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March Madness tournament: Cowboys top 64 plays of all time, Round 1, Group 8

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What plays are on the docket today?

New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tim Umphrey/Getty Images

The BTB tournament keeps rolling along as we’ve reach the halfway point of the first round with four new plays. Haven’t seen your favorite play yet? Don’t sweat it, there’s a good chance it’s coming. Today’s group features a remarkable starting debut, a game saving tackle, an impressive short gain, and one play that wasn’t even an actual play at all.

Miles runs for miles

Imagine having the best game of your NFL career on the very first game you are named a starter. That is exactly what happened for Miles Austin. An undrafted free agent in 2006, Austin was entering his fourth year in the league, but because of injuries and a deep receiving group that featured Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn, and the eventual addition of Roy Williams - Austin didn’t get many opportunities and was relegated mostly to kickoff duties.

In 2009, the Owens and Glenn were no longer on the roster, and when an injury sidelined Williams - Austin finally got his shot. And boy did he make his count. In a game that saw Tony Romo out-duel Matt Cassel (yes, that Matt Cassel), Austin hauled in 10 catches for 250 yards and two touchdowns. The second one was a game-winner.

Heath’s game saving tackle

The Cowboys fell short of making the playoffs in 2017, but they sure made it interesting when they won three straight games down the stretch. It would’ve only been two straight if it wasn’t for the great play made by former Cowboys safety and fan proclaimed “GOAT” Jeff Heath on a crucial Sunday night game.

The Cowboys held a 20-17 lead late in the fourth quarter, but Derek Carr was attempting to orchestrate a game-winning drive. After a costly fourth-down pass interference penalty by Jourdan Lewis gave the Oakland Raiders a new set of downs at the Cowboys 15-yard line, things were not looking good. The Raiders were in chip-shot field goal range to at least tie the game, but they were going for the jugular. On a 3rd-and-3 play, Carr scrambled to his right and was heading for the end zone. Right before he got there, he lunged with the ball extended out, only to have it come loose when Heath knocked him out of bounds. The play was ruled a touchback, and the Cowboys held on for the win. Heath was the hero.

The longest two yards

The Cowboys have had some amazing running back talents play for them throughout their history, with players like Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, and Herschel Walker all wearing the star. And as you’ve seen over the last week - there are quite a few long breakaway runs shown in this tournament, and there will be more coming.

This one; however, didn’t come from a Cowboys legend. In fact, he never eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in his entire career. And the play itself wasn’t a huge run that went for almost the entire length of the field. On the contrary, it was considerably shorter as this play only netted two yards, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an impressive play.

In 2007, Marion Barber escaped six different New England Patriots defenders before the seventh one was able to push him out of bounds for one of the hardest-fought short gains you’ll ever see. Barber narrowly escaped being tackled in the end zone for a safety as these defenders had more than just a handful of jersey, but Barber’s toughness was on full display. They didn’t call him the “Barbarian” for nothing.

Drama on the star

There wasn’t a lot of excitement for the Cowboys back in the year 2000 as the team finished 5-11 for what would be the first of three straight seasons; however, a certain someone decided to spice things up with his celebration antics.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens riled up a crowd of 64,000 thousand fans at Texas Stadium when he ran to the middle of the field and celebrated on the star after catching a touchdown pass. When Emmitt Smith scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive, the future first-ballot Hall of Fame running back defended the Cowboys honor by running to the star himself and slamming the ball down. TO, never one to be outdone, tried to get the final word when he again ran to the star after scoring another touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Only this time, he was accompanied by Cowboys safety George Teague, who let him know how he felt about his little shenanigans.

After falling out with both the 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles, TO joined the Cowboys in 2006, in a Jerry Jones move that left many Cowboys fans angry. I guess we were all just supposed to pretend that star incident never happened.

Poll

Which play do you think is the best one?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    George Teague hit on TO
    (504 votes)
  • 13%
    Heath saves the day
    (156 votes)
  • 16%
    Miles Austin OT gamewinner
    (200 votes)
  • 27%
    Barber’s run
    (320 votes)
1180 votes total Vote Now

If you have yet to cast your vote for the previous seven groups, it’s not too late as you can find them right here...

Group 1: Witten helmetless, Lilly sack, Romo scramble, Dorset 75-yard TD

Group 2: Butch Super Bowl TD, Romo over-head snap, Puntisher, Jeffcoat pick-six

Group 3: Sanders punt return, Prescott in Seattle, White TD catch, Irvin Cardinals

Group 4: Larry Allen tackle, Walker’s walk-off, Austin’s leap, Dez on Thanksgiving

Group 5: Washington’s fumble recovery, Longley’s comeback, Folk’s FG, Murray 4th down

Group 6: Walker 84-yard run, Romo to TWilly, Staubach to Sellers, Dak to Beasley

Group 7: Newhouse pass in SB, Emmitt screen, Romo spin on Watt, Ware sack on Brees