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NFL / WEEK 8 | DALLAS 48, ARIZONA 7

Running Mates Lead Cowboys

October 23, 2000|From Associated Press

IRVING, Texas — Maybe it was Troy Aikman's sore back. Maybe it was Arizona's pathetic run defense.

Regardless of the reason, the Dallas Cowboys' decision to keep the ball on the ground was a good one.

Emmitt Smith ran for 112 yards and a touchdown and Chris Warren added 64 yards and two touchdowns, turning Aikman into a role player Sunday as the Cowboys beat the Cardinals, 48-7.

A swarming defense and Wane McGarity's punt return for a touchdown also were keys for Dallas, which enjoyed its most lopsided victory since 1980. It was quite a turnaround for a team that had been outscored, 82-38, in two previous home games this season.

"We've been waiting for a game like this for quite a while," Dallas center Mark Stepnoski said. "It's not often that you get up 48-0. You have to enjoy it because they are so rare."

Injuries thinned Arizona's depth on the defensive line. Dallas exploited it by running on 20 of its first 28 plays, including 10 straight, en route to a 27-0 halftime lead.

"This is one of the worst games I have been involved with," said Cardinal quarterback Jake Plummer, who was 20 of 31 for 180 yards with three interceptions as his team fell to 2-5. "It's a sick feeling right now."

The Cowboys (3-4), who started the game with the only run defense more generous than Arizona's, ran for a season-high 200 yards.

"Arizona was rated 30th in the league. No disrespect to them, but if we weren't able to run the ball against them, something was wrong," said Smith.

The intrigue coming in was whether Aikman would rebound from his five-interception outing last week. The answer: Check back next week.

Although he was nine for 15 for 154 yards and two touchdowns, his first completion didn't come until 3:10 before halftime with Dallas already ahead, 21-0.

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