TAMPA, Fla. – Even though the only touchdown by either team was scored in the final minute, this one had plenty of game-changing moments.
The holding penalty on Jeff Heath that wiped out a potential game-winning turnover for the Cowboys was likely the biggest play for either team. But it doesn't make this list, which includes a handful of plays that could easily go unnoticed, but yet changed the outcome of the game.
Dump-off to Witten:The Cowboys had a third-and-eight in the second quarter at the 32, but Matt Cassel went short to Jason Witten for just two yards instead of making a real effort to move the chains. The short gain led to a 48-yard field goal attempt by Dan Bailey, who pushed this one to the right no good. Obviously, another field goal on the board changes the entire outlook for the Bucs throughout the game and on the final drive, as they would've known they had to be more aggressive and score a touchdown.
Dropped pick by Patmon – Just before the half, the Cowboys held a 6-3 lead and perhaps could've added more points when cornerback Tyler Patmon stepped in front of a Jaemis Winston pass around the Bucs' 40. Patmon had both arms on the ball but couldn't secure the catch, allowing Tampa to keep the ball. Had Patmon come away with the pic, he likely returns it inside the 30 and could've handed the Cowboys an even bigger lead. It's the second time this year Patmon has dropped an interception, also letting one go in New Orlenns earlier this season.
Carr just misses fumble – The Cowboys sent a rare cornerback blitz with Brandon Carr at Winston early in the third quarter. Carr was able to hit the big rookie in the back, knocking Winston's arm forward into a throwing motion. The bang-bang play is always difficult for refs to decipher if a quarterback went forward because of the hit, or if he was strong enough to keep the motion and try to get a pass off. The play was initially given to the Cowboys at the Bucs' 19. But replay officials overturned the call and said Winston was trying to throw. The Cowboys just missed a chance to possibly grab a two-score lead early in the third.
McFadden loses ground – The Cowboys had just scored a huge turnover by Jeff Heath in the final five minutes with his second interception and a 6-3 lead. The Cowboys took over at their own 9 with 5:42 to play but a first-down run by Darren McFadden netted -7 yards and put the Cowboys behind the chains on second-and-17 from the 2. While Terrance Williams picked up 16 on the next play, the offense didn't trust they could get a yard on third down and threw a sideline route to Dez Bryant, who couldn't come up with the pass.
Dez shoved in the back – For the second week in a row, the Cowboys are on the wrong end of a two-hand shove in the end zone. Bryant was seemingly in position to haul in the game-winner from Matt Cassel. But just before the ball arrived in the end zone, Bryant was pushed in the back by Bucs safety Brandon McDougald, sending the receiver forward and creating enough separation for him to make the interception. Last week, Terrance Williams was flagged for offensive pass interference for a similar call in which he created some room against a Philly defender before catching a would-be touchdown. The Cowboys never got points from that drive last week in an eventual overtime game, and this week, it was even bigger. If the Cowboys get that call, the ball is on the 1-yard line with 19 seconds to play, needing a touchdown to win.