1999 Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings MNF Week 9


AL: RANDY MOSS IN FOR THE TOUCHDOWN.>>♪ WELL, IT’S TIME TO BLAST OFF AND GET ON YOUR WAY THE NFL’S BEST ARE READY TO PLAY THE COWBOYS, THE VIKINGS, THE DOME COMES ALIVE TWO TITANS BATTLE, ONLY ONE WILL SURVIVE YOU BETTER BE READY, STRAP IN AND HOLD TIGHT THEY’RE SEEING STARS IN MINNESOTA TONIGHT HIT IT COME ON AND HIT IT COME ON AND GET READY ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL A MONDAY NIGHT PARTY YEAH, IT’S A SUPER BOWL SEASON 30 YEARS AND STILL ROCKING AL AND BOOMER ARE SET THE CROWD IS PSYCHED ALL MY ROWDY FRIENDS ARE HERE FOR MONDAY NIGHT THAT’S RIGHT ♪♪ AL: HOW BIZARRE HAS THIS SEASON BEEN IN THE NFL? ON THIS EIGHTH NIGHT OF NOVEMBER, PEOPLE IN MINNEAPOLIS COME INSIDE TO COOL OFF. IT WAS 77 IN MINNEAPOLIS TODAY, 65 UNDER THE BIG TOP AT THE METRODOME AS THE VIKINGS TAKE ON THE DALLAS COWBOYS. AL MICHAELS WITH BOOMER ESIASON AND LESLEY VISSER. VERY BIG GAME FOR BOTH TEAMS TONIGHT. THE COWBOYS STARTED THE SEASON 3-0, BUT THEY’VE LOST THREE OF THEIR LAST FOUR. ALL ON THE ROAD, ALL IN GAMES THEY COULD HAVE WON AND THEY TRY TO REBOUND TONIGHT AND IT’S GOING TO BE TOUGH BECAUSE THE VIKINGS ARE A TEAM A LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT WERE THE BEST IN THE CONFERENCE COMING INTO THE SEASON. BUT THEY BEGAN 2-4, MADE A QUARTERBACK SWITCH. NOW IT’S JEFF GEORGE, AND THEY THINK THEY HAVE RIGHTED THE SHIP. DENNIS GREEN THINKS THIS IS A TEAM ABOUT READY TO GO ON A ROLL. THE VIKINGS AND THE COWBOYS, A GREAT MATCHUP TONIGHT IN MINNEAPOLIS. AL: DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS ON THIS WARM, NOVEMBER EVENING IN THE METRODOME RIGHT NOW. BOOMER, WE ALL KNOW THAT COACH’S HONEYMOONS DON’T LAST VERY LONG. CHAN GAILEY GOT THE JOB LAST YEAR, GETS TO THE PLAYOFFS BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN EVERYBODY BEGINNING TO QUESTION THE CONSERVATIVE PLAY CALLING. BOOMER: JERRY JONES WHEN HE HIRED CHAN GAILEY DID IT BECAUSE HE WANTED HIS HEAD COACH TO CALL OFFENSIVE PLAYS. ONE THING CHAN GAILEY HAS DONE IS HE HAS BEEN CONSERVATIVE. HE HAS HAD SOME INJURIES. THE LOSS OF MICHAEL IRVIN IS HURTING THEIR PASSING ATTACK. BUT HE HAS ONE OF THE BEST QUARTERBACKS TO EVER PLAY IN TROY AIKMAN. I SAY GIVE HIM A CHANCE, LET HIM THROW IT DOWNFIELD. YOU BROUGHT THE ROCKET HERE AS A FREE AGENT. LET’S SEE HIM GO DOWNFIELD TONIGHT. I THINK THAT’S WHERE THEY HAVE TO GO TO WIN. AL: PLAY CALLING HAS ALSO BEEN AN ISSUE IN MINNEAPOLIS, BUT THE BIGGER ISSUE HAS BEEN THE QUARTERBACK SWITCH. RANDALL CUNNINGHAM HAD A HALL OF FAME YEAR LAST YEAR. HE IS ON THE BENCH NOW. BOOMER: IS THERE A BIGGER RIDDLE IN THE NFL THAN JEFF GEORGE? HE IS IMMENSELY TALENTED. YOU WILL SEE BALLS TONIGHT THAT YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO COMPREHEND BECAUSE OFxD HIS ARM STRENGTH. THIS GUY CAME HERE NOT AS THE SAVIOR. HE CAME AS THE BACKUP. IN HIS EMOTIONS HE DOES NOT HAVE TO CARRY THE TEAM. ALL HE HAS TO DO IS GET THE BALL TO THE WIDE RECEIVERS AND THEY’LL HAVE A CHANCE. AL: GOOD MATCHUP AHEAD. AL: THE CROWD GETTING READY FOR THE START OF THE GAME, BUT AROUND THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, THIS WEEKEND THERE HAS BEEN A MOMENT OF SILENCE BEFORE EACH OF THE GAMES IN THE MEMORY OF WALTER PAYTON, WHO DIED LAST MONDAY AND RIGHT NOW LET’S JOIN THE PUBLIC ADDRESS ANNOUNCER HERE AT THE METRODOME.>>LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE STAND AND JOIN THE VIKINGS AND COWBOYS IN A MOMENT OF SILENCE TO HON THE MEMORY OF WALTER PAYTON, THE NFL’S ALL-TIME LEADING RUSHER AND A HERO FOR THE AGES. THANK YOU. AL: ALL RIGHT. THE VIKINGS GETTING SET TO TAKE ON THE COWBOYS. LET’S GO DOWN TO THE FIELD AND LESLEY VISSER. LESLEY: DENNIS GREEN WAS COACHING AT NORTHWESTERN WHEN WALTER WAS PLAYING VERY CLOSE TO HIM, A TREMENDOUS LOSS. BUT DENNIS, FOR TONIGHT LAST WEEK YOU BUILT MOMENTUM AGAINST DENVER. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TONIGHT TO KEEP THIS GOING?>>WE HAVE TO PLAY GREAT RUN DEFENSE. A GUY LIKE WALTER PAYTON, EMMITT SMITH IS GOING TO GET THE BALL 30, 35 TIMES. LIKE WALTER, HE IS A WARRIOR. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO STOP HIM. LESLEY: A TOUGH ASSIGNMENT. THANKS A LOT. BACK TO YOU, AL. AL: THANK YOU, LESLEY. MITCH BERGER WHO IS THE LEADING PUNTER IN THE LEAGUE IS THE VIKING KICKOFF MAN. HE WILL SEND IT DOWN TO THE DEEP MEN FOR THE COWBOYS, KEVIN MATHIS AND THAT IS JEFF OGDEN. AL: THE METRODOME IS NOISY A VENUE AS THERE IS IN THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. IN FULL ROAR AT THE OUTSET OF THE GAME AS IT’S DROPPED AT THE 2, COLLECTED AT THE 8-YARD LINE BY MATHIS. THEN HE IS TACKLED AT THE 13. A FLAG COMES IN. ROB HOLMBERG MAKES THE TACKLE. SO RIGHT OFF THE BAT, REFEREE WALT COLEMAN WILL MAKE THE FIRST CALL OF THE GAME. AND THAT WILL PUSH THE COWBOYS BACK EVEN FARTHER AS JOE AVEZZANO, THE SPECIAL TEAMS COACH, WATCHES HIS UNIT. REFEREE: ILLEGAL BLOCK IN THE BACK DURING THE RETURN, 96. HALF THE DISTANCE TO THE GOAL. FIRST DOWN. BOOMER: CERTAINLY NOT THE WAY YOU WATT TO START IF YOU’RE THE DALLAS COWBOYS, ESPECIALLY IN THIS PART OF THE FIELD, HOW LOUD IT IS. TROY AIKMAN IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE SHARP AND VERY CAREFUL, THIS PART OF THE FIELD THIS EARLY IN THE GAME. AL: 11TH YEAR IN THE LEAGUE, TROY AIKMAN, THE NUMBER ONE PICK IN THE 1989 DRAFT. AL: STRENGTH ON THE LEFT SIDE. AIKMAN TO THROW ON FIRST DOWN. IT’S A LOW PASS AT THE FEET OF JASON TUCKER, THEIR THIRD WIDE-OUT. HE IS COVERED BY CHRIS ROGERS. NOW LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE MINNESOTA VIKING DEFENSIVE UNIT. AL: THERE WAS AN OFFSIDE AGAINST THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS, OFFSIDE AGAINST THE VIKINGS. SO THERE WAS NO PLAY. IT IS SO LOUD, NOBODY CAN HEAR A WHISTLE. SO THERE WAS NO PLAY AND IT’S FIRST DOWN AND 5. FOR THE COWBOYS AT THE 11-YARD LINE. AL: THEY START WITH EMMITT SMITH, AND SMITH PICKS UP THREE TO THE 14. BOOMER, EMMITT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A WORKHORSE, NEVER MORE SO THAN THIS YEAR. HE IS AVERAGING 25 CARRIES A GAME. BOOMER: TALKING TO CHAN GAILEY YESTERDAY, HE TOLD US THAT’S A VERY HIGH NUMBER. FOR A GUY IN HIS 10TH YEAR AND HAS CARRIED THE BALL AS MANY TIMES AS HE HAS CARRIED, THEY HAVE TO BE CAREFUL. BUT THEY FEEL AS THE SEASON GOES ON, THERE WILL BE GAMES WHERE HE GETS 18 CARRIES. ONE OF THE INTERESTING THINGS, AL, HOWEVER, IS THE COWBOYS CAME OUT WITH A THREE RECEIVER SET. THE REASON THEY DO THAT IS TO TRY TO GET THE ROOKIE DEFENSIVE BACKS THE MATCHUP THAT THEY LIKE. AL: THE FAKE TO SMITH. THAT BUYS TIME FOR AIKMAN GOING DEEP. UP AT THE 36-YARD LINE. SO THEY GO DEEP TO THE ROCKET OFF THE PLAY FAKE. TACKLED BY HITCHCOCK, A 22-YARD GAIN. BOOMER: ONE OF THE REASONS I WAS TALKING IN THE OPENING THAT THE WBOYS SHOULD THROW THE FOOTBALL IS BECAUSE THE VIKING PASS DEFENSE IS 29TH OUT OF 31 IN THE LEAGUE. YOU CAN SEE HOW MUCH ROOM HITCHCOCK IS GIVEN RIGHT HERE. THIS DEFENSE OF THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS IS SO CONCERNED ABOUT EMMITT SMITH. A LOT OF PLAY-ACTION PASS AND THREE WIDE RECEIVERS, AWE SEE RIGHT NOW, IS GOING TO BE THE KEY FOR THEM TO WIN. TROY IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE ON THE MONEY. AL: THREE WIDE-OUTS. THEY GIVE IT TO SMITH. HE IS DRAGGED DOWN BY MCDANIEL. RIGHT OFF THE TOP, WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT TROY AIKMAN WHO TOOK A VICIOUS HIT FROM JEFF BURRISEN A BLITZ LAST WEEK, HAD TO COME OUT FOR A SERIES, HAD AN M.R.I. THAT WAS OK. THEY’RE NOT SAYING IT WAS A CONCUSSION. BUT TALKING TO HIM BEFORE THE GAME, HE SAID HE HAS BEEN WOOZY BEFORE THE GAME. BOOMER: I TOLD HIM THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE YOU GET HEADACHES AND THAT’S THE WAY IT IS, LIFE IN THE NFL ESPECIALLY FOR QUARTERBACKS. YOU ARE GOING TO GET HIT. BUT HE IS A TOUGH GUY. HE WANTS TO PLAY. CHAN GAILEY SAID HE HAD A GREAT WEEK OF PRACTICE SO LOOK FOR HIM TO BE SHARP. AL: SECOND AND 7 ON A DRIVE THAT BEGAN AT THE DALLAS 6. THAT ONE IS CAUGHT, PULLED IN BY ERNIE MILLS. GOOD, SLICK MOVE, TWO OF THEM. A BROKEN TACKLE. HE TAKES IT TO THE 40. GOT OUT OF THE GRASP OF KENNY WRIGHT. BOOMER: IS THIS ONE OF THE THINGS THE COWBOYS ARE GOING TO TRY TO DO, EXPLOIT THE ROOKIES IN THE DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD. WHEN THEY GO TO THE WIDE RECEIVERS, THE DEFENSE OF THE VIKINGS WILL MATCH UP. THEY’LL BRING IN CHRIS ROGERS. BEING A ROOKIE IS NOT VERY EASY. WHEN YOU ARE A QUARTERBACK AND YOU ARE AN OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR, THAT’S WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. THAT’S THE WEAKNESS OF THE DEFENSE. HE IS UNSURE O HIMSELF. AL: FIRST DOWN AT THE 40-YARD LINE. BACK TO THE GROUND. IT’S A WELL CONCEIVED OPENING DRIVE AS SMITH PICKS UP EIGHT. IT WILL BE SECOND AND SHORT. BOOMER: LAST YEAR THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS’ OFFENSE WAS SO GREAT THAT THIS DEFENSE REALLY DIDN’T HAVE TO DO MUCH. WHEN THE OFFENSE STARTED TO SPUTTER THIS YEAR, YOU START REALIZING WHAT YOUR DEFICIENCIES ARE. THE VIKINGS WERE SO DESPERATE FOR DEFENSIVE LINEMEN, THEY GET DOLEMAN, BALL AND PHILLIPS. THERE’S FOGE FAZIO, THE DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR. YOU CAN SENSE THIS DEFENSE IS NOT VERY GOOD AT TACKLING AND CERTAINLY ISN’T VERY GOOD AT COVERING DOWNFIELD. AL: SECOND AND A SHORT 3. AND THIS IS EMMITT SMITH. IT’S A LEAGUEWIDE LAMENT AS A FLAG COMES IN AT E END OF THE PLAY. ALL OF THE DEFENSIVE COACHES TALKING ABOUT THE ABSENCE OF GOOD TACKLING THIS YEAR. DWAYNE RUDD MADE THAT LAST HIT. THE PENALTY WILL BE AGAINST THE VIKINGS. SO EITHER WAY DALLAS GETS A FIRST DOWN. BOOMER: WHEN YOU HAVE OLDER GUYS ON THE DEFENSIVE LINE, THEY WEAR DOWN AT THE END OF THE GAME, ESPECIALLY IF YOUR OFFENSE IS NOT PUTTING UP THE POINTS YOU’RE USED TO SEEING. REFEREE: OFFSIDE, DEFENSE, NUMBER 56. PENALTY IS DECLINED. FIRST DOWN. AL: VIKINGS WITH 19 GUYS, 30 OR OLDER AND SEVERAL OF THOSE ARE OVER 35. BOOMER: WHAT’S AMAZING IS AROUND THE LEAGUE EVERYBODY TRIES TO GET YOUNGER. EVERYBODY WANTS YOUNGER, FASTER, CHEAPER PLAYERS. THE VIKINGS FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE A POSSIBLE SUPER BOWL OFFENSE HERE. LET’S GET SOME GUYS WHO KNOW HOW TO DO IT, BUT THEY HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO TACKLE TONIGHT. AL: WARREN, WHO CAME OVER A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, TAKES THE BALL TO THE 24. CHRIS PICKS UP THREE. EMMITT WILL COME BACK INTO THE GAME. MAYBE EMMITT WON’T COME BACK INTO THE GAME. BOOMER: YOU ASKED DENNIS GREEN YESTERDAY WHY THE REASON FOR ALL THE OLDER PLAYERS. I THINK WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE WIDE RECEIVER POSITION HERE IN MINNESOTA, YOU KNOW WHY. YOU HAVE SUCH A TALENTED EXPLOSIVE GUY LIKE RANDY MOSS AND THEN YOU HAVE TWO GUYS LIKE JAKE REED AND CRIS CARTER, HELP HIM ALONG A BIT. DENNIS SAYS HE LIKES THAT TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HIS PLAYERS. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 7 FROM THE 24. AIKMAN, OVER THE MIDDLE AND IT’S DROPPED. IT WAS RIGHT INTO THE HANDS OF LAFLEUR, THE TIGHT END AT THE 15-YARD LINE. GOING TO HIM A LITTLE BIT MORE AS THE WEEKS HAVE GONE BY. A PERFECT OPPORTUNITY THERE FOR A FIRST DOWN. INSTEAD IT’S THIRD DOWN. BOOMER: NOT BAD COVERAGE BY DWAYNE RUDD. TROY THROWS IT IN THERE. LAFLEUR KNOWS THE SAFETY IS COMIN HERE HE COMES. WHEN NUMBER 42, ORLANDO THOMAS, IS GOING TO HIT YOU, OBJECT ROBERT GRIFFITH, YOU HAVE TO BE AWARE OF THAT. AS EVERY COACH WILL TELL YOU, AL, CATCH IT. IT HURTS EITHER WAY. AL: NINTH PLAY OF THE DRIVE COMING. DALLAS GOING WITH FIVE WIDE-OUTS. THIS IS THE FIRST THIRD DOWN PLAY OF THE DRIVE. VIKINGS SEND SIX. THE PASS IS INCOMPLETE, INTENDED FOR WAR REASON. COVERED BY RUDD. FOURTH DOWN. YOU’RE LOOKING AT A 43-YARD FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT. BOOMER: NOT A BAD OFFENSIVE SERIES FOR THE DALLAS COWBOYS. I DON’T NECESSARILY KNOW THAT I WOULD TRY TO THROW IT TO WARREN AGAINST RUDD. YOU HAVE TO FIND THOSE ROOKIE DEFENSIVE BACKS. ERNIE MILLS AND ROCKET ISMAIL CAN HANDLE THOSE GUYS. YOU CAN SEE THAT TROY WAS JUST WANTING TO GET RID OF IT. AL: RICHIE CUNNINGHAM NOT HAVING A GOOD YEAR, 5-10. THIS WILL BE A 42-YARD ATTEMPT. ERIC BJORNSON WILL SPOT IT AT THE 32-YARD LINE. LOW SNAP. BJORNSON GETS IT DOWN. THIS KICK IS NO GOOD. HE MISSED IT TO THE LEFT. SO IN A LEAGUE WHERE ABOUT 80% OF FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS ARE SUCCESSFUL, CUNNINGHAM IS NOW 5-11. THE DALLAS DRIVE DIES. WITH NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT. AL: FIRST DOWN, MINNESOTA FROM THE 33. AFTER THE MISSED FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT, DEION LINING UP ON THE RIGHT SIDE DEFENSIVELY. JEFF GEORGE, FIRST DOWN. DEION LINED UP AGAINST JAKE REED ONE-ON-ONE. THEY GIVE IT■■O LEROY HOARD. HE BULLS HIS WAY TO THE 42. HOARD PLAYING IN PLACE OF THE INJURED ROBERT SMITH WHO UNDERWENT HERNIA SURGERY, MIGHT BE BACK NEXT WEEK. TROY AIKMAN WAS THE NUMBER ONE PICK IN THE 1989 DRAFT. THE FOLLOWING YEAR JEFF GEORGE WAS THE NUMBER ONE PICK AFTER H STARTED HIS COLLEGE CAREER IN PURDUE. AL: RANDALL MCDANIEL AS GOOD AS THERE EVER WAS AT LEFT GUARD. HERE IS HOARD AGAIN. LEROY BANGS HIS WAY TO THE 48-YARD LINE. COAKLEY IN ON THE HIT. THE DALLAS DEFENSE IS FAST AS WE TAKE A LOOK AT THEM UP FRONT. AL: BACK-TO-BACK RUNNING PLAYS, FIRST DOWN. NOW SANDERS LINES UP AGAINST MOSS. AND RANDY GOES IN MOTION. DEION SHADOWS HIM. HOARD AGAIN TO GET THE RECEIVERS. LOOK AT THIS. ROBERT SMITH, THE MAN BEING REPLACED AT LEAST TEMPORARILY BY HOARD, IS THE FIRST TO APPLAUD. TACKLED BY TEAGUE. BOOMER: DENNIS GREEN WAS TELLING US YESTERDAY THE KEY TO THIS WHOLE OFFENSE IS ROBERT SMITH. HE IS OUT WITH A HERNIA AND HE’LL BE BACK PROBABLY NEXT WEEK. BUT TAKE A LOOK AT THIS HOLE RIGHT HERE, AL. HOARD DOESN’T HAVE THE EXPLOSIVE SPEED THAT A ROBERT SMITH DOES. BUT HE CERTAINLY WILL TAKE IT UP IN BETWEEN THE TACKLES AND HE IS A ROUGH AND TUMBLE TYPE OF BACK. YOU CAN SEE RIGHT THERE THE OFFENSIVE LINE DOING A GREAT JOB AND GIVE RANDALL MCDANIEL CREDIT FOR THAT ONE CUTTING OFF ALONZO SPELLMAN FROM MAKING A PLAY. AL: HOARD COMING OFF A GAME LAST WEEK IN WHICH HE HAD THE LONGEST RUN OF HIS CAREER, 53 YARDS. NOW THEY KEEP IT ON THE GROUND AND GIVE IT TO MOW WILLIAMS. EVEN ROBERT SMITH HAS TO SAY WE GO THREE DEEP AND WE STILL DO IT. BOOMER: THE DEFENSE OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS USUALLY KEEPS THEIR SAFETIES WITHIN EIGHT TO NINE YARDS OF THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE. BUT DAVE CAMPO AND THE DALLAS COWBOY DEFENSIVE STAFF ARE SO CONCERNED ABOUT THESE THREE WIDE RECEIVERS THAT THEIR SAFETIES ARE PLAYING SO FAR BACK THAT THE DEFENSIVE LINE HAS GOT TO MAKE SOME PLAYS AND GIVE THE LINEBACKERS A CHANCE TO MAKE TACKLES. AL: SEVEN IN THE BOX, FROM THE 33-YARD LINE. THEY GIVE IT TOñr WILLIAMS AGAIN. HE TAKES IT TO THE 29-YARD LINE. SO FIVE PLAYS, AND FIVE RUNS ON MINNESOTA’S OPENING DRIVE. BOOMER: YOU ULD SEE ON THAT LAST PLAY, DARREN WOODSON, THE ALL-PRO SAFETY FOR THE DALLAS COWBOYS, WAS IN ON THE TACKLE. THE LAST FEW TIMES HE WAS 15 YARDS BACK BECAUSE THEY WERE SO CONCERNED ABOUT THROWING THE BALL DEEP AND NOT GIVING THE MINNESOTA OFFENSE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SCORE QUICKLY. MAKE THEM WORK FOR IT. AL: SECOND AND 6. LINING UP IN THE I. SANDERS ON THE RIGHT SIDE DEFENSIVELY. NOT LKED UP WITH ANYBODY AND GEORGE IS GOING TO THROW HIS FIRST PASS OF THE GAME THE OTHER WAY. THAT’S INCOMPLETE. THE COVERAGE BY DEXTER COAKLEY, TACKLING ANDREW JORDAN AS THE BALL GOT THERE. NO FLAG. THIRD DOWN. BOOMER: ONE THING ABOUT JEFF GEORGE THAT PROBABLY IRKS A LOT OF PEOPLE IS THE WAY HE IS NONCHALANT ON THE FIELD. HE IS SO CONFIDENT ABOUT HIS ARM AND HIS ABILITY TO THROW THE FOOTBALL THAT AT TIMES HE’LL THROW IT OFF HIS BACK FOOT AND HE WON’T LOOK VERY COMFORTABLE