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Game Changers

room to run. But just like that, Barber fumbles the ball in open space, and it's recovered by Osi Umenyiora, who doesn't just recover, but returns it 24 yards to the Cowboys' 28.  

We're talking about the Cowboys with the ball around the Giants 45 yard line with about a minute to play, and trying to extend a 10-7 lead. And with one cough-up, the Giants have the ball and the momentum again, and knocking at the door. That's all they needed, apparently.  

The Cowboys looked stunned on defense and whiffed on tackles during the next two plays. Before we knew anything, Jacobs was in the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown just before the half.  

The second big play occurred near the end of the third quarter. We're up in the press box, still yakking it up about Jason Garrett's great play call on Romo's touchdown pass to Roy Williams, trying to figure out if anyone has ever seen that play from any team, on any level.  

Well, as unique as that touchdown was to Romo, watching a 265-pound running back tap-dance down the sideline for a back-breaking touchdown is just as crazy. That's a play that's designed to get seven or eight yards and maybe a first down if Jacobs can turn up the field in time. Not only does he do that, but there's no defender in sight. Jacobs outruns the entire defense to the end zone, managing to keep his feet in bounds.  

Honestly, not a fan of Jacobs at all. He's big, he's fast and he's a huge back to try to stop. He's great at running the football, almost as great as he is running his mouth. Just watching him over the years, I don't care for his act. He has instigated a lot of the mess that has fueled this rivalry, both with locker room talk and on-the-field antics. For someone as big and powerful as he is, he's had a few pom-pom moments.  

All that being said, give him credit for making a big-time play that virtually broke the Cowboys' back.  

But if that play didn't do the Cowboys in, Hixon certainly did with his electrifying punt return. Now, I'm sure there are some people out there upset with Mat McBriar for out-kicking his coverage, but that's what he had to do in that situation. 

With the Cowboys down by a touchdown with 5:58 to play and back on their own 20, he's got no choice but to boom the ball as far as he can and hope someone . . . anyone, will make a tackle. So he launched a 59-yard rocket punt that was plenty high enough. But Hixon put on a show, making several of the Cowboys' covers guy look silly. In the end, Hixon did most of the work on his own, putting the game away with a 79-yard touchdown.  


Yes, the Cowboys rallied back and scraped their way to a touchdown. And it looked like they were just a few inches away from getting that onside kick in the final minute. Who knows what would've happened had they got the ball.  

It's not like the Giants had much of answer for Romo, who had a career day in just about every category possible. Romo set personal bests for his 55 attempts, his 41 completions and his .745 completion percentage. Throw in three touchdowns and a 112.1 quarterback rating, and that's quite a day for Romo.  

And it wasn't just him. Jason Witten catches 14 passes for a career-high 156 yards. Miles Austin might have had the quietest 10-catch day anyone has ever had. He gets 10, tying a career-high he set in Kansas City, albeit for just 104 yards and one touchdown. Even Roy Williams had a nice day, with six catches for 60 yards and two scores.  

So how did this team lose? Three plays.  

OK, save the e-mails. I know there were a few more reasons. Like rushing yards, missed field goals and a few errant throws and other missed opportunities. Yes, the Cowboys had several chances to win this game.  

But they didn't.  

Call it playing in December. Call it playing a tough, desperate road team - or it could be a little bit of both.  

But honestly, it looked like a close game, between two good football teams that know each other all too well. Those games usually come down to a handful of big plays.  

This one came down to three. And the Cowboys didn't get any of them.      

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