Cowboys Ruin Emmitt’s Homecoming, Thrash Cardinals 24-7
Though having recently departed to Arizona to play for the Cardinals, longtime Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith made headlines in Texas yet again during the summer of 2003 when he told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King that he “felt like a diamond surrounded by trash” while suffering through Dallas’ third consecutive 5-11 campaign the previous season. It took an overcast day in October at Emmitt’s old stomping grounds inside Texas Stadium for Smith’s former teammates to exact revenge.
Cardinals offensive coordinator Jerry Sullivan wanted to get Smith involved early and often, and called on No. 22 on five first-down plays in the first quarter. But the Cowboys defense was waiting on him.
Dallas defensive tackle La’Roi Glover dropped Emmitt for a four-yard loss on the game’s first play. Then Willie Blade put a lick on him. Soon after, it was Cowboys safety Roy Williams who knocked Smith from the game with a separated shoulder.
The Cardinals were going nowhere with Smith in the lineup. Without him, their offensive unit looked hopeless, as they mustered only 151 total yards against a fast, hard-hitting Dallas defense.
The Cowboys took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Quincy Carter tossed a 51-yard bomb to Terry Glenn on a trick play. Carter handed the ball off to running back Troy Hambrick who ran into the line before pitching the ball back to Carter.
Carter had been benched during the previous season after a poor outing against the Cardinals led to a 9-6 overtime loss. But on this day, he looked every bit of a different quarterback, completing 20 of 31 passes for 277 yards. Seven of his completions went for 18 yards or more.
After Arizona tied it 7-7 on a 24-yard pass to Bryan Gilmore, the Cowboys answered on their next possession. Carter ended a six-play 66-yard drive with a soft touch pass to fullback Richie Anderson, who circled out of the backfield and made a nifty 18-yard touchdown catch, sneaking just inside the pylon.
And though Dallas’ No. 1 ranked offense managed only 120 yards, five first downs and a field goal in the second half, their defense ended all doubt of the outcome, applying the finishing touches to the 24-7 final notching two safeties during the fourth quarter. The victory moved the Cowboys to 3-1 on the season, and was Bill Parcells’ first home victory as head coach of the Cowboys.