Deion’s Dallas Debut A Successful One, As Triplets-led Cowboys Handle Falcons 28-13
The city of Atlanta was abuzz on the afternoon of October 29, 1995. Just hours after the Braves had captured a World Series title at Turner Field, fans flocked to the Georgia Dome where All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders was set to make his debut for the 6-1 Dallas Cowboys. Already having lost Kevin Smith for the season to an Achilles injury, the Cowboys were desperately in need of Deion’s services, as they aimed at their third Super Bowl title in four seasons.
Early on, it appeared that Sanders was more of a jinx than anything. On the game’s fifth play from scrimmage, Atlanta quarterback Jeff George rolled to his right and hit Eric Metcalf for a 42-yard touchdown bomb. It was the first opening drive touchdown that the Dallas defense had allowed in 35 games.
Deion prevented a second consecutive touchdown drive later in the quarter, when he knocked the ball away from Bert Emmanuel in the back of the end-zone on third-down. Atlanta settled for a field goal and a 10-0 lead.
Emmitt Smith got the Dallas offense going on the ensuing possession, when he carried seven times for 45 yards, and caught one pass from Troy Aikman for another ten yards. His one-yard scoring burst from a yard out drew Dallas within 10-7.
After Charles Haley’s sack of George gave the ball back to Dallas, Emmitt went back to work, again carrying the Cowboys offense to the 1-yard line. But instead of another handoff to Smith, Aikman instead directed a pass to tight end Jay Novacek on the backline for the touchdown and a 14-10 lead.
Aikman used both short and intermediate throws to his wide receivers, as Dallas crossed midfield on their opening drive of the second-half. But just when Atlanta was getting comfortable, he went deep down the right sideline for Michael Irvin, who out-jumped Anthony Phillips at the goal-line for the 43-yard score. For Irvin, who had set a franchise record earlier in the game by making a catch in his 73rd consecutive game, it was his sixth straight contest with 100 receiving yards or more.
Deion got involved in the offense late in the third quarter by catching a 6-yard pass on first-down. Aikman went to him again a few play later, this time on a deep post-pattern, but Sanders was unable to hang onto it.
Dropped passes would also plague Atlanta on this day. Falcons receivers dropped a total of three passes in the end-zone, which allowed Dallas to slowly pull away.
Daryl Johnston’s 7-yard scoring scamper on a burst up the middle in the fourth quarter signaled an emphatic end to the contest. Not only was it Dallas’ fourth touchdown drive in a row, but provided them a 28-13 lead, which would stand for the remainder of the game.