AND HE WON’T LOOK FUNDAMENTAL. THERE’S RANDALL CUNNINGHAM, WHO I KNOW IS STEWING ON THE SIDELINE. HE CAN TELL ME THAT HE LEFT GRACEFULLY WHICH HE DID. BUT YOU HAVE TO KNOW THAT INSIDE HE HAS TO BE DYING THAT HE WANTS TO GET OUT HERE. AL: THE COWBOYS NOT ALLOWING A TOUCHDOWN IN THE FIRST QUARTER OR A POINT OFF A FIRST DRIVE THIS YEAR. THIRD DOWN AND 6. THE WHISTLE BEFORE THE SNAP. THERE WAS ACTION UP FRONT. STEUSSIE MAY HAVE MOVED. THE LEFT TACKLE. REFEREE: FRYAR THE SNAP, FALSE START, 73, OFFENSE. FIVE YARDS. STILL THIRD DOWN. AL: CONFIRMED. BOOMER: YOU TALK ABOUT JEFF GEORGE. HE CAME HERE AS A BACKUP, ONLY MAKING $400,000. DENNIS GREEN TOLD US YESTERDAY THAT LEIGH STEINBERG, HIS AGENT, TOLD HIM WE’RE INTERESTED AND SAID SEE IF THERE’S ANY STARTER JOBS IN THE NFL. IF THERE AREN’T, WE’LL TAKE HIM AS A BACKUP. HE COMES HERE, HE IS NOT THE FOCAL POINT WHERE HE HAS BEEN EVYWHERE ELSE. AL: HE COULD HAVE STAYED AT OAKLAND HAD THE RAIDERS ELECTED TO EXTEND THE CONTRACT. THEY DID NOT, THAT MADE HIM A FREE AGENT. HE WINDS UP HERE. THIRD DOWN AND 11. THIS ONE IS WHISTLED DEAD BECAUSE GREG ELLIS CAME ACROSS THE LINE. BOOMER: I THINK YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE MOVEMENT ON RANDY MOSS. MOSS MOVED BEFORE THE BALL WAS SNAPPED. ELLIS DID NOT MAKE CONTACT WITH THE OFFENSIVE LINE. AL: FLAGS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE FIELD. THE LINE JUDGE AND HEAD LINESMAN EACH THREW ONE. REFEREE: PRIOR TO THE SNAP, FALSE START. WIDE RECEIVER. STILL THIRD DOWN. AL: EXACTLY RIGHT, BOOMER. RANDY MOSS. 10 YARDS’ WORTH OF PENALTIES. BOOMER: WHAT ARE THE DALLAS COWBOYS DOING? THEY’RE NOT ALLOWING UP TO THIS POINT THE VIKINGS TO GO QUICKLY INTO THE END ZONE AND THEY’RE TRYING TO TAKE THE FANS OUT OF IT. LET THEM RUN THE BALL BUT DON’T GIVE UP THE BIG PLAY. LET’S NOT GET DOWN EARLY QUICKLY AND GET THIS CROWD INTO IT. AL: FAST-MOVING QUARTER. MOSS LINED UP AGAINST SANDERS, DEION AND RANDY FROM THE 39-YARD LINE. GEORGE LOOKING THAT WAY. HAS TO STEP UP, HAS A LOT OF ROOM TO ROAM BUT NOT ENOUGH FOR THE FIRST DOWN. JEFF NOT THE MOST NIMBLE OF FOOT EVEN THOUGH HE HAD ABOUT 20 YARDS OF EXPANSE IN FRONT OF HIM. BOOMER: I THINK THE■ OLD JEFF GEORGE MIGHT HAVE TRIED TO WING ONE IN HERE BUT HE KNOWS HE IS IN FIELD GOAL RANGE. HE WANTS TO GIVE ANDERSON A CHANCE TO MAKE IT. THE ONE THING I CAN TELL YOU ABOUT THE DALLAS COWBOY LINEBACKERS, THEY ARE FAST. LOOK AT DEXTER COAKLEY. HE CAN CLOSE IN A HURRY. THAT’S ALMOST THE SPEED OF A D.B. IN A LINEBACKER’S BODY. AL: THIS IS A 49-YARD ATTEMPT FOR GARY ANDERSON. THE KICK IS LONG ENOUGH BUT THAT ONE IS WIDE. SO EACH TEAM SHOWS SOMETHING, ACTUALLY PLENTY OFFENSIVELY. THE COWBOYS, A GOOD DRIVE. THEY COME UP EMPTY. THE VIKINGS A GOOD GROUND GAME. THEY COME UP EMPTY. AL: A VERY PLEASANT NIGHT. BIG HIGH PRESSURE DOME OVER THIS AREA. BOOMER, 77 DEGREES BREAKING THE OLD RECORD BY SIX DEGREES. BOOMER: WHATN ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL CITY. WE ARE GOING TO COME BACK IN DECEMBER. I DON’T KNOW IT’S GOING TO BE THIS WARM. AL: AIKMAN BACKPEDALS. IT IS INTERCEPTED. IT IS PICKED OFF BY JIMMY HITCHCOCK. BOOMER: WHEN YOU TRY TO RUN THIS PLAY, THE WIDE RECEIVER’S GOT IT GET IN FRONT OF THE DEFENSIVE BACK. IT LOOKS LIKE HE DID NOT CATCH THE BALL ON TOP OF IT. AL: VERY INTERESTING. TELEVISION TIME-OUT. ■■ AL: WHEN WE NT TO COMMERCIAL, WE TALKED ABOUT A REPLAY. WELL, IT HAS BEEN CHALLENGED BY CHAN GAILEY. HERE IS ANOTHER LOOK AT IT. BOOMER: GET THE DALLAS OFFENSE BACK ON THE FIELD. THAT’S DEFINITIVE. HITCHCOCK DID NOT MAKE THE PLAY. ERNIE MILLS HAS GOT TO GET INSIDE THAT DEFINSIVE BACK. ERNIE, MIGHT AS WELL FORGET THAT. THEY’RE NOT GOING TO CALL THE PLAY FOR HIM. JIMMY HITCOCK PROBABLY KNOWS. IF I WERE THE DALLAS OFFENSE I WOULD BE ON THE FIELD. AL: THE REFEREE WILL MAKE THE CALL HERE. YOU CAN CHALLENGE IT. IF YOU LOSE THE CHALLENGE IT COSTS YOU A TIME-OUT. BUT THEY’RE GOING TO WIN THIS ONE. REFEREE: AFTER REVIEWING THE PLAY, THE BALL HIT THE GROUND. THE PASS IS INCOMPLETE. NO TIME-OUT IS CHARGED. IT WILL BE SECOND AND 10 FROM THE 40-YARD LINE. BOOMER: ALL RIGHT, AL. WE GOT IT RIGHT. AL: EXACTLY. THAT WAS DEFINITIVE. IT GIVES DALLAS THE BALL BACK. IT’S AN INCOMPLETE PASS. IT’S SECOND DOWN AND 10. BOOMER: YOU SEE RIGHT HERE, TECHNICALLY ON MONDAY NIGHT WE HAVE SO MANY CAMERAS AND SO MANY ANGLES. THEY GIVE US GREAT PICTURES. WE DON’T MISS ANYTHING, DO WE? AL: ABSOLUTELY NOT. NO EXCUSES. BOOMER: TROY AIKMAN IS GOING TO SAY LOOK, NEXT TIME THEY CALL THAT PATTERN DO NOT LET THE DEFENSIVE BACK GET SIDE. THAT’S WHERE I AM THROWING THE BALL. IT’S A TIMING PATTERN. IF IT’S ONE-ON-ONE YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE PLAY. YOU CAN SEE RIGHT NOW FROM THIS POINT, THE DALLAS COWBOYS HAVE THREE RECEIVERS IN THE HUDDLE. THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS ARE NOW GOING TO MATCH UP AND THEY’RE GOING TO BRING CHRIS ROGERS IN. ERNIE MILLS, YOU CANNOT LET HITCHCOCK IN. HITCHCOCK IS SMART BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN WATCHING FILM ALL WEEK LONG SO HE KNOWS IT’S A FAVORITE PLAY OF THE COWBOYS. AL: DALLAS IS THROWING THE BALL DOWN THE FIELD. SECOND DOWN AND 10 AT THE 40-YARD LINE. SMITH TO THE OUTSIDE, TRIES TO CUT IT BACK D RUNS INTO TRAFFIC AND IS STOPPED AER A GAIN OF ONE. TONY WILLIAMS, THE FIRST TO HIT HIM. WHEN YOU LOOK AT AIKMAN LAST WEEK HE WAS 19 OF 24. THAT’S 79%. THAT’S GREAT. BUT ONLY 159 YARDS. THERE IT IS, THE FIRST PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE WITH THAT MANY PASSES COMPLETING THAT MANY PASSES OF THE 24-PLUS THROWN WITH SO FEW YARDS. BOOMER: A LOT OF THAT HAS TO DO WITH THE DEFENSE YOU ARE GOING AGAINST. INDIANAPOLIS DOES A GOOD JOB OF CONFUSING QUARTERBACKS AND BRINGING DIFFERENT TYPES OF BLITZES. AL: THIRD AND 9 OUT OF THE GUN. WARREN MAKES A NICE BLOCK TO LET AIKMAN HANG IN THERE. IT IS CAUGHT AND GOING OUT OF BOUNDS IS ISMAIL AT THE FIRST DOWN MARKER. KENNY WRIGHT WITH THE COVERAGE BUT WARREN ABLE TO PICK UP THE BLITZER, GIVE TROY THE EXTRA HALF SECOND TO THROW AND THEY COMPLETE THE FIRST DOWN. BOOMER: YOU COULD SEE KENNY WRIGHT TALKING TO JIMMY HITCHCOCK TRYING TO GET ANY HELP HE CAN ON THE FIELD OF PLAY. THAT’S THE TYPE OF MATCHUP YOU WANT. YOU WANT ROCKET ISMAIL TO GO AGAINST ONE OF THE ROOKIES. WHEN YOU BLITZ LIKE THIS, IT’S GOING TO BE MAN COVERAGE DOWN THE FIELD. THERE’S NO WAY A ROOKIE IS GOING TO STAY WITH A PLAYER LIKE ISMAIL. AL: WARREN PICKED UP GRIFFITH. AIKMAN IS ABLE TO CONVERT. BACK THEY GO TO THE GREAT EMMITT SMITH WHO PICKS UP FIVE. EMMITT RUNNING WITH AS MUCH SPRING IN HIS LEGS IN THIS, HIS 10TH YEAR IN THE LEAGUE AS AT ANY POINT. WENT THROUGH A SWALE PERIOD A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. LIKE ANY RUNNING BACK, PEOPLE SAY HE IS NOT AS QUICK. WELL, WHO IS AS QUICK? BUT THIS YEAR EMMITT TAKES THOSE THINGS PERSONALLY. BOOMER: WITH ALL GUYS GETTING INJURED THIS YEAR, HE IS STILL STANDING. HE LOOKS GOOD. HE LOOKS GREAT ON THE FIELD. BEFORE THE GAME, YOU COULD SEE THERE IS A LOT OF HOP IN HIS STEP. HE FEELS LIKE HE HAS THAT WHOLE THING GOING ON AGAIN. AL: EMMITT IS ONE OF THOSE GUYS, I’LL SHOW YO SECOND DOWN AND 5. SMITH AGAIN. I’LL SHOW YOU A FIRST DOWN AND I’LL SHOW YOU A GAIN TO THE 29-YARD LINE. TRIPPED BY ORLANDO THOMAS. EMMITT SMITH TONIGHT WITH A 15-YARD PICKUP HERE, HAS ALREADY CARRIED THE BALL A TOTAL OF SEVEN TIMES FOR 40 YARDS. BOOMER: AS LONG AS THEY CAN CONTINUE TO DO THIS BEHIND THEIR OFFENSIVE LINE. LARRY ALLEN, MARK STEPNOSKI. AS LONG AS HE CAN CONTINUE TO DO THAT, THAT’S GOING TO FORCE MINNESOTA TO GET EIGHT GUYS AROUND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE. THAT’S WHERE YOU REALLY HAVE THE ADVANTAGE. AL: HERE’S SMITH TO THE OUTSIDE. EMMITT PICKS UP ANOTHER SIX. TRIPPED UP BY THOMAS. AS EMMITT SMITH’S CAREER — I DON’T WANT TO SAY WINDS DOWN BECAUSE HE STILL IS VERY MUCH IN THE PRIME OF IT, BUT HE IS CHASING ERIC DICKERSON, NUMBER THREE ON THE ALL-TIME LIST IN THE HALL OF FAME. THE AT LEAST TEMPORARILY RETIRED BARRY SANDERS, NUMBER TWO ALL TIME. AND OF COURSE, NUMBER ONE, THE GREAT WALTER PAYTON WITH OVER 16,700 YARDS ATOP THE LIST. PRETTY GOOD COMPANY. SECOND DOWN AND 4 FROM THE 23-YARD LINE. A TOSS CAUGHT BY MILLS. DOWN AT THE 18. GETS BY HITCHCOCK AND DALLAS MOVES THE CHAINS. THE NUMBERS THAT EMMITT IS CHASING WHEN YOU LOOK AHEAD AND CLEARLY BARRY SANDERS COULD HAVE AND MAYBE IF HE DOES COME BACK WILL ECLIPSE PAYTON’S MARK. BUT EMMITT SMITH WITH ABOUT 3,500 LESS YARDS THAN WALTER PAYTON. BOOMER: THE WAY THIS GAME KEEPS GOING, HE WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO GAIN A LOT OF YARDS BECAUSE THE MINNESOTA DEFENSE IS NOT TACKLING. THE DEFENSIVE LINE IS NOT STOPPING THE OFFENSIVE LINE. THEY’RE ABLE TO GET TO THE SECOND LEVEL AND GET ON TO THE LINEBACKERS. AL: FIRST DOWN AT THE 18-YARD LINE. TROY, GREAT PROTECTION. HAS TO DUMP IT OFF AS THE SECONDARY OF THE VIKINGS DOES A GREAT JOB. BOOMER: JERRY BALL TRADED FROM CLEVELAND. I TALKED TO HIM BEFORE THE GAME, HOW HAPPY HE WAS TO BE HERE AS OPPOSED TO BEING TO THE BROWNS. [CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND ESPN, INC.] BOOMER: I HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR ROCKET ISMAIL DOWN HERE VERSUS THE ROOKIE, KENNY WRIGHT. AL: SECOND AND 10. INSTEAD THEY GO BACK TO EMMITT. EMMITT TAKES IT TO THE 15-YARD LINE BEHIND A ROBERT THOMAS BLOCK. HE IS TACKLED BY MCDANIEL SETTING UP A THIRD DOWN AND 7. THE COWBOYS TWO YEARS AGO, BARRY SWITTER’S LAST YEAR, A LOT OF TROUBLE IN THE RED ZONE. THEY’RE TOPS IN THE LEAGUE IN THE RED ZONE BUT THEY’RE GOING UP AGAINST THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS WHO HAVE THE BEST RED ZONE DEFENSE IN THE LEAGUE. BOOMER: IT’S FUNNY WHEN YOU LOOK AT THAT STATISTIC THIS YEAR ESPECIALLY WITH THE ROOKIES IN THE SECONDARY. TROY HAS TO FIND THOSE GUYS AND FIND THE MATCHUP THAT HE THINKS THAT HE CAN EXPLOIT. AL: THREE RECEIVERS TO THE RIGHT. AIKMAN LOOKING FOR A SHOVEL PASS. THE VIKINGS SMELL IT OUT. THE BALL IS DROPPED BY ISMAIL. ROCKET WAS IN MOTION. CAME BACK THE OTHER WAY. IT’S DALLAS BALL AT THE 19-YARD LINE AND CUNNINGHAM COMES IN FOR ANOTHER FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT. BOOMER: THOSE ARE GREAT PLAYS WHEN THEY POP. THEY LOOK LIKE YOU’RE A GENIUS WHEN YOU CALL THEM. BUT THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS ARE HAVING TROUBLE GETTING BACK TO TROY AIKMAN. THEY’RE GOING TO BLITZ. THEY BROUGHT SIX GUYS AND THEY BLITZED INTO THE HOLE. AL: CUNNINGHAM NOW WHO MISSED EARLIER FROM 42. THIS IS A 38-YARDER. BJORNSON PUTS IT DOWN. THIS ONE IS NO GOOD. SO THESE TWO TEAMS HAVE BEEN MARCHING UP AND DOWN THE METRODOME FIELD FOR 13 MINUTES AND 54 SECONDS. THE END RESULT, NOTHING. BOOMER: UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA BEAT PENN STATE THIS WEEK. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. AL: BIG UPSET. HAPPY VALLEY NOT TOO HAPPY. MINNESOTA WITH THE FIRST DOWN FROM THE 18. LEROY HOARD PICKS UP O. LEY HAS BEEN IN THE LEAGUE A LONGIME. STARTED WITH CLEVELAND IN 1990. AND THEN WITH CAROLINA AND MINNESOTA IN 1996. AND BD. LESLEY, WHAT YOU GOT? LESLEY: YOU MAY NOTICE THAT RANDY MOSS IS WEARING THE NUMBER 34 ON A SMALL TOWEL. HE TOLD ME HE GREW UP IDOLIZING WALTER PAYTON. HE WORE 34 IN HIGH SCHOOL. HE SAID HE ALWAYS ADMIRED WALTER FOR HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND HUMILITY. THE BEARS GAMES FROM THE GAMES THEY GOT IN WEST VIRGINIA. AL? AL: TRIBUTES ALL AROUND THE LEAGUE THIS WEEKEND TO SWEETNESS. BOOMER: THIS HAS BEEN ONE OF THE PROBLEMS OF THE OFFENSE OF THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS, TRYING TO MAKE AUDIBLES AND THEN HAVE TO CALL TIME-OUT AND BLOW A BLOWN OPPORTUNITY. AL: WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO TAPED TELEVISION. BOOMER: NO, WE DON’T. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 8. SANDERS IS LINED UP AGAINST CRIS CARTER AT THE TOP O THE SCREEN. JEFF GEORGE TO THROW. WINGS IT AND MOSS JUGGLED IT AND COULDN’T HOLD ON, COVERED BY WOODSON. HE WAS DOUBLED ON THE PLAY. BOOMER: INTERESTING, LAST NIGHT ON ESPN, I WAS WATCHING TENNESSEE VERSUS MIAMI. STEVE MCNAIR TRIED TO DO THE SAME THING, FORCE IT TO THE SIDELINE VERSUS DOUBLE COVERAGE. WHEN YOU DROP BACK YOU HAVE TO FIND THE SAFETY. WATCH WOODSON, NUMBER 28 COME RIGHT IN THERE AT THE END OF THE PLAY. KEVIN SMITH KNOCKS THE BALL. YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU THROW THE BALL, AS A QUARTERBACK YOU HAVE TO FIND WHERE THE SAFETIES ARE. THEY’RE OVER TO THAT SIDE YOU CANNOT THROW IT DEEP DOWN THE SIDELINE. AL: MOSS AND SANDERS MATCHED UP NOW. THIRD DOWN AND 8. GEORGE BUYS TIME, THROWS OVER THE MIDDLE. UNDERTHROWN INCOMPLETE AT THE 42-YARD LINE, INTENDED FOR CRIS CARTER. FOURTH DOWN. BOOMER: I WOULD TELL YOU RIGHT NOW, WATCHING, IT SEEMS LIKE THE DALLAS COWBOYS WANT THIS GAME MORE THAN THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS. IT SEEMS LIKE YOU N SEE IT IN THEIR BODY LANGUAGE, THE WAY THEY’RE COMING ON THE FIELD. THEY’RE RUNNING ON THE FIELD GETTING READY. THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS ARE JUST WALKING AROUND, KIND OF GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS RIGHT NOW. AL: YOU CANNOT UNDERESTIMATE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO THE COWBOYS WHO ALREADY TRAIL THE GIANTS AND WASHINGTON. SANDERS, WHO NORMALLY RETURNS PUNTS, IS NOT GOING BACK TO RETURN THIS ONE. IT’S JEFF OGDEN. MITCH BERGER LEADS THE LEAGUE IN GROSS AVERAGE AND NET AVERAGE. THIS ONE END OVER END, CAUGHT AT THE 27 AND RETURNED BACK AT THE 36 BY OGDEN. BOOMER: IT’S ALMOST LIKE EVERYBODY IN HERE IS DISAPPOINTED THEY DIDN’T SEE DEION SANDERS. AL: HE MISSED ALL THAT ACTION WITH A TOE INJURY. WHEN THESE TEAMS PLAYED EACH OTHER ON THANKSGIVING, DEION HAD THAT TOE INJURY. THAT’S PART OF THE REASON RANDY MOSS HAD THAT UNBELIEVABLE THANKSGIVING GAME. BOOMER: ABSOLUTELY. CERTAINLY DEION MISSED THREE DAYS OF PRACTICE THIS WEEK. HE DID PRACTICE SATURDAY NIGHT AT TEXAS STADIUM, I WAS TOLD. BOOMER: I GUESS IF HE CAN RUN AND RIDE A BIKE, YOU KNOW. GIVE HIM THE BALL. PUT HIM ON THE FIELD. PAYING YOU SO MUCH MONEY, GET OUT THERE. MAKE TOUCHDOWNS. AL: DALLAS HAS SCORED IN THE FIRST QUARTER IN EVERY GAME THIS SEASON. UNLESS THEY LAUNCH ONE HERE, THAT STRING WILL COME TO AN END. FIRST DOWN FROM THE 36-YARD LINE. AIKMAN THROWS FINDS THE OPEN MAN IN THE SEAM. IT’S ISMAIL FOR A BIG GAIN TO THE MINNESOTA 40 AS TIME RUNS OUT. THAT’S ABOUT AS ENTERTAINING A SCORELESS FIRST QUARTER AS YOU WILL SEE. THREE MISSED FIELD GOALS. THAT’S THE REASON WE’RE SCORELESS. NO SCORE IN MINNESOTA. ÷ AL: SECOND QUARTER IN MINNEAPOLIS. AL MICHAELS, BOOMER ESIASON, LESLEY VISSER. FIRST QUARTER ENDS ON A 24-YARD PASS TO ISMAIL. NOW DALLAS AT T VIKING 40. TO BEGIN THE SECOND PERIOD. FIRST AND 10. THE PLAY IS WHISTLED DEAD BEFORE ITS START BECAUSE FLOZELL ADAMS WAS WHISTLED FOR A FALSE START. REFEREE: PRIOR TO THE SNAP, FALSE START. 76, OFFENSE. FIVE YARDS. STILL FIRST DOWN AL: FIRST AND 15. NO SCORE, BOOMER, THAT’S A LOT OF ENTERTAINMENT FOR NO SCORE. BOOMER: IT REALLY IS. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT FOGE FAZIO IS HAVING TROUBLE WITH IS HOW TO DEFEND AGAINST THE RUN OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS. HE HAS TO HAVE EIGHT GUYS AROUND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE AND THAT LEAVES THE SAFETY BACK HERE IN THE MIDDLE ONE-ON-ONE AND CREATES ALL KINDS OF SEAMS RIGHT IN HERE. TROY AIKMAN, IF YOU DO NOT GET TO HIM, HE IS GOING TO COMPLETE HIS PASSES IN THE SEAMS. RIGHT THERE HE DOES THAT. YOU HAVE TO GET PRESSURE ON THE QUARTERBACK. AL: FIRST DOWN AND 15 FROM THE 45-YARD LINE. A LITTLE DUMPOFF INTENDED FOR THOMAS, THE CONVERTED LINEBACKER NOW AT FULLBACK. THAT’S INCOMPLETE. ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT A GAME LIKE THIS THAT I LOVE IS IT’S A MID-SEASON GAME AND IT’S ONE OF THOSE MAYBE TURNING POINT GAMES FOR EITHER TEAM. DALLAS, 4-3, TRYING TO RIGHT ITSELF. MINNESOTA THINKING, LAST YEAR 15-1. DENNIS GREEN SAID WE WEREN’T PLAYING AT THE END. HE SAID MAYBE THIS YEAR WE WILL BE PRIME. BOOMER: BOTH OF THESE TEAMS THE LAST FIVE WEEKS OF THE SEASON ARE GOING TO FIND THEMSELVES IN DOGFIGHTS WITHIN THEIR OWN DIVISION. THEY PLAY A LOT OF THOSE SAME TEAMS. DALLAS ENDS THE SEASON AT HOME WITH THE NEW YORK GIANTS. IT WILL BE A HUGE GAME, PROBABLY TO DECIDE WHO WINS THAT DIVISION. AL: IT’S CAUGHT OVER THE MIDDLE BY WARREN. HE GETS FREE. FIRST DOWN INSIDE THE 25. A RUN DOWN TO THE 20-YARD LINE. BOOMER: I THINK CHAN GAILEY HAS BEEN READING THE NEWSPAPERS IN DALLAS. HE HAS BEEN CATCHING HEAT ON THE CONSERVATIVE NATURE OF HIS OFFENSE. RIGHT NOW HE IS SPREADING THE FIELD AND FORCING FOGE FAZIO, THE DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR OF THE VIKINGS, TO MATCH UP. YOU CAN SEE RIGHT HERE, IT’S A LITTLE DUMPOFF PATTERN. YOU GIVE IT TO SOMEBODY LIKE CHRIS WARREN WHO HAS BEEN IN THIS LEAGUE A LONG TIME, HAS GAINED A LOT OF YARDS. YOU CAN SEE HIM RUN AWAY FROM THE LINEBACKERS. AL: THE IRONY IS AS GOOD AS DALLAS LOOKS OFFENSIVELY, IT’S THE FIRST TIME ALL SEASON AS YOU LOOK AT FOGE FAZIO, THE DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR, IT’S THE FIRST TIME ALL SEASON THEY DON’T SCORE IN THE FIRST PERIOD. FIRST AND 10. THEY GIVE IT TO EMMITT SMITH WHO CUTS IT BACK. EMMITT TURNS NOTHING IN AN EIGHT-YARD GAIN TO THE 13-YARD LINE. BOOMER: HE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE HE IS LOSING ANYTHING TO ME. AGAINST THE GIANTS, HE DIDN’T LOOK SO GOOD. THAT WAS AGAINST ONE OF THE BETTER DEFENSES IN FOOTBALL. BUT YOU LOOK AT THE EFFORT THAT HE SHOWS RIGHT HERE, LOOK AT THE DETERMINATION. HE IS NOT GOING TO BE STOPPED. THE ONE THING THAT I CAN TELL YOU WHEN YOU ARE ON THE SIDELINE AS AN OFFENSIVE PLAYER AND YOU KNOW THE OPPOSING DEFENSE CANNOT STOP YOU, YOU WANT THAT BALL. ALL OF A SUDDEN, YOUR EFFORT PICKS UP. YOUR DESIRE GETS BETTER. THESE GUYS SENSE THEY CAN DO SOMETHING BIG HERE. AL: SECOND AND A LONG 2 FROM THE 13-YARD LINE. OUT OF THE I. EMMITT BEHIND ROBERT THOMAS. NOTHINDOING. FLAG DOWN. THAT’S CHRIS DOLEMAN. HE WASN’T IN ANYBODY’S TRAINING CAMP BECAUSE HE WAS RETIRED. IT’S A HOLD AGAINST DALLAS. SO THE CHOICE IS GOING TO BE NOW SECOND DOWN AND 12 OR THIRD DOWN AND ABOUT 5. REFEREE: HOLDING, 67, OFFENSE. 10 YARDS. REPEAT SECOND DOWN. BOOMER: FLOZELL ADAMS DID NOT BLOCK CHRIS DOLEMAN. HE BLOCKED THE WRONG GUY. HE ACTUALLY BLOCKED TONY WILLIAMS INSIDE. HE SHOULD HAVE TURNED OUT AND JUST GET A BODY ON CHRIS DOLEMAN. YOU CAN’T ALLOW DEFENSIVE LINEMEN TO HAVE OPEN SHOTS ON YOUR RUNNING BACK LIKE THAT. THERE IS FLOZELL AND CHRIS DOLEMAN ALSO. AL, CHAN GAILEY TOLD US HE IS HAPPY WITH THE WAY FLOZELL ADAMS HAS STARTED TO COME INTO HIS OWN. HE IS STILL MAKING SOME MISTAKES. IT’S ONLY HIS SECOND YEAR. HE HAS TO GET USED T THAT POSITION. COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY FOR OFFENSIVE LINEMEN. WHEN IT’S THIS LOUD, SOMETIMES THEY TEND TO MAKE MISTAKES LIKE THAT. AL: THEY’RE TURNING UP THE VOLUME NOW. THAT’S ERNIE MILLS IN MOTION. A FLAG IS DOWN AGAIN. THIS ONE IS CAUGHT OVER THE MIDDLE. WARREN TAKES IT TO THE 18-YARD LINE. TACKLED BY MCDANIEL. DENNIS GREEN — REFEREE: PRIOR TO THE SNAP, FALSE START, 85. FIRST DOWN. AL: THAT’S JEFF OGDEN. THE NUMBER THREE RECEIVER. THIRD DOWN AND 17. EXCUSE ME, SECOND DOWN AND 17. LOOK AT THAT. BOOMER: YOU WOULD NEVER HAVE THOUGHT THAT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN. THE PASSING YARDS RIGHT THERE. AL: AMAZING. SECOND DOWN, 17 AT THE 28-YARD LINE. AIKMAN OUT OF THE GUN. ACTION AGAIN. WALT COLEMAN HAVING A VERY BUSY FIRST HALF, THE REFEREE. BOOMER: THE DISCUSSION HERE IS WHETHER OR NOT RANDLE FORCED THE OFFENSIVE LINE OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS TO MOVE. YOU COULD SEE THAT THEY’RE GOING TO CALL IT AGAINST HIM. REFEREE: PRIOR TO THE SNAP, ENCROACHMENT, 93 OF THE DEFENSE. FIVE YARDS. STILL SECOND DOWN. BOOMER: HE IS ONE OF THE GUYS THAT THEY PUT THE RULE IN FOR BECAUSE HE WAS ONE THAT WAS ALWAYS JERKING UP THERE TRYING TO GET THE OFFENSIVE LINEMEN OF THE OPPOSING TEAMS TO MOVE. WATCH 93 RIGHT HERE. HERE HE COMES. HE IS WATCHING STEPNOSKI. HE IS LOOKING TO SEE IF HE CAN GET A JUMP ON WHEN HE IS GOING TO SNAP THE BALL. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 12 FROM THE 23. AIKMAN WITH TIME, WITH GREAT PROTECTION. THAT’S WARREN. HE GETS TACKLED BY MCDANIEL AT THE 21-YARD LINE. ALL THAT FOR A TWO-YARD GAIN. BOOMER: JEFF GEORGE IS WONDERING IF HE IS EVER GOING TO GET BACK ON THE FIELD. I THINK IF I’M TALKING TO TROY AIKMAN LIKE CHAN GAILEY IS, I WOULD SAY LOOK FOR 29, LOOK FOR NUMBER 20. THOSE ARE THE DEFENSIVE BACKS THAT ARE THE ROOKIES. LET’S SEE IF WE CAN GET THEM MATCHED UP WITH MILLS OR ROCKET AND GO FOR IT. IT’S A DIFFICULT SITUATION WHEN YOU HAVE TO GET UP AGAINST NUMBER 81 OR 80 OF THE COWBOYS. NOT AN EASY SITUATION TO BE IN IF YOU’RE A ROOKIE. AL: LOOK AT MICHAEL IRVIN. HE IS ALMOST ON THE FIELD. THIRD DOWN AND 11. THE PLAY CLOCK DOWN TO TWO. AIKMAN AFTER THE FAKE, THE PATENTED MOVE TO THE YORE SIDE. HE STUTTER STEPS LEFT AND HAS TO THROW IT AWAY. AND GOES DOWN AMONGST A TRIO OF PURPLE SHIRTS. BOOMER: YOU KNOW THEY’RE COMING. YOU CAN HEAR THEM BREATHING. YOU CAN HEAR THEM GROWLING, ESPECIALLY THIS GUY. HE COMES 100%, 100 MILES AN HOUR, DOES JOHN RANDLE. TROY WAS JUST WAITING AND WAITING. AL: RICHIE CUNNINGHAM’S HEART IS GOING 100 MILES AN HOUR. THESE HAVEN’T BEEN HAPPY DAYS FOR RICHIE. THIS IS A 40-YARDER. BJORNSON WILL PUT IT DOWN. OFFICIALLY 39. AND THIS TI IT IS JUST GOOD. JUST GOOD. WITH A CAPITAL J. HAPPY DAYS ARE BACK. JUST BARELY. BOOMER: RIGHT BEFORE WE WENT TO BREAK, EMMITT SMITH WAS SCREAMING AND HE WAS SCREAMING AT FLOZELL ADAMS, HIS LEFT TACKLE WHO MADE A FEW MISTAKES. YOU COULD SEE RIGHT THERE, YOU THINK THIS GUY WANTS IT. THE COACH SAYS THAT’S TWO TIMES NOW. GET IT RIGHT. AL: FIELDED BY DAVID PALMER. GETS HIT AT THE 19. FLAG IS DOWN. PALMER IS STOPPED UP AT THE 22-YARD LINE. BOOMER: I SENSE THAT THE VETERANS OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS, ESPECIALLY EMMITT SMITH, CAN FEEL LIKE THIS COULD BE OUR GAME. THEY’RE NOT ON THE TOP OF THEIR GAME. IT’S A HOLD AGAINST THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS. BUT BEFORE THE GAME DIDN’T YOU GET THE SENSE THAT THE COWBOYS WERE KIND OF TENTATIVE ABOUT HOW GOOD THE ÷■ MINNESOTA VIKINGS WERE? AL: YOU’RE RIGHT. THERE IS A FEEL ON THE GAME — REREE: HOLDING, 45. HALF THE DISTANCE TO THE GOAL. AL: YOU’RE RIGHT. IT’S ONE OF THOSE NIGHTS WHERE YOU WALK ON THE FIELD, IT WAS HARD TO GET A READ ON WHAT WAS GOING ON. AS YOU LOOK AT THE MBERS TONIGHT. THEY’RE WEIGHTED ON AIKMAN’S SIDE. BOOMER: THEY ONLY HAVE THREE POINTS, WHICH IS NOTHING. REALLY WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT. AL: THEY’VE HAD THE BALL F ALMOST 14 MINUTES AND THE VIKINGS HAVE HAD IT FOR FIVE. FIRST DOWN AT THE 7-YARD LINE. HOARD. MINNESOTA HAS DONE NOTHING SINCE THAT FIRST DRIVE OPENED WITH A GREAT GROUND ATTACK LED BY LEROY HOARD. [CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND ABC, INC.] AL: JETS-NEW ENGLAND NEXT MONDAY NIGHT. BOOMER: HAS THERE BEEN A BETTER QUIETER SEASON THAN DREW BLEDSOE? AL: HOARD GETS TAKEN DOWN BY MICHAEL MYERS. AND I DON’T MEAN “AUSTIN POWERS.” MICHAEL MYERS, SECOND YEAR GUY OUT OF ALABAMA MAKES HIS PRESENCE FELT. BOOMER: IF NOBODY BLOCKS YOU, YOU BETTER GET IN THE BACKFIELD AND MAKE A TACKLE. IT LOOKS LIKE THE VIKINGS ARE SLEEPWALKING. THE FIRST COUPLE OF GAMES THIS YEAR THEY WERE SLEEPWALKING. THEY GOT AWAY WITH IT IN ATLANTA. IT LOOKS LIKE A TEAM — THERE IS RAY SHERMAN, THEIR NEW OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR. IT JUST SEEMS LIKE THEY’RE OUT SYNC. THEY’RE NOT INTO IT FOR SOME RSON. AL: THIRD DOWN AND 9. GEORGE UNDER PRESSURE AND HE GETS SACKED AND HE IS — WAS HE SACKED? OUTSIDE THE GOAL LINE? THEY SAY YES. JUST INSIDE THE 1 BY ELLIS AND SPELLMAN. SO HE AVOIDS A SAFETY. BUT YOU HAVE A SITUATION RIGHT NOW WHERE BERGER IS GOING TO HAVE TO SNAP THE BALL OR KICK THE BALL AFTER A 10-YARD SNAP AND DO IT IN A HURRY. BOOMER: AL, JEFF GEORGE CANNOT GET OUT OF THIS. THERE’S NOTHING THAT HE CAN DO ABOUT IT. IT LOOKS LIKE ALONZO SPELLMAN JUST ABSOLUTELY RUNS AROUND TODD STEUSSIE. NOW HE HAS BEEN A PRO BOWLER AT LEFT TACKLE. YOU CAN’T ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN. AL: THEY GIVE GEORGE THE FORWARD PROGRESS BEFORE HE GETS KNOCKED INTO THE END ZONE. THE CALL WAS CORRECT. DEION IS NOT GOING TO RETURN THIS KICK EITHER WHICH TELLS ME ALL I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HIS HAMSTRING. JEFF OGDEN IS GOING TO RUN IT BACK. BERGER LEADING THE LEAGUE IN GROSS PUNTING. IT’S A BOUNCING BALL. OGDEN FIELDS AT HIS 45 AND RUNS OUT OF BOUNDS AT THE MINNESOTA 46-YARD LINE. 9:04 TO THE HALF. BOOMER: WHAT A BAD SERIES FOR THE OFFENSIVE LINE OF THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS, AL. AL: SOUTHWEST AIRLINES PROVIDING THAT VIEW HOVERING HIGH ABOVE MINNEAPOLIS. 77 DEGREES IN THE TWIN CITIES TODAY, AN ALL-TIME RECORD, BEAUTIFUL WEATHER. INSIDE THEY TRY TO KEEP IT AT 65 BUT WITH THIS BODY HEAT, IT’S AROUND 72. BOOMER: I THOUGHT THE DOME WAS OPEN FROM THAT SHOT. AL: FIRST DOWN AT THE 45-YARD LINE. AIKMAN THROWING. CAUGHT BY SMITH. HE TAKES IT TO THE 36. THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE RETRACTABLE ROOF DOMES. THIS IS TEFLON-COATED FIBERGLASS WHICH WAS BUILT IN THE EARLY 1980’S IN A PLACE WHERE THE VIKINGS WOULD LIKE TO MOVE OUT OF BECAUSE RED MCCOMBS TELLING ME WE AT A CERTAIN POINT IN TIME WE CAN’T COMPETE UNLESS WE GET A NEW STADIUM. THAT’S A LAMENT WE HEAR AROUND THE LEAGUE. BOOMER: THAT’S UNBELIEVABLE RIGHT THERE. WORDS CAN’T DESCRIBE THE — HOW INEPT THE OFFENSE FOR THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS HAS BEEN TONIGHT. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 1. THEY HAVE STILL NOT COMPLETED A PASS, THE VIKINGS. SECOND AND 1. HAS TO DUMP IT OFF. IT’S SHORT INTENDED FOR ROBERT THOMAS. THOMAS IS A LINEBACKER CONVERTED TO FULLBACK. THEY’RE LOOKING AT CHRIS WARREN, THE BACKUP TO EMMITT SMITH. BOOMER: THE ONLY TIME LINEBACKERS CATCH THE BALL IS WHEN THEY PLAY LINEBACKER, IT SEEMED LIKE. AL: RIGHT. BOOMER: WHEN YOU TAKE A LINEBACKER AND MAKE HIM INTO A FULLBACK, SOMETHING HAPPENS. THEY DON’T CATCH IT. AL: THEY LOVE THIS GUY. MOOSE JOHNSTON’S SEASON ENDED. THEY BROUGHT IN TIM LESTER, RELEASED HIM AND MADE THOMAS THE GUY. THIRD AND 1. THEY GIVE IT TO EMMITT SMITH. HE CAN’T GET OUT OF THE BACKFIELD. THAT’S WHEN YOU NEED A FULLBACK TO LEAD THE WAY. BOOMER: THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM LAST WEEK AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SECOND HALF AGAINST THE COLTS. THIRD AND 1 ON THE COLTS’ SIDE OF THE 50. THEY GET STOPPEDND THE COLTS GAIN MOMENTUM AND THEY SCORE A TOUCHDOWN. RIGHT HERE, MY ONLY QUESTION IS ERIK WILLIAMS IS ON THE OTHER SIDE. LARRY ALLEN IS YOUR LEFT GUARD. HE IS A STRONG RUN BLOCKER BUT NOT A CHANCE THERE. AL: THEY LINE BJORNSON IN THE BACKFIELD. NORMALLY PLAYS TIGHT END. THIS IS THE FIRST PUNT OF THE GAME FOR TOBY GOWIN. BOOMER: RICHIE CUNNINGHAM IS THANKFUL HE DOESN’T HAVE TO TRY ANOTHER FIELD GOAL. AL: GOWING FLOATING ONE. AND THAT BABY BOUNCES AT THE 1 AND TAKES A GOOD DALLAS HOP. THE QUESTION IS DID IT GO INTO THE END ZONE? BOOMER: DID IT HIT THE LINE? AL: THEY ARE GOING TO SAY IT DID. IF IT HITS WHAT AMOUNTS TO THE CHALK, THE GOAL LINE, THAT’S PART OF THE END ZONE. AND THE OFFICIALS CHECK WITH EACH OTHER. ONE MORE LOOK. AND ITOES. BOOMER: GREAT CALL. AL: GOOD CALL. MINNESOTA AT THE 20. AL: YOU CAN JOIN US FOR ENHANCED TV AT ESPN.COM OR NFL.COM. METRODOME IN MINNEAPOLIS AT THE 20-YARD LINE. THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS. CHARLENE AND RED MCCOMBS OWN THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS. TOMORROW THEY WILL CELEBRATE THEIR 49TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. HE IS QUITE A CHARACTER. FROM THE 20-YARD LINE. FIRST DOWN FOR THE VIKINGS. THIS ONE IS DEAD BEFORE IT STARTS. A LITTLE IMBROGLIO THAT ENSUES BETWEEN SPELLMAN AND CHRISTY. BOOMER: I THINK NOW YOU HAVE LEROY HOARD MOVING EARLY IN THE BACKFIELD. THIS IS JUST — REFEREE: PRIOR TO THE SNAP, FALSE STA, 44, THE OFFENSE. FIVE YARDS. STILL FIRST DOWN. BOOMER: THERE’S MICHAEL IRVIN ENJOYING HIS NIGHT, LYING ON THE SIDELINE. THERE’S DENNIS GREEN. HE HAS TO WONDER WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THIS OFFENSE. [CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND ABC, INC.] AL: FIRST AND 15 WITH THE BALL AT THE 15-YARD LINE. GEORGE GOING DOWN AS HE THROWS. THE PASS IS KNOCKED DOWN. BOOMER: THE DALLAS DEFENSE IS TAKING IT TO THE OFFENSIVE LINE. DAVE CAMPO IS SENSING THAT HIS GUYS CAN GET BACK THERE. HE IS BLITZING. HE IS BRINGING IT. HE’S GOT TO FEEL GREAT ABOUT THE WAY HIS DEFENSE IS PLAYING, BUT I DON’T KNOW IF IT’S BECAUSE THE WAY THEY’RE PLAYING, ESPECIALLY THE DEFENSIVE LINE, OR BECAUSE OF HOW POORLY THE OFFENSIVE LINE OF THE VIKINGS ARE PLAYING RIGHT NOW. YOU CAN SEE RIGHT HERE, BALL — AS JEFF IS GOING DOWN, HITS CHAD HENNINGS RIGHT IN THE HEAD. FORTUNATE THAT THAT WASN’T PICKED OFF. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 15. HALFWAY THROUGH THE SECOND QUARTER. STILL LOOKING FOR HIS FIRST COMPLETION. INSTEAD, IT’S ANOTHER SACK. THIS ONE IS KAVIKA PITTMAN. BOOMER: THIS TIME KAVIKA PITTMAN RUNS RIGHT AROUND TODD STEUSSIE AGAIN. AL, IT’S ABOUT FOOT PLACEMENT AND GETTING LEVERAGE AS AN OFFENSIVE LINEMAN. RIGHT NOW STEUSSIE LOOKS LIKE HE IS PLAYING ON THE ROAD. AL: LESLEY? LESLEY: AL, ROBERT MYTH IS ONE OF THE MOST INTELLIGENT MEN IN THE NFL, A CHEMISTRY AND HISTORY MAJOR AT OHIO STATE. WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE OFFENSE?>>IF YOU LOOK AT THE OFFENSE IN A SMALL ENOUGH FRAME YOU CAN SEE BAD THINGS HAPPENING. BUT YOU HAVE TO LOOK OVER THE COURSE OF THE GAME. I THINK WE’LL TURN THINGS AROUND. LESLEY: MAYBE YOU COULD TELL US AFTER THIS PLAY. AL: GEORGE GOING FOR IT ALL FOR MOSS. HE IS LINKED WITH DEION AND DEION BUSTS HIM UP. SO THE FIRST TIME WE’VE SEEN THE BIG MATCHUP MANIFEST ITSELF, VICTORY TO DEION. LESLEY: JEFF GEORGE LOOKING FOR HIS FIRST COMPLETION. ROBERT, YOU ARE OUT WITH A SPORTS HERNIA. WHAT IS A SPORTS HERNIA?>>THERE IS SUPPOSEDLY ENOUGH DEVELOPMENT IN THE ABDOMINAL MUSCLES OF ATHLETES TO KEEP THE INTESTINE FROM EVER POKING THROUGH. SO I GUESS THAT’S THE ONLY DIFFERENCE. THE SURGERY REPORT NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT SPORTS HERNIA. THAT’S JUST A TERM PEOPLE USE. LESLEY: HOPE TO SEE YOU BACK NEXT WEEK. AL? AL: THAT’S A GUY WHO MAJORED IN PREMED AT OHIO STATE. I WOULD LET HIM OPERATE ON ME. SOMEDAY. BOOMER: HE SOUNDS LIKE A DOCTOR, DOESN’T HE? GOSH. AL: FOURTH DOWN AND 25. BOOMER: DURING THAT LAST PLAY, DEION SANDERS LINED UP 11 YARDS OFF OF RANDY MOSS. AL: DEION’S HAMSTRING HAS BEEN TENDER. REFEREE: NEUTRAL ZONE INFRACTION. ON THE DEFENSE. FIVE YARDS. STILL FOURTH DOWN. AL: NOW DEION IS GOING TO COME BACK OUT ONTO THE FIELD. BOOMER: SO MUCH FOR A BAD HAMSTRING. AL: A VERY EPHEMERAL BAD HAMSTRING. BOOMER: REMEMBER, DEION IS DEFINITELY A SHOWMAN. LOOK AT THIS. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? AL: THAT MEANS — BOOMER: HE IS READY TO RETURN PUNTS NOW? AL: HE IS PLAYING POSSUM. HE HAS BEEN KNOWN TO DO THAT. BOOMER: ABSOLUTELY. AL: THEY HAVE TO MOVE THE BALL TO THE 10-YARD LINE, THE REASON FOR THE DELAY. BOOMER: AGAINST THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS, THEY RAN HELMET TO HELMET AND THEY THOUGHT THAT HE WAS OUT. THE DOCTORS SAID DON’T PLAY ANYMORE. HE SNUCK BACK ON THE FIELD. AL: HE ACTUALLY SNEAKED OUT THERE BECAUSE GAILEY SAID HE DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS IN THERE UNTIL HE LOOKED AND SAW HIM IN THE SECONDARY. BOOMING PUNT BY BERGER. SANDERS AT THE 31. BUT NO, HE IS TACKLED AT THE 37. CHRIS WALSH, A WIDE RECEIVER, A GUY WHO HAS BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE. ONE-ON-ONE WITH DEION. HE WINS THAT BATTLE. AL: SANDERS PEDALING AWAY. MINNESOTA, MINUS 18 PASSING YARDS. IF YOU’RE WONDERING HOW CAN THAT BE? SACKS COUNT AGAINST A TEAM’S PAGGING TOTAL. THEY HAVE INCURRED A COUPLE OF SACKS WORTH MINUS 18 YARDS. THEY HAVEN’T COMPLETED A SINGLE PASS. SO ZERO ON THAT END MINUS 18 ON THE SACK END. THAT’S THE REASON FOR THAT. EMMITT SMITH IS OFF TO THE RACES. INSIDE THE 30 AND THEY’LL GET HIM FROM BEHIND OR WILL THEY? NO! THE OKIE CAN’T BRING HIM DOWN. KENNY WRIGHT CAUGHT UP AT THE 10. BUT EMMITT WAS NOT TO BE DENIED. 