Football is a game of inches and sometimes less.
Facing a fourth-and-1 at their own 39 yard line against the Oakland Raiders with 4 minutes, 31 seconds left in the game, the Cowboys went for it.
And they got it by the slimmest of margins.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Quarterback Dak Prescott sneaked into a pile of bodies at the 40 yard line.
When referee Gene Steratore measured, he used a sheet of paper to see if there was any separation between the nose of the ball and the yard marker.
First down Dallas.
“He didn’t have to do that,” Prescott told NBC Sports after the game. “I got it. It wasn’t that close.”
Seven plays later, Dan Bailey made a 19-yard field goal for a 20-17 lead with 1 minute, 44 seconds left in the game.
“I saw air,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said of the measurement. “It was pretty obvious. They (officials) do the best they can. It’s a tough job.”
Oakland moved to the Cowboys’ 8, but Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fumbled out of the end zone, after a hit by safety Jeff Heath, while scrambling on a third-and-3 play for a touchback with 31 seconds left.
“It shows the character of this team. That game might sum up this season,” Prescott said. “We have a couple of more to go.”