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Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Vote: Five plays that shaped Cowboys' win over Carolina

By Jean-Jacques Taylor

Play: Tony Romo overthrows Miles Austin
Situation: First-and-9
Time: 48 seconds left in first quarter
Score: Tied, 0-0
Taylor's Take: This offense struggles so much to score touchdowns instead of field goals that Romo simply can't miss what should've been his easiest TD pass of the season. Austin was wide open. It's disheartening when an 18-play, 81-yard drive that lasts 10:10 ends with a field goal.

Play: Cam Newton incompletion
Situation: First-and-10
Time: 8:54 left, fourth quarter
Score: Carolina, 14-13
Taylor's Take: If the 5-9, 245-pound fullback was a couple of inches taller, the Cowboys might be talking about a 2-4 start this week. Tolbert circled out of the backfield and split linebackers Dan Connor and Bruce Carter as he sprinted down the left hashmark, but Newton overthrew him. Gerald Sensabaugh was the only player between Tolbert and the goalline.

Play: Tony Romo scrambles for 10 yards
Situation: First-and-10 at Carolina 41
Time:6:04 left, fourth quarter
Score:Carolina, 14-13
Taylor's Take: Carolina pressured Romo heavily, which is why he scrambled. If he had been given just a little time to survey the field, he would've seen Jason Witten all alone in the middle of the field. The first down was good; a TD would've been better.

Play: Morris Claiborne pass deflection
Situation: Fourth-and-11
Time: 2:45 left, fourth quarter
Score: Dallas, 16-14
Taylor's Take: The Cowboys made Claiborne the first defensive player selected in the draft because he was the best defensive player in college football with a reputation as a playmaker. Instead of playing soft on fourth down, Claiborne was aggressive and ran through Carolina receiver Louis Murphy. Claiborne should've been called for interference, but since he wasn't the play was terrific.

Play: Sean Lee pass deflection
Situation: Third-and-16
Time: 9:39 left, first quarter
Score: Tied, 0-0
Taylor's Take: Lee made one of the best plays you'll see this season. Louis Murphy had caught the ball and was pulling it into his body, when a diving Lee knocked it out of his hands. Allowing a one-win team to convert third-and-16 could've easily led to Carolina scoring first and creating momentum.