1. Short Catch & Fumble
Of Terrell Owens' two catches, this play certainly won't be remembered as much as his 57-yard touchdown. But T.O.'s 10-yard catch in the first quarter could've been disastrous. Instead, it led to a big play. On third-and-14, Tony Romo found Owens over the middle for a catch and it appeared he might have some room to get a first down. However, he fumbled the ball, recovered it back, but was tackled four yards short of the first down. Had he not come up with the catch, the Cowboys easily would've punted on fourth down. But with a more manageable fourth-and-four, they opted to go for it and give the ball on a sweep to Felix Jones, who not only got the first down, but a 33-yard touchdown to give Dallas a 10-0 lead.
2. Four-Points, Four Inches
The Cowboys got a big break early in the second quarter when officials ruled that Bengals tight end Ben Utecht made a first-down catch at the Cowboys' two-yard line that would've set up first-and-goal. However, the Cowboys challenged the play, which was reversed when the replay booth ruled that Utecht's right foot was about four inches out of bounds on the catch. Instead of first-and-goal, the Bengals settled for a field goal, cutting the Cowboys lead to 17-3. Had that play occurred last year, it's likely the officials would've ruled that a force-out play, meaning the defender pushed the receiver out of bounds and it could've been ruled a catch. The NFL wiped out that rule this past off-season, forcing all receivers to get two feet in bounds for every reception.
3. T.J.'s Holding Penalty
Once again, another four-point swing for the Bengals. It appeared that running back Chris Perry had sliced into the Cowboys' lead with a 17-yard touchdown run, but wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh was flagged for holding, a play that he angrily disputed. The Bengals were pushed back to the Cowboys' 17 again and had to settle for another field goal. So the Cowboys took a 17-6 halftime lead, instead of 17-10.
4. Keith Davis' Break-Up
This isn't even considered an official play, but it kept the Cowboys in the lead. Safety Keith Davis successfully broke up a pass to Utecht on a two-point conversion attempt that would've tied the score at 24, early in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati had just scored on another touchdown pass to Houshmandzadeh and was going for the tie. The Bengals singled up Utecht on Davis, who was playing strong safety for the injured Roy Williams and Pat Watkins. Davis didn't look back for the ball, but managed to get his hand in between Utecht's hands and the ball and batted it away, keeping the Cowboys in front.
5. Felix, Plus 15
With the Cowboys trying to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were able to flip the field position by 33 yards on a simple pitch to the left side to Felix Jones, who scampered 18 yards before he was brought down. However, a 15-yard face mask penalty pushed the ball down to the Bengals' 29. From there, the Cowboys added another first down and then a touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton to clinch the game.
They may not be the most memorable five plays. But without them, things could've been a bit different here Sunday at Texas Stadium.