Dallas has way with overmatched Cards

The Associated Press

IRVING, Texas Buddy Ryan's seven-game hex on the Dallas Cowboys ended Sunday in a humiliating rout that had the fans sarcastically chanting "Buddy, Buddy, Buddy" even before the first quarter was over.

Emmitt Smith, playing despite a sore right hamstring, scored twice and Troy Aikman threw two touchdown passes as the Cowboys (4-1) snapped a seven-game losing streak to Ryan with a 38-3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

It was the Cowboys' eighth consecutive victory over the Cardinals (1-4), and the 35-point differential tied a 45-10 whipping of St. Louis in 1973 as the largest defeat inflicted on the franchise by Dallas.

Ryan dominated Dallas when he was at Philadelphia and went into the game with an 8-2 record against the Cowboys. But his pregame boast that the Cardinals would handle the defending world champions looked silly. And quickly.

He gave the booing crowd a big thumbs up before the game started, but his head was hanging down by halftime. His offense produced only two first downs, and his second-ranked NFL defense looked dog-tired.

The Cowboys rocked the Cardinals with four touchdowns in the first half, three of them following interceptions of Jay Schroeder by the No. 1 defense in the NFL.

Dallas rolled 83 yards in 8 plays on their first possession, aided by four penalties for 44 yards against the over-aggressive Arizona defense. The payoff came on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Aikman to fullback Daryl Johnston, who beat linebacker Seth Joyner in the flat.

Then came a succession of errant throws by Schroeder. Darren Woodson picked one off at the Arizona 23. Aikman hit Alvin Harper for 18 yards and Smith scored on a 3-yard run.

Larry Brown intercepted a second bad throw and returned it 14 yards to the Arizona 18. Aikman hit Jay Novacek for 13 yards and Smith scored on a 1-yard run.

Woodson snared a third interception off Schroeder at the Arizona 26 and the Cardinals paid again when Aikman found Michael Irvin on a 12-yard scoring pass. Schroeder hurt his shoulder on the play and was replaced by former Cowboy Steve Beuerlein, who was intercepted by Brown and James Washington.

Smith ran only nine times for 22 yards before before leaving the game at halftime. Smith has started 73 consecutive games for Dallas without missing because of injury.

Ryan's special teams allowed Kevin Williams to dash 87 yards for a third quarter touchdown on the kickoff following a 42-yard field goal by Greg Davis, who pulled a hamstring trying to catch Williams. .

Ryan said before the game his domination of Dallas "wasn't bragging. I'm just stating facts."

But there was a loser in town Sunday. It was Buddy.

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