SportsPulse: Loopy comebacks and devastating accidents outlined a jam-packed Sunday. USA TODAY Sports activities’ Mackenzie Salmon reacts to all of the largest tale strains from Week 2 across the NFL.


The Cowboys practiced it two times each and every of the final 3 Saturdays.

Six occasions, particular groups gamers surrounded the threshold in their 45-yard line, in a position to pounce once Greg Zuerlein’s slow-rolled onside kick crossed its needful 10 yards. Six occasions, they readied themselves to area the kick with one way Zuerlein had embraced after a 30-minute coaching camp consultation and a next 50 or so reps.

“It’s in point of fact the ‘Watermelon Kick’ the place it’s laying at the turf like a watermelon and also you spin it like a watermelon would spin,” Cowboys particular groups trainer John Fassel mentioned Monday night. “But it surely spins much better than a watermelon.”

For the Cowboys on Sunday, that was once sufficient.

Zuerlein trotted out to midfield of AT&T Stadium on Sunday afternoon with 1:49 to play towards the Falcons. A Cowboys workforce that hadn’t led all day was once contemporary off a Dak Prescott dashing landing that narrowed their deficit to two issues. Dallas coaches and gamers flanked the sideline anxiously to peer if the workforce may just salvage a miraculous last-ditch effort on a sport they later mentioned they shouldn’t have received.

Zuerlein toe-tapped the ball left, spinning it simply slowly sufficient for linebacker Justin March and defensive finish Dorance Armstrong to finagle themselves beneath it whilst receiver Cedrick Wilson and cornerback C.J. Goodwin pursued the ball from in the back of. Goodwin was hoping the odd play would confound warring parties sufficient that they “stand there having a look loopy.” A scheme well-drawn to be “roughly enjoying that thoughts sport” with the opponent, receiver Amari Cooper mentioned.

“Right here it comes, right here it comes, right here it comes, pounce!” Fassel described his mindset from the sideline mere yards away. “After which there it is going. It kind of feels like eternally, then it occurs so rapid.”

Goodwin dove into the pile and muscled away the free ball from a pile of Falcons gamers together with tight finish Hayden Hurst, protection Sharrod Neasman and receiver Olamide Zaccheaus. Cowboys ball, two-minute drill, 54 yards from house. Prescott discovered CeeDee Lamb at the force, the rookie receiver barreling 15 yards after the catch to advance Dallas 24 general and into field-goal vary. Then, Dallas ran down the clock in preparation for Zuerlein’s eventual 46-yard game-winning area target.

However lengthy after Dallas escaped with a 40-39 comeback, Falcons proprietor Arthur Clean had questions.

Clean, who watched the play closely from the other sideline whilst donning a black masks and grey swimsuit, questioned about his gamers’ working out of an onside kick.

“Obviously at the final play of the sport the previous day our gamers, you realize, didn’t do…both what they have been suggested to do they usually didn’t know it,” Clean instructed SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday. “It’s transparent although they didn’t, personally, they didn’t obviously perceive what the foundations have been and precisely what they needed to do.

“I feel that’s demonstrated whilst you watch the video of it.”

Falcons trainer Dan Quinn insisted his gamers knew that NFL laws authorised them, however no longer the kicking workforce, to down the slow-spinning ball ahead of it’d crossed 10 yards. However no Atlanta participant dove towards the ball ahead of it reached the 45-yard line, Zuerlein attaining his target “simply to shop for as a lot time as lets” for teammates to finagle encircle the twisting ball, in a position to hop.

A Cowboys particular groups unit that previous did not convert a fourth-and-Four fake-punt go to Goodwin and a fourth-and-Five fake-punt run had achieved a game-changing play.

“It was once so unhealthy so early, and to complete so top,” Fassel mentioned. “It was once the actual agony of defeat, thrill of victory all wrapped in a single chance.”

The Cowboys turned into the primary workforce in 441 tries to overcome an opponent that had scored 39 with out committing a turnover, in step with Elias. They turned into simply the 7th in 1,882 contests the final 20 seasons to rally from a deficit of a minimum of 15 issues within the ultimate 5 mins of the sport, in step with ESPN Stats and Data.

“It simply is going to turn you it is by no means in point of fact over, and you have got to be at ease taking it right down to the final play,” McCarthy mentioned. “It’s simply the truth of ways aggressive the NFL is.

“All wins are just right wins.”

Practice USA TODAY Sports activities’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.


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