DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
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Sun., Dec. 21, 2014 2:45 PM to 3:00 PM CST
Don’t Forget About These Five: Cowboys Avoid Costly Plays
Like always, there were big plays that occurred, but a handful of plays that might not be remembered as much, but still played a major role in the final outcome.
Here’s a look at five that shaped the Cowboys’ 38-23 win over the Eagles Sunday.
(Plays listed in chronological order)
1. Near Miss to McCoy; Vick Hurt – This play had double impact because it might have been a touchdown to LeSean McCoy, or at least a huge gain. The game was tied 7-7 early in the second when Michael Vick overthrew McCoy, who had snuck out to the left flat wide open on a third-and-2. More importantly, Vick was hit by linebacker Ernie Sims and suffered a concussion and never returned. Nick Foles replaced him and needless to say, that was a difference in the game.
2. Frampton on the spot – While the Fox TV cameras caught an interesting shot during this play, the Cowboys avoided disaster early in the third quarter. The Eagles took a 14-10 lead and kicked off to Lance Dunbar, who fumbled on the 14. But Frampton alertly scooped up the ball and got to the 17. The Cowboys didn’t score on that possession but had the Eagles taken over, it could’ve been 21-10 and changed the entire flow of the second half.
3. Hands to the face – With the Eagles leading 14-10 and driving on the Cowboys’ 14 midway through the third, it appeared Philly picked up a key third-down conversion to the 2-yard line. But an illegal hands to the face penalty on Eagles lineman King Dunlap pushed it back to the 24. The Eagles settled for a field goal and a 17-10 lead with 4:36 left in the third. The game would be tied going into the fourth as the Cowboys scored on the next possession.
4. Romo scrambles for Miles – Tony Romo seemingly makes this type of play every game but late in the third quarter on third-and-5 from their 39, he avoided at least three defenders to keep the play alive and then find Miles Austin over the middle for 25 yards. Instead of having to punt, the Cowboys had first down at the Eagles 36. Romo hit Dez Bryant for a touchdown just three plays later to tie the game as the quarter expired.
5. Spencer’s pick negated– Now had the Cowboys lost this game, this would’ve been a huge play. Still, it might have been big for a different reason. Anthony Spencer made a great play to pick off a Nick Foles pass at the Eagles 17. But a penalty on Morris Claiborne wiped out the pick and Philly maintained possession. However, just three plays later, Dwayne Harris returned the punt 78 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. Now, are we sure the Cowboys would’ve scored a touchdown from the 17. We thought it was a huge setback for the Cowboys, but maybe it worked out better in the long run. Spencer and Ware would team up for a big sack later in the game, resulting in a Jason Hatcher fumble recovery for a touchdown.