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Cowboys ride big play bonanza to much-needed victory

by JOE TRAHAN

Bio | Email | Follow: @joetrahan

WFAA Sports

Posted on November 12, 2012 at 2:17 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 12 at 10:14 AM

It was the third quarter, and the Cowboys had somehow only managed one play longer than 20 yards. Then Tony Romo worked his magic.
 
He eluded three imminent, in-range pass rushers and foung Miles Austin for a 25-yard third down conversion that may have saved the season (for now).
 
"We like to allow him that freedom to make those Romo-type plays. And that certainly was a great example of that," said Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett. "He's got great vision; he's got great feel for people around him."
 
The difference between this game and the last two: The Cowboys made the sort of impactful plays in critical situations that we hadn't seen nearly enough so far this season.
 
Against the Giants, they came close. But this time around, Dez Bryant completed his big play chances. And the wide receiver knows how big a difference it made.
 
"It helped a lot... we gained momentum by making big plays, converting on third down," Bryant said. "It helped the team."
 
This season's Cowboys defense had been horrible at creating game-changing plays. Brandon Carr's first interception of the season -- for a touchdown, no less -- changed that in a hurry.
 
Add in Dwayne Harris' punt return TD, and in the space of a quarter and a half of football, the complexion of this season changed dramatically.
 
And its turns out to be history-making, as well.
 
Jason Hatcher completed the non-offensive touchdown tri-fecta; punt return, interception return, and fumble recovery -- a first in Cowboys history. Jason Garrett, the patron of the team's 'All Three Phases' philosophy, was more than a little pleased.
 
"I thought this was a really good team effort for our football team. Each of our units made signature plays in the ballgame. Difference-making plays. I thought we hung in there and I thought we believed in ourselves," Garrett said.
 
The timing of the Cowboys' big play bonanza was absolutely critical -- they were down in this game and their season was on life support…. but somehow they come up with some of the biggest plays we've seen all season. And now they'll look to build momentum through the stretch drive.
 
At 4-5, this team is still a long ways from being good. But after this game, there's still a chance to get there.
 

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