In the NFL, the little things that coaches preach about often turn into big things that few people see or remember in a game.
Such was the case for the Dallas Cowboys in their 30-10 win over the New York Giants Sunday.
Before the two fourth-quarter touchdowns by Rod Smith.
Before Jason Witten’s 20-yard touchdown catch.
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There was the block and shield.
The game-turning play was a 54-yard catch and run by Cole Beasley on a third-and-2 play from the Dallas 26-yard line.
Dak Prescott threw a short pass left to Beasley, who turned inward after the catch and began running down the field. He received a shield block (more standing in the way than physical contact, but it works) by Dez Bryant and another block by Terrance Williams that allowed Beasley to take the ball to the Giants’ 20.
On the next play, Prescott threw a touchdown to Jason Witten to give the Cowboys a 17-10 lead with 7 minutes, 38 seconds left in the game.
What could have been a 15- or 20-yard gain became a momentum-swinging 54-yard gain and led to the go-ahead touchdown.
Later in the game, Williams and Bryant escorted Rod Smith into the end zone on an 81-yard score as five New York defenders pursued.
“I really wasn’t expecting it, but I felt like I was open. He threw it to me and I just went to the house,” Smith said. “I had T-dub (Williams) and Dez out there blocking, escorting me, so I appreciate them for that.”
The stat sheets will show Bryant with three catches for 73 yards and one touchdown and Williams with three catches for 25 yards.
There is no statistical category for what Bryant and Williams did on those other big plays or how they influenced them with their routes down the field. Yet, their play helped set in motion a 20-point fourth quarter that keeps the Cowboys’ slim playoff hopes alive.
“There are a lot of little plays that happen within a play like that. A last shove by an offensive lineman that gives the quarterback a place to throw. The location of the ball by the quarterback. Or maybe a block after the ball is caught,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “A lot of guys are involved in those plays. That’s always an emphasis for us. A lot of little plays make some big plays for you and that certainly happened today.”
Dallas Cowboys 2017 Schedule
Sept. 10 Cowboys 19, New York Giants 3
Sept. 17 Denver 42, Cowboys 17
Sept. 25 Cowboys 28, Arizona 17
Oct. 1 Los Angeles Rams 35, Cowboys 30
Oct. 8 Green Bay 35, Cowboys 31.
Oct. 15 Bye
Oct. 22 Cowboys 40, San Francisco 10
Oct. 29 Cowboys 33, Washington 19
Nov. 5 Cowboys 28, Kansas City 17
Nov. 12 Atlanta 27, Cowboys 7
Nov. 19 Philadelphia 37, Cowboys 9
Nov. 23 L.A. Chargers 28, Cowboys 6
Nov. 30 Cowboys 38, Washington 14
Dec. 10 Cowboys 30, New York Giants 10
Dec. 17 at Raiders (KXAS/5) 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 24 vs. Seattle (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Philadelphia (KDFW/4) Noon