Cowboys beat Redskins again
IRVING, Texas, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Chad Hutchinson put Dallas ahead with a 41-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Joey Galloway Thursday and Emmitt Smith had his best performance in two years to carry the Dallas Cowboys to their 10th consecutive win over the Washington Redskins, 27-20.
Dallas has won back-to-back games for the first time this season to improve to 5-7 and did so by overcoming a 10-point deficit against its biggest rival. The Redskins also fell to 5-7 as their playoff hopes all but vanished.
Having promised franchise owner Dan Snyder the game ball when the Redskins beat the Cowboys, Washington Coach Steve Spurrier's aggressive play calling wound up hurting his team as Dallas staged its comeback.
Owning a 10-point lead in the third period, pinned deep in its own end of the field and facing third down, Spurrier called for a pass play rather than run the ball to protect against a mistake.
A mistake was made, however, when the short pass from Danny Wuerffel glanced off the hands of intended receiver Kenny Watson and Dallas rookie safety Roy Williams picked it off for a five-yard interception return and a touchdown.
That brought the Cowboys within 20-17 and they took the lead for good with 10:05 to play when Hutchinson hit Galloway with the 41-yard touchdown throw. Billy Cundiff added a 42-yard field goal to give the Cowboys a seven-point lead with 4:23 remaining and the Redskins did not threaten the rest of the way.
Smith, who last month became the NFL's all-time leading rusher, gained 144 yards on 23 carries to help the Cowboys control the ball despite a patched-together offensive line.
It was his best game since he gained 150 yards against the Redskins on Dec. 10, 2000, and sent him past the 17,000-yard mark for his career.
In Detroit, linebacker Tedy Bruschi returned the first of New England's three interceptions 27 yards for a touchdown, igniting the Patriots to a 20-12 victory over the Detroit Lions.
The win gave the Patriots (7-5) a 4-1 record in a five-game, 25-day November stretch and moved them into sole possession of second place in the AFC East, a half game Miami (7-4) and a half game ahead of the New York Jets (6-5).
Miami plays at Buffalo on Sunday and the Jets visit Oakland on Monday night.
The Lions (3-9) have lost consecutive Thanksgiving Day games for the first time since 1992-93.
Troy Brown was the star on offense for the Patriots, catching 10 passes for 111 yards, but it was the defense which carried New England to its first Thanksgiving Day win in three attempts.
Mavericks streak ends at 14
INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Jermaine O'Neal led six players in double figures with 28 points and added 18 rebounds Thursday night as the Indiana Pacers prevented the cold-shooting Dallas Mavericks from becoming the third team in NBA history to begin a season 15-0 with a 110-98 triumph.
Dallas won its first 14 games with lots of scoring and a new commitment to defense to move within one victory of tying the 1948 Washington Capitols and 1993 Houston Rockets for the best start in league history.
But the Mavericks shot just 38 percent and allowed the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers to shred their zone for 53 percent to fall one game short of the mark.
Dallas led, 39-38, after a three-point play by Dirk Nowitzki with 6:36 to play in the second quarter. But O'Neal countered with a pair of free throws 20 seconds later to give the Pacers the lead for good and commence a 19-5 run.
O'Neal ended the burst with a follow shot to make it 57-44 with 1:44 to go in the half, and the Pacers took a 59-49 advantage into the break. Harrington had eight points, O'Neal six and Reggie Miller five during the run.
Dallas got no closer than eight points in the second half.
Jordan says this will be his last season
WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Michael Jordan said after practice Thursday that he plans to make this season his last as a player.
"Right now, I'm fulfilling my contract," Jordan said. "At the end of this season, I'm not looking to enter another contract. Right now I want to finish this year out and hopefully fulfill my obligations and let this team take its own course."
Jordan signed a two-year contract before the 2001-02 season and left open the possibility before this season that he might play another season. The 39-year-old Jordan, who missed 20 games last season due to knee problems last year, has taken on a diminished role this season by coming off the bench to limit his minutes.
Jordan also retired after the 1992-93 and 1997-98 seasons, both times after completing runs of three straight championships with the Chicago Bulls. It is possible that Jordan may take an an executive position with the Wizards, which he did for two seasons before returning for a third stint in uniform.
Thrashers enjoy offensive burst
ATLANTA, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Patrik Stefan, Shawn McEachern and Chris Herperger all scored twice Thursday night as the Atlanta Thrashers had their biggest offensive onslaught of the season in a 7-4 victory over the New York Rangers.
Atlanta entered the game in the bottom third of the league in scoring but took advantage of some sloppy defense by New York that ended in numerous odd-man rushes. The speedy Thrashers made the Rangers pay.
Stefan took a feed from Dany Heatley, skated past Dale Purinton and Vladimir Malakhov and easily beat goaltender Dan Blackburn for a 5-4 lead with 13:50 remaining.
With New York pressing for the tying goal, Atlanta's Vyacheslav Kozlov cleared the zone and Tony Hrkac picked up the loose puck. Hrkac and McEachern had a two on one on Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch and Hrkac faked a shot before feeding McEachern, who scored easily for a 6-4 lead with 6:40 left to play.
McEachern added a shorthanded goal less then two minutes later when he beat the Rangers down the ice and beat Blackburn on a bad angle.
Blackburn managed to save just 18 shots.
In the only other NHL game on the holiday, Chicago downed Phoenix, 4-2.
Clement ruled out of Davis Cup final
PARIS, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- For the second year in a row, Arnaud Clement will have to miss the Davis Cup final because of injury.
Last year, captain Guy Forget left Clement off the team when France faced Australia in Melbourne, a decision that turned out to be a good one since replacement Nicolas Escude beat world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and Wayne Arthurs to seal a 3-2 victory.
Clement was originally named to the team this year, but tendinitis in his wrist has cost him a spot in the lineup that will face Russia beginning Friday.
Clement played in every round last year except the final and in 2002 he played in the first-round defeat of the Netherlands and the 3-2 semifinal defeat of the United States.
Sebatien Grosjean then will face Yevgeny Kafelnikov to complete the opening day. The Russian stars then will team up to face Escude and Fabrice Santoro in doubles Saturday.
Sunday's reverse singles complete the event.
Indian leads European Tour event
HONG KONG, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Looking to become the second Indian champion in European Tour history, Amandeep Johl grabbed the first-round lead Thursday at the Hong Kong Open with a 6-under-par 63.
Johl had an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys at the Hong Kong Golf Club to open a one-stroke lead over four players at the second of two events co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.
A 33-year-old from New Delhi, Johl is looking to follow in the footsteps of Arjun Atwal, who became the first Indian golfer to win a European Tour event at last year's Singapore Masters.
The official 2003 season got under way with last week's co-sanctioned BMW Asian Open, which Irish star Padraig Harrington won.
Pablo del Olmo of Mexico, Stephen Dodd of Wales, Tony Johnstone of Zimbabwe and Sweden's Henrik Nystrom were tied for second after carding 5-under 64s. Thomas Levet of France was one of nine players to shoot 65.