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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Five key plays that shaped game vs. Saints

By Jean-Jacques Taylor

Play: Darren Sproles 44-yard reception
Situation: First-and-10 from New Orleans 30
Score: Tied, 14-14
Time: :47 left in second quarter
Taylor's Take: After the Cowboys burned just 15 seconds on their last possession of the first half, it gave New Orleans a chance to take the lead. Sproles circled out of the backfield and beat cornerback Sterling Moore inside, catching the ball at the 40. Gerald Sensabaugh missed a tackle at the Dallas 45 and Sproles gained another 19 yards, setting up a field goal as time expired in first half.

Play: Drew Brees incompletion
Situation: Third-and-8
Score: Tied, 17-17
Time: 8:13 left in third quarter
Taylor's Take: It would’ve required a great play, but the Cowboys missed an opportunity to get a game-changing turnover. Sterling Moore, blitzing on the play, couldn’t get past the line of scrimmage but deflected Drew Brees‘ pass. Mike Jenkins changed directions and made a diving attempt to intercept the pass, but could only get one hand on it.

Play: James Hanna fumble recovery
Situation: Second-half kickoff
Score: New Orleans, 17-14
Time: 15:00 left in third quarter
Taylor's Take: Dwayne Harris muffed the opening kickoff and it ricocheted off his knee and into a pile of players. Somehow James Hanna fell on the ball, otherwise the Saints would’ve been in prime position to extend their lead to 10 points. Instead, the Cowboys drove for game-tying field goal.

Play: DeMarco Murray fumble
Situation: First-and-10 from Dallas 3
Score: Tied, 17-17
Time: 4:25 left in third quarter
Taylor's Take: The Cowboys were trying to move the ball off the goal line, when Murray’s body was twisted at the end of short run and the Saints ripped the ball out. It’s only the second fumble Murray has lost with the Cowboys, but each has occurred in the past two games. New Orleans turned the turnover into the go-ahead touchdown.

Play: Tony Romo incompletion
Situation: Third-and-5
Score: Tied, 31-31
Time: 13:47 left in overtime
Taylor's Take: The way the Cowboys’ defense was playing, they needed to score a touchdown on the first possession of overtime to win. Instead, they managed just one first down before punting. Romo went to Dez Bryant on a slant, but he ran a poor route and the play never had a chance.