EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Once again, the Cowboys came out flat in the first half and had to fight themselves back into the game, but ran out of time.
The Jets’ 24-22 win had plenty of exciting, hard-hitting and even controversial moments. But all games have those hidden plays that perhaps go unnoticed or are forgotten yet still played a huge role in the outcome.
Here are the five plays you can’t forget about:
Horse-collar extends drive – The Jets’ first scoring drive appeared to end with a field goal when the Cowboys were able to force Sam Darnold to a short run near the goal line. But Maliek Collins was flagged for a horse-collar tackle, bringing down the Jets quarterback by the top of his jersey. Instead of New York settling for a short field goal, the penalty gave the Jets a first down inside the 5-yard line. After three plays, Le’Veon Bell scored to put the home team up 7-0.
Stuffed on third-and-short - The Cowboys trailed 7-3 and were on the move to take the lead, facing third-and-1 from the 5-yard line. But an inside run to Ezekiel Elliott was met by a host of Jets defenders, who swarmed him for a 1-yard loss. Instead of taking the field goal, the Cowboys tried a designed run for Dak Prescott that was also dropped for a loss. The Jets took over on downs and needed one play to score a 92-yard touchdown, extending their lead to 14-3. But it all comes back to the third-down run where the Cowboys failed to get 1 yard, leaning on what is supposed to be their bread-and-butter play.
Offensive PI wipes out score – The Cowboys thought they had scored their first touchdown of the game early in the third quarter. But a TD pass to Jason Witten was taken off the board due to a pass interference penalty on Cedrick Wilson, who was called for an illegal pick that freed up Witten. The Cowboys argued the call, saying Wilson simply ran his route and the two defenders both covered him and collided, freeing up Witten in the end zone. The Cowboys moved back 10 yards and settled for a field goal, keeping the team down by two scores.
Overthrown pass to Witten – Starting the fourth quarter, the Cowboys trailed 21-9 but had some momentum on offense with a first down at the Jets’ 23-yard line. Coming out of the break, the Cowboys called for a deep pass to Witten, which was incomplete. The low-percentage pass to the tight end, who has never been a player to go up and get 50-50 balls in the air, proved to be a problem as the Cowboys only gained 1 yard on the next two plays. Brett Maher then missed a 40-yard kick in a game that eventually ended with a 2-point deficit.
Jets grab momentum back – The Cowboys had scored their first touchdown and had cut the once 21-3 lead down to 21-16. While it might seem as if the Jets were fighting an uphill battle at that point, they came out and got a 25-yard completion from Darnold to Jamison Crowder on first down that put them back in business. They eventually kicked a 38-yard field goal that proved to be huge for an 8-point lead, as the Cowboys drove down and scored, but couldn’t get the two-point conversion.