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Smith Helps Cowboys Hold Off the Eagles : Pro football: His 57-yard gain in the fourth quarter sets up a touchdown as Dallas struggles for 23-17 victory.

From Associated Press

Emmitt Smith gives the Philadelphia Eagles fits in the fourth quarter.

His 57-yard run in the final period, reminiscent of a 62-yarder against Philadelphia earlier this season, carried the Dallas Cowboys to a 23-17 victory over the Eagles on Monday night.

The Cowboys moved a game behind the New York Giants in the NFC East with an 8-4 record while Philadelphia fell to 5-7.

Smith, who gained 172 yards on 23 carries, broke loose for 57 yards to the Eagle 16. Five plays later, fullback Daryl Johnston scored on a two-yard run with 9:16 to play.

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“It was the right play at the right time,” Smith said. “They had me in check until the big run. We were struggling big-time.

“Mark McMillian caught me from behind. I thought I was going to score. It was like the road runner running up alongside the coyote.”

On Halloween, Smith scored on a 62-yard run in the fourth period to cap a club-record rushing performance of 237 yards in a 23-10 victory over the Eagles.

“It is kind of ironic,” Smith said. “Philadelphia has had a lot of injuries, but they still play tough. Before the big run, we kept saying we had to get things rolling, and the play opened up.”

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The Cowboys had lost their previous two games, and Coach Jimmy Johnson was relieved to end the slump.

“It was satisfying because the Eagles always play us tough,” he said. “It’s a big deal to beat them twice in a single year. We haven’t done it in a long time. They’ve always had our number.”

Johnson said Smith “always comes up with the big plays when you need them. That’s what makes a great player.”

Philadelphia Coach Rich Kotite agreed.

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“Emmitt puts pressure on you every time he touches the ball,” he said. “He’s a great player. We just have trouble stopping him.”

And now the playoffs become that much more difficult for the Eagles.

“We’re going to have to get some help in the division to make the playoffs,” Kotite said. “This is really disappointing.”

Early in the third period, the Eagles turned a Troy Aikman fumble into a two-yard scoring pass from Bubby Brister to tight end Mark Bavaro, cutting the Dallas lead to 16-10. Bavaro also caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Brister with 3:46 left.

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But Bill Bates intercepted a Brister pass at the Eagle 14 to seal the victory.

“We almost pulled it off,” Brister said. “But we ran out of timeouts, and that makes it tough.”

Dallas led by 16-3 at halftime on Eddie Murray’s field goals of 23, 19, and 47 yards and an 11-yard Aikman-to-Michael Irvin touchdown pass.


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