KANSAS CITY – This game will be remembered for a few plays that didn't go the Cowboys' way in this 17-16 loss at Arrowhead Stadium.
Plays such as Lance Dunbar's fumble or the loss fumble by Tony Romo or even the late pass interference penalty on Morris Claiborne will all be remembered as key factors in preventing the Cowboys from leaving Kansas City Sunday with a 2-0 record.
But all games have those hidden plays that can be forgotten, but ended up playing a huge factor in the outcome. And here are a handful of plays that changed this game. [embedded_ad]
1. Pass Interference call on Dez – In the second quarter, the Cowboys started three straight possessions from their 5, 10 and 10-yard line. Field position wasn't going their way at all, but yet the defense was holding up just fine. Still, the Cowboys had a shot to get out of their end zone area on a second-and-8 from their own 12. Romo found Dez Bryant down the right sideline for what appeared to be a 22-yard gain to the 34-yard line. Despite two side judges calling it a catch in bounds, the back judge threw his flag late, saying Bryant pushed off on KC cornerback Brandon Flowers to create enough distance for the catch. The penalty kept the Cowboys pinned back and they never were able to establish field position and get into scoring range in the second quarter.
2. Carter's Near Miss – The Cowboys led 10-7 late in the first half and the Chiefs were driving for a potential game-tying field goal. With the clock running down under 20 seconds, Alex Smith fired a pass in the flat looking to get into better field goal range. But Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter read the ball the whole way and stepped in front of the pass intended for tight end Scott McGrath. Carter got two hands on the ball and nearly picked it off. Had he done so, it more than likely would've be a 65-yard interception return for a 17-7 Cowboys lead going into halftime.
3. Poe Gets To Romo Again – The Cowboys opened the second half on a mission to expand their 10-7 halftime lead. After two third-and-short conversions, the Cowboys had first-and-goal from the 5 after a 12-yard run by Lance Dunbar. But on first down, Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe sliced up the middle of the line and sacked Romo for a seven-yard loss back to the 12. The Cowboys couldn't get into the end zone and settled for a field goal. But losing seven yards there prevented the Cowboys from scoring and getting a possible two-score lead. **
- Big Pass to Avery – The Cowboys led 13-7 and forced the Chiefs into a third-and-9 from the KC 32-yard line. Alex Smith had heavy pressure but ended up finding Donnie Avery out to the right side for 31 yards. The Chiefs kept the drive going and five plays later, took the lead on a scoring pass to Dwayne Bowe over the middle. A forced punt there and the Cowboys likely get the ball back late in the third with a six-point lead.
5. Dez Key Drop – For everything Dez Bryant caught on Sunday, his dropped back was just as demoralizing. The Cowboys had second-and-10 at their own 21 when Romo lofted what seemed to be a perfect bomb to the right sideline for Dez, who had Brandon Flowers beat by a step on the play. But this time, Bryant couldn't haul it in. He took his eyes off the target for a quick moment as the ball hit his hands. The drop led to a third-and-long and the Cowboys didn't convert, leading to another punt.
Another from the what-if category but Chiefs rookie running back Knile Davis dropped a kickoff in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Davis muffed the kick at the 3 but recovered it at the 16 despite a mad scramble for the ball. Had the Cowboys recovered that, which would've been their only takeaway of the day, they were already in field goal range for Dan Bailey, who had already made three kicks, including a pair of 50-yarders.