ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys had to get creative to lose this game to the Packers on Sunday. Leading by 12 with five minutes to play, the Cowboys found a way to let Green Bay drive twice for a 37-36 win at AT&T Stadium.
We know there were costly turnovers by Tony Romo in the end. Those plays won't be forgotten, but there are many others along the way that contributed to the Cowboys' meltdown loss. Let's look at five plays that changed the affected the final outcome.
1. Dez Can't Reach Deep –The Cowboys were on the verge of breaking this game wide open. Leading 13-3 late in the second, Tony Romo lays out a deep pass down the right sideline where Dez Bryant had a step on his man but the ball was just out of his reach. It appeared Bryant could've possibly caught it, but the pass was a tad long. Still, it was open and there for a touchdown. Instead, the Cowboys settled for yet another field goal by Dan Bailey, who made four in the first half.
2. Lacy Starts Off Strong– Down 26-3 at the half, not only did the Packers have to score touchdowns, but they had to do that quickly. The first play of the third quarter set the tone for the rest of the game as Eddie Lacy ripped off a 60-yard run. It led to a touchdown and let the Packers stick to their game plan on pounding the ball and getting close enough in the game to stick with the plan. [embedded_ad]
3. Dez Drops Would-Be TD –As great as Dez Bryant was at times Sunday, he had some misfires as well. With a second-and-5 at the Packers' 36, leading 26-10, the Cowboys were looking to answer the Green Bay touchdown. Romo put it out there on the right sideline again for Dez, who had his defender beat but dropped a pass that banged off his shoulder pads. The Cowboys had to settle for a field goal and a 29-10 lead. The touchdown there by Bryant gives the Cowboys 33-10 lead with just over 9 minutes left in the third.
4. Quarless For 22 – The Cowboys led 29-10 in the third and forced Matt Flynn and the Packers into a third-and-8 at their own 22. A stop here and the Cowboys are in prime position with the ball and a big lead and clock on their side. Instead, Flynn hits tight end Andrew Quarless for 22 yards to the Green Bay 44. It led to a touchdown pass to Quarless later in the quarter to pull the Packers even closer.
5. Big Play To Boykin –The Packers trailed 36-24 and where chipping away down the field on a drive that began at their 20. They had seven straight plays and nothing went more than 14 yards. But on second down at the Cowboys' 34, Flynn hit Jarrett Boykin for 27 yards down to the 7. Two plays later the Packers scored to trim the lead to five. Had the Cowboys held the Packers for a just about two minutes more of game clock, the Packers might have had to try an onside kick, which changes field position dramatically.