LOS ANGELES – This game had it all – from big plays, long drives, turnovers, near turnovers and, of course, a game-winning kick.
But there are many moments that can get overlooked. Here are five "hidden" plays to remember that certainly played a big part in the outcome.
- Diggs with the early pick – We'll probably talk more about the interception that Damontae Kazee had in the end zone during the third quarter, but don't sleep on the play Diggs made in the first. Not only was it an amazing diving catch, but it stopped what appeared to be a big drive out of the gate by the Chargers. They quickly were marching down the field until Diggs jumped in front with the pick. That was huge for the momentum swing and confidence of the defense playing without so many starters.
- Chargers give away the special gift – The Cowboys basically handed the Chargers a three-point gift when they were called for a personal foul for roughing the punter with two minutes left in the first half. The Chargers kept the ball and drove down to the Cowboys' 26-yard but they missed a 44-yard field goal off the upright, keeping the Cowboys in the lead, 14-11.
- Zack Martin recovers the fumble, Cowboys get FG – The Cowboys had seven players on offense who were able to contribute Sunday with the ball in their hands. But none of them was as big as the time both Zack Martin and Tyron Smith scooped up a fumble by Dak Prescott in the third quarter. Prescott was sacked and fumbled on a third-down pass attempt from the red zone. Martin was credited with the recovery at the bottom of the pile, but he said it was Smith who also had his arms around it as well. Either way, the Cowboys kept the ball and Greg Zuerlein booted a key field goal for a 17-14 lead.
- Chargers penalty wipes out TD – With the Cowboys clinging to that 17-14 advantage, it looked as if the Chargers were about to take the lead. But a touchdown pass from Justin Herbert to Jared Cook was taken off the board when a late flag was thrown because the Chargers were not set before the snap. The 5-yard penalty pushed them back to the 7, but then Micah Parsons was able to corral Herbert for a sack and a huge 18-yard loss. The Chargers had to play for the field goal to tie the game.
- Zeke converts third down on final drive – The Cowboys had a third-and-4 from their own 19-yard line with 2:34 to play. They ran Ezekiel Elliott out of the backfield on a quick pass to the sideline for 7 yards to move the sticks. Seems like a simple play, but without that first down, the Cowboys have to punt from near their own end zone with the Chargers only needing a field goal for the win. So while it was rather routine, it was a drive-saving play to keep the ball out of Herbert's hands.