ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys were able to rally in the fourth quarter for a dramatic overtime victory. This game had all the drama, with fake punts, key turnovers and, of course, a last-second touchdown.
This marked the first game-winning touchdown in overtime by the Cowboys since Miles Austin's 60-yard score to beat the Chiefs in 2009.
For the Cowboys, the key play in overtime was a fourth-and-inches sneak by quarterback Dak Prescott – a play that didn't make this list because it shouldn't be forgotten.
But like all games, there were a handful of plays that could go unnoticed, yet changed the outcome of the game. Let's take a closer look at five that affected this game.
Dak's goal-line interception – Typically, negative plays for the winning team are not included in this piece. But this play clearly affected the game, and probably is the reason it went into overtime in the first place. With the game tied 10-10 late in the first half, Prescott was picked off by linebacker Jordan Hicks on second down, resulting in a touchback. The Eagles were able to drive the field and get a late field goal to take a 13-10 lead. That's probably a 10-point swing because the Cowboys should've likely ran the ball during that first-and-goal series and grabbed a touchdown lead. Instead, they were down by a field goal and had to play catch-up the rest of the way.
Punter provides a spark – With everything going wrong on special teams, leave it to the punter to actually make a play. Chris Jones' 30-yard run off a fake punt only led to a field goal, but it made it a one-score game in the third quarter. Things were looking sour for the Cowboys, who trailed by 10 and were about to give the ball back to Philly. But Jones took off around the left edge to not only get the first down, but also flip the field position and give the Cowboys a chance to get points. A clutch 15-yard completion to Terrance Williams on third down set up a field goal by Dan Bailey to trim the lead to seven.
McClain forces key fumble – The Eagles had a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter and just regained possession. It was about to be panic time for the Cowboys before defensive tackle Terrell McClain snuck through the line to force a fumble by Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood. The ball was recovered by Tyrone Crawford at the Philadelphia 36, leading to a field goal a few plays later. Sure, the Cowboys would've preferred a touchdown, but the field goal kept the game close. If not for that fumble, the Cowboys might have run out of time to make up the two-score deficit.
Lee's third-down stop on Sproles –The Eagles had a seven-point lead and were knocking on the door to add a crucial field goal. On third down from the Cowboys' 30-yard line, which was already in Caleb Strugis' range, the Eagles ran a swing pass to Darren Sproles. But Sean Lee was waiting for it and stuffed Sproles for a 6-yard loss back to the 36. The Eagles didn't try a long field goal and decided to punt back to the Cowboys, who promptly went 90 yards for the game-tying score.
Eagles decide not to call timeout – Teams that lose close games in the NFL can always point back to a play or two where the coach can be second-guessed. In this case, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson will likely be criticized for not calling timeout at the end of regulation, especially after Prescott was sacked for a 10-yard loss with about 28 seconds on the clock. A timeout there would've forced third-and-18 from the Cowboys' 18. Dallas probably runs a screen or draw and the Eagles could've called their second timeout to force a punt. Not only does it give Darren Sproles a chance to return a punt in the open field, but with a timeout left, the Eagles might have had a chance to run a play to get to the Cowboys' 40 for a long kick. Instead, they did nothing and let the time run out.
Take a look at some of our favorite photos from the Sunday Night Football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 30.