63 YARDS FOR THE GREAT ONE. BOOMER: TALKING TO CHAN GAILEY LAST NIGHT, HE TOLD ME WHEN HE LEFT PITTSBURGH, BILL COWHER SAID LOOK, THE FIRST THING YOU HAVE TO DO IS MAKE SURE YOU KEEP YOUR OFFENSIVE LINE AND DEFENSIVE LINES INTACT BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE IT ALL BEGINS. TONIGHT THE OFFENSIVE LINE OF THE COWBOYS, NICE PLAY BY EVERETT MCIVER COMING OFF AND PICKING OFF THE LINEBACKER. AND THE DEFENSIVE LINE OF THE COWBOYS ARE TAKING IT TO THE BIG FELLOWS FROM THE VIKINGS. THE ROOKIE, NUMBER 20, IS COMPLAINING THAT EMMITT SMITH GRABBED HIS FACEMASK BUT TO NO AVAIL. AL: 63 YARDS, THAT’S HIS LONGEST RUN IN SEVEN YEARS. CUNNINGHAM FOR THE POINT AFTER. HE MAKES THAT AN ADVENTURE BUT IT’S GOOD. EMMITT NOW WITH 144 CAREER TOUCHDOWNS. JERRY RICE, THE ALL-TIME LEADER AT 177. MARCUS ALLEN, RETIRED, 145. HERE IS 144 FOR NUMBER 22. BOOMER: YOU SEE RIGHT THERE AT THE POINT OF ATTACK, MCIVER GETS ENOUGH OF MCDANIEL, THE LINEBACKER, TO SPRING EMMITT. WATCH AT THE END HERE, AS NUMBER 20, THE DEFENSIVE BACK, KENNY WRIGHT COMES IN. RIGHT THERE EMMITT HAS HIS HAND IN HIS FACEMASK. I DON’T KNOW IF I’VE EVER SEEN AN OFFICIAL CALL THAT TYPE OF FACEMASK. BUT WHERE IS THE DEFENSIVE LINE OF THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS, AL? AL: WHERE IS THE OFFENSIVE LINE OF THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS? WHERE IS EITHER LINE? BOOMER: THEY ARE GETTING HAMMERED AT THE POINT OF ATTACK. AL: 10-0. COWBOYS. EMMITT NOW WITH 134 RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS, 144 TOTAL. BOOMER: AND REMEMBER, AL, WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT EARLY ON, THE VIKINGS DON’T SCORE POINT, THESE OTHER DEFICIENCIES START SHOWING UP. AL: TOBY GOWIN TO KICK OFF. AL: DAVID PALMER FUMBLES THE BALL AND DALLAS HAS IT AT THE 24-YARD LINE. AND JERRY JONES EXULTS. BOOMER: THE NIGHTMARE CONTINUES. WHATEVER COULD GO WRONG IS GOING WRONG FOR THE VIKINGS RIGHT NOW. DENNIS GREEN HAS TO GET HIS GUYS ON THE SIDELINE AND RIP INTO THEM OR SOMETHING. HE HAS TO SOMEHOW IGNITE THIS DEFENSE. BOOMER: CHARLIE WILLIAMS COMES UP WITH THE FUMBLE ROVERY. WHAT’S SIGNIFICANT ABOUT THAT, AL? NO TURNOVERS FOR THE DALLAS COWBOYS IN THE LAST THREE WEEKS. AL: THEY HADN’T FORCED ONE. THIS TIME IT’S DAT NGUYEN TO CREATES THE FUMBLE, THE ROOKIE OUT OF TEXAS A&M. DAVID PALMER DEJECTEDLY WALKS BACK T THE BENCH. AIKMAN ON FIRST AND 10 NOW. AL: WATCH DAT NGUYEN FORCE THE ISSUE. FIRST DOWN AT THE 24-YARD LINE FOR THE DALLAS COWBOYS. SO THE OFFENSE BACK ON THE FIELD. THEY GO BACK TO EMMITT SMITH. ANOTHER BIG HOLE. CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? EMMITT SMITH. BOOMER: OH, MAN. AL: RIGHT TO THE HALL OF FAME. BOOMER: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THIS DEFENSE ON THE FIELD. THEY ALL HAVE THEIR HANDS ON THEIR HIPS. THEY ARE SO ABSOLUTELY MORTIFIED AT WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT HERE. IT’S ALMOST DIFFICULT TO COMPREHEND THAT THE MINNESOTA DEFENSE COULD BE THIS POROUS AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE LIKE THIS. THERE’S FOGE FAZIO. AT HALFTIME THOSE GUYS ARE GOING TO BE GETTING AN EARFUL. WATCH NUMBER 44 TAKE ON DWAYNE RUDD, THE FULLBACK. THERE GOES EMMITT. WE SAW IT EARLIER IN THE NIGHT, AL. HE DID NOT WANT TO BE STOPPED EARLIER. HE GOT IN FLOZELL ADAMS’ FACE. AL: CUNNINGHAM, THAT’S A TREAT AS WELL. 145 CAREER TOUCHDOWNS FOR EMMITT SMITH, SECOND ALL TIME. SECOND ONLY TO JERRY RICE. EMMITT SMITH HAS 140 YARDS ON THE GROUND. THE NFL RECORD FOR YARDS IN A SINGLE GAME, WALTER PAYTON, 275. SO EMMITT IS ON THAT PACE AT THE MOMENT. BOOMER: I WAS FORTUNATE TO BE THE QUARTERBACK IN THE GAME WHERE COREY DILLON SET THE RECORD AS A ROOKIE. IT’S SPECIAL TO WATCH THE HOLES OPEN. YOU CAN TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THESE NUMBERS. AL: YOU SEE ONE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE HERE IS THE FACT WHEN YOU GO TO EMMITT YOU CAN TAKE A LOOK — IT’S ALMOST A TOUCHDOWN PER GAME. AND THEN JIM BROWN, OVER A TOUCHDOWN PER GAME. ON HIS FIRST TOUCHDOWN, HE WENT BY ERIC DICKERSON. IN YARDAGE. SO HE IS THIRD ALL TIME BEHIND WALTER PAYTON AND BARRY SANDERS NOW. BOOMER: HE LOOKS BETTER THAN EVER TONIGHT, DOESN’T HE? HE LOOKS TERRIFIC. AL: GOWIN TO KICK OFF. THIS IS MOE WILLIAMS AT THE 5-YARD LINE. UP TO THE 31. 5:54 LEFT IN THE FIRST HALF. I THINK THE CALLERS ARE LINED UP TOMORROW FOR TALK RADIO. BOOMER: I THINK DENNIS GREEN, I WOULD SAY THAT ALSO FOGE FAZIO ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GO IN AT HALFTIME. THEY HAVE TO MAKE SERIOUS ADJUSTMENTS AND REALLY THE BIGGEST ADJUSTMENT, AL, IT’S NOTHING ON PAPER. IT’S ABOUT ATTITUDE. OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE LINE PLAY IS ABOUT ATTITUDE. IT’S MAN AGAINST MAN. IT’S PHYSICAL. IT’S NASTY. AND IF YOU WANT IT, YOU HAVE TO GO AND GET IT. AL: THE VIKINGS STILL DO NOT HAVE A COMPLETED PASS TONIGHT. GEORGE FINALLY CONNECTS. IT’S ANDREW GLOVER. SO WITH A TEAM THAT HAS MOSS, A TEAM THAT HAS CARTER, A TEAM WITH THE FLAG DOWN HERE THAT HAS JAKE REED. BOOMER: OFFENSIVE PASS INTERFERENCE. UNBELIEVABLE. REFEREE: PASS INTERFERENCE ON THE OFFENSE. NUMBER 80. 10 YARDS. REPEAT FIRST DOWN. AL: CARTER. BOOMER: WATCH THIS. JEFF GEORGE LEAVES THE POCKET. HE IS TRYING TO FIND SOME ROOM. YOU SEE HE ACTUALLY THREW THE DEFENDER ON THE GROUND. YOU OBVIOUSLY CAN’T DO THAT. AL: FIRST AND 20. SO THE VIKINGS STILL WITHOUT THAT FIRST COMPLETION. NOW THEY GET IT. IT’S CARTER WITH A NICE MOVE TO GET AROUND WOODSON. AND THEN HE IS KNOCKED OUT OF BOUNDS BY DARREN HAMBRICK. BOOMER: IF THERE IS A GUY ON THIS TEAM THAT’S GOING TO IGNITE THEM, IT’S GOING TO BE THIS GUY WHO IS ONE OF THE GREAT ALL-TIME RECEIVERS IN PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL HISTORY. THERE GOES EMMITT SMITH, MIGHT BE A LITTLE TIRED. AL: WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT? BOOMER: LOOK AT CRIS CARTER. SOMEBODY HAS TO LEAD THE FOOTBALL TEAM. SOMEBODY HAS TO SHOW SOME DESIRE. I THINK THAT’S WHAT CRIS CARTER IS TRYING TO DO RIGHT NOW. AL: WE WILL GET WORD ON EMMITT SMITH. SECOND DOWN AND 7 FROM THE 33-YARD LINE. GEORGE. KNOCKED DOWN AT THE 32-YARD LINE. THAT’S GOING TO BE A SACK. WHAT A TREMENDOUS JOB THE COWBOYS ARE DOING IN THE SECONDARY TONIGHT WITH MOSS AND CARTER AND REED, JUST NO FACTOR. IN THE MEANTIME, A RIGHT HAND CONTUSION HAS BEEN SUSTAINED BY EMMITT SMITH. THEY’RE GOING TO X-RAY HIM. BOOMER: I THINK JEFF GEORGE HAS BEEN BEATEN AROUND SO MUCH EARLY IN THIS GAME THAT I WOULD THINK HE IS PROBABLY A LITTLE SHAKY IN THAT POCKET RIGHT NOW AND BOTCHING THE PASS RUSH. AL: THAT’S ON TAPE AS THEY WERE LOOKING AT A RIGHT HAND CONTUSION. BACK HE GOES FOR X-RAYS. THIRD DOWN AND 9 FOR THE VIKINGS. GEORGE UNDER PRESSURE. THAT’S INCOMPLETE. BOOMER: HE IS NOT EVEN LOOKING DOWNFIELD. I CAN’T SAY THAT I BLAME HIM. HE IS CERTAINLY FRUSTRATED. HE IS OBVIOUSLY DISAPPOINTED. THE COWBOY DEFENSE IS DOING A GREAT JOB. THIS OFFENSIVE LINE HAS TO GET ITSELF TOGETHER. AL: THAT WAS PAT JONES, COWBOY ASSISTANT COACH. BOOMER: WE TALK ABOUT THE LOSS OF BRIAN BILLICK WHO BECAME A HEAD COACH. HE WAS THEIR OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR. CHIP MYERS, A LONGTIME ASSISTANT, UNFORTUNATELY PASSED AWAY OF A HEART ATTACK. THEY JUST HAVEN’T BEEN THE SAME SINCE. AL: A FIRST CATCH IS CALLED FOR. I BELIEVE YOU’LL SEE A PENALTY HERE. THERE ARE ONLY THREE FLAGS DOWN. BOOMER: THIS IS LIKE A TEAM THAT’S NOT EVEN BEING COACHED THAT DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON ON THE FIELD. AL: EVERY WHEEL HAS COME OFF. ROBERT TATE RAN INTO OGDEN WHO HAD CLEARLY CALLED FOR A FAIR CATCH. BOOMER: DENNIS GREEN, AL, WHEN YOU TALK TO HIM HE SEEMS LIKE A MILD MANNERED GUY. HE LIKES OLDER VETERANS ON HIS TEAM. YOU SEE DEION GETTING ICE ON HIS HAMSTRING. REFEREE: ON THE KICKING TEAM, 15 YARDS. FIRST DOWN. AL: HE SAID 53. BUT HE MEANS 83. BOOMER: DENNIS IS GOING TO HAVE TO GO IN THAT LOCKER ROOM, I HAVE BEEN IN LOCKER ROOMS WHERE COACHES HAVE EXPLODED ON THE TEAM, AND HE HAS TO START RIPPING SOME PEOPLE. HE HAS TO WAKE THIS TEAM UP SOMEHOW. SOMEHOW THIS DEFENSE HAS TO STOP THE OFFENSE OF THE COWBOYS WITHOUT EMMITT SMITH RIGHT NOW. AL: THE COWBOYS HAVE OUTGAINED MINNESOTA 254 YARDS TO 42. AL: FIRST DOWN, DALLAS. CHRIS WARREN IS IN THE GAME WITH EMMITT IN THE LOCKER ROOM. AIKMAN. THEY’RE NOT GOING TO GO CONSERVATIVE HERE. HE HAS TO THROW THAT ONE AWAY. JERRY BALL PUT THE PRESSURE ON. BOOMER: CHRIS WARREN IS NO SLOUCH EITHER. HE IS A BIG TIME RUNNING BACK WITH THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS. HE CERTAINLY POSSESSES THE SKILLS TO RUN IT UP IN THERE. I WOULD CONTIN TO DO WHAT HAS GOTTEN YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 10 FROM THE 42. AIKMAN THROWS INTO TRAFFIC AND IS ABLE TO THREAD IT IN TO ERNIE MILLS FOR A GAIN OF FIVE TO THE 47-YARD LINE. YOU THINK ABOUT AIKMAN, THE NUMBER ONE PICK IN THE 1989 DRAFT, WHAT A ROCK HE HAS BEEN, 11 ARS IN DALLAS, THREE SUPER BOWL RINGS. THE FOLLOWING YEAR JEFF GEORGE, GREW UP IN INDIANAPOLIS, ATTENDED PURDUE, THEN WENT TO ILLINOIS, DRAFTED BY THE COLTS, FOUR YEARS THERE, THREE YEARS IN ATLANTA, TWO YEARS IN OAKLAND. NOW HERE AND JEFF HAS PLAYED IN HIS CAREER ONE PLAYOFF GAME. THIRD DOWN AND 5 FROM THE 47-YARD LINE. AND TROY UNDER PRESSURE. THE VIKINGS GET THE HUGE BREAK THEY NEED. AT THE 20-YARD LINE, COME UP WITH IT. BOOMER: DWAYNE RUDD HAD AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A TOUCHDOWN IF HE HAD JUST PICKED THE BALL UP. T LIKE EVERY OTHER VIKING TONIGHT, IT’S NOT HAPPENING. STEPNOSKI MAKES A BAD SNAP. HE WAS CAUGHT OFFGUARD BY THE BLITZ. AL: THEY TIME THAT BLITZ PERFECTLY. BOOMER: IT FLIPS OUT OF HIS HANDS. ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS TO DO IN FOOTBALL IS PICK UP A ROLLING BALL LIKE THIS. IT BOUNCES ALL OVER THE PLACE. REMEMBER, IT’S NOT ROUND, FOLKS. IT’S GOT POINTS ON IT. AL: IT’S CHRIS DOLEMAN WHO COMES UP WITH IT. BOOMER: IT’S THE WORST FEELING IN A WORLD FOR A QUARTERBACK TO JUMP ON THE FOOTBALL LIKE THAT. BUT IF DWAYNE RUDD PICKS IT UP, EASY TOUCHDOWN. AL: THE VIKINGS GETTING THE BREAK THEY NEED. THEY NEED SOMETHING TO TURN THE GAME AROUND. AT THE 21, JEFF GEORGE, 1-7. CARTER MATCHED UP WITH SANDERS, TOP OF THE SCREEN. GEORGE BUYS TIME. FINALLY AN OPEN MAN AND THEY GET IT TO ANDREW JORDAN, THE TIGHT END COVERED BY KEVIN SMITH. KNOCKED DOWN AT THE 12-YARD LINE. SHORT OF THE FIRST DOWN. BOOMER: THIS IS REMINISCENT OF THE COLTS GAME LAST WEEK FOR THE DALLAS COWBOYS. THEY COME OUT. THEY’RE WINNING IN THE SECOND HALF. TROY AIKMAN GETS SACKED, FUMBLED AND IT GIVES THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS SOME MOMENTUM. OBVIOUSLY YOU SENSE THAT RIGHT NOW IN THE VIKINGS. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 1 WITH THE BALL AT THE 12-YARD LINE. QUICK FLIP, FIRST DOWN. CARTER. HE GETS TAKEN DOWN AT THE 5-YARD LINE. DEION GOT A HAND ON HIS SHIRT. FIRST AND GOAL. BOOMER: WHAT MAKES THIS GUY SO GREAT, CRIS CARTER, IS MAKING CATCHES LIKE HE JUST MADE THERE AND MAKING THEM LOOK EASY. TALKING TO JEFF GEORGE SAYING WHY DID YOU COME HERE, WELL, WHEN YOU GET TO PLAY WITH PLAYERS LIKE THIS, THEY MAKE IT LOOK EASY, THEY MAKE YOU LOOK BETTER THAN YOU ARE. AL: TOP OF THE SCREEN WITH SANDERS ON CARTER. INSTEAD TO THE GROUND TO HOARD. A TWO-YARD GAIN TO THE 3-YARD LINE. TACKLED BY WOODSON. BOOMER: IF THEY GET OUT OF HERE 17-10 OR 17-7, EXCUSE ME, WHAT A BREAK FOR THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS. AL: ABSOLUTELY. BOOMER: IF THEY GET IN. AL: THIS GAME — THERE HAVE BEEN MISSED FIELD GOALS, OTHER MISSED OPPORTUNITIES. DALLAS COULD BE LEADING 30-0 AT THIS POINT. SECOND AND GOAL. AT THE 3. MOE WILLIAMS IS THE RUNNING BACK IN THIS SET. BOOMER: I CAN SEE MOSS GETTING IT. AL: TO THE GROUND. MOE WILLIAMS, NOTHING DOING. 60,000 WITH A CASCADE OF BOOS. BOOMER: RANDY MOSS LINED UP AGAINST KEVIN SMITH. AL: THIS IS A VERY BIG PLAY WITH A GAME THAT STILL HAS 32 MINUTES TO BE PLAYED. THIRD DOWN AND GOAL INSIDE THE 5. HUGE OPPORTUNITY FOR MINNESOTA. IF THEY SETTLE FOR ONLY THREE — BOOMER: EVEN IF IT’S ONLY THREE, THEY’RE 14 WN, THAT’S STILL IN ITSELF — WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED THIS FIRST HALF IS UNBELIEVABLE. TWO MINUTES AGO, THEY WERE ON THE BRINK OF 24-0, POSSIBLY. AL: TO REALLY TURN IT, THEY’RE GOING TO NEED SEVEN. THEY SPREAD IT OUT, NOBODY IN THE BACKFIELD. FIVE RECEIVERS, TWO SPLIT LEFT, THREE TO THE RIGHT. BOOMER: YOU MIGHT RUN THE QUARTERBACK DRAW HERE. AL: GEORGE THROWS BACK OF THE END ZONE. THEY GET IT. IT’S MOSS MAKING THE CATCH FOR THE TOUCHDOWN. BOOMER: TOO MUCH TIME FOR JEFF GEORGE TO OPERATE. HE GIVES THOSE RECEIVERS A ANCE TO GET OPEN AND FIND SEAMS. KEVIN MATHIS, 5’9″ AGAINST RANDY MOSS IN THE MIDDLE. YOU CAN SEE HIM LOOKING, THROW IT HIGH. THROWING IT OVER THE HEADS OF THE DEFENSIVE BACKS. THAT’S GEORGE TEAGUE THE SAFETY, NUMBER 31. BUT DOWN HERE, THROW IT HIGH AND GIVE YOUR RECEIVERS A CHANCE TO GO ABOVE THE SMALLER DEFENSIVE BACKS. AL: ANDERSON FOR THE POINT AFTER. YOU SAW THE LOOK ON JEFF GEORGE’S FACE. IT WAS A COMBINATION OF SATISFACTION AND EXASPERATION. BUT THEY’RE BACK IN THE GAME. jç’B–O AL: VIKINGS GET THE BREAK THEY NEED ON THE FUMBLE AND THEN CASH IN. BOOMER: THE GREAT THING ABOUT THE NFL, YOU’RE NEVER OUT OF IT. ALL IT TAKES IS A TURNOVER. YOU MAKE A BIG PLAY. YOU’RE RIGHT BACK IN IT. WATCH HOW JEFF THROWS IT UP HIGH. TEAGUE DOESN’T SEE THE BALL. YOU WANT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ABILITY OF YOUR RECEIVER, BUT REMEMBER RANDY MOSS WAS A GREAT BASKETBALL PLAYER IN HIGH SCHOOL AND TALKED ABOUT MAYBE GOING TO PLAY FOR THE TIMBERWOLVES WITH KEVIN GARNETT. AL: MITCH BERGER TO KICK IT OFF. COWBOYS HAVE ALL OF THEIR TIME-OUTS REMAINING. KEVIN MATHIS TO BRING IT BACK. TO THE 24-YARD LINE. 1:48 REMAINING IN THE FIRST HALF. BOOMER: DALLAS WAS CRITICIZED LAST WEEK BECAUSE AT THE END OF THE FIRST HALF THEY HAD TIME TO GO INTO A TWO-MINUTE DRILL AND DIDN’T DO IT. THEY PLAYED CONSERVATIVE AND LET THE CLOCK RAN OUT. IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT THEY CAN DO AND IF THEY CAN EXPLOIT SOME MATCHUPS I THINK THEY CAN GO DOWN THE FIELD. AL: THE ONE WEAPON THEY DON’T HAVE IS EMMITT SMITH. EMMITT SMITH WITH THAT LEFT HAND CONTUSION. WE ARE AWAITING A REPORT ON THE X-RAYS. EXCUSE ME, RIGHT HAND CONTUSION. HE SUFFERED IT ON THE TOUCHDOWN, SECOND OF HIS TWO TOUCHDOWNS. AIKMAN HITS THE ROCKET ISMAIL FOR A MINIMAL GAIN. TACKLED BY HITCHCOCK. WE GO BACK AND LOOK AT EMMITT AS HE CROSSED. WATCH HIS RIGHT HAND JUST BEFORE HE CROSSES THE GOAL LINE. HITCHCOCK HITS HIM. BOOMER: BANG. AL: HIT FROM THE BACK SIDE AS WELL. BOOMER: WHAT A GREAT PICTURE THAT IS. