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Don't Forget About These Five: Flag Pickup, D-Mac's Surge & Rookie Hustle

PHILADELPHIA– In one of the more unique games in recent history, the Cowboys found a way to overcome adversity and leave Philly with a convincing 20-10 win over the Eagles.

There were plenty of memorable plays, from Tony Romo's broken collarbone injury in the third quarter that also included a fumble, to Sean Lee's timely interception on the Eagles' next drive that kept Dallas ahead 13-0. 

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.

  1. Late hit on Witten – Just before halftime, the Cowboys led 3-0 and were trying to drive for points when they got a much-needed 15-yard boost. After a seven-yard catch by Witten at the Dallas 41, the tight end was driven back into the pile where Eagles' defender Vinny Curry provided a late jolt to finish off the play. The flag not only gave the Cowboys a first down, but moved the ball to the Eagles' 44, putting them in the mindset for a field goal. That drive actually had eight combined penalties for both teams, but the 15-yarder flipped the field position and gave the Cowboys a shot to get points.
  2. Lawrence drops Murray for loss– To start the third quarter, everyone just assumed the Eagles would get things going on offense after a 21-yard first half that produced just one first down. After a quick first-down completion, the Eagles looked on their way until DeMarcus Lawrence knifed through the line to stop Murray for a six-yard loss on the second play of the second half. That seemed to set the tone for the drive as Murray was stopped again for a five-yard loss, followed by a give-up 11-yard screen to Darren Sproles. With the Eagles facing a third-and-11, the Cowboys decided to rush the punter, resulting in Danny McCray's block and Kyle Wilber's scoop and score for a 13-0 lead. Without that tackle for loss by Lawrence, the Cowboys might not have felt as comfortable to come after the punt because a running-into-the-punter foul could've resulted in a first down. Instead, Lawrence's tackle allowed the Cowboys to be aggressive, which led to a 13-0 lead.
  3. Flag picked up – The Cowboys were called for 18 penalties in the game. But one of the flags that got picked up might have been the biggest game-changer of them all. After the blocked punt, Kyle Wilber appeared to have an easy touchdown return but Jeff  Heath was called for an unsportsmanlike personal foul penalty with a blind-side hit on the punter. But after a discussion with the refs, they determined Heath indeed led with his shoulder and got just in front to make it a legal hit. That gave the Cowboys the touchdown at 13-0. Had the penalty been enforced, the Cowboys would've been back around the 30-yard line and considering their offensive struggles, might not have scored more than a field goal.
  4. McFadden's first-down plunge –He didn't get many carries, but Darren McFadden made the most of one offensive series in the fourth quarter as the Romo-less Cowboys were trying to move the chains and work on the clock. Facing a third-and-2 at the Dallas 48 with 11:21 to play, McFadden made a nifty run in the hole where he shifted to the left and was able to push the pile forward for a key first down. As the Cowboys led 13-3, grinding the clock was important and while this drive ended with a turnover, the Cowboys were able to bleed nearly four more minutes of game clock down before the Eagles got the ball.
  5. Hustle by the rookie – Offensive lineman La'el Collins made his NFL debut on Sunday and while he just rotated at left guard with Mackenzy Bernadeau, it was a hustle play on his part that proved to be a pivotal play. The Cowboys led 13-3 around the 7:45 mark in the fourth when tight end Gavin Escobar coughed up the ball after a catch. Philly's Malcom Jenkins scooped up the ball and had a clear path to the end zone. But Collins had an angle on Jenkins and was able to run him down at the Cowboys' 30 after a 34-yard gain. Considering the Eagles, still had work to do, they got into a hurry-up mode but on first down, Bradford wasn't ready for a shotgun snap and the ball was fumbled in the backfield and eventually recovered by Nick Hayden. The next time Philly got the ball, it was less than five minutes remaining in the fourth.
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