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Five plays that shaped first half

11/9/2011

ARLINGTON, Texas -- After every game, we seemingly always spend a couple of days talking about this play or that play and how it affected a Cowboys’ win or loss.

Well, the Cowboys are 4-4 at the midway point of the season and there have been more of a handful of plays that already have shaped their season.

The list only will get longer in the second half.

For now, though, the Cowboys are probably right where they deserve to be as we enter the second half of the season.

They should’ve beaten the New York Jets and Detroit, games they ultimately lost. And they should’ve lost to San Francisco and Washington, games they stole at the end.

That said, here’s a look at some of the plays that have played a role in the Cowboys’ season.

A couple were probably obvious to you, while a couple others may have surprised you.

They’re all important.

All you have to do is think how different the season would be, if these plays hadn’t occurred.


5. Rookie Leaves Mark

OPPONENT: St. Louis

SCORE: 0-0, Tied

SITUATION: First-and-10 from the Dallas 9 with 9:47 left in the first quarter.

PLAY: DeMarco Murray finds a big hole in the middle of the line, makes a nifty move on the safety and sprints 91 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown. It’s the second-longest TD run in franchise history and propels him to a 253-yard day -- the most in franchise history.

4. Connection Burns Skins

OPPONENT: Washington

SCORE: 16-15, Washington

SITUATION: Third-and-21 from Dallas 30 with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter

PLAY: Tony Romo eludes pressure and finds Dez Bryant downfield for a 30-yard gain after a leaping catch and run by Bryant. The play gets an additional 15 yards because DeAngelo Hall grabs Bryant’s facemask as he tackles him, moving the ball to the Washington 25 and setting up Dan Bailey’s game-winning field goal.

3. Romo's Pick Tips Scales

OPPONENT: Detroit

SCORE: 30-27, Dallas

SITUATION: First-and-10 from Dallas 20 with 4:22 left in the fourth quarter

PLAY: Tony Romo, pressured by Ndamukong Suh, heaved a pass off his back foot to Jason Witten, who was 25 yard downfield. Stephen Tulloch tipped the underthrown pass in the air before intercepting it.

2. Bailey To The Rescue

OPPONENT: San Francisco

SCORE: 24-24, Tied

SITUATION: Fourth-and-four from San Francisco 30 with :04 left in the fourth quarter

PLAY: Bailey missed a 21-yard attempt earlier in the game. The Cowboys didn’t call on him again until the final play of regulation, when they needed him to convert 48-yard with Candlestick Park’s tricky winds to send the game into overtime. He delivered, then sunk the 49ers in overtime as the Cowboys avoided an 0-2 start.

1. Opening Stumble

OPPONENT: New York Jets

SCORE: 24-17, Dallas

SITUATION: Third-and-2 from NY Jets 2 with 9:12 left in the fourth quarter

PLAY: A touchdown probably clinches the game, and a field goal makes it difficult for the Jets to win. The only thing Romo can’t do is turn the ball over. After not finding a receiver, Romo scrambled and tried to dive into the end zone. Romo tried to cover the ball up, but it was poked free and the Jets recovered.