ST. LOUIS – The Cowboys had their share of huge plays that allowed them to come back from a 21-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Rams 34-31.
But all games have those hidden plays that can be forgotten, but end up playing a huge factor in the outcome. Here are a handful that changed this game.
1. Witten picks up first down– The Cowboys were down 21-0 and it was getting ugly quick. The Rams had just scored on an interception return, and this thing wasn't looking good at all. The Cowboys had a third-and-3 at their own 27 with 4:42 left in the half and were showing no signs of turning it around. That's when Tony Romo hit Jason Witten over the middle for an 8-yard gain to extend the drive. That stopped the bleeding a bit, and was followed by a pair of nice runs from DeMarco Murray. After a pass interference penalty in the end zone, Murray got a 1-yard touchdown to get the Cowboys on the board. Without the Witten first down, the Rams get the ball back with good field position and might have been 24-0 or 28-0 at the half.
2. Fumbled Snap– After the Cowboys cut the lead to 21-7, the Rams were back at it again and on the move for more points before the half. But on third-and-1 at the Cowboys' 44, Rams center Scott Wells didn't fire the ball back for a shotgun. Instead his snap just rolled down to the ground with the Cowboys pouncing on it with 39 seconds to play. Thanks to a couple of short passes and a questionable personal foul penalty on the Rams for hitting Romo high, the Cowboys got a field goal from Dan Bailey to trim the lead to 21-10.
3. Scandrick stops Britt short– Sure, the fourth-down stop in the third quarter was a big momentum shift, but the play before set it up. On third-and-2, the Rams had Kenny Britt running over the middle for a would-be first down, but after his crossing route catch, Orlando Scandrick got him down quickly just a few inches from the sticks. After a measurement, the Rams decided to go for the first down and Zac Stacey was stopped cold for a 1-yard loss, giving the ball back to Dallas, trailing 21-17.
4. Holding on Britt– The play the Rams are likely kicking themselves over is the dropped touchdown pass in the end zone by tight end Jared Cook, which would've given the Rams a 28-20 lead. But a few plays earlier actually changed the course of the drive. The Rams had picked up three first downs in four plays and had first-and-10 at the Cowboys' 17 late in the third. But on a 3-yard run, Britt was flagged for holding on the outside, pushing the ball back out to the 24 for a first-and-17. The Rams were able to get to the 10 and nearly scored on the pass to Cook, but the holding penalty pushed the Rams and changed their momentum. They ended up with just a field goal, opening the door for the Cowboys to take the lead [embedded_ad]
5. Romo on the run– Trailing 24-20 in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys had two different third-and-13 plays. The first was on their own 13-yard line and Romo found a wide-open middle and decided to take off. Not only was he in the clear, but he even made a move on a linebacker to get some extra yards and the first down. That play not only extended the drive, but also likely showed his teammates, the Rams and everyone else wondering that Romo still had the ability to move around in the pocket. His feet bought him some time a few plays later to hit Terrance Williams for a key first down and that duo eventually hooked up again for a go-ahead touchdown later in the possession. The 11-play, 84-yard drive doesn't happen without Romo's scramble.
(Bonus Play) Punt return wipes out 2-minute warning – After stopping the Cowboys late in the game, the Rams were ready to get the ball back down 34-31 with a chance to tie or perhaps win. The Cowboys had to punt with 2:11 on the clock and although the Rams were out of timeouts, they seemingly had the 2-minute warning to stop the clock. However, Chris Jones' punt was fielded by Austin Pettis at the 23 and he danced around for a few seconds before finally going down at the 24. The clock went all the way down to 1:58 so the 2-minute warning was used on a change of possession when the clock stops anyway. More importantly, the Rams were flagged for a holding penalty, pushing the ball back to the 14.