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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Vote: Five plays that shaped the game

By Jean-Jacques Taylor

IRVING - There were 137 plays - 75 on offense and 62 on defense - in the Cowboys’ victory against Washington. Here are five that shaped the game:

Play: Jason Witten penalty
Situation: Third-and-6 at Washington 7
Score: Tied, 0-0
Time: 10:29 left in first quarter
Taylor's Take: The Cowboys, trying to take a 7-0 lead for the first time this season, had a third-down situation they convert 56.8 percent (25 of 44). Witten, third on the team with four false starts behind only Doug Free (8) and Tyron Smith (5) - flinched. Now, the Cowboys faced a third-and-11, a down and distance they convert just 21.4 percent of time (42 of 145). Who’s surprised they settled for yet another red zone field goal.

Play: Dez Bryant fumble
Situation: Third-and-2 at Washington 46
Score: Washington led, 7-3
Time: 10:49 left in second quarter
Taylor's Take: Bryant caught a slant and put the ball away, but cornerback Josh Wilson put his helmet right on the ball and knocked it out. Washington recovered and six plays later lad 14-3.

Play: Pierre Garcon touchdown catch
Situation: Second-and-12 from Washington 41
Score: Washington, 14-3
Time: 2:25 left in second quarter
Taylor's Take: The Cowboys needed a stop in the worst way, and they almost got it. Bruce Carter, dropping into coverage, came a fingernail away from deflecting Robert Griffin’s pass down the middle. Instead, Garcon reached back and made a nifty catch, and when Brandon Carr lost his balance Garcon took it to the end zone for a 21-3 lead.

Play: Danny McCray missed tackle
Situation: Second-and-nine from Dallas 43
Score: Washington, 35-28
Time: 4:02 left in third quarter
Taylor's Take: Leonard Hankerson ran a simple curl route in front of safety Danny McCray, who drops him four yards shy of a first down if he tackles him. Instead, he missed the tackle and the Redskins took another 1:09 off the clock and finished the drive with a game-clinching field goal.

Play: Tony Romo incompletion
Situation: Second-and-7 from Washington 41
Score: Washington, 38-28
Time: 1:03 left in fourth quarter
Taylor's Take: Bryant nearly made yet another sensational catch in the back of the end zone after leaping over Cedric Griffin. As he pulled the ball in safety Madieu Williams dislodged it with a hard hit.