ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys were in control for most of the game, even though it took a strong third quarter to pull away.
Dak Prescott had touchdowns both passing and rushing, and the defense finally got into the act with some sacks and pressure.
But all games have those hidden plays that perhaps go unnoticed or are forgotten but still play a huge role in the outcome.
Here are the five you can’t forget about:
Playground move nets 33-yard gain
There aren’t many plays to draw up that will work on third-and-20. And actually, the one the Cowboys called in the first quarter probably shouldn’t have. Dak Prescott was rolling right trying to extend the play when he showed that he might run, sucking in the Dolphins’ defenders who were covering Jason Witten in the flat. Witten alertly cut it upfield down the sideline, and with the defenders’ eyes now focused on Prescott, he lofted the pass to Witten for 33 yards. The first down led to the first touchdown of the game just moments later.
Hill ignites goal-line stop
For the first game of his career, Trysten Hill had two big plays early that kept the Dolphins out of the end zone. While the rookie from UCF wasn’t credited with stops, he did knife up the field twice on Miami’s running plays to help stuff Kalen Ballage, forcing a field goal. Instead of trimming the Cowboys’ lead to 10-7, it was just 10-3 and the Cowboys remained in control.
Cowboys benefit from Jaylon’s penalty
The Cowboys were in jeopardy of losing the lead before halftime with the Dolphins marching inside the 10-yard line in the final two minutes of the second quarter. Trailing just 10-6, Miami had a chance to score, and on second-and-10 from the 12, Jaylon Smith was flagged for defensive holding when it appeared that he had made a pass deflection. Instead of third down from the 12, which likely would’ve been a safe pass to protect a field-goal attempt, the Dolphins were at the 7-yard line and decided to run. Kenyan Drake was stripped of the ball by Smith and DeMarcus Lawrence recovered, giving possession back to Dallas. The penalty by Smith probably helped the Cowboys save a field goal, if not more.
Facemask on Cobb negates penalty
Because of a holding call on Connor Williams back at the line of scrimmage, the Cowboys seemingly had a 74-yard touchdown wiped off the board when Randall Cobb was running through the Dolphins defense early in the third quarter. But instead of it being second-and-19 from their own 16, the Dolphins were called for a personal foul facemask on Cobb down the field for an offsetting penalty. The Cowboys were able to get back on track with a 33-yard pass to Devin Smith on the next play and eventually scored a touchdown to grab a 17-6 lead.
Dolphins start driving backward
The Cowboys led 17-6 and were in control but Miami had some signs of life with the ball at their own 41 after a first down. But that’s when the ball started moving the other way. A penalty on the Dolphins for false start, followed by a 2-yard loss on a run and then a sack by Robert Quinn, pushed the line of scrimmage back to the 27. The Dolphins had to punt and the Cowboys were able to get decent field position at their 24. It took five minutes for the Cowboys to drive down for another touchdown.