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Don't Forget These 5

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Don't Forget These 5: Penalties Keep Drives Alive


SEATTLE – For the second straight week, the Cowboys found themselves down by two scores and having to play catch up. They did catch up and had a one-point lead again, but this time the Seahawks were left too much time and found a way to win this wild game, 38-31.

But like all games, there were some hidden plays that might have gone unnoticed that were a big factor in the outcome.

Here are the five you can't forget about:

Trio of Not-So Special Plays – Here are three different plays rolled up into one. But they're all on special teams and they affected the outcome. Tony Pollard's muffed kickoff put the ball on the 1-yard line, which led to a safety. You take those two points and the two more the Cowboys missed with extra points and we're talking about a different final drive. Instead of being down seven, perhaps the Cowboys would be down just three and looking for a game-tying field goal instead of having to throw the ball into the end zone.

Worley penalty wipes out sack– In the second quarter, the Cowboys had way too many penalties that extended drives. One of the biggest occurred midway through the second when it appeared they were getting off the field after a sack by Jourdan Lewis. But away from the play, Daryl Worley was called for illegal contact, giving Seattle a first down. Instead of punting the ball away with the score tied 9-9, the Seahawks kept the ball and scored a touchdown to grab a seven-point lead.

Illegal contact upheld on Smith – Some might say the interception by Dak Prescott before halftime should be on this list, but I don't think it's really a forgotten play. Right after it, though, there was a questionable sequence that looked like offsetting penalties, but the officials changed the call and kept illegal contact by Jaylon Smith, despite Russell Wilson being out of the pocket. Offsetting penalties would've likely forced the Seahawks to settle for a field goal, but instead they got the ball inside the 5-yard line and scored a touchdown to take a 23-15 lead at halftime.

Cowboys call 3 straight passes – The Cowboys had fought themselves back in the game and were looking to take the lead, trailing 30-28 in the final five minutes. With a first down at the 21-yard line with 4:19 left, the Cowboys got flagged for a penalty and then threw three straight passes that only took 16 seconds off the clock and only 2 yards were gained. So the Cowboys still took the lead with a field goal, but there was 4:03 to play. Running the ball there might've resulted in a different outcome with the first down, but it definitely would've taken more time off the clock and put the Seahawks in more of a hurry on their next drive.

Seattle converts crucial fourth down – How different is this game if Seattle doesn't get a fourth-and-3 with 2:37 left? While Russell Wilson was always in control, he had to get a fourth down pass to Greg Olsen at midfield late in the game. Olsen did a nice job of finding space in the middle to make the catch and keep the chains moving. The Seahawks were able to take the lead with a touchdown pass to Metcalf to go up by seven with the following 2-point conversion.


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