1972 NFC Semi-Final Game Between Dallas and San Fransisco

Dallas fell behind quickly when Vic Washington ran the opening kickoff 97 yards to put the 49ers up 7–0. The Cowboys cut the lead to 7–3 with a 37-yard field goal, and after the teams exchanged turnovers, the 49ers scored another touchdown to go up 14–3. A second Dallas turnover led to another 49ers touchdown.

But the Cowboys came back with a field goal and a touchdown to narrow the gap to 21–13. Dallas continued to have problems holding onto the ball in the third quarter. A fumble led to another 49ers touchdown, which increased their lead to 28–13. Towards the end of the third quarter, Cowboys Coach Tom Landry replaced quarterback Craig Morton with Roger Staubach, who had missed most of the season due to injury.

football card of NFC semi-final game between the Dallas Cowboys and San Fransisco 49ers
Photo courtesy Mark Morthier's private collection of a football card of NFC semi-final game between the Dallas Cowboys and San Fransisco 49ers

Staubach promptly fumbled on his opening drive, setting the 49ers up for a 32-yard field goal. But kicker Bruce Gosslet missed the attempt, and later, running back Calvin Hill broke off a 48-yard run to set up a Toni Fritsch field goal. After the Doomsday Defense forced a 49ers punt, Staubach led the offense to a touchdown with just under two minutes to play.

After Dallas recovered an onside kick, Staubach scrambled for 21 yards. Two-pass completions followed the scramble that put Dallas ahead 30–28 with just 52 seconds left. The 49ers came close to field goal range, but an interception by safety Charlie Waters ended the game. The Cowboys outgained the 49ers in total yards 402–255 and first downs 22–13. But they also committed five turnovers and allowed five sacks. 49ers’ defensive end Cedrick Hardman was responsible for 3.5 of those sacks.

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Mark Morthier is the host of Yesterday’s Sports, a podcast dedicated to reliving memorable sports moments from his childhood days and beyond.  He grew up in New Jersey just across from New York City, so many of his episodes revolve around the great sport’s teams of the 70s for the New York area. 

He is also an author of No Nonsense, Old School Weight Training (Second Edition): A Guide for People with Limited Time and Running Wild: (Growing Up in the 1970s)

Mark Morthier headshot - host of Yesterday's Sports podcast on the Sports History Network

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