 8-1, best in the NFL, with their 12th consecutive victory over an NFC East opponent. Harper sprained his left knee just before the teams scuffled heading to the locker rooms for halftime, and owner Jerry Jones said the injury "didn't look good."
"It could be a tear and we're worried about him being out for the year," Jones said in the press box during the game. "The way the doctors were talking, I didn't like the way it sounded."
Dallas plays at San Francisco (7-2) next Sunday in an important game for playoff home-field advantage. But the Cowboys apparently weren't thinking about San Francisco as they handed the Giants (3-6) their sixth consecutive loss.
"We dominated the game from start to finish but we have a tragic loss because Harper is probably out for the season," Dallas Coach Barry Switzer said. "It just devastates us. We'll have to go to a second-team player against the 49ers."
It was the first time the Giants had lost six games in a row since 1980 under Ray Perkins. Dallas, which has won five consecutive times against the Giants, hadn't beaten them this badly since a 52-7 romp in 1966.
"It was no contest," Giant Coach Dan Reeves said. "We looked as bad as we could look. Dallas was too strong and too good. This hurt. I don't like to be embarrassed like that."
Dallas put the game away quickly.
Aikman and Smith took the Cowboys 95 yards in 10 plays for a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter. Smith ground out 58 yards on the drive, and Aikman finished it with a 17-yard pass to Michael Irvin and a 22-yard touchdown strike to Harper, who beat rookie Thomas Randolph.
Smith scored Dallas' second touchdown on a one-yard run to join Jim Brown as only the second player in NFL history to score 10 touchdowns a season in his first five years.
Cowboy offensive guard Derek Kennard suffered a sprained big toe but may play against the 49ers.
The first half ended on a bizarre play when Harper and Giants defensive back Tito Wooten went down in a tangle in the end zone on a long Hail Mary pass. Harper injured his left knee on the play, missed the second half and will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test today.
Harper, who left the dressing room in crutches, said, "He (Wooten) cheap-shotted me. All I've got to tell him is the last game of the season is in New York and somebody is going to get hurt."
Harper left, vowing, "I'll be ready for Sunday. I'll be ready for Sunday."
After the play, Irvin and Jarvis Williams of the Giants exchanged swings as more players gathered. No damage was done as the teams pushed and shoved their way to their dressing rooms, scattering cheerleaders and halftime performers.
Dallas safety James Washington took a tripod away from a photographer during the scuffle and brandished it as a weapon, although he never hit anyone.