Oct 6, 2014 3:25 AM
Bryant catch sends Cowboys over Texans 20-17 in OT
The Associated Press
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Dez Bryant turned Tony Romo's oh-what-the-heck pass into the play that brushed aside a late-game meltdown from the Dallas Cowboys.
Bryant's spectacular catch when Romo had to unload the ball to avoid a sack set up Dan Bailey's 49-yard field goal in overtime, and the Cowboys bounced back to beat the Houston Texans 20-17 after giving up a 10-point lead in the last 3 minutes of regulation Sunday.
Romo had earlier escaped a sure sack by J.J. Watt to throw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams. He wasn't trying to throw the ball away on the decisive play to Bryant, but was mostly ducking a blitzing D.J. Swearinger as he let the ball fly.
Bryant leapt as Johnathan Joseph bumped into him, and made a juggling catch while falling backward to the turf at the Houston 31 after the Texans punted on the first possession of the extra period.
"I was concerned when it first got out of there that it was going to be way out of bounds," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "It ought to get a good place in our memories in Cowboys history."
Three plays later, Bailey answered a 53-yard miss on the final play of regulation that ended his franchise-record streak of 30 consecutive field goals made.
The Cowboys (4-1) won their fourth straight game for the first time since 2011 heading into a trip to Super Bowl champion Seattle, their only road game in a stretch of six games.
The Texans (3-2) rallied behind Arian Foster, who had 157 yards rushing and a tying 1-yard score with 41 seconds left in regulation.
"Football is a brutal game," Watt said. "It's brutal on your body. It's brutal on your emotions. To fight back the way we did, to show that resilience, it was good to see. But at the end of the day, we lost the game."
Things to consider after Dallas won a third straight game in the series since a stunning loss in Houston in that franchise's first game in 2002:
ROMO MAGIC: In the third quarter, Romo, who threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns, had the best test so far for his back after surgery last December to repair a herniated disk.
He spun to his right as Watt closed in, then threw about as far as he could with more pressure coming. Williams had an easy catch in the end zone when Houston's Kendrick Lewis fell at the goal line just before the ball arrived.
"Certainly it's one for the ages with Romo," coach Jason Garrett said. "There's a handful of those he's had throughout his career, and I think you can add that one to the list."
TEXANS' MAD DASH: Houston pulled even by converting a fourth down on a drive to Randy Bullock's 29-yard field with 2:31 remaining, then got the ball back in just 32 seconds. They went 45 yards in four plays to Foster's second touchdown.
Houston had just 86 yards total offense at halftime, but Foster had 117 rushing himself in the second half. He went 48 yards on consecutive plays, the latter from 15 to put Houston ahead 7-3 in the third quarter.
MURRAY STILL ROLLING: NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray overcame a first-quarter fumble for the fourth time in five games to get his fifth straight 100-yard game to start the season, breaking a franchise record he shared with Emmitt Smith (1995).
Jim Brown (six games in 1958) and O.J. Simpson (five in 1973 and 1975) are the only other NFL running backs to reach that mark. Murray, who had 136 yards on a career-high 31 carries, set another franchise record with 670 yards through five games.
WATT'S WHIFF: Watt came in with a league-high 16 quarterback hits, more than twice as many as any other player and more than 13 teams this season. But he had a mostly quiet day except for losing his grip on Romo when he had a free shot at him.
"Those are the type that weigh on you," he said. "It's frustrating as a player who is supposed to make plays. I should have made that play and I didn't."
WITTEN'S MILESTONE: Jason Witten helped set up Williams' score with a 34-yard catch to join Tony Gonzalez and Shannon Sharpe as the only tight ends with 10,000 career yards receiving. He finished with 59 yards to put him at 10,014.
Gonzalez, who retired after last season, leads all tight ends with 15,127 yards. Sharpe had 10,060 from 1990 to 2003.
Witten needs one catch to be the first Dallas player with 900 for his career.
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