PRO FOOTBALL : Ryan Gets Revenge in the End
Buddy Ryan got satisfaction and revenge at the same time Sunday in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 37-20 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
During the NFL players strike two weeks ago, Ryan was enraged when Dallas Coach Tom Landry ended an Eagles’ threat to score a meaningless touchdown by sending in veterans who had crossed the picket line.
Sunday, Philadelphia was at the Dallas one-yard line and led, 30-20, with one second left when Keith Byars, starting for the first time since he broke his left foot in a May minicamp, scored as time ran out.
“That last touchdown was very satisfying,” Ryan said. “I had it planned that way all along.”
Echoing a statement he made after the first Dallas-Philadelphia game, he added, “I told you--what goes around comes around.”
The reaction in the Dallas dressing room was quick.
“That’s the pathetic ramblings of a pathetic, senile old man,” linebacker Steve DeOssie said. “They only did it to pacify Ryan’s over-inflated ego.”
Said Landry: “I don’t want to comment. It’s not worthy of comment. Everybody has to live with themselves. I don’t have to live with it. I was afraid it might be like this.”
The Eagles dedicated the game to Ryan for his support of their one-for-all, all-for-one stance during the NFL strike.
Ryan defied club owner Norman Braman by urging the Eagles to act as a unit, whether they stayed out or crossed the picket line.
His stand prompted Braman to characterize the coach with an unprintable word and to criticize Ryan’s distaste for the strike games.
Defensive end Clyde Simmons triggered the Eagles to an early 13-3 lead when he recovered a fumble and blocked a field-goal attempt to set up 10 points. Simmons also had 2 1/2 sacks.
“We needed something like this to get over the hump,” Ryan said. The Eagles also were keyed by Randall Cunningham’s two touchdown passes to John Spagnola and Byars’ 94 yards in 20 carries.
Cunningham completed 10 of 24 passes for 127 yards and ran 6 times for 43 yards. Spagnola caught only two passes--both for touchdowns.
The Eagles, left in a 1-4 hole by their replacements’ three losses, boosted their record to 2-4. Dallas, which accumulated a 2-1 replacement record with the help of eight regulars who crossed the picket line, slipped to 3-3 overall.
The Eagles’ defense recovered three fumbles, blocked a field goal and sacked quarterback Danny White five times. Two of the fumbles led to field goals and the blocked kick to a touchdown.
White, who with defensive linemen Randy White, Ed (Too Tall) Jones and Don Smerek played in two replacement games, completed 22 of 36 passes for 257 yards and one touchdown.
The Eagles’ defense limited Herschel Walker to 54 yards in 12 carries and Tony Dorsett, who also crossed the picket line, to 32 yards in 11 carries.