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 9 WITH THE BALL AT THE 24-YARD LINE. WARREN. HE BREAKS ONE. HE PICKS UP THE FIRST DOWN GOES OUT OF BOUNDS TO SAVE A TIME-OUT. RUN OUT BY ORLANDO THOMAS UP AT THE 37-YARD LINE. LARRY ALLEN AS HE DOES SO OFTEN LEADS THE WAY. BOOMER: HE IS 6’3″, 330 POUNDS. NUMBER 73, LEADING AROUND THE CORNER. WHEN YOU HAVE ATHLETIC ABILITY AT THAT SIZE AND YOU CAN TAKE ON DEFENSIVE BACKS, WHAT A WEAPON HE IS ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE OF THE COWBOYS. AL: FIRST AND 10. BALL AT THE 36-YARD LINE. COWBOYS UP BY 10. WITH A MINUTE TO PLAY IN THE HALF. AIKMAN THROWS, CAUGHT OVER THE MIDDLE BY ISMAIL. ROCKET HAS A FIRST DOWN AT THE 47-YARD LINE. THE COWBOYS WILL SPEND THEIR FIRST OF THREE TIME-OUTS. 17-7. LET’S CHECK IN WITH CHRIS BERMAN IN NEW YORK. CHRIS: ALL RIGHT, AL. THANK YOU. COMING UP, OUR TOP 10, BIG GUYS RUMBLING. FOURTH DOWN PRAYERS ANSWERED BY SOME LIONS, NOT OTHER LIONS. SWEET EMOTION FOR THE BEARS AGAINST THEIR ARCHRIVALS. PLUS THE LATEST B.C.S. STANDINGS. SEE YOU THEN, FELLOW AL: ALL RIGHT, CHRIS. GOOD FIRST HALF IN MINNEAPOLIS AS THE COWBOYS HAVE BEEN DOMINANT BUT THE VIKINGS GET BACK INTO THE GAME CAPITALIZING ON THE TURNOVER AND THEN SCORING THE STEPNOSKI SNAP. TROY AIKMAN TO TRY TO PUT AT LEAST THREE ON THE BOARD FOR DALLAS IN THE WANING MOMENTS. BOOMER: SO DANGEROUS ON THE ROAD GIVING THAT HOME TEAM BACK THE MOMENTUM THAT YOU SO DESPERATELY WANTED TO GET AHOLD OF THAT FIRST HALF. THEY NEED TO GET A SCORE RIGHT HERE. THEY’RE IN THEIR FIVE WIDE-OUT SET WHICH CREATES MISMATCHES. AL: NOBODY IN THE BACKFIELD BUT TROY. OVER THE MIDDLE. THROUGH THE HANDS OF THE ROCKET. SECOND DOWN. BOOMER: JUST CATCH THE BALL. IT’S RIGHT ON THE MONEY AND IT’S INSIDE. YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT MATCHUPS AND YOU’RE LOOKING TO GET YOUR FASTEST RECEIVER ACROSS THE MIDDLE. LOOK AT THE ACCURACY. YOU ARE RUNNING YOUR RECEIVER ON A SAFETY, GRIFFITH, WHO IS GOING TO HAVE A HARD TIME STAYING WITH HIM. AL: AIKMAN KEEPS WARREN WITH HIM IN THE BACKFIELD. TROY SLIPS IT TO THE FLAT TO WARREN. GOOD COVERAGE. CHRIS OUT OF BOUNDS AT THE 47-YARD LINE. RUN OUT BY KENNY WRIGHT SETTING UP A THIRD DOWN AND LONG. BOOMER: WHAT FOGE FAZIO IS TRYING TO DO IS PLAY ZONE. DON’T PUT YOUR ROOKIE DEFENSIVE BACKS IN THE TOUGH MAN-TO-MAN SITUATIONS. YOU SEE THIS HIT BY JOHN RANDLE WHO IS KNOWN TO GO AFTER YOUR LEGS LIKE THIS. HE HAS NO CHOICE. HE IS SO RELENTLESS THAT HE IS GOING AFTER THE QUARTERBACK ANY WAY HE CAN. AL: THIRD DOWN AND 10. IT IS WARREN AND CHRIS TOOK THE DIRECT SNAP, TAKES IT TO THE 45 YARD. STEPNOSKI SNAPPING IT TO WARREN BUT THEY ARE SHY OF THE FIRST DOWN. NOW MINNESOTA IS GOING TO TAKE THE TIME-OUT. FOURTH DOWN AND 2 UPCOMING AFTER THE TIME-OUT. LET’S GO BACK TO 1983.>>BIG OPENING FOR TONY DORSETT. LOOK OUT. HE’S GOT GREAT SPEED.>>99 YARDS.>>DORSETT DOWN THE SIDELINE. STAYS INBOUNDS.>>CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?>>IT’S THE 99 1/2-YARD RUN, THE LONGEST IN THE HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE. AL: IT WAS LATER DISCOVERED, SOME OF YOU MIGHT RECALL, THAT THE COWBOYS AMAZINGLY ONLY HAD 10 GUYS ON THE FIELD. FOR THAT PLAY. MEANWHILE RANDY MOSS IS SENT BACK TO RETURN THIS PUNT. IT IS MOSS STANDING AT THE 10. WILL THEY PUT IT IN MOSS’ HANDS IS THE QUESTI. IF HE DOES IT’S A FAIR CATCH.CU RANDY IS GOING TO LET IT GO. IT’S A FAIR CATCH. AL: MINNESOTA GETS IT AT THE 20. BOOMER: THIS IS THE CONFIDENCE THAT DENNIS GREEN HAS IN HIS OFFEE. LET’S SEE IF HE TAKES A SHOT DOWN THE FIELD. THEY HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING. HE IS TRYING TO FIND ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM TO GET ANOTHER SCORE HERE. YOU WOULD THINK WITH REED, CARTER AND MOSS ON THE FIELD THAT HE IS GOING TO LET JEFF GEORGE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO THROW IT DOWN THE FIELD. AL: GEORGE, 33 YARDS PASSING IN THE HALF. CARTER, TWO CATCHES FOR 20 YARDS. JORDAN, THE TIGHT END, ONE CATCH FOR NINE. AND RANDY, ONE CATCH FOR FOUR YARDS BUT A BIG ONE FOR THE TOUCHDOWN. BOOMER: THEY’RE ONLY DOWN 10 POINTS. AL: AMAZING. DALLAS WITH ALMOST FIVE TIMES AS MUCH YARDAGE AS MINNESOTA. BOOMER: THEY TOOK FOUR SECONDS OFF THE CLOCK. MINNESOTA HAS 22 SECONDS. A LOT OF TIMES A COACH IF YOU HAVE TIME-OUTS LEFT, WHICH THE VIKINGS DO, THEY HAVE ONE, THEY WILL TRY TO RUN A SCREEN PASS TO SEE IF THEY CAN POP SOMETHING AND MAYBE GIVE THEM BETTER FIELD POSITION BEFORE THEY THROW IT UP. AL: GEORGE WOULD NEED 45 YARDS TO GET THEM INTO ANDERSON’S FIELD GOAL RANGE. FROM THE 20, JEFF IS GOING TO SLING ONE TO CARTER. CARTER IS OUT OF BOUNDS. COVERED THERE BY SANDERS WITH 16 TICKS LEFT. BOOMER: YOU COME INTO THIS GAME AND YOU KNOW THAT DEION HAS A HAMSTRING PROBLEM. AL: A FLAG DOWN. IT’S GOING TO COME BACK. IT’S AGAINST MINNESOTA. REFEREE: HOLDING, 73, OFFENSE, 10 YARDS. STILL FIRST DOWN. BOOMER: THAT’S ONE WAY TO KEEP HIM OUT, AL. HE IS HAVING A ROUGH NIGHT, TODD STEUSSIE . AL: MINNESOTA NOW HAS NINE PENALTIES FOR 67 YARDS. CLEAR RIGHT THERE. THE VIKINGS HAVE 63 YARDS OF OFFENSE. 67 YARDS IN PENALTIES. FIRST AND 20 FROM THE 10-YARD LINE. IT IS KNOCKED AWAY AND IS PICKED OFF BY IZELL REESE AT THE 40 WITH SEVEN SECONDS TO PLAY. WILLIAMS BATTED IT. FOR IZELL REESE THAT IS HIS THIRD INTERCEPTION OF THE SEASON. NOW, THE WAY CUNNINGHAM IS KICKING I DON’T SEE THEM GOING FOR A 357-YARD FIELD GOAL BUT TROY WILL GET ONE HEAVE INTO THE END ZONE. BOOMER: THEY STILL HAVE TWO TIME-OUTS. YOU COULD SEE RIGHT THERE THE LONGER YOU WAIT TO THROW THE BALL DOWN THE MIDDLE, THE BETTER CHANCE THERE IS FOR A DEFLECTION AND ONE OF THOSE SAFETIES TO COME UP WITH AN INTERCEPTION. AL: IT WILL BE AN UNLIKELY HEAVE. WELL, LET’S SEE. AIKMAN, A LOT OF PROTECTION. I GUESS ATTEMPTING PERHAPS TO GET CUNNINGHAM INTO FIELD GOAL RANGE. BOOMER: HE I DOING IT AGAINST JIMMY HITCHCOCK AT THE BOTTOM WHEN HE SHOULD BE DOING IT UP TOP AGAINST THE ROOKIES BECAUSE THE ROOKIES ARE GOING TO BE OFF. THAT’S A DANGEROUS THROW. THERE’S THE POSSIBILITY FOR AN INTERCEPTION. BUT THEY’RE GOING TO GIVE RICHIE CUNNINGHAM ANOTHER SHOT AT IT. AL: RICHIE HAS MISSED FROM 42, MISSED FROM 37. HIS TWO EXTRA POINTS BARELY GOT INSIDE THE UPRIGHT. BJORNSON TO HOLD. REFEREE: TIME-OUT, DALLAS. SECOND TEAM TIME-OUT. 30 SECOND TIME-OUT. BOOMER: CHAD HENNINGS DIDN’T REALIZE THEY WERE GOING TO GO FOR ANOTHER FIELD GOAL. THE DOWN CLOCK WAS RUNNING DOWN. AL: 54 YARDS. THE LONGEST OF CUNNINGHAM’S CAREER. TROY IS GOING TO COME BACK. I CAN’T — FOR A GUY WHO IS HAVING CUNNINGHAM’S KIND OF YEAR, I THINK YOU ARE BETTER SERVED TAKING ONE SHOT AT THE END ZONE BECAUSE THE WAY RICHIE IS KICKING THESE DAYS, WHO KNOWS? YOU COULD HAVE IT BLOCKED. BOOMER: YOU NEVER KNOW, AL. HIS EXTRA POINTS HAVE BEEN A LITTLE BIT OF AN ADVENTURE. AL: YES, THEY HAVE. AFTER THE TIME-OUT, THEY’LL EITHER JUST RUN THE CLOCK OUT OR LET TROY HEAVE ONE INTO THE END ZONE. BOOMER: THE ONLY THING I CAN TELL YOU IS 29 AND 20 ARE TO HIS RIGHT. THAT’S WHERE HE IS GOING TO GO WITH IT. AL: HE FUMBLES IT AND STEPNOSKI RECOVERS IT. THAT’S THE WAY THE HALF WILL END. BOOMER: YOU SAW TWO PLAYS BY TWO OF THE INSPIRATIONAL PLAYERS AND LEADERS ON THIS FOOTBALL TEAM, JOHN RANDLE AT THE END AND CRIS CARTER MAKING PLAYS TO TRY TO GET THEIR TEAM BACK INTO IT. AL: DALLAS 17, MINNESOTA 7. COMING UP, THE TOP 10, A LOOK AT YESTERDAY’S NFL ACTION AND THE BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES STANDINGS. THEY MAKE IT PAYONDAY NIGHT FOOA [CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND ABC, INC.] AL: AL MICHAELS, BOOMER ESIASON, LESLEY VISSER. BOOMER: SPEAKING OF THE SUPER BOWL, MANY TEAMS — MANY PEOPLE AROUND THE LEAGUE FEEL LIKE THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS HAD WHAT IT TAKES TO GET TO THE SUPER BOWL. TONIGHT IF YOU WATCH THIS TEAM, YOU WOULD WONDER IF THIS TEAM EVEN HAS A CHANCE TO WIN ITS DIVISION, LET ALONE TRY TO GET INTO THE SUPER BOWL. THIS DIVISION IS BEING DOMINATED BY THE DETROIT LIONS WHO HAD A GREAT COMEBACK WIN AGAINST THE ST. LOUIS RAMS. IF THIS TEAM DOESN’T WAKE UP, THIS SEASON IS GOING TO BE A LONG ONE. AL: IF THE SEASON ENDED TONIGHT, DETROIT WOULD BE THE NUMBER ONE SEED IN THE N.F.C. FIELDED AT THE GOAL LINE BY ROBERT TATE. HE CAN FLY. TATE TAKES IT BACK OUT TO THE 29-YARD LINE. LESLEY: AL, DENNIS GREEN IS ENORMOUSLY DISAPPOINTED IN HIS TEAM RIGHT NOW. HE SAID WE DIDN’T TACKLE ON DEFENSE. NO BACK HAS RUSHED FOR 100 YARDS AGAINST THE VIKINGS. EMMITT HAD 140. HE SAID WE DIDN’T PASS PROTECT ON OFFENSE. AS FOR EMMITT SMITH, HE HAS FRACTURED HIS FOURTH METACARPAL. HE CARRIES THE BALL IN HIS LEFT HAND. THIS IS HIS RIGHT HAND BUT STILL VERY SERIOUS. NO DETERMINATION YET WHEN HE WILL RETURN. AL: OK, THANK YOU, LESLEY AS THE COWBOYS GO HOME AND MEET GREEN BAY ON SUNDAY, THEY HAVE FOUR GAMES IN 18 DAYS BEGINNING TODAY. AT THE 29-YARD LINE, IT IS CARTER MAKING THE CATCH. STAY INBOUNDS AND THEY FINALLY GET HIM OUT OF BOUNDS. THEY ARE GOING TO MARK HIM OUT AT THE 34-YARD LINE. IZELL REESE BOUNCED HIM OUT. BOOMER: IT’S GOING TO TAKE PLAYERS LIKE CRIS CARTER TO GET THE VIKINGS BACK INTO THIS GAME. AL: LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT DEION SANDERS. SANDERS WAS IN THE GAME FOR 28 PLAYS AS YOU CAN SEE. THEY ONLY THREW HIS WAY TWICE. AND THEY HAVE MOVED HIM AROUND. FROM THE 35-YARD LINE, THIS IS LEROY HOARD. AND HE TAKES IT OUT TO THE 42-YARD LINE. THAT’S A FIRST DOWN AND THEY BEGIN THE SECOND HALF THE WAY THEY STARTED THE FIRST HALF WITH A GOOD GROUND GAME. BOOMER: THAT’S A GREAT PLAY BY LEROY HOARD TO GET OUT OF THERE. ALONZO SPELLMAN AND ELLIS AND HENNINGS HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET HIM INTO THE BACKFIELD BUT HE RUNS AWAY FROM THEM. AGAIN, IF IT’S NOT FOR THE GREAT PLAY, WATCH SPELLMAN COME FLYING THROUGH THERE AS HENNINGS IN PURSUIT. IF IT’S NOT FOR HOARD MAKING THAT PLAY, THE OFFENSIVE LINE MISSES BLOCKS AT THE POINT OF ATTACK. AL: FIRST DOWN AT THE 42-YARD LINE.■ BOOMER: JEFF IS AUDIBLING NOW BECAUSE HE SENSES A BLITZ. AL: AND HE GETS ONE. HE THROWS AND IT’S CAUGHT BY CARTER WHO GETS INSIDE SMITH, RUNS AROUND DEION SANDERS, CHASED DOWN BY DEION, CAUGHT BY DEION. FLAG AT THE END OF THE PLAY. BOOMER: A FACEMASK ON DEION SANDERS. BUT AS I SAID, THIS TEAM CAN HIT YOU AND LIGHT YOU UP AT A MINUTE’S NOTICE. YOU’VE GOT TO BE CAREFUL. JEFF GEORGE CALLING A BLITZ AND HITTING CRIS CARTER AGAINST DEION SANDERS. THAT IS THE TYPE OF CONFIDENCE THAT YOU EXPECT TO SEE FROM THE QUARTERBACK OF THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS. HE IS THROWING OFF HIS BACK FOOT. HE HAS THE ARM STRENGTH TO GET IT THERE. THIS IS WHAT YOU DO IF YOU’RE A RECEIVER, YOU RUN AND MAKE EXTRA YARDS. NOBODY SAYS THAT YOU HAVE TO BE TACKLED AND TAKE IT. YOU JUST GIVE IT. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HE DOES TO DEION SANDERS. AL: 39-YARD PICKUP. BOOMER: I LOVE THE WAY CRIS CARTER PLAYS. HE IS PHYSICAL, HE IS TOUGH. HE IS AGGRESSIVE. HE IS NOT TAKING ANYTHING FROM ANYBODY ON THAT FIELD. AL: COMING OFF A FABULOUS GAME LAST WEEK AGAINST THE BRONCOS, EIGHT CATCHES, 144 YARDS. FIRST DOWN, MINNESOTA AT THE 14-YARD LINE. TAKE IT TO WILLIAMS. GEORGE BUYS TIME AND THEN THROWS IT AWAY. MOSS IS DOUBLE COVERED. BOOMER: HE SAW THAT THE FACT THAT MOSS WAS DOUBLE COVERED AND RAY SHERMAN AND DENNIS GREEN BOTH TOLD US THAT THEY HAVE NEVER SEEN A RECEIVER RECEIVE SO MUCH ATTENTION AND IT’S LIKE PEOPLE IN THE NFL ARE SAYING, 84 IS NOT BEATING US. RANDY MOSS, THERE IS NO WAY HE IS — WE ARE GOING TO LET HIM BEAT US ON DEEP ROUTES. JEFF HAS GOT TO GO TO THE OTHER RECEIVER AND FOLLOW HIS PROGRESSION. AL: DENVER SAID MOSS WOULDN’T BEAT US AND HE DID AND CARTER BEAT THEM. SECOND DOWN AND 10 FROM THE 14-YARD LINE. HOARD. LEROY TO THE 8 YARD. — 8-YARD LINE. THIRD DOWN AND 4 WITH MOSS ON THE BENCH FOR THE MOMENT. FOR DALLAS IT HAS BEEN A CASE WHEN THEY HAVE LOST WITH FAST STARTS AND FIZZLING FINISHES. THEY HOPE HISTORY DOES NOT REPEAT. THEY HAD THE LEAD AGAINST PHILADELPHIA, LET THEM HANG AROUND. THE EAGLES WON IT. LET THE GIANTS HANG AROUND. THE GIANTS BEAT THEM. LED AT INDY LAST WEEK. THE COLTS BEAT THEM. GEORGE STEPPING AWAY. HE IS GOING TO TAKE IT IN HIMSELF. CAN HE GET THERE? NO. HE SLIDES DOWN AT THE 1-YARD LINE. BOOMER: HE WAS TRYING TO GET THE FIRST DOWN. HE COULD HAVE LOWERED HIS HEAD AND HE IS TELLING EVERYBODY IT’S A FIRST DOWN. BUT IF HE LOWERS HIS HEAD AND GETS IN THE END ZONE, YOU TALK ABOUT INSPIRING YOUR TEAMMATES A LA JOHN ELWAY IN THE SUPER BOWL A COUPLE YEARS AGO. AL: IZELL REESE IS HURT. IF IT’S CUNNINGHAM HE DOES HIS EDWIN MOSES ROUTINE. BOOMER: HE HAS THREE COWBOYS COMING AT HIM AND REESE BEING ONE OF THEM. BUT YOU COULD SEE RIGHT HERE, WATCH JEFF. IT LOOKS TO ME LIKE HE THINKS HE CAN GET IT AND REALIZES NO WAY. ESPECIALLY WHEN WOODSON IS ONE OF THOSE GUYS. AL: REESE GETS THE ATTENTION. THERE IS AN INJURY TIME-OUT. BOOMER: THAT WAS SMART ACTUALLY. AL: REESE IS THE GUY WHO PAYS THE PRICE. WE HAVE SEEN RANDALL THROUGH THE YEARS, WHEN HE GETS DOWN IN THAT POSITION IT’S THE HIGH HURDLE. BOOMER: HE WILL JUMP OVER PEOPLE. GUYS KNOW THAT AROUND THE LEAGUE. SO I WOULD THINK YOU WOULD STAY UP. ONE OF THE REASONS JEFF GEORGE HAS BEEN AROUND SO LONG HE KNOWS HOW TO PROTECT HIMSELF. THERE’S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. YOU CAN SENSE, 17-7, IT’S CLOSE. THE GAME IS FAR FROM OVER. WITH THE ABILITY OF THE WIDE RECEIVERS ON THIS FOOTBALL TEAM AND WITH THIS GUY’S ARM, THEY ARE NEVER OUT OF THE GAME. NEVER OUT OF THE GAME. AL: NOT WITH THAT LINEUP. EVERYTHING IS GOING THEIR WAY RIGHT NOW. NOT ONLY THAT, THE COWBOYS DON’T HAVE EMMITT SMITH. EMMITT, 140 YARDS. BUT THE■■ FRACTURED BON. IN THE RIGHT HAND. LESLEY SAID, HE NORMALLY CARRIES THE BALL IN HIS LEFT HAND. BOOMER: IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE HOW THE VIKING DEFENSE RESPONDS TO THE HALFTIME ADJUSTMENTS. FOGE FAZIO SCREAMING, JUST TACKLE SOMEBODY OUT THERE. AL: REESE COMES OUT. RED MCCOMBS, THE VIKING OWNER. DENNIS GREEN, THE LONGEST TENURED COACH IN THE NFL. NOBODY HAS HAD HIS JOB LONGER THAN HAS DENNIS GREEN, EIGHT YEARS, WHICH SPEAKS TO WHAT A WACKY BUSINESS THIS IS AND JERRY JONES KNOWS ALL ABOUT IT. FIRST AND GOAL FROM THE 1. THAT’S RANDALL MCDANIEL IN THE BACKFIELD AS THE FULLBACK. THEY LEAD THE WAY FOR HOARD. HOARD TAKES IT INSIDE THE 1 BUT NOT IN. THEY LINE MCDANIEL UP VERY OFTEN IN THE BACKFIELD. RANDALL MCDANIEL WILL GO TO THE HALL OF FAME SOMEDAY. THERE IS NO BETTER GUARD. HERE IS A GUY WHO GOES TO THE PRO BOWL EVERY SEASON. BOOMER: HE STARTED 10 STRAIGHT PRO BOWLS. AL: HE HAS DONE A WONDERFUL JOB. BOOMER: THERE HE IS WITH HIS AWKWARD STANCE AND HIS UNIQUE STANCE. NOT AN EASY THING. IT’S ALMOST LIKE HE IS A PULLING GUARD BACK THERE. I GUESS THEY FIGURE HE CAN GET LOW ENOUGH AND GET UNDERNEATH. AL: SECOND AND GOAL. THE FAKE THIS TIME. HERE COMES THE PRESSURE. IT IS TIPPED AND MOSS CAN’T MAKE THE CATCH. NEARLY PICKED OFF. RANDY GOT A HAND ON IT. THE PRESSURE WAS PUT ON BY DARREN HAMBRICK. IT’S THI DOWN AND GOAL. BOOMER: NICE PLAY BY THE DALLAS COWBOYS NOT BEING FOOLED. WE TALKED ABOUT JF GEORGE. HE WILL THROW THE BALL INTO PLACES THAT MOST QUARTERBACKS WON’T ATTEMPT BECAUSE OF HIS ARM. YOU COULD SEE HE HAS THE ABILITY TO GET ENOUGH ON IT TO GET IT OUT ERE BUT DEFINITELY DANGEROUS. AL: THAT WAS KAVIKA PITTMAN WHO DROPPED BACK INTO COVERAGE. MEANWHILE, THE VIKINGS NOW HAVE TO HURRY TO THE LINE. A FLAG IS THROWN. REFEREE: PRIOR TO THE SNAP, FALSE START. 63. AL: CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? I AM THINKING ABOUT THIS, ON SECOND AND GOAL, KAVIKA PITTMAN IS IN THE BACK OF THE END ZONE TO BREAK UP THE PLAY. BOOMER: JUST REMEMBER ON THAT — ON THIS PARTICULAR PLAY, NUMBER 63 IS IN FOR MCDANIEL BECAUSE HE HAS TO COME OUT BECAUSE HE REPORTED ON THE PLAY EARLIER AND NOW HE CAUSES A PENALTY, WHICH ISN’T PROBABLY SO BAD BECAUSE IT GIVES THEM MORE ROOM IN THE E ZONE RIGHT NOW. AL: THIRD DOWN AND GOAL. THE BALL AT THE 6-YARD LINE. THEY SACK HIM. IT IS GREG ELLIS. SO THE TWO ENDS MAKE HUGE PLAYS. PITTMAN BATS A PASS IN THE END ZONE. AND THEN HERE COMES ELLIS TO SACK HIM. THE VIKINGS WILL HAVE TO SETTLE FOR A FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT. THEY GO FROM INSIDE THE 1 ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE 14. BOOMER: I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON WITH TODD STEUSSIE TONIGHT. BUT HE IS ABSOLUTELY GETTING LIT UP NOW. AL: 32-YARD ATTEMPT. MITCH BERGER WILL HOLD IT. GARY ANDERSON TO KICK IT AND THE KICK IS GOOD. AL: MIKE TICE, THE OFFENSIVE LINE COACH. IT’S BEEN A RATHER SPIRITED DISCUSSION DURING THE COMMERCIAL BREAK HERE. BOOMER: THAT’S JEFF CHRISTY, NUMBER 62, THE BALD HEAD. THERE IS MIKE. DO YOU REALIZE MIKE TICE WAS THE QUARTERBACK AT MARYLAND BEFORE ME AND NOW IS A LINE COACH IN THE NFL. AL: THE KICKOFF IS TAKEN BY KEVIN MATHIS TWO YARDS IN. AND BROUGHT BACK TO THE 22. TACKLED BY CHRIS WALSH. DALLAS WILL GET THE BALL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE SECOND HALF. BOOMER: WHAT A GAME BETWEEN WISCONSIN AND PURDUE. DREW BREES GOING FOR IT WITH RON DAYNE. THAT GUY IS A GUY YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS. AL: FROM THE 22-YARD LINE. DALLAS HAS IT FOR THE FIRST TIME. CHRIS WARREN OUT OF THE BACKFIELD. CHRIS WARREN WILL HAVE TO CARRY THE LOAD WITH EMMITT GONE FOR THE NIGHT UP TO THE 29-YARD LINE. GAIN OF SEVEN, TACKLED BY EDMCDANIEL. BOOMER: THERE IS JEFF GEORGE. A LOOK OF EXASPERATION. HE IS NOT HAVING ANY TIME BACK THERE. IN THAT LAST SERIES THAT LAST PLAY, A THREE-MAN RUSH. AS SOON AS HE PLANTED HIS FOOT, HE GOT HIT. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THAT, NONE. AL: THEY WERE INSIDE THE 1. SECOND AND GOAL. WOUND UP BACK AT THE 14. SECOND DOWN AND 3 FOR THE COWBOYS FROM THE 29-YARD LINE. AIKMAN, QUICK TOSS. IMMEDIATELY JASON TUCKER GETS SMASHED BY THE ROOKIE CHRIS ROGERS. ROGERS, A ROOKIE OUT OF HOWARD UNIVERSITY. FOR TROY AIKMAN TONIGHT, HIS NUMBERS ARE NOT THAT BAD. BUT HIS RECEIVERS HAVE NOT BEEN HELPING HIM FROM TIME TO TIME. GOING BACK TO THE FIRST PERIOD WHEN HE HAD THOMAS DROP THAT ONE AND THEN HE HAD ROCKET DROP THAT ONE, LAFLEUR HAD DROPPED AN EARLIER ONE. THE SNAP BY STEPNOSKI LEADING TO THE MINNESOTA TOUCHDOWN. HERE HE GETS TACKLED BY RANDLE. THIRD DOWN AND 2. BATTED DOWN HERE BY JERRY BALL FOR THE BIG SACK. BOOMER: THIS IS WHAT IT’S LIKE PLAYING QUARTERBACK IN THE NFL. JUST STAND IN THERE AND IT LOOKED LIKE STEPNOSKI AND AIKMAN WEREN’T ON THE SAME PAGE WHEN IT WAS COME TOG THE SP COUNT. STEPNOSKI WAS BROUGHT HERE TO SOLIDIFY THIS OFFENSIVE LINE AND TO MAKE SURE THAT IT PROTECTS TROY. YOU COULD SEE RIGHT HERE THEY’RE NOT REAL GOOD WITH THE SNAP. I CAN’T IMAGINE WHY THE CENTER WOULD GO RIGHT AND ALLOW THE NOSE TACKLE TO COME UP FREE. THE ONLY THING I CAN THINK OF WAS HE DIDN’T GET HELP FROM THE GUARD THAT HE WAS EXPECTING. AL: TOBY GOWIN ALMOST HAS THAT ONE BLOCKED. THEY SEND MOSS BACK. HERE IS RANDY TO RUN IT BACK FROM THE 26-YARD LINE. TAKEN DOWN THERE BY DEXTER COAKLEY. AL: TROY AIKMAN, THAT’S THE SAME LOOK THAT HE HAD LAST WEEK WHEN HE WAS KNOCKED DOWN BY BURRIS. HE WENT TO THE SMELLING SALTS HERE DURING COMMERCIAL. BOOMER: WHEN BALL IS GOING TO FALL ON YOU, I THINK YOU WOULD HAVE A PROBLEM GETTING UP YOURSELF, AL. THEY HAVE HIM LISTED AT 330 POUNDS. AL: WHAT A CATCH BY CARTER AS HE GOT POSITION ON SANDERS. A 22-YARD GAIN, ALMOST LOOKED LIKE HE CAUGHT THE BACK OF THE BALL. BOOMER: WE SHOWED EARLIER HOW ERNIE MILLS OF THE COWBOYS ALLOWED THE DEFENDER HITCHCOCK TO GET INSIDE OF HIM ON A POST ROUTE. CRIS CARTER DOESN’T ALLOW IT. LOOK AT THE HIT HE TAKES FROM DEION SANDERS AND STILL HOLDS ON TO THE FOOTBALL. EVERYBODY TALKED ABOUT RANDY MOSS VERSUS DEION SANDERS. THESE ARE TWO ALL-PROS GOING AT IT, CRIS CARTER AND DEION SANDERS. AL: FROM THE 47-YARD LINE. HOARD. BUNCHED UP, PICKS UP THREE. TAKES IT THE 44. HALFWAY THROUGH THE THIRD PERIOD. A DOMINANT DALLAS BEGINNING TONIGHT. THE BACKUP QUARTERBACK IS JASON GARRETT AS HE LOOKS ON. HE AND GAILEY ARE GOING OVER THE CHART RIGHT NOW AND SOME PICTURES OF THE MINNESOTA DEFENSE, WHICH WOULD INDICATE THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE WE ARE GOING TO SEE GARRETT. BOOMER: USUALLY WHEN A QUARTERBACK IS LICKING HIS FINGERS, THAT MEANS HE IS READY TO GO IN. AL: SECOND AND 7 FROM THE 44-YARD LINE. BOOMER: JEFF IS A LITTLE INDECISIVE AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, TRYING TO AUDIBLE. AL: CARTER, WIDE OPEN. TOOK CARE OF KEVIN SMITH WITH THAT. TAKES IT TO THE 27. A FIRST DOWN. BOOMER: HE MADE THE AUDIBLE. THAT WAS THE LAST TIME HE AUDIBLED TO THE SAME PLAY WHEN WE SAW HIM GO AGAINST DEION SANDERS. YOU CAN TELL THIS GUY KNOWS HOW TO IGNITE THIS FRANCHISE AND THESE FANS HERE. TURNS KEVIN SMITH AROUND. CRIS CARTER IS NOT THE FASTEST GUY IN THE WORLD, BUT HE IS SO ADEPT AT RUNNING THE ROUTES CORRECTLY AND CREATING SEPARATION, GETTING AWAY FROM THE DEFENSIVE BACK. AL: SIX CATCHES FOR 105 RDS. FIRST DOWN, MINNESOTA AT THE 27. HOARD. PULLS HIS WAY THE 21. A GAIN OF SIX. BOOMER: I WILL GO BACK TO THE FIRST HALF WHEN STEPNOSKI HAD THE FALSE FUMBLE AND ACTUALLY THE BAD SNAP AND YOU CAN SEE CHRIS’ NUMBERS RIGHT THERE. THAT’S WHERE THE MOMENTUM STARTED TO SWING A LITTLE BIT. YOU COULD FEEL IT BUILDING AND BUILDING AND BUILDING. IT LOOKS LIKE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT OFFENSE OUT ON THE FIELD RIGHT NOW. THEY’RE MOVING IT. THEY HAD AITTLE TROUBLE LAST TIME DOWN CLOSE, BUT NOW THEY SENSE THEY CAN GET THE GAME AGAIN BACK IN THEIR HANDS. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 4. TROY WITH THAT GLAZED LOOK. MOE WILLIAMS IS THE RUNNING BACK IN THIS SET. MOE WILLIAMS MAKES THE ACQUAINTANCE OF ONE RANDALL GODFREY WHO WAS MAGNIFICENT LAST WEEK AGAINST THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS. FOURTH YEAR MIDDLE LINEBACKER OUT OF GEORGIA. BOOMER: WHEN YOU ARE MIDDLE LINEBACKER AND YOU SEE A HOLE IN FRONT OF YOU AND YOU KNOW THE RUNNING BACK HAS THE BALL, YOU HAVE TO FILL IT QUICKLY AND YOU HAVE TO FILL IT FEROCIOUSLY, KIND OF LIKE THAT. THAT’S THE WAY YOU PLAY MIDDLE LINEBACKER IN THE NFL. AL: THEY STACK THE RECEIVERS. ALL THREE OF THEM TO THE LEFT. THEY DON’T SEND ANYBODY IN MOTION. THEY SEND THEM OUT ALONG THE TREE LINE. IT IS INCOMPLETE. LOOKING FOR THE FLAG. MATTHEWS HATCHET DOESN’T GET IT. COVERED BY CHARLIE WILLIAMS. FIRST TIME THEY WENT HIS WAY TONIGHT. BOOMER: YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT PLAY? JEFF GEORGE LOOKED TO THE RIGHT TO GO TO RANDY MOSS. RANDY MOSS HAD TWO GUYS OVER THERE. HE REALIZED HE LOOKED THE WRONG WAY AND CAME BACK LATE. YOU CAN SEE HE GOT A LITTLE NERVOUS BECAUSE HE KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON. GOOD DEFENSE. AL: GARY ANDERSON A 41-YARD FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT. THAT’S THE SECOND OF THE GAME. MINNESOTA KEEPS CHIPPING AWAY. THEY TRAILED AT ONE POINT 17-0. AL: THERE IS EMMITT SMITH. FOR YEARS, THEY WERE KNOWN AS THE TRIPLETS, EMMITT, TROY AIKMAN AND MICHAEL IRVIN. EMMITT’S GONE FOR THE NIGHT. AIKMAN ISN’T GOING TO PLAY IN THIS NEXT SERIES. THERE IS MICHAEL. THEY’VE GONE FROM THREE TO ZERO. WITH 4:40 LEFT IN THE THIRD, GARRETT WILL COME IN TO QUARTERBACK THE TEAM. IT’S 17-13 AS ANDERSON KICKS OFF OR BERGER KICKS OFF FOR MINNESOTA. AL: ONE YARD INTO THE END ZONE, KEVIN MATHIS. ALMOST GOT DECAPITATED BY JOHN HENRY MILLS. BOOMER: NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN, YOU CAN SEE THE BODY LANGUAGE OF THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS, A LITTLE SPUNKY RIGHT NOW. SOMEBODY GOT A TONGUE LASHING AT HALFTIME. NOW THE COWBOYS FIND THEMSELVES WITHOUT EMMITT SMITH. THEY FIND THEMSELVES WITHOUT TROY AIKMAN. TAKE A LOOK AT THIS RIGHT HERE. AL: THAT IS A CLASSIC CLOTHESLINE. BOOMER: THE ULTIMATE CLOTHESLINE RIGHT THERE. MAN. AL: FIRST DOWN, DALLAS AT THE 15-YARD LINE. REGULAR SPEED, LOOK AT IT HERE. JASON GARRETT COMES IN TO PLAY QUARTERBACK. GARRETT HAS A LOT OF EXPERIENCE. WHEN AIKMAN BROKE HIS COLLARBONE LAST YEAR, HE MADE FIVE STARTS. HE HAS MADE SEVEN LIFETIME STARTS AND HE HAS BEEN WITH THE COWBOYS SINCE 1992. GARRETT ON FIRST DOWN IS GOING TO GO DEEP. A FLAG IS THROWN BECAUSE THERE WAS HOLDING. KENNY WRIGHT HAD HIS ARMS AROUND ERNIE MILLS OR AT LEAST ON HIS JERSEY. INTERFERENCE. BOOMER: SMART PLAY BY THE OFFENSE OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS. GIVE CHAN GAILEY CREDIT BECAUSE NOW HE KNOWS THAT THE MINNESOTA VIKING DEFENSE IS GOING TO PUT THESE GUYS OUT HERE ONE-ON-ONE. YOU AND I HAVE BOTH SEEN JASON GARRETT DO THE JOB ON THE FIELD. THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. AL: WON A MONDAY NIGHT GAME LAST YEAR. AGAINST WASHINGTON. GARRETT WENT TO PRINCETON. HIS FATHER IS A LONGTIME COWBOYS SCOUT. BROTHER WAS A WIDE RECEIVER WITH THE BENGALS IN 1989. AIKMAN CAN ONLY LOOK ON FROM THE BENCH. GARRETT IS ACTUALLY OLDER THAN TROY. FIRST AND 10 FROM THE 29. BOOMER: THEY HAD A DOWN CLOCK MALFUNCTION HERE. AL: IT’S A DISEASE YOU NEVER WANT TO HAVE. 4:26 LEFT IN THE THIRD. BOOMER: THERE’S BUDDY GEIS, THE QUARTERBACK COACH. INTERESTING, YOU WONDER WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A BACKUP QUARTERBACK IN THIS LEAGUE. YOU DON’T GET MUCH OPPORTUNITY TO PRACTICE WITH THE STARTING TEAM. YOU HAVE TO BE LIKE ICE. THIS IS LIKE BEING A RELIEVER IN THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH. AL: CHRIS WARREN GOES NOWHERE. NOW THEY’VE GOT EVERYTHING GOING AGAINST THEM, NO AIKMAN, NO SMITH, NO IRVIN. HAVE WATCHED A 17-POINT LEAD BECOME A FOUR-POINT LEAD AND THE CROWD IS GOING BANANAS. THERE EY ARE. THOSE GUYS HAVE LED THEIR TEAM IN PASSING, RUSHING AND RECEIVING IN EACH OF THE LAST EIGHT YEARS. AND NO THREESOME HAS EVER DONE IT LONGER THAN THAT. IN FACT, THE NEXT LONGEST RUNNING TRIO WOULD BE KELLY, THOMAS AND REED OF BUFFALO. FIVE YEARS. MINNOTA, 105-2 IN THIS QUARTER. SECOND DOWN AND 10 AT THE 29-YARD LINE. GARRETT GOING DEEP FOR THE ROCKET AND THE ROCKET GETS POSITION AND THEN DROPS THE FOOTBALL. ROCKET GOT INSIDE HITCHCOCK. PASS A LITTLE UNDERTHROWN. BOOMER: THAT’S TWO FOR ROCKET TONIGHT. THE PASS IS UNDERTHROWN. IT GIVES HIM A BETTER OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THE CATCH. HITCHCOCK IS NOT AWARE THAT BALL WAS IN THE AIR. THIS IS A CATCH THAT — ANOTHER EASY CATCH HE HAS TO MAKE. YOU TALK ABOUT IT, AL. IT COMES DOWN TO A PLAY HERE, A PLAY THERE DURING THE GAME. ALL OF A SUDDEN YOUR FORTUNES CHANGE. TONIGHT HE HAS HAD TWO OPPORTUNITIES TO MAKE BIG PLAYS AND HASN’T COME THROUGH. AL: FOUR DROPS BY THE COWBOYS NOW. THIRD DOWN AND 10. PRESSURE ON GARRETT. THE PA IS HIGH, INTENDED FOR ISMAIL AGAIN. FOURTH DOWN. BOOMER: THIS CERTAINLY WASN’T A PRETTY PASS. NOT ONLY WAS IT HIGH BUT IT WAS WOBBLING THE WHOLE WAY. AL: ROCKET GETS SHOVED BY GRIFFITH AS MOSS GOES BACK TO RETURN THE KICK. TOBY GOWIN TO SEND IT DOWN THERE. MOSS UNTIL TONIGHT HAD RETURNED ONE PUNT THIS SEASON. RANDY AT THE 26. AL: BACK TO THE 39-YARD LINE GOES MOSS. TROY WILL GO BACK TO THE LOCKER ROOM. MICHAEL IN STREET CLOTHES. EMMITT IN STREET CLOTHES. AL: BEAUTIFUL SHOT OF MINNEAPOLIS, DOWNTOWN. QUITE A SIGHT ON THIS SPARKLING EVENING. TEMPERATURE IN THE UPPER 70’S TODAY. THAT SHOT PROVIDED BY SOUTHWEST AIRLINES. BOOMER: IT’S ABSOLUTELY CLEAN, IT’S BEAUTIFUL. I KIND OF JUST FIT IN TODAY, AL. IT’S THE LAND OF THE VIKINGS. AL: YOU LOOK LIKE THE QUINTESSENTIAL MINNESOTAN. FROM THE 39-YARD LINE, JEFF GEORGE ON FIRST DOWN. THROWS TO MOSS. MAKES THE CATCH AT THE 42. AND THEN SPUN DOWN BY KEVIN SMITH AT THE 45. 3:07 LEFT IN THE THIRD QUARTER. BOOMER: EARLY ON IN THE FIRST HALF, IF JEFF GEORGE WOULD HAVE HELD THAT BALL HE WOULD HAVE BEEN SACKED. NOYOU SEE HE HAS EXTRA TIME AND AGAIN IT HAS TO GO TO THE EMOTION OF WHERE THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS ARE NOW. AL: RED MCCOMBS AND CHARLENE. THEIR 49TH ANNIVERSARY TOMORROW. RED SAYING, LET’S GO. BOOMER: KEEP GOING. AL: HERE’S HOARD. HE PICKS UP THE FIRST DOWN. RED MCCOMBS WAS TELLING ME BEFORE THE GAME HE WAS TRYING TO BECOME AN NFL OWNER FOR YEARS. HE OWNED THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS FOR 23 YEARS. OWNED THE DENVER NUGGETS FOR FOUR YEARS. HE HAS OWNED MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAMS. FINALLY, WHEN THE TOM CLANCY DEAL WENT THROUGH, THE AUTHOR COULDN’T BUY THIS TEAM. HE WENT HOME AND HE SAID TO HIS WIFE, HE SAYS I’M BUYING THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS. SHE SAID, ARE YOU CRAZY? HE SAYS NO, I’M 70. AND I’M GOING TO DO IT NOW. BOOMER: HE GOT A GOOD DEAL CONSIDERING WHAT MOST TEAM ARE GOING FOR. AL: THEY SPLIT HOARD WIDE RIGHT. FIRST DOWN AT THE 48-YARD LINE. IT IS GEORGE THROWING AND CAUGHT BY MOSS. AND RANDY PULLS IT IN AND STAYS INBOUND AT THE 28-YARD LINE. THEY ROLLED HIM OUT OF BOUNDS. SMITH AND IZELL REESE ON THE COVERAGE. BOOMER: HERE’S JEFF GEORGE AGAIN THROWING THOSE BALLS INTO PLACES THAT MOST QUARTERBACKS WON’T EVEN ATTEMPT BECAUSE HE KNOWS HE HAS A CANNON FOR AN ARM. WHEN YOU HAVE A GUY LIKE MOSS ON THE SIDELINE, YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH IT. LOOK AT THIS CATCH RIGHT HERE, AL. YOU CAN SEE THAT THERE’S SMITH AND THERE’S REESE. HE WOULD HAVE COME DOWN INBOUNDS WITH THE FOOTBALL. THE OFFICIALS RULE THAT THEY KNOCKED HIM OUT OF BOUNDS. OR FORCED HIM OUT OF BOUNDS. AL: FIRST DOWN AT THE 27. LEROY HOARD IS ON THE BENCH. THEY’RE WORKING ON HIS FOOT OR LEG. THE BALL AT THE 27-YARD LINE. SO MOE WILLIAMS IS IN THE BACKFIELD. GEORGE OFF HIS BACK FOOT THROWS. IT’S TIPPED AND IT’S INCOMPLETE, INTENDED FOR JAKE REED. IT’S THE FIRST TIME THEY’VE GONE TO REED TONIGHT. KEVIN SMITH COVERING ON THE PLAY. BOOMER: JUST WATCHING JEFF GEORGE AND WATCHING HIM FALL BACKWARD AND THROW THE FOOTBALL 40 YARDS DOWN THE FIELD, IT’S REMARKABLE. REED SHOULD HAVE MADE THIS PLAY. SMITH NEVER SAW THE BALL. HE GOT HIS LEFT HAND IN THERE. YOU SEE RIGHT THERE, WHAT A NICE LUCKY PLAY BY KEVIN SMITH TO GET THE BALL OUT OF THEIR HANDS ANY WAY YOU CAN. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 10. THE BALL AT THE 27-YARD LINE. GEORGE GUNS IT OVER THE MIDDLE. PICKED OFF AT THE 1-YARD LINE BY GEORGE TEAGUE. PAST THE 20. RUN OUT OF BOUNDS AT THE 24-YARD LINE. HUGE PLAY. AL: IT WAS PICKED UP BUT THERE IS AN OFFICIALS’ CONFERENCE. THERE WILL BE A FLAG. IT IS AGAINST THE COWBOYS. THE FLAG IS DOWN AT THE 15-YARD LINE. ILLEGAL CONTACT. REFEREE: ILLEGAL CONTACT ON THE DEFENSE. NUMBER 21. FIVE YARDS, AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN. AL: BEFORE THE INTERCEPTION. SO HE MADE CONTACT. SANDERS PICKS THE FLAG UP. BOOMER: HE IS ARGUING, SAYING TAKE A LOOK AT THIS ON THE TOP OF YOUR SCREEN. YOU CAN SEE, WATCH HOW RANDY MOSS RUNS INTO HIM. DEION ESTABLISHES HIS — THAT’S A TOUGH CALL RIGHT THERE. YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO TOUCH THE GUY PAST FIVE YARDS BUT IF YOUR FEET ARE PLANTED AND YOU ESTABLISH YOUR SPOT — AL: LIKE BASKETBALL. CHARGING OR BLOCKING. FIRST DOWN AT THE 22-YARD LINE. MOSS GETS BY SANDERS. SKIRTS THE SIDELINE. FIRST DOWN. DARREN HAMBRICK RUNS HIM OUT OF BOUNDS. NOW THEY’RE GOING TO SAY HE STEPPED OUT AT THE 14-YARD LINE AND IT WON’T BE A FIRST. SECOND AND 2. BOOMER: YOU GOT TO LOVE DEION AND YOU GOT TO LOVE THE FACT THE VIKINGS ARE NOT BACKING DOWN FROM HIM. ONE MINUTE IT’S CRIS CARTER AND NOW IT’S RANDY MOSS. THIS IS WHAT EVERYBODY HERE CAME TO SEE, THESE TWO GUYS GOING AT EACH OTHER. AL: GOOD CALL. HE WAS ON THE LINE. SECOND DOWN AND 2. CARTER, THE ONLY GUY SPLIT IN THIS SET WIDE RIGHT. ON THE GROUND, LEROY HOARD CUTS IT BACK INSIDE THE 10. FIRST AND GOAL FOR THE VIKINGS COMING UP.