With the Dallas Cowboys still holding onto their slim playoff hopes, they needed a win against the visiting New York Jets to have a chance in the crowded NFC East. Meanwhile, the Jets needed a win as they chase the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers in pursuit of a playoff spot. Neither offense reminded anyone of the 2007 New England Patriots in this one, but ultimately the Jets got it done with a 19-16 victory.
Things started well for the Cowboys as they drove the ball down the field on the opening drive, spurred on by a 33-yard run by Lucky Whitehead on a reverse. But the red zone is the place where they have really struggled this year and the stingy red zone defense of the Jets stepped up and they forced a field goal attempt on the first drive. After forcing a three and out it looked good for the home team. But as has happened many times this year, a bad play turned everything around for the worse.
On Dallas' second drive, quarterback Matt Cassel stumbled and threw a pass up in an attempt to throw it away and it went straight to Darrelle Revis, who returned it into Dallas territory. But Dallas' defense held and stopped the Jets on a fourth and one from the three yard line. But the Jets would hit paydirt on their next drive as Bilal Powell rushed for a 12-yard touchdown to give the Jets a 6-3 lead before the end of the first quarter.
Starting in the second quarter, Kellen Moore replaced Cassel at quarterback for Dallas. On his second NFL pass, he threw an interception to Marcus Gilchrist, which the Jets would later convert into a field goal to make it 9-3. However, on his third drive, Moore would get going.
A short punt by the Jets gave Dallas the ball just 55 yards from the end zone. After a pass over the middle and 15 yard personal foul, Dallas was in business. On the fourth play of the drive from the Jets 10 yard line, Moore hit Dez Bryant in the flat and he made Revis miss on his way to the end zone. Dallas went into half with a 10-9 lead.
In the second half, Dallas got an interception deep in Jets territory, setting them up to take control of the game. However, once again the drive bogged down in the red zone and they had to settle for a field goal to go up 13-9.
After a couple three and outs, Ryan Fitzpatrick drove the Jets 70 yards in nine plays to take the lead 16-13, capped off by a three-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker. But Dallas was not done. Moore drove them down into New York territory once again, but once more Dallas couldn't punch it in and had to settle for a game tying field goal.
With 1:55 left, Fitzpatrick had one more chance to win the game. On the third play of the drive, a third and one, Fitzpatrick looked to have fumbled the ball and Greg Hardy seemed to have recovered. But Fitzpatrick was ruled down by contact. After review the call was upheld. The Jets would drive it down to the Dallas 22 and Randy Bullock nailed a 40-yard field goal to give the Jets the lead. It redeemed his missed extra point and missed field goal from earlier in the game.
Still, Dallas had 36 seconds to make something happen. They got a decent return and a completion on first down. But with no timeouts, Moore threw one as far as he could toward Bryant but it was intercepted by Marcus Williams to end the game. It was Moore's third pick and fourth for Dallas on the night. Darren McFadden had 100 yards on just 16 carries but it was all for naught in this one.
The now 9-5 Jets will host the Patriots next week as they continue their playoff push, while the 4-10 Cowboys will end their season with games in Buffalo and at home against Washington.