Cowboys claim Redskins scalp

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The Independent Online

The Cowboys cornerback, Deion Sanders, did not know where he was after a clash of helmets in the second quarter against Washington, but he and the Cowboys ended up right where they wanted to be with a 38-20 win over the Redskins in the National Football League.

The Cowboys cornerback, Deion Sanders, did not know where he was after a clash of helmets in the second quarter against Washington, but he and the Cowboys ended up right where they wanted to be with a 38-20 win over the Redskins in the National Football League.

Sanders, who suffered a mild concussion, returned in the third quarter and in the final period he returned a 70-yard touchdown to seal a 38-20 win.

While Sanders' run served as a wake-up call, it was quarterback Troy Aikman who did most of the work in Dallas' victory. He threw two touchdown passes and took the ball into the end zone on a one-yard run.

The Cowboys and Redskins now jointly hold the National Football Conference Eastern Division lead with 4-2 records. The Cowboys jumped to a 17-0 lead, but Washington cut the deficit to 24-20 early in the last quarter.

Aikman faced the challenge of victory without Emmitt Smith and Raghib Ismail, both injured earlier. And the quarterback, a three-time Super Bowl winner, steered the Cowboys 93 yards and ended the drive with a touchdown, completing the day with 20-32 for 244 yards.

Then came Sanders 70-yard run, ending Washington's hopes of a comeback.

In other highlights the surprising St Louis Rams remained the only unbeaten team in the league, the San Francisco 49ers lost for the third straight week and two-time defending Super Bowl champions Denver put themselves in serious danger of missing the post season.

Minnesota pushed the crumbling 49ers into a corner following a 40-16 hammering as new starting quarterback Jeff George ended a Vikings two-game losing streak.

George, who stepped in for the benched Randall Cunningham, passed for three touchdowns, including an 80 yarder to Matthew Hatchette that ended in the end zone. He was 15-28 for 250 yards.

San Francisco are now 3-4 and have lost three straight for the first time since the bad old days in 1980, when they went through an eight-game barren spell.

The 49ers struggled with Jeff Garcia at quarterback. He was 14-31 for 188 yards and was replaced by third string quarterback Steve Stenstrom late in the final period.

Starting quarterback Steve Young has not played since suffering the most recent in a string of concussions a month ago and is considering retirement.

The Miami Dolphins also had quarterback injuries, and Dan Marino did not start for the first time since 1996. With stand-in Damon Huard at the helm, they still beat Philadelphia 16-13 to improve to 5-1.

Kicker Olindo Mare hit three field goals giving him 17 straight and set a team record that had stood since 1978, while Philadelphia kicker Norm Johnson missed a 42-yard field goal with less than a minute left to tie the game.

Huard (15-of-21 for 142 yards, one interception) is getting used to close wins, last week he replaced the injured Marino and guided Miami to a 31-30 win against New England.

St Louis are a perfect 6-0 after a 34-3 win over the Cleveland Browns. It's the Rams' best start since 1985 when they were based in Los Angeles.

The new Browns, on the other hand, have yet to win a game. Cleveland could not counter the Rams one-two combination of quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Marshall Faulk, who had been suffering from flu.

He shrugged off the illness and piled up 200 yards while Warner threw three TDs.

St Louis virtually had the game won at the half with a 21-3 lead with Faulk running for 117 yards. Even though he received intravenous fluids at half-time, he had 16 carries for 133 yards and nine catches for 67 yards.

Warner came out of the game in the last quarter after completing 23 of 29 attempts for 203 yards. He has 18 TD passes this season, the league's best, with just three interceptions.

At long last the Patriots defeated the Broncos (24-23) for the first time since September 21, 1980, when Gerald Ford was President.

New England led throughout, but players and coaches had to hold their breath when Denver kicker Jason Elam's 59-yard field goal attempt fell short late in the game.

It was a familiar scenario. In week seven of the season, New England has figured in six games that have been decided by one field goal or less.

The Broncos have slumped to a disastrous 2-5 and now face the real possibility of missing the chance to defend their title.

The New York Giants blew away New Orleans 31-3, the Saints incurring the wrath of their coach Mike Ditka.

"We're a terrible football team," was Ditka's succinct analysis.

In other games, Oakland came from a 20-3 deficit to snatch a 24-23 victory over the New York Jets, the Green Bay Packers swamped the San Diego Chargers 31-3, Tampa Bay defeated Chicago 6-3, Detroit improved their record to 4-2 by beating the Carolina Panthers 24-9, Seattle beat Buffalo 26-16 and Indianapolis triumphed 31-10 over Cincinnati.

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