ARLINGTON, Texas – This game had record-breaking touchdowns – as Dak Prescott surpassed a couple of Cowboys legends – and it also had long runs and a defensive score.
Still, every game also has those plays that can get overlooked but still changed the course of the game. Here are five that made a difference in this one.
Cowboys convert early fourth down – On the Cowboys' second drive of the game, it appeared Ezekiel Elliott had picked up a third-down conversion but the referees marked him short at the 27-yard line. So they inserted Tony Pollard into the game on fourth-and-short and moved Elliott to fullback, where he took the inside handoff and got 6 yards to the 21-yard line for a first down. Had the Cowboys not picked up the first, the Colts would've stopped Dallas for two straight drives and took over leading 3-0. Instead, the Cowboys moved the chains and scored moments later.
Quick pass to CeeDee – Trailing 10-7 in the second quarter, the Cowboys were on the move at the Indianapolis 31-yard line, but had third-and-2. Dak Prescott fired a quick receiver screen to CeeDee Lamb, who did the rest, breaking a tackle on his way to a 22-yard gain to the 9-yard line. That set up a touchdown two plays later, but it was Lamb's catch-and-run that got them in position to take the lead.
Colts stop running, move backwards – The Colts were down 14-10 but driving into Cowboys territory thanks to a strong running attack led by Jonathan Taylor, who had picked up 5 yards on first down. But instead of sticking to the run, the Colts opted for two passes. The first was incomplete and likely should've been flagged for intentional grounding by Matt Ryan. But on third-and-5, Ryan was then sacked by a blitzing Anthony Barr, which led to a punt.
Hooker's INT changed the game – Before the half, the Cowboys were clinging to a 14-13 lead, but the Colts had the ball with a chance to take the lead. Instead, a deflected pass was intercepted by former Colts safety Malik Hooker. His return set up a touchdown to Michael Gallup that gave Dallas a 21-13 lead at the half.
Cowboys hold on 2-point conversion – Momentum can be a tricky thing. The Colts had just scored and were going for two to tie the game at 21. But rookie cornerback DaRon Bland was able to break up the pass at the goal line, keeping the Cowboys in the lead, 21-19. From there, it seemed as if the Cowboys woke up and eventually steamrolled the Colts the rest of the way.
(Bonus) Double whammy for the Colts – A weird sequence took place that turned out badly for the Colts, who nearly picked off Prescott late in the third quarter with Dallas driving and leading, 21-19. But the referees not only ruled that the potential interception hit the turf incomplete, but they then called the Colts for an illegal hit after the play – a play that should've been ruled dead because of the incomplete pass. So the Colts not only didn't get the ball, and chose not to challenge, but the Cowboys kept the ball and eventually scored in the fourth quarter on a touchdown pass to Gallup.