Don't Forget These 5

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Don’t Forget These 5: Game-Changing Penalties

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ARLINGTON, Texas – In a game where both teams were lighting up the scoreboard and the stat sheet, there were plenty of highlights to remember.

Some of the biggest plays occurred early in the game, including a dropped pass by Amari Cooper that led to the first of three interceptions.

But this game also had plenty of plays that might be overlooked, yet still had a huge impact in the outcome. Here are the five biggest that you can’t forget about:

Dak sacked out of FG range – On the Cowboys’ second offensive possession, following the interception on the first drive, the offense was on the move again to the Packers’ 37-yard line. But on third-and-7 from the 34, Dak Prescott held onto the ball too long in the pocket and was sacked for a 10-yard loss back to the 44, which forced a punt. While nothing seems to be automatic for Brett Maher lately, he still would’ve had a shot at a 51-yard field goal to get on the board. The Packers were able to march the field on the ensuing drive for 89 yards and a touchdown for a 14-0 lead.

Austin flagged for holding – While Prescott’s second interception was one of his worst plays of the game, it occurred just two plays after a key holding call on Tavon Austin outside. The Cowboys were at the Green Bay 34-yard line and Ezekiel Elliott ripped off a 17-yard run to the 17, but it was called back due to Austin getting flagged for holding. Instead of getting into the red zone trailing 14-0, the Cowboys were back to first-and-17 from the 41. Prescott was picked off on second down to kill the drive.

Option run snuffed out by Packers – On first and goal from the Packers’ 7-yard line, trailing 24-0, Dallas desperately needed a touchdown. The Cowboys called an option run to the left side, but Green Bay was all over it, stuffing Elliott for a 2-yard loss back to the 9. That led to two more passes, including a sack for a 9-yard loss that resulted in a field goal, trimming the Packers’ lead to just 24-3.

PI on Brown, failed challenge – Late in the third quarter, the Packers, staying aggressive with a 24-3 lead, tried a deep pass to Valdes-Scantling that was incomplete. But Anthony Brown was called for pass interference, giving Green Bay a 39-yard penalty. Jason Garrett decided to challenge the play, but it was upheld. What that did was limit the Cowboys to just one more challenge the rest of the game, which proved to be costly as he couldn’t challenge a fourth-quarter play that might’ve been pass interference and negated Prescott’s third interception. Meanwhile, after the Packers’ PI, they scored another touchdown to take a 31-3 lead.

Heath’s penalty extends drive – The Cowboys were mounting a comeback and trailed 31-17 early in the fourth quarter. The Packers faced a third-and-5 at their 30-yard line when veteran tight end Jimmy Graham got tangled up with Jeff Heath on a route. The officials called Heath for defensive holding when it appeared as if Graham might’ve just tripped. Either way, the Packers got a first down and were able to chew off two more minutes of the clock before punting. The Cowboys threw an interception on their next offensive play.

Bonus Play

Penalty before missed FG – False start penalties typically don’t matter a lot, but with the Cowboys trying to cut the Packers’ lead to seven, Xavier Su’a-Filo was flagged for a false start before a field goal by Maher, who followed through with the 28-yard kick and made it. But the penalty pushed the ball back for a 33-yarder, which Maher just sailed to the right, ending the Cowboys’ chances of a comeback.

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