Players to watch: Cowboys vs. Rams
The Dallas Cowboys will play in their 63rd postseason game, the most in NFL history, when they face the Los Angeles Rams in an NFC Divisional Playoff on Saturday at 7:15 p.m.
It will also be the ninth time they’ve played the Rams in the playoffs which is the most playoffs games against an opponent in Cowboys history, breaking a tie with the Green Bay Packers at eight.
Their playoff matchups were commonplace in the ‘70s and ‘80s, including two NFC Championship games. In their eight playoff matchups the Cowboys and Rams split four games apiece.
Here’s a look back at the eight games:
Dec. 23, 1973 - Cowboys won 27-16, NFC Divisional
Texas Stadium — The Cowboys were never behind in their first playoff meeting against the Rams. Los Angeles made it 17-16 in the fourth quarter before a 83-yard TD pass from Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson. The Cowboys would lose in the NFC Championship to the Minnesota Vikings, 27-10.
Jan. 4, 1976 - Cowboys won 37-7, NFC Championship
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — Dallas dominated Los Angeles with Preston Pearson doing most of the heavy lifting. Pearson had seven catches for 123 yards and three TDs from Staubach. The Rams offense was held to 118 total yards and QB Ron Jaworski was sacked five times. The Cowboys would go on to lose the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-17.
Dec. 19, 1976 - Rams won 14-12, NFC Divisional
Texas Stadium — The Rams beat the Cowboys for the first time in the playoffs in what was an ugly, low-scoring game. Both Staubach and Pat Haden threw three interceptions. Lawrence McCutcheon’s 1-yard TD in the fourth quarter put the Rams up for good. The Rams would lose the NFC Championship to the Vikings, 24-13.
Jan 7, 1979: Cowboys won 28-0, NFC Championship
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — The Cowboys blanked the Rams thanks to five total interceptions thrown between Haden (3) and Vince Ferragamo (2). The Rams outgained the Cowboys on offense, 277-235, but couldn’t find the end zone thanks to the aforementioned interceptions. Tony Dorsett ran for 101 yards and a TD. The Cowboys went on to lose to the Steelers again in the Super Bowl, 35-31.
Dec. 30, 1979: Rams won 21-19, NFC Divisional
Texas Stadium — A 50-yard touchdown pass from Ferragamo to Billy Waddy late in the fourth quarter gave the Rams the narrow win. It would be Staubach’s last game as a Cowboy. The Rams would move on to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 9-0, in the NFC Championship for their first Super Bowl appearance against the Steelers. Pittsburgh pulled away in the second half to win its second straight Super Bowl, 31-19.
Dec. 28, 1980: Cowboys won 34-13, NFC Wild Card
Texas Stadium — Danny White’s first appearance in the playoffs was good (3 TDs) and bad (3 INTs) but it was the rushing attack that dominated with 338 yards. Dorsett led the way with 160 yards on the ground. The Cowboys doubled the Rams offensive yards output 528-260. The Cowboys would beat the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round, 30-27, setting up a matchup with division foe Philadelphia in the NFC Championship. The Eagles would win, 20-7.
Dec. 26, 1983: Rams won 24-17, NFC Wild Card
Texas Stadium — Dallas led in total offense and time-of-possession, but Danny White’s four turnovers (3 INT, 1 fumble) were too much to overcome. Ferragamo had his best game in this matchup passing for three touchdowns. The Cowboys were also held to 63 rushing yards. Los Angeles would go on to get steamrolled by the Washington Redskins, 51-7, in the divisional round.
Jan. 4, 1986: Rams won 20-0, NFC Divisional
Anaheim Stadium — This was the Eric Dickerson show. Dickerson rushed for 248 yards, the most ever allowed by the Cowboys in the playoffs, and two touchdowns of 55 and 40 yards. White had another turnover prone game with 3 INTs and one fumble, and the Cowboys had two other fumbles recovered by the Rams for six total turnovers. The oddity of the game was Rams QB Dieter Brock’s stat line: 6-22, 50 yards, 1 INT, 20.6 rating. After delivering a shutout the Rams would get shutout, 24-0, by the legendary Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship.