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Don't Forget About These Five: Defense Makes Crucial Stops


ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys had a 10-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but needed overtime to outlast the Texans.

There were highlight-reel plays by the Cowboys' receivers and a game-winning field goal, but all games have those hidden plays that can be forgotten, yet end up playing a huge factor in the outcome.

Here are a handful of plays that changed this game:

Wilcox stops Hopkins– The Cowboys and Texans were both struggling to score even late in the second quarter, but Dwayne Harris' fumbled punt seemed to put Houston in prime position to score. However, on a second-down play from the Dallas' 43, J.J. Wilcox sniffed out a receiver screen and smashed DeAndre Hopkins for a 2-yard gain to the 41. On the ensuing third down, the Cowboys got off the field with another incomplete pass, and the defense didn't even allow a field goal, keeping it scoreless with a sudden-change, three-and-out stand.

Witten down the seam – The Cowboys were trailing 7-3, and after a holding call on Travis Frederick had the offense at second-and-15 from the 17, the momentum had majorly swung toward the Texans. But Tony Romo threw one of his best passes of the day, lofting the ball down the seam to Jason Witten, who made just as great of a catch. That turned the tide back over to the Cowboys, who scored two plays later to take the lead again.

Dunbar drops Lewis – The Cowboys wasted a chance to score with a costly interception by Romo in the end zone. However, Lance Dunbar made sure the Texans didn't get great field position out of the play when he dropped Keenan Lewis at the Texans' 8. Pinned back, Houston didn't open up the offense and the Cowboys got back off the field with another three-and-out. The ensuing punt was returned to the 30, and the Cowboys scored in four plays to take a 17-7 lead.

Getting off the field in overtime– The defense again finds a way to halt Houston's momentum. In overtime, the Texans were driving to midfield, but on third-and-2, Jeremey Mincey darted into the backfield to blast Ryan Fitzpatrick [embedded_ad]

as he threw to Arian Foster. Justin Durant was with the Texans running back and the ball fell incomplete, forcing a punt. That put the ball into the hands of Tony Romo, who led the offense to the game-winning field goal.

Murray extends drive with 11 – The biggest play of overtime was obviously the catch Dez Bryant had to flip the field and set up the field goal. But on third-and-1 at the 19, Murray not only found a way to get the first down, but picked up 11 yards with his second- and third-efforts. That gave the offense some breathing room to open up the playbook. Murray had a few big runs in the game, but his 11-yarder in overtime was arguably the biggest.

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