The Dallas Cowboys keep winning and wondering just how good they are. Minnesota should provide the answer on Thursday.
A radar-accurate Aikman threw two touchdown passes and Warren scored against his old Seattle teammates as Dallas rolled to its fourth consecutive victory, most since the Super Bowl season of 1995.
"This was a big win for us and now we get Minnesota and a real challenge to gauge ourselves and see where we are at," Aikman said. "I think we are starting to be considered one of the elite teams in the NFL, which is where this organization deserves to be."
Minnesota has a 10-1 record, best in the NFC.
"The Vikings will be a good benchmark for us to see how far we have progressed," said fullback Daryl Johnston of the Cowboys, who have bounced back from a 6-10 season that got coach Barry Switzer fired.
Aikman, disappointed the Cowboys (8-3) haven't gained much national notice in their first season under coach Chan Gailey, hit 28 of 42 passes for 296 yards. He also scrambled three times despite suffering a broken collarbone earlier in the year.
| Emmitt Smith avoids the grasp of a Seattle defender during the first quarter. (AP) |
"Aikman is playing as good as any quarterback in the NFL right now," said Seattle coach Dennis Erickson. "And the Cowboys offense is the best we've seen all year."
Aikman's 18-yard touchdown pass to Billy Davis and Warren's 1-yard run in the fourth quarter were too much for the Seahawks to overcome, although Warren Moon threw his second touchdown pass, a 5-yarder to James McKnight.
It was Moon's 290th touchdown pass, third on the career list.
"The Dallas defense surprised me," Moon said. "They had a good pass rush."
"We're in trouble with our season. I never imagined we would be 5-6 with the personnel we have."
Warren, Seattle's career leading rusher, ran seven times for 52 yards on a 61-yard play drive and scored to give Dallas a 30-14 lead with 7:04 to go. Warren was let go by the Seahawks (5-6) so they could sign Ricky Watters.
Warren rushed 11 times for 65 yards and Watters had 16 carries for 66 yards.
Warren was pumped about his day.
"I'd be lying if I said it didn't matter," Warren said. "I wanted to show them I can still play."
The victory wasn't secure until cornerback Kevin Smith batted away a fourth-down pass at the Dallas 45 with less than three minutes to play. The Dallas defense played the second half without cornerback Deion Sanders, who reaggravated a toe injury.
"I knew they would come after me," Smith said. "The game could have rested on that play."
Richie Cunningham kicked field goals of 47, 47, and 28 yards in the first half as the Cowboys clung to a 16-14 halftime lead.
Dallas also got an 8-yard touchdown pass from Aikman to Emmitt Smith, but Seattle made two big plays to keep the game close.
Defensive lineman Sam Adams scored his first professional touchdown for the Seahawks late in the second half to give Seattle a 14-13 lead. The 300-pound five-year veteran batted Aikman's pass in the air, caught it, shook Aikman off like a ragdoll and lumbered 25 yards with the interception for the touchdown.
"It looked like a little kid hanging onto King Kong's leg," said defensive end Michael Sinclair.
"I thought it was going to be the play that won us the game," Adams said.
Seattle's offense also produced a long-distance strike. Joey Galloway got open behind Smith and Moon found him for a 44-yard touchdown pass.
Smith had 74 yards on 17 carries. He has 1,063 yards for the year.
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