If the Dallas Cowboys make the NFL playoffs this season, they will look back at one play that sparked their turnaround. It happened last Sunday (11/11/2012) against the Philadelphia Eagles. The game was in Philadelphia, and the Cowboys and Eagles were desperately trying to avoid their sixth loss of the season. The loser of this game would surely miss the playoffs.
With two minutes left in the third quarter, the Cowboys were down 17-10 with a critical third-and-five at their own 39-yard line. The Eagles already scored twice in the quarter to take the lead. The Cowboys punted on their previous two possessions. Now the game was slipping away. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo dropped back to pass.
Romo was under immediate pressure. But he escaped one tackler, danced around another and fired a pass to wide receiver Miles Austin for 25 yards. First down. This was Romo at his best: improvising, reacting and executing. The play energized the Cowboys and gave them hope. Even though the Cowboys were still down by a touchdown, you just knew that this was their game.
Three plays later, Romo hit wide receiver Dez Bryant on a 30-yard strike. Touchdown.
On the first possession of the fourth quarter, the defense stopped the Eagles. Three-and-out.
Dwayne Harris returned the ensuing punt 78 yards. Touchdown.
Five plays later, Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr intercepted a Nick Foles pass and returned it 47 yards. Touchdown.
With a minute left in the game, the Cowboys sacked Foles and recovered his fumble. Touchdown.
That magical third-down play ignited the Cowboys, as they outscored the Eagles 28-6 from that point on. Prior to the game, the Cowboys were on the brink of missing the playoffs. Now the Cowboys have life, confidence and momentum. They are just a game and a half behind the NFC East-leading New York Giants. Their schedule is getting easier, while the Giants’ schedule is getting harder. The Cowboys are primed to make a run at the playoffs. And if they do, they will look back at the one play that changed their season. It will go down as a 25-yard completion on the stat sheet. But it just might pave the way to the playoffs and beyond.
More from this contributor:
How the Dallas Cowboys Can Make the Playoffs: A Fan’s Take
Can the Dallas Cowboys Win a Super Bowl with QB Tony Romo? Fan’s Take
Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant Deserves yet Another Chance: A Fan’s View
Edwin Torres has been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since the days of Tony Dorsett and Roger Staubach. He roots hard for the Cowboys even though he is sandwiched between New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles fans. For more articles, follow him on Twitter @FlipPoker.