ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys have now won three straight games, thanks to an explosive third quarter that saw them break away from a close game.
There were some big runs and passes, and two more picks by Trevon Diggs, along with five sacks. But like always, we've got a handful of plays that altered the game that could be forgotten. Here are five "hidden" plays to remember that certainly played a big part in the outcome.
- Dak recovers, takes off – On the Cowboys' first scoring drive, the offense was already backed up with a first-and-20 after a penalty. On the next play, Dak Prescott took a very low shotgun snap and fumbled it on the carpet before he quickly picked it up and then got his composure in time to run towards the left sideline. Prescott went for 15 yards to keep the momentum rolling. The offense continued the drive and scored for a 7-0 lead.
- Schultz fumble not called – Minutes after a Dalton Schultz fumble was overturned, the tight end again lost the ball after a catch. But this time, the officials said his progress had been stopped, a play that even Schultz said himself he wasn't sure was the right call. The Cowboys kept the ball and eventually drove for a touchdown, taking a 13-7 lead.
- Darnold's miss leads to FG miss – Leading 14-13 to begin the third, Carolina was on the move but facing a third-and-7 at the Cowboys' 36-yard line. Sam Darnold had heavy pressure in his face and had to rush a throw to D.J. Moore over the middle. Moore was open but the pass was behind him, leading to a fourth-down. The Panthers missed the field goal of 54 yards and the Cowboys were able to take over and eventually score.
- Carolina's double timeouts – At the 5:50 mark in third quarter, and then at 3:48 in the third, the Panthers burned two of their three timeouts. The first one was to decide whether or not to go for it on fourth-and-1. They eventually did and made it. Just two minutes later, they called another timeout because of the wrong alignment. But on the next play, Darnold was picked off by Trevon Diggs. Those were big because at the end of the game with the Cowboys trying to run out the final four minutes of the clock, the Panthers only had just one timeout to use.
- Pollard for 18 on final drive – Despite the game Ezekiel Elliott had on the ground, he wasn't the first running back to begin the most critical drive of the fourth quarter. Leading now 36-28, the Cowboys gave the first down run to Tony Pollard, who ripped off an 18-yard rush out to the Dallas 37. Then Zeke got back in the game and picked up a few more first downs to run out the clock. But that first run by Pollard really put the Panthers in a bind, especially when they were out of timeouts at that point.