1985 Dallas Cowboys Season
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1985 Dallas Cowboys Season
1985 Dallas Cowboys season
OwnerBum Bright
(Since 1984)
Head coachTom Landry
(26th season)
General managerTex Schramm
(Since 1960)
Home fieldTexas Stadium
Division place1st NFC East
Playoff finishLost Divisional Playoffs (Rams) 0-20
Pro Bowlers4

The 1985 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise's 26th season in the National Football League. The Cowboys improved on their 9-7 record from 1984 and made the playoffs after a one-year absence. This marked the final postseason appearance for the Cowboys under Tom Landry and Bum Bright, where they were shutout in the divisional playoff game to the Los Angeles Rams. The team holds the record for consecutive winning seasons with 20.


The Cowboys' defense attempting to stop Rams' running back Eric Dickerson (29) in the 1985-86 NFC Divisional Playoffs Game.

Tom Landry's team got off to a fast start, opening the season with 44-14 trouncing of their longtime nemesis, the Redskins, and later defeating the Steelers (their first victory over Pittsburgh since 1972) to give the team a 5-1 record and an early two-game lead over the rest of the division. However, the team was up and down the rest of the way, finishing out the season 5-5 and allowing both the Giants and Redskins to catch up with them at 10-6. Two wins each over both the Giants and Redskins allowed the Cowboys to win the division based on the tie-breaking rules. During the inconsistent stretch toward the end of the season, the Cowboys suffered two of the most embarrassing defeats in team history. On November 17, the undefeated Chicago Bears came to Texas Stadium and gave the Cowboys a 44-0 beating that was the worst loss in team history, and it was also the first time in 218 games that the Cowboys had not scored. Three weeks later the team traveled to Cincinnati, where the Bengals handed them a 50-24 loss, piling up 570 yards in the process, the most yards the Cowboys had given up in team history. The Cowboys proved to be a resilient bunch however, winning a crucial game at home against the Giants the following week that gave them their first division title since 1981, and the final for Tom Landry. That game would prove to be the last highlight of the season, as the team was shut out in the playoffs for the first time in team history, 20-0, by the Rams in Anaheim, California, which would prove to be the final playoff appearance for the Cowboys under Landry.

With the previous season's quarterback controversy behind him, Danny White led the Cowboys' passing game to number three overall in the league. Wide receiver Tony Hill posted career highs in receptions and receiving yards, and Mike Renfro blossomed in his second season with the Cowboys. Tight end Doug Cosbie had another Pro Bowl season. Turnovers proved to be a problem though, as White and backup quarterback Gary Hogeboom combined to throw 24 interceptions. Running back Tony Dorsett was the only reliable ball carrier on the roster, rushing for 1,307 yards on the season, and going over 10,000 yards for his career. On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys registered 62 sacks and 33 interceptions, with cornerback Everson Walls becoming the first player to ever lead the league in interceptions three times, with nine. The big plays covered up a pass defense that ranked 27th in the league, and a defense that ranked 23rd overall. The secondary allowed big plays through the air throughout the season, and the defense allowed running back Eric Dickerson to rush for a playoff record 248 yards in their playoff game against the Rams.

NFL Draft

1985 Dallas Cowboys draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 17 Kevin Brooks  DE Michigan
2 44 Jesse Penn  LB Virginia Tech
3 76 Crawford Ker  OG Florida
4 103 Robert Lavette  RB Georgia Tech
5 114 Herschel Walker *  RB Georgia
5 119 Matt Darwin  C Texas A&M He chose not to sign and enter the 1986 Draft
6 144 Kurt Ploeger  DE Gustavus Adolphus
6 157 Matt Moran  OG Stanford
7 178 Karl Powe  WR Alabama State
7 184 Jim Herrmann  DE Brigham Young
8 216 Leon Gonzalez  WR Bethune-Cookman
9 243 Scott Strasburger  LB Nebraska
10 270 Joe Jones  TE Virginia Tech
11 297 Neal Dellocono  LB UCLA
12 324 Karl Jordan  LB Vanderbilt
      Made roster    +   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career


Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Record Game Site Attendance Recap
1 September 9 Washington Redskins W 44-14 1-0 Texas Stadium 62,292 Recap
2 September 15 at Detroit Lions L 21-26 1-1 Pontiac Silverdome 72,985 Recap
3 September 22 Cleveland Browns W 20-7 2-1 Texas Stadium 61,456 Recap
4 September 29 at Houston Oilers W 17-10 3-1 Houston Astrodome 49,686 Recap
5 October 6 at New York Giants W 30-29 4-1 Giants Stadium 74,981 Recap
6 October 13 Pittsburgh Steelers W 27-13 5-1 Texas Stadium 63,062 Recap
7 October 20 at Philadelphia Eagles L 14-16 5-2 Veterans Stadium 70,114 Recap
8 October 27 Atlanta Falcons W 24-10 6-2 Texas Stadium 57,941 Recap
9 November 4 at St. Louis Cardinals L 10-21 6-3 Busch Stadium 49,347 Recap
10 November 10 at Washington Redskins W 13-7 7-3 RFK Stadium 55,750 Recap
11 November 17 Chicago Bears L 0-44 7-4 Texas Stadium 63,855 Recap
12 November 24 Philadelphia Eagles W 34-17 8-4 Texas Stadium 54,047 Recap
13 November 28 St. Louis Cardinals W 35-17 9-4 Texas Stadium 54,125 Recap
14 December 8 at Cincinnati Bengals L 24-50 9-5 Riverfront Stadium 56,936 Recap
15 December 15 New York Giants W 28-21 10-5 Texas Stadium 62,310 Recap
16 December 22 at San Francisco 49ers L 16-31 10-6 Candlestick Park 60,114 Recap

Division opponents are in bold text

Game summaries

Week 1: vs. Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
1 234Total
Redskins 0 707 14
Cowboys 3 141314 44

Week 15

1 234Total
Giants 0 1407 21
• Cowboys 7 1407 28


NFC East
Dallas Cowboys(3) 10 6 0 .625 6-2 7-5 357 333 L1
New York Giants(4) 10 6 0 .625 5-3 8-4 399 283 W1
Washington Redskins 10 6 0 .625 4-4 6-6 297 312 W3
Philadelphia Eagles 7 9 0 .438 4-4 6-8 286 310 W1
St. Louis Cardinals 5 11 0 .313 1-7 3-9 278 414 L2


Round Date Opponent Result Game Site Attendance Recap
Wild Card First Round Bye
Divisional January 4, 1986 at Los Angeles Rams (2) L 0-20 Anaheim Stadium 66,351 Recap

Divisional playoffs

January 4, 1986

NFC: Los Angeles Rams 20, Dallas Cowboys 0


  • The Cowboys sent four players to the Pro Bowl following the 1985 season. Wide receiver Tony Hill went to his first since 1979, tight end Doug Cosbie was named to his third consecutive game, cornerback Everson Walls achieved his fourth, and defensive tackle Randy White was named to his ninth consecutive pro bowl. Randy White was named to the associated press All-NFL first team, while Everson Walls was named to the second team.
  • Everson Walls, NFL Leader, Interceptions, (9)


  • The Football Encyclopedia ISBN 0-312-11435-4
  • Total Football ISBN 0-06-270170-3
  • Cowboys Have Always Been My Heroes ISBN 0-446-51950-2


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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