■■ THE CAMERA IS SHOOTING IT FROM THE REVERSE ANGLE. HE IS POINTING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. BOOMER: YEAH, ALL RIGHT. AL: RED MAY BE 70. BOOMER: HE IS HAVING SOME FUN. AL: HE FEELS LIKE HE’S 20. END OF THE PERIOD. CROWD GOING WILD. VIKES BACK IN IT THREATENING TO TAKE THE LEAD. AL: BOOMER, WHERE WAS MARY TYLER MOORE’S APARTMENT? BOOMER: I THINK RIGHT HERE. AL: YOU LOOK AT DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS. AL: WE START THE FOURTH QUARTER, DALLAS LEADING MINNESOTA 17-13. FIRST AND GOAL FOR THE VIKINGS FROM THE 9-YARD LINE. HOARD TO THE 4-YARD LINE. SO HE GETS HALFWAY HOME. BOOMER: REMEMBER THE LAST TIME THAT THE VIKINGS WERE DOWN HERE IN THE FIRST HALF WHEN THEY SCORED A TOUCHDOWN. THEY LIKE TO THROW THE BALL HIGH TOWARDS THE BACK OF THE END ZONE TO GET IT OVER THE SHORTER DEFENSIVE BACKS AND ALLOW THEIR BIG WIDE RECEIVERS TO MAKE A PLAY ON IT. YOU COULD SEE THAT THE COWBOYS ARE DEFINITELY CONCERNED ABOUT THAT WITH THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE THAT THEY HAVE IN THE SECONDARY. IT LOOKS LIKE 100 GUYS IN THE END ZONE RIGHT NOW. AL: SECOND DOWN AND GOAL AT THE 4. THIS IS HOARD. HE GETS HOARDED AT THE 4-YARD LINE. BOOMER: THE VIKINGS SENSE THAT ALSO. THEY THINK THEY CAN RUN BECAUSE THERE AREN’T THAT MANY GUYS IN THAT RUN AREA, THAT DEFENSIVE RUN AREA. THERE IS EMMITT SMITH WITH THE BROKEN RIGHT HAND. MAYBE I JINXED HIM AT THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME. AL: OF ALL THINGS TO HAVE IT HAPPEN ON A TOUCHDOWN RUN. IN SUCH A FREAK WAY. A GUY WHO HAD 140 YARDS ON 13 CARRIES TONIGHT. BOOMER: ONE OF THE BIG PROBLEMS THE VIKINGS HAVE IS THEY CAN’T GET THE PLAYS IN. THEY’RE HAVING A HARD TIME COMMUNICATING AND HAVE TO WASTE TIME-OUTS. AL: TIME-OUT, VIKINGS. BOOMER: WHAT’S AMAZING TO ME ABOUT THE MINNESOTA VIKING OFFENSE, THIS HAS BEEN CHARACTERISTIC ALL YEAR LONG. WHEN YOU’RE DOWN HERE AND YOU KNOW WHAT DOWN SITUATION YOU’RE IN, YOU USUALLY HAVE A PLAY TO GO TO RIGHT AWAY. THERE SHOULD BE NO CONFUSION. AL: THEY HAD TO WASTE A TIME-OUT. THIRD DOWN AND GOAL FROM THE 4. GEORGE. AS FIREWORKS GO OFF, IT’S CAUGHT BY CARTER. UNBELIEVABLE! SCARED THE HELL OUT OF EVERYBODY IN T BUILDING. THE FIREWORKS GO OFF BEFORE CARTER MAKES THE CATCH. THAT MAY BE THE MOST AMAZING TOUCHDOWN CATCH IN HISTORY. BOOMER: AL, YOU JUMPED UP ABOUT — AL: THE WHOLE BUILDING DID. BOOMER: THAT WAS UNBELIEVABLE. AL: THE GUY WHO IGNITES THE FIREWORKS DISPLAY SHOT THEM OFF RIGHT ABOUT HERE. AND THE POINT AFTER IS GOOD. AL: UNREAL. 13:38. BOOMER: ARE AL: WE’RE GOING TO PLAY THIS IN REAL SPEED. LISTEN FOR THE FIREWORKS, THE CANNON SHOTS. HERE IT IS. BOOMER: THAT PASS WAS TOO SHORT TO BE A BOMB. AL: UNBELIEVABLE. HOW CARTER MAINTAINED THE CONCENTRATION — EVERYBODY IN THE BUILDING JUMPED. BOOMER: INCLUDING YOURSELF. AL: 20-17 IS THE SCORE. MATHIS NOW RUNS IS BACK FOR DALLAS. AND GETS TAKEN DOWN AT THE 23-YARD LINE. BY CHRIS ROGERS. SO A 17-0 DALLAS LEAD ISOW A 20-17 DEFICIT. TAKE A LOOK AT THIS REACTION. BOOMER: BY CRIS CARTER, WHO REALLY WHEN YOU GET DOWN TO THAT PART OF THE FIELD DEFENSES ARE GOING TO CREATE A PICKET FENCE. BUT WATCH RIGHT HERE. LOOK AT THIS GUY. WHAT IS THAT? WHAT IS GOING ON? AL: CARTER’S 107TH CAREER TOUCHDOWN CATCH. DECIBEL LEVEL, THREE FIGURES. FIRST DOWN FROM THE 23. WARREN, TACKLED BEHIND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE BY KAILEE WONG. BOOMER: WHOEVER GAVE THE KNUTE ROCKNE SPEECH FOR THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT HALFTIME DESERVES A LOT OF CREDIT BECAUSE THIS IS A DIFFERENT FOOTBALL TEAM, AL. YOU CAN SEE NOW THE TACKLES ARE BEING MADE MIND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE. THEY JUST LOOK DIFFERENT. THEY LOOK LIKE THEY’RE ANGRY, THAT THEY SENSE NOW THAT THE GAME IS THEIRS. AL: AN EMBARRASSMENT FOR MOST OF THE FIRST HALF. INJURY TIME-OUT. THAT’S JIMMY HITCHCOCK. AL: HITCHCOCK OK, COMES OFF UNDER HIS OWN POWER. TUNE IN AFTER THE GAME TO “SPORTSCENTER.” NOW YOU HAVE TWO ROOKIE CORNERS IN THE GAME. SECOND DOWN AND 12 FROM THE 21-YARD LINE. A TALE OF TWO HALVES. GARRETT’S GOING TO TAKE OFF. THE PRINCETONIAN TAKES IT UP TO THE 30-YARD LINE. IT WILL BE THIRD DOWN AND 3. LET’S GO TO LESLEY VISSER. LESLEY: AL, JUST FOR AN UPDATE ON TROY AIKMAN, HE IS IN THE LOCKER UNDERGOING OBSERVATION. THIS IS HIS SIXTH CONCUSSION AS A COWBOY. THIS ONE IS MILD WHICH ACCORDING TO A NEW GRADING SYSTEM IS INABILITY TO FOCUS. THE COWBOY DOCTOR TOLD ME WE WON’T EVEN GIVE TROY ACCESS TO HIS HELMET. AL? AL: THANK YOU, LESLEY. DEION SANDERS WITH THE HAMSTRING AND AFTEREFFECTS OF THE TOE. THE TRIPLETS ARE GONE TONIGHT. THE LEAD IS GONE. GARRETT THROWS AND IT’S TIPPED AND HITCHCOCK PICKS IT OFF. AT THE 37-YARD LINE. AND GARRETT WATCHES THAT ONE G INTERCEPTED AND FLOZELL ADAMS IS IN AGONY, THE LEFT TACKLE. BOOMER: I DIDN’T SEE WHERE ADAMS TOOK THE SHOT. IT CAME AFTER THE PLAY, IT LOOKED LIKE. [CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND ABC, INC.] AL: THE MEDICAL STAFF WORKS ON ADAMS. JOHN RANDLE WAS LOCKED UP WITH HIM. LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OTHE PLAY HERE. IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN DUANE CLEMONS WHO COMES IN. HE IS ON THE GROUND. BOOMER: RIGHT HERE. TAKE A LOOK AT THIS AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS. WHAT IS THAT? AL: WE KNOW WHAT TT IS. BOOMER: TOTALLY INEXCUSABLE. AL: HE GOT AWAY WITH IT, TOO. BOOMER: HE SURE DID GET AW WITH IT. THE GAME IS ROUGH ENOUGH AS IT IS. CERTAINLY THOSE GUYS BATTLE PROBABLY HARDER THAN ANYBODY ON THE FIELD, OFFENSIVE LINEMEN AND DEFENSIVE LINEMEN. TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND TO WALK OFF THE FIELD AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT — I CAN’T IMAGINE THAT DUANE CLEMONS DOES. TAKE A LOOK AT THE PLAY CLOCK HERE. YOU HAVE TO WONDER IF THIS PLAY GOT OFF IN TIME. IT DIDN’T ACCORDING TO OUR REPLAY THERE. COULD DALLAS CHALLENGE ON THAT, AL? AL: THEY CAN WITH THE PLAY CLOCK — BOOMER: THAT WOULD BE INTERESTING. AL: JERRY JONES WITH A SOMEWHAT FORLORN LOOK. THEY’RE NOT GOING TO DO IT. MINNESOTA IS GOING TO TAKE OVER AT THE 37 AFTER THE HITCHCOCK INTERCEPTION. SO CLEMONS GOT AWAY WITH IT AT LEAST UNTIL GENE WASHINGTON GETS INTO HIS POCKET. AL: THIS IS LEROY HOARD TO THE 35-YARD LINE. BOOMER: GENE WASHINGTON AND THE LEAGUE WON’T STAND FOR STUFF LIKE THAT. IT’S BAD ENOUGH IF YOU LEAD WITH YOUR HELMET AND THERE IS NO ATTEMPT TO INJURE. BUT CERTAINLY IN THAT INSTANCE WHAT CLEMONS DID THERE, THERE WILL BE A SIGNIFICANT FINE, I GUARANTEE YOU. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT PRECIPITATED IT. BUT ALL WE SAW WAS WHAT HE DID. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 7 FOR THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT THE 34. THAT IS NOT CHALLENGEABLE WITH THE PLAY CLOCK. SECOND DOWN AND 7 AT THE 34-YARD LINE. EVERYBODY COMES. JAILBREAK BLITZ. IT’S CAUGHT BY ANDREW GLOVER. HE IS OUT OF BOUNDS AT THE 33-YARD LINE. RUN OUT BY DEXTER COAKLEY. IT WILL BE THIRD DOWN AND ABOUT 6. BOOMER: NICE PLAY BY JEFF GEORGE. DIDN’T GET MUCH ON THE COMPLETION, BUT HE READ THE BLITZ, SAW IT COMING AND WENT TO HIS HOT RECEIVER, DELIVERED THE BALL ACCURATELY. TOOK A WICKED SHOT AFTER HE GOT RID OF THE FOOTBALL. JEFF GEORGE HAS SETTLED IN NICELY IN THE SECOND HALF AND HE LOOKS LIKE A DIFFERENT PLAYER, PROBABLY BECAUSE THE GUYS IN FRONT OF HIM ARE PLAYING BETTER. AL: THIRD AND 5 NOW. MINNESOTA UP BY THREE HAVING ERASED A 17-POINT DEFICIT. AND ANOTHER TIME-OUT. THAT’S TWO. BOOMER: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE PLAYS TAKE A WHILE TO GET IN. HE WANTS TO AUDIBLE AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE. HE WALKS UP THERE AND KIND OF SLOWLY AND YOU HAVE A TIME-OUT. AL: THIRD DOWN AND 5 FOR THE MINNESOTA VIKIS AT THE 32-YARD LINE. JEFF GEORGE THROWS AND IT’S JUGGLED AND NOT CAUGHT. INCOMPLETE, FOURTH DOWN. JAKE REED CAN’T HOLD IT. BOOMER: THREW IT A LITTLE TOO FAR OUTSIDE. THE REASON HE DID IS BECAUSE NUMBER 52, DEXTER COAKLEY RAN UNDERNEATH JAKE REED. IT SHOWS YOU HOW FAST THE LINEBACKERS ARE. JAKE REED LOOKS OPEN FROM THIS SHOT. BUT THERE COMES COAKLEY INTO THE SHOT. IT FORCES JEFF GEORGE TO THROW THE BALL OUTSIDE. AL: NOW THE VIKINGS WILL ESCHEW THE OPPORTUNITY TO KICK A 52-YARD LINE FIELD GOAL. INSTEAD BERGER COMES IN TO PUNT. THE PLAY CLOCK DOWN TO ONE. BUT THAT BARELY MATTERS HERE BECAUSE IF THEY’RE GOING TO PUNT IT, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF THEY KICK IT FROM THE 32 OR THE 37 REALLY. IN FACT, DALLAS MAY DECLINE IT. WHICH THEY DO. BOOMER: THEY’RE TRYING TO FORCE BERGER TO LINE DRIVE ONE AND IF THEY CAN GET ONE WHERE HE KIND OF SHANKS IT A LILE BIT, MAYBE DEION SANDERS HAS A CHANCE. THE LIKELIHOOD OF DEION TURNING THIS PUNT, REMOTE. JUST BECAUSE OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN HIM AND THE GUYS THAT ARE RUNNING DOWN THE FIELD RIGHT NOW. BOOM: NO CHANCE. AL: IT GOES INTO THE END ZONE. THAT’S A LITTLE HARSH. BOOING. ENOUGH ALREADY. YOUR TEAM HAS COME FROM 17 DOWN. GIVE THEM A BREAK. BV AL: WE CAN’T AFFORD C.D.’S ANYMORE. WE TAKE IT OFF THE P.A. 10:28 REMAINING IN THE FOURTH. THE DALLAS COWBOYS HAVE IT AT THEIR OWN 20-YARD LINE. NEVER KNOW WHEN THERE IS AMBIENT NOISE IN THE METRODOME. BOOMER: I DIDN’T KNOW YOU LIKE C.D.’S. NOW I KNOW WHAT TO GET YOU FOR CHRISTMAS. DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR FAVORITE? AL: I HAVE A FEW. O.M.C. IS PRETTY GOOD. BOOMER: O.M.C. AL: KIND OF A METAPHOR FOR OUR LIVES. HOW BIZARRE. FIRST AND 10. MINNESOTA HAVING ERASED A 17-0 DEFICIT. NOW JASON GARRETT WITH A TOSS BACK TO CHRIS WARREN. WARREN WITH A BURST UPFIELD. WARREN BREAKING TACKLES. A 24-YARD GAIN TO THE 44. RAN OUT OF THE GRASP OF ROBERT GRIFFITH. BOOMER: I WAS GOING TO SAY WHAT A GREAT SERIES BY THE DALLAS DEFENSE. MINNESOTA ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE 50 GETTING CLOSE TO THE RED ZONE, THEY STOP THEM. THEY FORCE THEM TO PUNT. HERE WE GO AGAIN. WHERE IS THE TACKLING? FOR THE DEFENSE OF THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS. YOU COULD SEE EVERYBODY OVERRUNS THE PLAY. A GOOD RUNNING BACK HAS GOOD VISION. HE CAN MAKE THE CUTBACKS AND CHRIS WARREN IS ABLE TO DO THAT. AL: FLOZELL ADAMS IS IN THE GAME AT LEFT TACKLE. FIRST DOWN AT THE 44-YARD LINE. GARRETT PRESSURED, SACKED. TONY WILLIAMS. BOOMER: TONY WILLIAMS DOES IT TO LARRY ALLEN. HE RUNS INSIDE AND BEATS HIM INSIDE. AL: FLAG DOWN. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN OR MIGHT BE, THE FIFTH SACK OF THE SEASON. A PERSONAL FOUL AGAINST SAL LASS THIS TIME. — AGAINST DALLAS THIS TIME. BOOMER: YOU’VE GOT TO WONDER WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT, IF IT’S FLOZELL ADAMS OR SOMEBODY RESPONDING TO THE LAST TIME THEY WERE ON THE FIELD. AL: PENALTY IS GOING TO BE AGAINST ERIK WILLIAMS. REFEREE: PERSONAL FOUL ON THE OFFENSE, BLOW TO THE HEAD. 15 YARDS. REPEAT FIRST DOWN. BOOMER: LOOK AT THE LEFT SIDE OF YOUR SCREEN, NUMBER 79, RIGHT HERE. TAKE A LOOK HERE. YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS? THIS IS RETALIATION. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON, BUT THE ONE THING I CAN TELL YOU, JOHN RANDLE, CLEMONS, WILLIAMS, ALSO CHRIS DOLEMAN, THIS IS A NASTY GROUP OF PLAYERS. THEY’VE BEEN GETTING AFTER IT. I AM SURE THAT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE HALFTIME TALK THAT FOGE FAZIO GAVE THIS DEFENSIVE LINE TO PICK UP THEIR INTENSITY. DIDN’T MEAN TO THROW PUNCHES AND STUFF LIKE THAT, BUT CERTAINLY THEY HAVE LIFTED THEIR AGGRESSIVE LEVEL OF PLAY. AL: A BIG PENALTY. ONE OF THE FEW 15-YARDERS REMAINING IN THE RULE BOOK. THIS IS ROCKET ON AN END-AROUND. A MINIMAL PICKUP. IT WILL BE SECOND DOWN AND 24. ESPN.COM, NFL.COM, THAT’S THE SPOT TO BE ON YOUR COMPUTER FOR ENHANCED TV COVERAGE OF TONIGHT’S GAME. CARTER AND MOSS AND REED. BOOMER: NOT A BAD TRIO THERE. JEFF GEORGE MADE THE RIGHT DECISION. AL: SECOND DOWN AND 23. AT THE 31-YARD LINE, GARRETT OUT OF THE SHOTGUN. BOOMER: NO. AL: THAT’S INCOMPLETE. INTENDED FOR JEFF OGDEN. COVERED BY HITCHCOCK. BOOMER: ALL OF A SUDDEN, THE FIELD HAS SHRUNK ON THE DALLAS COWBOYS OFFENSE. THEY’RE TRYING TO WORK THINS WITHIN THE 10-YARD RANGE. SOONER OR LATER YOU HAVE TO TRY TO GET ONE OVER TOP OF THESE GUYS. THEY’RE COVERING FOR ROGERS, THE ROOKIE AT THE BOTTOM BY PTING A SAFETY OVERTOP OF HIM. ANYTIME ROCKET COMES DOWN ONE-ON-ONE, YOU ARE NOT GETTING THE MATCHUP BECAUSE OF THE WAY THEY’RE DEFENDING YOU. AL: GARRETT IS 0-4 WITH A PICK. THIRD DOWN AND 23. GOING DEEP. ALMOST PICKED OFF AT MIDFIELD. JIMMY HITCHCOCK HAD IT AND DROPPED IT. FOURTH DOWN. THE PERSONAL FOUL PUT THEM IN A HOLE. THEY’RE FORCED TO PUNT WITH 8:21 REMAINING IN REGULATION. BOOMER: I CAN IMAGINE WHAT BOTH SIDES ARE SAYING ON THE SIDELINES TO THEIR DEFENSIVE AND OFFENSIVE LINES. HITCHCOCK SHOULD HAVE HAD THAT. BUT IT’S GETTING NASTY. CERTAINLY WHEN YOU START SEEING GUYS REACTING BY THROWING PUNCHES AND FISTS, YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT’S BEING SAID DOWN THERE. CERTAINLY THEY’RE IN EACH OTHER’S FACE AND THE CREATING SOME TENSE MOMENTS ON THE FIELD. AL: TOBY GOWIN’S KICK. RANDY MOSS BACK TO GET IT. RANDY WITH THE SHORT SIDE OF THE FIELD AND TRIPS AND FALLS. OTHERWISE HE MIGHT HAVE BROKEN IT. BOOMER: BUT PLAYS LIKE THAT ARE WHAT KEEP THE GAME CLOSE. HE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE IT THE FULL LENGTH. HE FALLS DOWN. NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN, THE DALLAS DEFENSE S AN OPPORTUNITY TO KEEP THE GAME CLOSE. SOME ATHLETES HAVE THAT SPECIAL ABILITY. THIS GUY IS ONE OF THEM. NOT VERY MANY PLAYERS IN THE LEAGUE THAT HAVE THE ABILITY OF A RANDY MOSS, A DEION SANDERS AND PROBABLY THE GREATEST ATHLETE OF ALL, A MICHAEL JORDAN TO BE ABLE TO COMBINE THE GREAT ATHLETICISM WITH THE HEART AND THE PASSION. AL: A 25-YARD RUNBACK. MINNESOTA AT THE 46-YARD LINE. GEORGE THROWS TO MOSS. AND HE IS OUT OF BOUNDS IN DALLAS TERRITORY AT THE 49-YARD LINE. CHARLIE WILLIAMS WITH THE COVERAGE. IF THE VIKINGS HOLD ON AND WIN THE GAME THEY GO TO 5-4. DETROIT LEADS THE DIVISION. AT 6-2. THE VIKINGS WOULD BE IN SECOND PLACE. GREEN BAY IS 4-4. A DALLAS LOSS AND THEY ARE A GAME BACK OF THE GIANTS AND A GAME BACK OF WASHINGTON. BOOMER: ANOTHER STORM TO BE WEATHERED BY CHAN GAILEY, LOSING HIS BIG THREE. HE TOLD US LAST NIGHT HE HAS TO KEEP THE GUYS TOGETHER AND REALIZE THAT COACHING THE DALLAS COWBOYS IS A HUGE TASK TO KEEP THESE GUYS FROM READING THE NEGATIVE STUFF. AL: CRIS CARTER MAKING THE CATCH. THIRD DOWN AND 3. AT THE 47. BOOMER: BUT YOU LOOK AT THE DALLAS COWBOYS SCHEDULE, THE LAST FIVE — ACTUALLY FOUR GAMES, PHILADELPHIA, THE NEW YORK JETS AND NEW ORLEANS AND THEN AT HOME AGAINST THE GIANTS. ALL FOUR WINNABLE GAMES FOR THE DALLAS COWBOYS. SO THEY JUST HAVE TO KEEP THEIR SPIRITS UP. IT’S UP TO CHAN GAILEY TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT. CONTINUE TO MAKE THESE GUYS BELIEVE THAT THEY STILL HAVE A SHOT AT THIS. AL: YOU KNOW THEY’LL GET EMMITT BACK. IRVIN IS ANOTHER STORY. THIRD DOWN AND 4 FROM THE 48. DALLAS SENDS EVERYBODY. THE CATCH IS MADE. A FIRST DOWN. CARTER KNOWING EXACTLY WHERE HE WAS, EXACTLY HOW FAR HE HAD TO GO FOR THE FIRST DOWN AND SALUTES HIMSELF. WITH A RED CASHEN MOVE. CHARLIE WILLIAMS WITH THE COVERAGE. BOOMER: GOOD CALL BY RAY SHERMAN MOVING HIS QUARTERBACK OUT OF THE POCKET GETTING AWAY FROM THE BLITZ. CHARLIE WILLIAMS PLAYING TOO FAR OFF OF CRIS CARTER. KNOWING AT IF YOU’RE BLITZING, DON’T GIVE THAT MUCH ROOM. THE QUARTERBACK IS GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE A QUICK DECISION. HE KNOWS THE BLITZ IS COMING AS WELL. AL: FIRST DOWN AT THE 42-YARD LINE. THE VIKINGS CAN BEGIN TO WORK THE CLOCK AS HOARD TAKES THE BALL INSIDE THE 40-YARD LINE. JEFF GEORGE IN THE FIRST HALF — YOU COULD HAVE BENCHED THE GUY WITH A HALF LIKE THAT. 37.3 RATING. BUT IN THE SECOND HALF, A WHOLE OTHER STORY. THERE IT IS IN ANOTHER FORM. BOOMER: THE SECOND HALF HAS BEEN FILLED WITH GOOD SOLID PLAYS. THERE’S RANDALL CUNNINGHAM ON THE SIDELINE. READING BLITZES, GETTING RID OF THE FOOTBALL. STDING NEXT TO DAUNTE CULPEPPER, THEIR FIRST-ROUND DRAFT CHOICE. ONE OF THE HERALDED QUARTERBACKS THAT CAME OUT IN THIS ROOKIE CLASS THIS YEAR. AL: OUT THERE WITH HIS HELMET ON LOOKING FOR ACTION. GEORGE UNDER PRESSURE THROWS AND IT IS INCOMPLETE. THE COWBOYS ARE GOING TO CONTEND HE WAS BEEEN THE TIGHT ENDS AND THERE IS NOBODY THERE. SOME OF THE COWBOY DEFENDERS AS GEORGE COMES UP LIMPING ARE GOING TO CONTEND IT WAS GROUNDING. HAMBRICK IS SAYING WHO WAS THE RECEIVER? BOOMER: JIM KLEINSASSER — AL: THEY’RE RIGHT. HE WASN’T OUTSIDE THE TACKLE BOX. BOOMER: I DON’T KNOW, AL. JIM KLEINSASSER WAS ON THE SIDELINE. JEFF DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME OR ENOUGH STRENGTH TO GET IT TO HIM BUT HE WAS THROWING IT INTO HIS DIRECTION. THERE HE IS. YOU COULD SEE THAT HE IS — THAT’S KLEINSASSER BEHIND HIS COACH. HE IS SAYING I WAS THERE. I WAS THERE. TAKE A LOOK AT THIS. WATCH JEFF ROLL, ROLL TO HIS LEFT. THEN HE COMES BACK TO HIS RIGHT. NOW HE THROWS IT AND THERE’S KLEINSASSER RIGHT