Everything's bigger and better in Texas, right? Including Sunday night football.
It was a down-to-the-wire, overtime thriller, but in the end, the Dallas Cowboys saw state bragging rights head south, losing 19-16 to the Houston Texans in front of 72,008 fans on hand and a prime-time television audience.
Despite the excitement, the Cowboys offense once again struggled on the road, the team still winless away from AT&T Stadium this season. The unit finished with just 292 yards of offense as quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 208 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for a passer rating of 66.5.
Meanwhile, his counterpart, Deshaun Watson, proved to be a handful for the Dallas defense. The Texans quarterback completed 75 percent of his passes for 375 yards with a touchdown and an interception as well for a 98.2 passer rating. He also made an impact in the running game, totaling 46 rushing yards in helping Houston to 462 yards of total offense.
Still, the Cowboys defense did enough to win. They kept the Texans out of the end zone four times when inside the Dallas 3-yard line and limited their opponent to less than 20 points for the third time this season.
Conversely, though, the Cowboys offense couldn't top 20 points for the fourth time this year despite early on actually making some noise, as the unit was able to put points on the board on each of its first two possessions. Prescott came out firing on the team's opening drive, completing 4-of-5 pass attempts for 59 yards in guiding Dallas to the Houston 8-yard line. But the Cowboys couldn't reach the end zone and instead had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Brett Maher.
That was then followed by three more points on Dallas' next series, Maher good this time from 43 yards to put the Cowboys up 6-0 in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived. Although Houston missed a 48-yard field goal on its first possession, the home side marched all the way to pay dirt on its next drive. Watson picked apart the Dallas defense, throwing for 52 yards and scrambling for another 13, his final pass a shuffle to wide receiver Keke Coutee who scampered in from the 1-yard line to move the Texans ahead, 7-6.
Which soon became a 10-6 advantage. Once again Houston was able to gain ground deep into Cowboys territory, thanks to a 12-play, 79-yard drive. And while Dallas was able to limit the damage, Texans kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn was still good on a chip-shot 20-yard field goal.
Despite the score, the Cowboys went into halftime with a charge. Yes, the Texans had one last shot to add points after safety Kareem Jackson intercepted a Prescott pass that went off the hands of receiver Tavon Austin. And yes, Houston quickly reached the red zone for the third straight possession.
But on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line with 10 seconds left in the half, linebacker Jaylon Smith hit Watson, who was darting for the right pylon, and drove the quarterback out of bounds short of the goal line to keep the Cowboys within three points at the break.
And that momentum carried over into the start of the third quarter when on the Texans third play of their series, Dallas cornerback Anthony Brown forced a DeAndre Hopkins fumble with Jourdan Lewis scooping it up and returning the prize to the Houston 16-yard line.
Five plays later, the Cowboys were back in front. In a perfectly designed play, Prescott found Allen Hurns in the back of the end zone for the receiver's first touchdown with the team, his catch upping the score to 13-10.
Just like earlier in the game, however, the lead wouldn't last. The Texans evened the tally later in the third quarter on a 21-yard field goal, and then went back on top early in the fourth.
Starting at its own 40-yard line, Houston quickly was able to work its way down the field, thanks in part to a pass interference call on Byron Jones that gave the Texans first-and-goal at the Cowboys 1-yard line. But the defense held, forcing a field goal that gave Houston the lead, 16-13.
But the seesaw continued as Dallas wasn't about to give up. Taking over at their own 25-yard line, the Cowboys got things going with Prescott twice escaping a near sack and then completing a 44-yard pass to Austin. That led to a 48-yard field goal by Maher, the score evened up yet again, 16-16, with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
And that's where it would remain at the end of regulation. Both sides had their opportunities, including Cowboys safety Xavier Woods who picked off a pass with 10 seconds left, but neither could finish things off in the fourth quarter.
That left it to overtime, and the Cowboys won the coin toss and the ball. But Dallas could only reach the Houston 42-yard line before coming up short on a third-and-1 call. After the ensuing punt, the Texans got going at their own 10-yard line and proceeded to march right down the field.
The big blow came when Watson found Hopkins across the middle, the receiver then breaking loose on a highlight-reel run all the way down to the Dallas 27-yard line. Three handoffs later and out came Fairbairn for a 36-yard field goal attempt. With his kick splitting the uprights, the Texans had their win.
With the loss, the Cowboys fell to 2-3 on the season, having yet to win or lose consecutive games this year. They'll now head back home to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at 3:25 p.m. next Sunday, Oct. 14.