LANDOVER, Md. – The final two minutes of play featured some of the more entertaining moments of any game this season.
Now, the previous 58 minutes didn't provide a lot of fireworks, but like all games, there were a handful of plays that could go unnoticed, yet changed the outcome. Let's take a closer look at five that affected this one.
Witten's 1,000th catch– Well, this one makes the list for a couple of reasons. Obviously, a win like that in the final minutes can overshadow any milestone in the second quarter. But Jason Witten getting 1,000 catches should never be overlooked. It's a great accomplishment for a player who is as consistent and productive as any in Cowboys history. But the milestone catch also was a big play for a struggling offense. On second-and-7, Witten got the needed 7 yards on his reception over the middle, shaking off a defender to move the sticks. On the next play, Cassel then hit Terrance Williams for a 38-yard gain that flipped the field position and led to a field goal.
Offensive P.I. on Garcon – This officiating crew called plenty of offensive pass interference penalties on both teams, but a big one against Washington's Pierre Garcon before halftime might have prevented a good chance to score a touchdown. On third down from the Cowboys' 25-yard line, the Redskins seemingly had a first down on a pass to DeSean Jackson to the 19. But Garcon was flagged for creating room for Jackson, and it pushed the ball back to the 35 for third-and-13. The Redskins went with a short pass and settled for a game-tying field goal. Without the penalty, the Redskins would've had a minute on the clock with a chance to take the lead with a touchdown.
Lawrence stuffs the run – After the Cowboys had fumbled the ball again on the third play of the third quarter, Washington moved the ball to the Dallas 16 and had a second-and-1, looking to break the 3-3 tie. After Rolando McClain and Sean Lee combined for a no-gain stop on second down, it was DeMarcus Lawrence who busted through the line to stuff running back Matt Jones for a 2-yard loss, forcing a field goal.
Dez draws another P.I. – For the second time on this third-quarter series, Dez Bryant extended the drive without even catching a pass. Earlier, he drew a pass interference call on third down and then on a third-and-9 from the Redskins' 47, he was held up by Washington's Quinton Dunbar down the left sideline. The officials stated Dunbar never played the ball and the penalty gave the Cowboys a key first down, which led to a game-tying field goal.[embeddedad0]
Redskins' second timeout – Now, this wasn't exactly a poor decision by Redskins coach Jay Gruden, who just wanted to settle things down in the final minute of play with his team down by a touchdown. His timeout with 49 seconds to play allowed them to get the right formation and the Redskins scored on the next play, tying the score. However, by calling the timeout there, it left plenty of time on the clock for the Cowboys to not only get a big return from Lucky Whitehead, but then move the ball into field goal range for Dan Bailey. Had the Redskins waited and called it a few seconds later, the game most likely goes to overtime.