52 Pick-up: Cowboys Pummel Oakland

The irony of grown men playing a kids game with a ball and helmets couldn't be more evident in the results from the final pre-season game between the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders. Played at Texas Stadium, the 52-13 whipping of last year's Superbowl runner-up Raider team is both pointless and trivial.

The Raiders had the most potent offense in the league last year. The NFL version of Grumpy Old Men took it to opponents and tanned more than one set of hides belonging to the young and the restless. So they come to Dallas to play a game that is the last in a series of pre-season gougings NFL owners are fond of levying on the ticket buying public.

Dallas, a team struggling for an identity and a quarterback that can lead in anything but pre-game warm ups, came into this contest looking for answers. And from the very beginning they came in droves as Dallas took charge.

The kick-off left Quincy setting up shop on his own 33-yard line. Nine plays later, three of which were passes by Carter, ended up scoring on a Billy Cundiff field goal from the Oakland 19. Hambrick finally put his engine in high gear snapping off 16-yards on four carries. Avion Cason added twenty-four on the ground and Quincy went one of three for five yards. Richie Anderson capped the drive with a three-yard plunge before the three pointer.

But the real difference in this Dallas team and the ones trotted out in the last four games was the effort. Quincy Carter had a skip in his step and he looked the part of the newest leader of the band as even in incompletions he appeared sharp.

But it wasn't just the offense that came to play. On Oakland's second play from scrimmage Jerry Rice sprinted out of the slot. Mario Edward's physical play at the line-of-scrimmage caused him to slow in his turnout. Rich Gannon threw the ball behind Rice, bouncing off his shoulder pad. Edwards made a heads up play and sprinted 24-yard unmolested to the endzone for 6. Dallas was up ten points before six minutes was gone from the contest.

Again after a solid special teams performance the first-stringers of Oakland took the field for a quick three-and-out highlighted by two incomplete passes by Gannon.

The next series for Dallas saw them gain a first down on two tough runs by Hambrick. He lowered his head on one play and took what the defense would give, stretching to get the ball past the sticks.

But ugly football reared its head as Dallas then moved backwards. First on a holding penalty by Flozell Adams, and then on a loss of two by Cason. Quincy faced third and 21 from the Dallas 31-yard line.

He then rolled to his right surveying the field. A linebacker came charging in and he slid to the right at the last second buying more time as the receivers cleared.

Joey Galloway ran a hitch route with Charles Woodson running step for step. Then Galloway stutter stepped again causing Woodson to think this was a comeback route. Woodson dropped off Galloway and Quincy had his man open on the sidelines.

His pass was very rainbow-like but landed in the mitts of Galloway at the Oakland 35, who then juked the safety and outran everyone to the endzone. The TD spanned 69-yards and the game was essentially over. Oakland's starters never again saw the field and Dallas walked away in a laugher.

In nine series the Cowboys scored save for two in the third quarter when Tony Romo was leading the caddies against the future unemployed of Oakland. But Quincy snapped off four straight series that ended in a touchdown before turning over the keys to the car over to Romo.

Dallas logged 436 yards of offense with Quincy posting an 11/16 night for 239-yards. He had no interceptions or fumbles, and looked sharp in his reads and delivery.

The 52-points sets a pre-season record, besting the 46-points scored against the Rams in 1971. But perhaps more significant is the fact that in last year's season, if you add the points Dallas scored in losses against the Texans 10, Eagles 13, Cardinals 6, Lions 7, Colts 3, Giants 7, Eagles again 3, they total 49-points. On this night offense visited the Cowboys.

But it wasn't only Quincy that racked up a significant evening. Troy Hambrick ticked off 60-yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns. His last was an Emmitt-like run as he got to the outside and dipped a shoulder causing a safety to freeze while he took an inside move to the endzone. Both touchdowns of 7-yards and 14-yards went untouched by a Raider. Hambrick showed something that had been lacking the entire pre-season - grit.

Erik Bickerstaff, the rookie who may have made this team tonight, blistered the Raiders on 13 carries for 69 yards late in the game. He scored on a plunge into a wall of black and silver from the one after a terrific 14-yard sweep. As the announcers claimed, he looked like he was running down hill all night.

The Dallas line blocked well and opened the holes for both the running lanes and contained for the passing game. Larry Allen started at left guard and showed definite signs that either he has regained his confidence, or his tender ankle was perhaps more a veteran wishing to miss the early contact of camp.

Joey Galloway scored and had a total of 93-yards on 3 catches. Terry Glenn had one catch for 49-yards setting up a Hambrick touchdown. Antonio Bryant took treatment all day for his nagging quad injury in hopes of playing tonight. But Parcells made the call that his services would be better suited against Atlanta on the 7th of September rather than a meaningless game in late August.

To be sure the Raiders were less enthused about this contest and it showed. This game was a blow out, mostly because a Dallas team wanted it more than Oakland.

And in the end, with 52-points, it looked like a kids game. With Al Davis' Raiders fielding an even dozen veterans with 15-years experience or better, it may be no wonder why the kids of Dallas won. They had more energy.

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