IRVING, Texas (AP) -- The Dallas Cowboys put the ball in the
hands of someone who can make a big play: 5-foot-9, 180-pound Tim
Seder, their rookie kicker who spent the last two years as a high
school teacher and coach.
Seder scored 17 of Dallas' points in a 23-6 victory Sunday over
Cincinnati, kicking three field goals and two extra points --
including the one after his own 1-yard touchdown run.
Seder took a pitch from holder Micah Knorr on a fake field goal
and scooted into the end zone without being touched. His burst is
believed to be the first by a Cowboys kicker and among a select few
by kickers in NFL history.
"Really it was pretty easy because the linemen did all the
work," said Seder, who remembered the moves from his days as a
high school running back nearly a decade ago. "They made it easy
for me, blowing people out of the way. There was just a huge
Move over Emmitt Smith, who failed to pick up that same yard on
the previous play and lost a fumble at the Cincinnati 1 in the
first quarter. Smith had 16 yards on 17 carries, his worst
production without being hurt since 1998.
|Bengals QB Akili Smith completed 10 of 25 passes for 68 yards and an interception, lost a fumble and was sacked three times on Sunday.|
"I thought it was going to work because of Tim's background,"
said Joe Avezzano, Dallas' special teams coach. "He was a running
back, has been in contact and has a little different mindset."
Seder's big day overshadowed the most yards passing since the
1999 opener for Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, who didn't play
last week because of a bad back.
On a cold, wet afternoon, Aikman was 24-of-37 for 308 yards,
including a nice 35-yard touchdown to James McKnight, as Dallas
(4-6) ended a two-game losing streak. McKnight caught eight passes
for a 164 yards, both career bests.
"I think I only took one hit," said Aikman, who received
pain-relieving injections this week. "That's the kind of
protection I need."
Dallas' league-worst run defense limited Corey Dillon to 94
yards and its league-worst pass rush had three sacks after getting
10 in the previous nine games.
The Bengals (2-8) ensured themselves of 10th straight season
without a winning record. Second-year quarterback Akili Smith
looked as lost as ever, completing 10 of 25 passes for 68 yards and
an interception and losing a fumble. This was the fifth straight
game without 100 yards passing and his sixth straight without a TD
"We felt that if we could just get a little bit of help from
the passing game we could win," offensive lineman Willie Anderson
said. "The passing game really hurt us today, but we can't point
the finger at one person."
The only good news for Cincinnati was scoring its first points
this season outside the state of Ohio -- although it was only two
field goals. The Bengals were shut out in three of four previous
road games, scoring only in a 12-3 victory in Cleveland.
Dallas led 10-6 in the third quarter when Ebenezer Ekuban forced
Smith to fumble and recovered it at the 29. The Cowboys drove to
the 1, and when Emmitt Smith was stopped on third down, Seder and
Knorr came on for what would have been an 18-yard attempt.
Knorr, the punter, was hurt in the second quarter and was
practically immobile, making a fake unlikely. At least, it was to
the Bengals -- even though they were tricked on a similar play last
season by Cleveland.
"We loaded up on one side and they found the weak spot on the
other," said Cincinnati's Tom Carter, who was on the field-goal
Knorr took the snap and lobbed it up. Seder caught it in stride
around the 8, cut left and ran to the back of the end zone, where
he celebrated with a little fist pump. After all, he still had work
Seder kicked the extra point, then got to really enjoy his
touchdown. Several teammates came off the sidelines to shake his
hand, including Randall Cunningham, who was still smiling and
laughing about it.
||TOM DONAHOE'S BREAKDOWN
Question on the Bengals: How embarrassing is it to let the opposing
kicker score a TD?
Donahoe: You have to give the Cowboys credit for a great play. It's
not a play you see called frequently, and apparently not a play that
Cincinnati was prepared for -- so you have to give the Cowboys' special
teams credit for pulling it off.
Question on the Cowboys: Will this victory give the Cowboys another
false sense of playoff hope?
Donahoe: Dallas is not a playoff football team at this time. They may
still have some hope of becoming that team, but they have been decimated by
injuries at wide receiver and on the defensive line. Unless they can win the
rest of their games, it is unlikely that they can make the playoffs -- and
they still have some tough teams left on their schedule. It's a good win for
Dallas, but you probably shouldn't read much more into it than that.
Tom Donahoe, ESPN.com's NFL analyst, was formerly the Steelers' director
of football operations.
Although Dallas announced an 85th consecutive sellout with
a paid crowd of 62,170, there were hardly more than 30,000 at
kickoff. ... Cincinnati linebacker Adrian Ross sprained an ankle
and offensive lineman John Jackson hurt a hamstring. ... Dallas
offensive coordinator Jack Reilly made a brash choice by making the
game-opening play a handoff to fullback Robert Thomas. Thomas'
fumble of a handoff in an overtime loss last Sunday drew much
Week 11 wrap-ups