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Dallas beats Cardinals; record goes to 5-5

Nov. 10, 1997

IRVING, Texas (AP) - There's nothing like a heavy dose of distractions to galvanize the Dallas Cowboys.

Under .500, battling injuries and rumors of coach Barry Switzer's dismissal, the Cowboys got back to 5-5 Sunday with a 24-6 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. They fashioned it with nine sacks, two rare touchdowns rushing and another big play by Herschel Walker.

Dallas, its confidence shaken after two consecutive losses, beat the team (2-8) that helped turn its season sour with a 25-22 overtime win on Sept. 7. Switzer and owner Jerry Jones spent the week denying reports Switzer was on his way out.

The turmoil didn't seem to bother a team playing without three offensive starters: fullback Daryl Johnston, tackle Mark Tuinei and guard Nate Newton.

Rookie Jake Plummer was sacked eight times by Dallas, ranked No. 2 defensively in the NFL and No. 1 against the pass. Kent Graham was the victim of the ninth sack.

Walker came to the rescue for the Cowboys in the second quarter, much as he did two weeks ago with a game-winning 64-yard touchdown reception against Jacksonville.

This time Walker beat linebacker Jamir Miller on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Troy Aikman with 1:04 left in the half. Aikman hit all four passes for 58 yards on the 81-yard drive before lofting a perfect pass to Walker in the corner of the end zone over Miller's outstretched hands.

Dallas led 10-3 at halftime and added two more touchdowns in the second half. Anthony Miller's 51-yard reception set up a 1-yard scoring run by Sherman Williams, his first of the year.

Fred Strickland recovered Plummer's fumble at the Cardinals 16 and, two plays later, Emmitt Smith scored on a 5-yard run, only his second TD of the season. Dallas has only three TDs rushing this season.

Plummer's 31-yard run, longest of the year for the Cardinals, set up Joe Nedney's 42-yard field goal. Nedney also had a 39-yard field goal in the second half.

Dallas got a 23-yard field goal from Richie Cunningham in the

second period.

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