PHILADELPHIA – The Cowboys had quite the start and finish to a wild one in Philly Sunday night. Their 21-point lead got erased but the Cowboys found a way to overcome a shaky middle of the game to claim the 38-27 win, which gives them sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
There were some big plays by both teams, but all games have those hidden plays that can be forgotten, but ended up playing a huge factor in the outcome. Here are five that changed this game:
Longest onside kick ever –It was such a big play in the game so it's hard to forget. But it was the first play of the game and so many other things happened afterward. It's such a momentum-based deal to get the ball start the game and to start the half. The Cowboys kicked off but the short kickoff fell to the ground where C.J. Spillman was there to cover it under the pile. It gave Dallas a free possession and a 7-0 lead after DeMarco Murray scored to finish the drive.
Late illegal contact call –The Cowboys were already prepping for a third-and-goal from the 9 when the referees finally threw a flag on the back side of the play, calling an illegal contact penalty on Cary Williams. Instead of third-and-goal, it became first-and-goal from the 4 and on second down, Romo hit Dez Bryant for his first touchdown catch of the game.
Illegal contact before TD to Dez –With a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, Romo was sacked on third down, pushing them out of field-goal range. But an illegal contact penalty on Eagles corner Cary Williams gave the Cowboys a first down. Just two plays later, Romo hooked up with Bryant on the other side for his second touchdown, extending the lead to 21-0.
Romo's 21-yard strike to Dez –With the Cowboys on the ropes, having seen their led erased and now trailing, the momentum was clearly gone. But on second-and-9 from their own 23, Romo stepped up and delivered a bullet to Bryant over the middle for a 21-yard gain. That calmed things down for a bit and the offense kept it up, with a big run by Murray that led to his go-ahead touchdown, giving Dallas a 28-24 lead.
Holding Philly to field goal – After the Cowboys led 35-24 early in the fourth, the Eagles got right back in position to score, thanks to a 44-yard reception by Josh Huff, and a 15-yard penalty for sideline interference. However, the Cowboys' defense stiffened, stopping the Eagles from getting another first down and forcing Philly into a field goal, keeping the lead at eight with 10:50 to play. Two big plays were Mark Sanchez overthrowing an open receiver on second down, and then Barry Church smothering tight end Zach Ertz short of the sticks on third down.