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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Dec. 28, 1975: Staubach to Pearson "Hail Mary"
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

With a half-minute left, the Cowboys are trailing the Vikings by four points with the ball at midfield in the NFC divisional playoff game in Bloomington, Minn. Figuring he needs a miracle, Roger Staubach lets go with a prayer of a pass.

The desperation heave is underthrown, which is fine with Drew Pearson. The wide receiver comes back and fights cornerback Nate Wright for the ball on the five-yard line. It slides down Pearson's hands and somehow lodges snugly between his right elbow and right hip. With Wright falling to the ground, Pearson waltzes into the end zone with 24 seconds left with the touchdown that gives the seven-point underdog Cowboys a 17-14 upset.

"It was a play you hit one in a 100 times if you're lucky," Staubach says. "I guess it's a Hail Mary. You throw it up and pray he catches it."

The Vikings protest ferociously that Pearson caught the ball after committing offensive pass interference, but to no avail. After Minnesota takes the kickoff, a fan in Metropolitan Stadium throws a whisky bottle at an official. It strikes Armen Terzian on the forehead, knocking him down for several minutes. While he is cut, no stitches are necessary.

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