ARLINGTON, Texas– This game might be remembered most for a play that didn't prove to be a difference-maker. But the Cowboys were able to survive that end-of-half debacle and put the clamps on the Chiefs with a stellar defense.
But all games have those plays that can get lost in the shuffle, but still play a huge part in the final outcome. Check out the five from this game that turned the tide.
Cowboys Don't Fall for Trick Play – The Chiefs tried to sneak one past the Cowboys' special teams early in the game, putting two punt returners deep, including the always-dangerous Tyreek Hill, who acted like he was getting the punt, although it landed on the opposite side of the field. Sometimes the coverage team will fall for that and chase after the potential ball carrier, but Kavon Frazier wasn't fooled. He stayed with the play-call, which was a designed punt to the left and he drilled D'Anthony Thomas for no gain at the Chiefs' 13-yard line. Kansas City went three-and-out and punted to the Cowboys, who used the good field position to drive for the first touchdown of the game.
5 Yards Saves Six Points – There aren't many 5-yard passes to Jason Witten that make this list, but the Cowboys were leading 7-3 in the second quarter and had third-and-4 from their own 31-yard line. Dak Prescott tossed a pass to the right side for Witten and it appeared destined for not only an interception but perhaps a touchdown as well. Instead, the ball went into Witten's hands for a catch and then he got his feet inside the sticks for a first down. The Cowboys weren't able to score on that possession, but moved the ball out enough to take advantage of the field position on the next series and grab a 14-3 lead.
Aggressive Play-Calling Gets First Down – The Cowboys had a 7-3 lead late in the second quarter and it made sense to probably run the ball on third-and-15 and make the Chiefs use their final timeout with 1:30 to play. But the Cowboys went for the first down and Prescott fired a pass to Dez Bryant, who hauled in the 21-yard play over the middle for the first down. The next play was a 56-yard bomb to Terrance Williams that led to a Cowboys touchdown. Without that play, KC might have been able to score with good field position and take a 10-7 lead instead of being down 14-10.
Chiefs' PI Extends Cowboys' Drive – The Chiefs had just scored 14 straight points to grab the lead and the momentum. But Dallas was on the move again and on third-and-9 from the Chiefs' 46, a pass interference penalty on cornerback Steven Nelson aided the Cowboys with 17 yards. Nelson had Bryant's arm wrapped up to draw the flag. The Cowboys picked up two more first down and then took the lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliott.
Taco's Sack Leads to Pick – A couple of firsts happened in a two-play span late in the game. With the ball at the Cowboys' 40-yard line, Charlton was able to get a coverage sack on Alex Smith for the first of his career. The three-yard loss set up a crucial fourth-down play, resulting in Smith's first interception of the season when he was picked off by Jeff Heath. The Cowboys took over with an 11-point lead and 5:05 to play and were able to hold on for the win.