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Dallas Cowboys @ Oakland Raiders: Game Ball of the Week

“The GOAT” saves the season for the Cowboys.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. What. a. game.

The Dallas Cowboys pulled out a huge victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday Night Football in a game that had every Cowboys fan on the edge of their seat. It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but gutsy playcalling and clutch plays in big moments kept the Cowboys’ playoff chances alive for at least another week.

Dak Prescott threw two interceptions, but he also made some pretty big plays down the stretch. The second-year quarterback found the end zone himself to put the Cowboys up 17-10 after a Chris Jones fake punt that sparked some momentum on the good guy’s side. Prescott later hit Dez Bryant for a big 40-yard gain that ultimately set up the game’s winning points — just moments after he successfully completed a quarterback sneak on fourth down by the smallest of margins. He is now 19-3 when getting just the league average in run support (110 yards).

Sean Lee played well on Sunday, too. The General and the captain of the defense is the heart and soul of the unit. It’s clear as night and day just how much of an impact that he makes when he is healthy and out on the field — whether it is making sure everybody is in position, calling an audible to the offense’s audible, or simply by making the tackle. Lee led the team with 10 tackles on Sunday, and he recorded two TFLs against the Raiders in primetime.

Jason Garrett and the coaching staff deserve some credit for the bold moves on Sunday. The Cowboys not only surprised everyone with a fake punt in a tied game while the Cowboys were deep in their own territory, but Garrett also trusted his guys to pick up a crucial fourth-and-one on the Raiders’ half of the field late in the fourth quarter. You can’t forget about the flea-flicker either, even though Terrance Williams dropped a well-placed ball.

But, come on. It’s obvious who the game ball has to go to. There just really isn’t any other option.

Jeff Heath simply saved the season. For all of the criticism that Heath gets (much of it is warranted), the safety made, perhaps, the play of the year for the Dallas Cowboys.

After a big pass-interference call on a fourth-and-ten that gave the Raiders possession in field goal range, it wouldn’t have been too surprising to see the Cowboys too deflated to make a game-saving play. The Raiders had plenty of time on the clock, an impressive young quarterback, and Marshawn Lynch in their backfield. Surely they were going to at least make a field goal to send the game into overtime (if not put the ball into the end zone for six), right?


Jeff Heath came to the rescue. Oakland was facing a third-and-three from the 8-yard line with 31 seconds remaining. All that they needed was to get to the five to move the chains; if not, they would be in prime position to kick the field goal to send the game into an extra period. At that point, Cowboys fans were just hoping for the latter.

Derek Carr dropped back to pass and surveyed the field before taking off to the right. He looked like he was going to score until Jeff Heath cut him off. Carr reached for the pylon, but Heath knocked him out of bounds and the ball came out, bounced into the end zone, and rolled out.

Boom. Touchback. Season saved.

Heath also had a huge pass deflection on the previous paly that went a long way in the Cowboys coming out of the Bay Area with a huge win. He made six tackles on the night (all solo), the pass deflection, and a play that saved the Cowboys’ 2017 hopes.

Jeff Heath undoubtedly gets this week’s game ball.

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