Thanksgiving day flashback; Clint Longley propels Cowboys

Photo courtesy of espn.com

Jerry Humphrey III, theSCORE Lead Reporter

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Thanksgiving day is a day where Americans grub on some amazing food and have the opportunity to not watch one, not two, but three Thursday night NFL football games as opposed to the customary one we usually get throughout the season. 

Thanksgiving games are always special for better or for worse; They have given fans some of the best moments in NFL history, from Randy Moss’s three touchdown, 163 yard performance in 1998 versus the Dallas Cowboys to the infamous butt fumble by Mark Sanchez in 2012. 

A historical Thanksgiving day game took place in 1974 between divisional rivals the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.

Texas Stadium was packed and ready and the world was prepared to witness this NFC East matchup. 

Redskins led the division and with a win, they would be in good standings to clinch it for a playoff berth.

It was a defensive game the entire first half, at the beginning of the third quarter the first touchdown was scored by the Redskins as quarterback Billy Kilmer hit Duane Thomas for a nine-yard touchdown to give them a 16-3 lead.

With 9:57 left in the third quarter, Dallas Hall of Fame QB Roger Staubach was forced out of the game with a concussion after taking a big hit. Injuring Staubach was apart of the Redskins gameplan the week before the game.

“If you knock Staubach out, you’ve got that rookie facing you,” Redskins defensive tackle Diron Talbert said in the days before the game. “That’s one of our goals. If we do that, it’s great. He’s all they have.”

Now that Staubach was out legendary Cowboys coach Tom Landry had to go to the rookie quarterback from Abilene Christian University Clint Longley. This was Longley’s first playing time since entering the league.

In his first drive, he connected with wide reciever Billy Joe DuPree for a 35-yard touchdown and quickly trimmed the Redskins lead to 16-10.

After a pair of touchdowns from both teams and the game coming down to its final seconds, Washington led 23-17. 

With 28 seconds on the clock, Longley capped off his stellar performance with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson to win the game 24-23.

The rookie finished the game with 203 yards passing, completing 11 of 20 passes to go along with two touchdowns. 

“I wasn’t nervous, there was no time for that, but I sure was excited,” Longley told Sports Illustrated afterward. 

America’s team escaped with the victory on Turkey Day and the Redskins fell short in the lone star state once again. 

After his one game of fame, Clint Longley was traded to the Chargers the following year after an apparent feud with Staubach and did not receive much playing time again in his career.