ARLINGTON – Sunday’s game appeared to be slipping away from the Dallas Cowboys.
With the offense playing sloppy, the home team was in desperate need of a spark. So the Cowboys turned to. . .Chris Jones?
With the Philadelphia Eagles doing their best to silence the sellout crowd of 93,103 at AT&T Stadium, Jones produced a surprise play that helped turn the tide in the Cowboys’ favor. As the Cowboys were facing a fourth-and-8 from their own 27 late in the third quarter, Jones went back into punt formation.
But instead of performing his customary punt, Jones pulled up and skirted 30 yards around the left end for a key first down at the Philadelphia 43. The Cowboys wound up getting a 23-yard Dan Bailey field goal out of Jones’ quick-thinking play to inch within 20-13 of the Eagles.
"That is the first fake punt I think I’ve ran since probably high school,’’ the 27-year old Jones said. "We knew going into the week to look for a specific look, and what they gave us was favorable to that.
"So we had to steal a possession to get back in the game, and it worked. I just had to trust the play-calling and do what I was supposed to do.’’
The heads-up play by Jones helped set the tables for a game the Cowboys eventually won, 29-23 in overtime.
And what did Jones hear from his teammates as he headed to the sidelines? Jones noted: "All I heard was the dude’s got wheels, the dude’s got wheels.’’
Jones said he practices the fake punt play depending on the week, on the opponent and what type of defensive fronts they’re giving the Cowboys. He also said the fake punt was specifically practiced this past week.
"If a specific look comes up we call it off,’’ Jones said. "But with that look its kind of a slow and go, so you try to read it out, find a hole and take off.
"When that’s called, you want to be able to do it, because, like I said, it’s been forever since I’ve ran a fake punt. It was a good feeling.’’
As the momentum-changing play was developing, Jones kept seeing a lot of real estate in front of him. In fact, Jones’ 30-yard scamper was the longest run of the game by anyone who suited up on Sunday.
"I would have been happy with nine (yards),’’ Jones said. "A first down would have been great.’’
Jones got that. . .and much, much more.