ARLINGTON, Texas – So that was the most surprising final score in the NFL on Sunday. No one could've seen Cowboys 40, Jaguars 7 coming, no matter who was picked to win.
The Cowboys owned the game from start to finish, with plenty of big plays that went in their favor. But like all games, there are several plays that go unnoticed or could be overlooked. Still, they play a huge role in the eventual outcome.
Let's look at five plays that changed the direction of this game.
Early pass to Gallup – Say what you want about the Cowboys' dominance in this game, there had to be some question marks even from within about how the offense could move the ball. Sure, they might've been confident, but they still had to go out and perform. So the early pass to Michael Gallup on third-and-9 not only accumulated 27 yards, but it gave a boost to the entire offense, team and even the crowd that, yes, the Cowboys can move the football. It led to a field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Jaguars' holding on the punt – The Cowboys led 3-0 in the first quarter and forced a Jacksonville punt at the 28-yard line. However, a short 30-yard punt, coupled with a holding call during the punt, allowed the Cowboys to add 10 yards to the end of the run. That put the ball at the Jaguars' 48, netting just 20 yards from their last line of scrimmage. The Cowboys took that field position and scored their first touchdown of the game.
Dak's double-dribble for a first down – The football usually bounces the way it wants to. Dropping it on the turf, or any surface for that matter, is no guarantee that you'll get it back. Dak Prescott did that twice on Sunday, but in the first quarter, facing second-and-7, he dropped the ball, only to have it bounce right back into his hands. The quarterback then calmly figured out how to gain 7 yards for a first down. That led to a touchdown – this time a 17-yard run by Prescott.
Too many men on the field penalty extends drive – The Cowboys were about to punt the ball to Jacksonville with a 17-0 lead on a fourth-and-1. But the Jaguars couldn't get all of their guys off the field before the punt, leading to a 5-yard penalty. That was enough for a first down and the Cowboys promptly marched the ball down the field for a 9-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Cole Beasley for a 24-0 lead at the half.
Dak's 28-yard run flips momentum – Jacksonville had finally scored to make it a 24-7 game, and it was important that the Cowboys got a first down or two. But Prescott got more than that with a 28-yard scramble around the left end, which led to a field goal by the Cowboys and a 27-7 lead. That was just enough to thwart any kind of comeback the Jaguars were mounting.