THERE AT THE TOP OF THE SCREEN. THAT’S A TOUGH CALL RIGHT THERE. THAT’S LOBBYING. THAT’S INTENSE LOBBYING. THAT GOES ON IN WASHINGTON, DOESN’T IT? AL: I THOUGHT KLEINSASSER WAS IN EDEN PRAIRIE, FRANKLY. THEY GOT TOGETHER AND TALK TO EACH OTHER DID THE OFFICIALS. THREE OF THEM ANYWAY. BOOMER: THAT WAS HEAVY DUTY LOBBYING. AL: SO THE PENALTY MOVES THE BALL BACK TO THE 47. IT IS THIRD DOWN AND 15. GEORGE HOBBLING OUT OF THE SHOTGUN. ROLLING DEEP GOING FOR MOSS. SOONER OR LATER, TOUCHDOWN. BOOMER: NOT MANY QUARTERBACKS CAN ROLL TO THEIR LEFT AND THROW BACK TO THE RIGHT. IT’S A DESIGN PLAY BECAUSE OF THE ARM STRENGTH OF JEFF GEORGE . WILLIA OUTMATCHED BY MOSS. KEVIN SMITH IS ON THE SIDELINE WITH A BRUISED KNEE. YOU SAW THAT THEY CONTINUE TO THROW TO THE RIGHT SIDE TO WORK AGAINST CHARLIE WILLIAMS. WHEN YOU GET THAT MATCHUP RIGHT THERE AND YOU HAVE THE EXPLOSIVENESS OF A JEFF GEORGE ARM YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID. AL: ANDERSON, TACKS ON MINNESOTA’S 27TH CONSECUTIVE POINT. BOOMER: YOU COULD SEE JEFF GEORGE. WHERE WAS THIS EMOTION IN THE FIRST HALF? IF THIS TEAM COULD EVER PUT IT TOGETHER. AL: IF YOU WATCHED THE FIRST PART OF THE GAME AND IT WAS 17-0 AND WENT TO DINNER AND JUST GOT BACK, HAVE WE GOT A STORY FOR YOU. BOOMER: ABSOLUTELY. THERE IS RED MCCOMBS. AL: 27-17. MINNESOTA. BOOMER: I CAN’T BEGIN TO TELL YOU HOW DIFFICULT A THROW THAT IS TO BE ABLE TO RESET YOURSELF KNOWING THAT THAT’S WHERE YOU’RE GOING. MOST TIMES QUARTERBACKS WILL DROP IN THE POCKET STRAIGHT AND WILL THROW THE BALL DOWN THE SIDELINE FIGURING THAT’S THE MATCHUP YOU WANT. BUT WHEN YOU MOVE TO YOUR LEFT, YOU MOVE THE SAFETY WITH YOU AND IT CREATES AN ENORMOUS ADVANTAGE FOR THAT WIDE RECEIVER THAT HE DOESN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ANYBODY COMING OVER TO MAKE A PLAY OTHER THAN THE DEFENSIVE BACK. AL: MITCH BERGER TO KICK OFF. 27-17. THIS IS KEVIN MATHIS BRINGING IT BACK FROM THE 3-YARD LINE. BACK OUT TO THE 30-YARD LINE. 5:01 REMAINING. [CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND ABC, INC.] AL: WHEN IT COMES TO CHANGE, RARELY HAVE YOU SEEN A GAME LIKE THIS WHERE DALLAS WAS SO UNBELIEVABLY DOMINANT THROUGH THE FIRST 23 OR 24 MINUTES. A KEY TURNOVER. THE VIKINGS WERE ABLE TO CUT IT TO A 10-POINT DEFICIT IN THE HALF. THE SECOND HALF IS ALL MINNESOTA. THAT’S ALMOST PICKED OFF AND IT’S CAUGHT BY OGDEN. AFTER KENNY WRIGHT THOUGHT HE HAD THE INTERCEPTION. BOOMER: THE OFFICIAL RULED THAT OGDEN — HIS BUTT WAS ON THE OUT OF BOUNDS STRIPE. AL: IT WAS, POSTERIOR, DERRIERE. BOOMER: THE THING ABOUT IT, THIS IS REMINISCENT OF LAST WEEK’S GAME AGAINST THE COLTS. TROY AIKMAN GETS TAKEN OUT OF THE GAME. JASON GARRETT HAS TO COME IN AND PLAY. THE MOMENTUM SHIFT HAS BEEN MONUMENTAL HERE. IT’S SOMETHING CHAN GAILEY IS GOING TO HAVE TO WORK ON. HE HAS TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO KEEP THIS TEAM FOCUSED FOR THE SECOND HALF. AL: GARRETT IS 0-6 WITH ONE INTERCEPTION. AND THAT’S INCOMPLETE. 0-7. INTENDED FOR JEFF OGDEN. FOR THE TRIPLETS AT THIS PARTICULAR POINT IN TIME, YOU GO BACK TO MICHAEL IRVIN AND THE VERY SCARY SCENE IN PHILADELPHIA. HE LAY INEAR ON THE ASTROTURF. HASN’T PLAYED SINCE. EMMITT SMITH A SPECTACULAR NIGHT. A FRACTURED HAND. TROY AIKMAN GOES DOWN IN THE GRASS. AND HE SUFFERS WHAT IS DESCRIBED AS A MILD CONCUSSION. GARRETT. SEEKING REFUGE AND FINALLY FINDS IT WELL SHY OF THE FIRST DOWN. BOOMER: TROY AIKMAN TOOK A SHOT TO THE HEAD LAST WEEK FROM BURRIS. IT WAS AGAINST THE BLITZ. HE DIDN’T SEE IT. HE BASICALLY PAID THE PRICE. TONIGHT HE TOOK A SHOT FROM JERRY BALL WHO CAME RIGHT UP THE MIDDLE. THAT’S AN INEXCUSABLE MISTAKE ON BEHALF OF THE OFFENSIVE LINE EITHER BETWEEN STEPNOSKI, LARRY ALLEN AND EVERETT MCIVER, THOSE THREE GUYS INSIDE HAVE TO PROTECT THOSE GAPS AND THERE’S NO REASON WHY A NOSE TACKLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET BACK IN BACKFIELD ESPECIALLY THE SIZE OF JERRY BALL THAT QUICKLY. AL: KNOCKED HIM OUT OF THE GAME. TOBY GOWIN TO PUNT. AL: RANDY MOSS. FROM THE 16-YARD LINE. AND HE BRINGS IT BACK OUT TO THE 33-YARD LINE. 4 1/2 MINUTES TO GO. ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO WERE LINED UP TO CALL TALK RADIO TOMORROW MORNING, THEY HUNG UP. BOOMER: IT ALL GOES BACK TO THE BAD SNAP AT THE END OF THE FIRST HALF. THEY GAVE THE VIKINGS LIFE. THEY GAVE THEM A CHANCE TO GET A TOUCHDOWN ON THE BOARD, TO MAKE THEM GO INTO THE LOCKER ROOM SAYING WE PLAYED OUR WORST HALF OF FOOTBALL PROBABLY IN THE LAST TWO TO THREE YEARS MAYBE. AL: CAN’T PLAY A WORSE HALF. BOOMER: AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN, 27 UNANSWERED POINTS BY THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS. IN A SPECTACULAR FASHION WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT. LONG BOMBS, RECEIVERS GETTING INVOLVED. CRIS CARTER IGNITING, TRYING AT THE END OF THE FIRST HALF TO GET HIS TEAM INSPIRED. I THINK THEY’VE RESPONDED. AL: NOW THE VIKINGS CAN PLAY CLOCK BALL. THEY GIVE IT TO LEROY HOARD. UP TO THE 40-YARD LINE. WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE VIKINGS TONIGHT HOW HORRIBLE THEY LOOKED AND ROBERT SMITH IS OUT AND THE CROWD BOOING LIKE CRAZY AND DALLAS LOOKING LIKE THEY’LL ROUT THE VIKINGS. NOW YOU’RE BACK, UP 27-17. YOU LOOK LIKE YOU’RE GOING TO WIN THE GAME. DALLAS TAKES A TIME-OUT. YOU LOOK LIKE YOU’RE GOING TO GO 5-4. YOU MIGHT GET THAT GUY BACK NEXT WEEK, ROBERT SMITH. I SAID WHEN ARE YOU READY? HE SAID I’LL PLAY NEXT WEEK IF THEY’LL LET ME. BOOMER: DENNIS GREEN SAID THIS GUY IS THE CATALYST OF THE OFFENSE. JEFF GEORGE DESERVES CREDIT FOR GETTING THIS TEAM BACK ON THE WINNING TRACK BUT IF THEY CAN GET A HEALTHY ROBERT — HEALTHY ROBERT SMITH. THERE ARE BACKS IN THIS LEAGUE THAT ARE YOUNGER AND ARE SPECIAL. THAT’S WHAT ROBERT SMITH IS. AL: CRIS CARTER DURING THIS TIME-OUT. HERE’S CRIS ON RANDY MOSS.>>HE’S DOING WELL. I THINK THE LEARNING CURVE IS A LITTLE SMALLER THIS YEAR. HE KNOWS FAR MORE THAN HE KNEW LAST YEAR. NOW THE THING IS IF HE CAN REMAIN PATIENT. THAT’S WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO WEEK IN AND WEEK OUT. REALIZE NO ONE IS GOING TO GIVE YOU ANYTHING. BOOMER: HE IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THAT’S WHY DENNIS GREEN LIKES THE VETERANS. AL: THIS IS WILLIAMS TAKING IT UP TO THE 42-YARD LINE. BOOMER: YOU LOOK AT THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS SCHEDULE FROM HERE. THEY GO TO CHICAGO NEXT WEEK WHO HAD A BIG WIN YESTERDAY IN GREEN BAY. A LOT OF CREDIT GOES TO BRIAN ROBINSON WHO BLOCKED RYAN LONGWELL’S POTENTIAL GAME WINNING FIELD GOAL. HE SAID I CAN’T JUMP SO WALTER PAYTON MUST HAVE BEEN THERE TO HELP ME JUMP TO BLOCK THAT FIELD GOAL. AL: TIME-OUT CALLED BY DALLAS. RANDY MOSS THE ONLY GUY IN THE HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE TO REACH THOSE LEVELS ACROSS THE BOARD. IN HIS ROOKIE SEASON. YOU RECALL THE STORY. IT’S A FUNNY THING BECAUSE HAD THE COWBOYS NOT TAKEN SO MANY HITS TO THEIR IMAGE WHEN IT CAME TIME FOR THEM TO PICK LAST YEAR, WE ALL KNEW ABOUT RANDY MOSS AND WHAT A BIG QUESTION MARK HE WAS BECAUSE OF HIS OFF-THE-FIELD TRAVAILS. AND TEAM AFTER TEAM INCLUDING THE COWBOYS JUST HAD TO PASS ON HIM. MINNESOTA SAID WE’LL TAKE A CHANCE AND SO FAR SO GOOD. BOOMER: DALLAS PASSED ON HIM BUT THEY TOOK GREG ELLIS FROM NORTH CAROLINA WHO THEY ARE REALLY HAPPY WITH. AL: THERE IS GREG ELLIS STOPPING HOARD AND KEEPING DALLAS IN THE GAME. TIME-OUT DALLAS. THEY’VE HAD TO USE ALL OF THEIR TIME-OUTS HERE WITH 4:04 TO GO BUT IT’S THE ONLY WAY THEY CAN STAY IN THE GAME, FORCE A PUNT. THEN TRY AN ONSIDE KICK AND STOP THE CLOCK ONE MORE TIME. BOOMER: WE WERE TALKING HOW TEAMS DRAFT THE SAME WAY EVERY YEAR. THE GREEN BAY PACKERS DRAFTING DEFENSIVE BACKS TRYING TO GET THEIR BACKFIELD BETTER. THE DALLAS COWBOYS HAVE BEEN DRAFTING DEFENSIVE LINEMEN IN THE FIRST ROUND FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER. THEY ARE SO HAPPY WITH ELLIS. HE HAS HAD TWO SACKS WITH WASHINGTON. HE HAD AN 87-YARD INTERCEPTION RETURN. HE HAD A 98-YARD FUMBLE RETURN VERSUS ARIZONA. THEY ALSO TOOK EBENEZER EKUBAN THIS YEAR, ANOTHER DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OUT OF NORTH CAROLINA WITH THEIR FIRST PICK. THIS GUY HAS DONE NOTHING — GREG ELLIS HAS DONE NOTHING BUT SUPPORT THE FACT THAT THEY TOOK HIM NUMBER ONE. AL: BERGER TO PUNT. JEFF OG DON BACK TO RECEIVE FOR THE COWBOYS. AL: OGDEN FROM THE 19-YARD LINE. BACK TO THE 25-YARD LINE. DALLAS DOWN BY 10 HAS TO GO 75 YARDS AND THEN GET A FIELD GOAL WITHOUT A TIME-OUT. BOOMER: AS I WAS TALKING ABOUT THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS’ REMAINING SCHEDULE, THEY PLAY THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS. EN AT TAMPA, AT KANSAS CITY, GREEN BAY AT HOME, AT THE GIANTS AND THEN THE LIONS. THEY HAVE A TOUGH ROAD AHEAD. AL: WE WILL SEE THEM TWICE MORE ON MONDAY NIGHT, AT TAMPA AND GREEN BAY. GARRETT IS 0-7. A LITTLE DUMPOFF SO HE GETS THE COMPLETION BUT NOT FOR MUCH. CHRIS WARREN IS TAKEN DOWN BEHIND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE. JIMMY HITCHCOCK WITH THE COVERAGE. THE COWBOYS AFTER THAT LOSS OF 1 IN DANGER RIGHT NOW OF DROPPING THEIR FOURTH GAME OF SEASON ALL OF THEM WILL HAVE COME ON THE ROAD, ALL OF THEM WILL HAVE COME IN GAMES IN WHICH THEY HAD THE LEAD. BOOMER: IN THE LAST TWO IN WHICH THEY REALLY HAD CONTROL OF THE GAME. AL: EMMITT SMITH PUTTING HIS NAME IN THE RECORD BOOK, FASTEST TWO TOUCHDOWNS BY ANY NFL PLAYER SINCE 1970 AND MAYBE BEFORE. A LITTLE SHOVEL TO ISMAIL. THE SCOREBOARD CLOCK ACTUALLY BECAME OFFICIAL IN THE NFL IN 1970. SO THAT’S WHY WE CAN ONLY SAY SINCE 1970. IT’S THE FASTEST TWO TOUCHDOWNS. CONCEIVABLY IT WENT ON WELL BEFORE THEN BUT WE DON’T HAVE THE RECORDS TO VERIFY IT. HERE THEY WERE. EMMITT WITH A 63-YARD SCAMPER. FENDING OFF THE ROOKIE RIGHT AT THE END. THEN ON THIS PLAY WHERE HE WINDS UP FRACTURING HIS HAND. ON THAT TOUCHDOWN, A 24-YARD RUN. THAT ENDED HIS NIGHT. NOW GARRETT ALMOST HAD THE BALL KNOCKED OUT OF HIS HAND. HITS WARREN AND WARREN IS BUMPED OUT OF BOUNDS BUT SHORT OF THE FIRST DOWN. WITH 3:03 TO PLAY. BOOMER: DEFENSIVE LINEMEN LIKE DOLEMAN LOVE THIS TYPE OF SITUATION. HE IS GOING TO KNOCK THE BALL OUT. GARRETT DOES RLLY A GOOD JOB OF HOLDING ON TO THE FOOTBALL. AL: THEY HAVE TO GO FOR IT WITH NO TIME-OUTS. THE BALL AT THE 29-YARD LINE. DALLAS’ LAST CHANCE TO STAY IN THE GAME RIGHT HERE. THEY DON’T. A HAPPY 49TH ANNIVERSARY TO THE MCCOMBS. BOOMER: JASON GARRETT HASN’T LOOKED DOWNFIELD MAYBE BUT ONCE OR TWICE. AGAIN I GO BACK TO THE END OF THAT FIRST HALF, AL AND THE BAD SNAP BY STEPNOSKI. IT GAVE THE VIKINGS A CHANCE TO GET BACK IN THE FOOTBALL GAME. WE TALKED ABOUT WOULD HE BENCH JEFF GEORGE IN THIS TEAM IS TOO LOADED TO HOLD DOWN FOR TOO LONG. BOOMER: THE COWBOYS GAVE A VALIANT EFFORT AFTER LOSING TROY AND EMMITT. IF THEY WOULD HAVE HAD ANY HELP FROM THE OFFENSE IN THE SECOND HALF, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN A CLOSER GAME. AL: HOARD HAS THE PRESENCE OF MIND TO NOT RUN OUT OF BOUNDS AND KEEP THAT CLOCK GOING TACKLED BY EKUBAN. FOR DENNIS GREEN, JUST THINK ABOUT IT FOR A SECOND. 1992 HE GETS THE JOB. HE IS IN HIS EIGHTH SEASON. NO COACH, NONE OF THE 31 HAS HAD HIS JOB IN THE NFL LONGER THAN DENNIS GREEN. BILL COWHER WAS HIRED BY PITTSBURGH. DO YOU KNOW WHO NUMBER THREE IS? GREEN IS FIRST IN TENURE. COWHER IS SECOND. BOOMER: WITH THE SAME TEAM? AL: THE SAME TEAM. BOOMER: THAT WOULD TAKE HOLMGREN OUT. SAME TEAM. AL: PARCELLS IS OUT. GUYS HAVE COACHED LONGER BUT WITH DIFFERENT TEAMS. THIS IS MOE WILLIAMS. HE PICKS UP A FIRST DOWN. THAT’S GOING TO TAKE US TO THE TWO-MINUTE WARNING. SO YOU WANT TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? BOOMER: CAN I CALL HOME AND GET SOME HELP? HOW ABOUT ONE OF THESE FANS OUT HERE? CAN I ASK THEM? AL: NO CAN DO. BOOMER: COME ON, I CAN DO IT. AL: NORV TURNER. AL: TWO MINUTES TO GO. A CROWD THAT SPENT MOST OF THE FIRST HALF BOOING. BOOMER: THEY END UP GOING HOME HAPPY. AL: BOOING AND ANGRY. WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD. BOOMER: THAT’S THE THING ABOUT THIS LEAGUE. THE ONLY THING I CAN TELL YOU IS YOU BATTLE ALL YEAR LONG. CHAN GAILEY AND DENNIS GREEN HAVE HAD TO DO BOTH OF THEIR BEST IMITATIONS OF PSYCHOLOGISTS AND THEY HAVE TO KEEP THESE GUYS UP AND FOCUSED AND REALIZE WITH THE COWBOYS, WITH THE WAY THEIR SCHEDULE IS WEIGHTED TOWARDS THE END OF THE SEASON FOR THEM TO HAVE ALL THOSE HOME GAMES, THREE OUT OF THE LAST FOUR GAMES ARE AT HOME. PHILLY, THE JETS AND THE GIANTS. THEY STILL — THEY GET BACK LEON LETT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE THEY SHOULD GET MICHAEL IRVIN BACK. EMMITT SMITH — AL: YOU HOPE THEY GET HIM BACK. THEY’LL RUN THE CLOCK OUT HERE WITH A COUPLE OF KNEELDOWNS. EMMITT SMITH APPARENTLY FEELS THAT HE MAY HAVE FRACTURED THE HAND ON THE FIRST TOUCHDOWN. THERE WAS A STIFF ARM HERE. ON THAT PLAY RIGHT THERE WHERE HE GETS INTO KENNY WRIGHT’S FACEMASK, THAT WAS THE FIRST TOUCHDOWN. THEN IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXACERBATED ON THE NEXT RUN. WHERE HIS RIGHT HAND COMES INTO PLAY WITH SOME CONTACT AS WELL. BOOMER: WONDER IF HE GOT HIS FINGER STUCK IN THE FACEMASK. AL: COULD BE. THERE IS A MAN WHO HAD — HE HAD A RECORD-BREAKING NIGHT GOING. HE WAS AHEAD OF WALTER PAYTON’S SINGLE GAME PACE. HE HAD 140 YARDS. WITH A FEW MINUTES LEFT IN THE FIRST HALF. THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW, HE GOES HOME WITH A CAST. AIKMAN GOES HOME WITH A CONCUSSION. IRVIN GOES HOME WITH HIS FUTURE IN DOUBT. THE COWBOYS GO HOME WITH ANOTHER LOSS. THE VIKINGS HAVE A THIRD STRAIGHT WIN. AND WE GO TO FOXBORO.? WE WILL SEE THE PATRIOTS NEXT MONDAY NIGHT, DREW BLEDSOE, TERRY GLENN AND COMPANY. BOOMER: I GO BACK TO THE FACT THAT DREW BLEDSOE, NOT TOO MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN OR SAID ABOUT THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS. I THINK MOST OF THE ATTENTION HAS BEEN PAID TO TEAMS LIKE ST. LOUIS AND ALSO DETROIT. AND RIGHTFULLY SO. AL: THIS WILL END THE GAME RIGHT HERE. LEON LETT CAN BEGIN TO PRACTICE. WHEN IRVIN WAS SUSPENDED, PEOPLE SAID WHEN CAN MICHAEL PRACTICE AGAIN? BARRY SWITZER SAYS AS SOON AS AL MICHAELS SAYS MALIBU HAYES. THAT’S THE ONLY GOOD NEWS FOR THE COWBOYS RIGHT NOW. CHAN GAILEY WHOSE EVENING STARTED WITH A 17-0 LEAD. BOOMER: HE CAME OUT FIRING TONIGHT. HE WAS NOT CONCERNED EARLY ON. BUT INJURIES, YOU LOSE YOUR QUARTERBACK. THINGS CHANGE. IMPROVISE AND ADJUST AND DO THE BEST YOU CAN. YOU TRY TO HOLD ON. BOOMER: THERE GO THOSE BOMBS AGAIN. AL: MYAVORITE MOMENT. ■■

11 thoughts on “1999 Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings MNF Week 9

  1. 11:06 – "Last year the Minnesota Vikings' offense was so great that this defense really didn't have to do much. But when the offense started to sputter this year, you start realizing what your deficiencies are." Boomer summed up in two simple sentences the primary reason why the Vikes choked in the 1998 NFC Championship Game. It wasn't Gary Anderson's fault that Minnesota's defense gave up 427 total yards and 30 points to Atlanta's offense. (Their pass defense was especially porous in that game.)

  2. God, that sucked so bad when Emmitt broke his hand and they made him leave the game. He was so feeling it and was in the zone that night. He could've threatened the record for most yards in a game that night and he not left. I wish they would have wrapped his hand up and let him keep playing.

  3. It's extremely ridiculous to not get a chance of Revenge to a team who beat you in the playoffs

  4. Jeff George had the ability to be one of the best to ever play the game, but ended up a journeyman because he lacked leadership and was a cancer. His raw talent was good enough to have a long career with many teams, but nothing else.

  5. Back when Monday night football was on ABC and had some classic games…rip korey stringer orlando thomas dennis green

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