A single play can turn a game.
A sack resulting in a fumble returned for a touchdown negated by an illegal hands to the face penalty.
A 42 yard reception immediately followed by a fumble recovered by the opposing team.
A pass interference penalty that shouldn't have been called, but was.
A pass interference penalty that should have been called, but wasn't.
The fourth quarter. The Packers defense had sent the Cowboys reeling. They'd shut them down--and shut them out--to that point. But Romo and the Cowboys, they don't give up so easy. They'd begun to find ways to get through that Packer defense. They'd begun to move the ball, until...
Romo is sacked and stripped of the ball. Felix Jones alertly dives on it, recovering the fumble. He gets possession. He is contacted. He is down by contact. With possession of the ball. The play should have been over. Felix rolls up into a sitting position. He still has possession of the ball. He has already been downed by contact. The play should have been over.
At that point, one of the Green Bay defenders reaches down and bats the ball out of Felix's lap. He bobbles it until it goes out of bounds at the Cowboys three yard line. Yet, even though Felix was down by contact, with possession of the ball, the referees award possession to Green Bay.
Wade Phillips challenges the call. The play is reviewed. The referees admit their error. They admit that Felix was down by contact with possession of the ball. However, they say that fumble recovery in the field of play is non-reviewable, and the play will stand as called. Green Bay gets possession of the ball on the Cowboys 3 yard line. On the first play, they score a touchdown, which makes the score 17-0.
Had Dallas been correctly given possession of the ball, the score would have only been 10-0. Even if the Cowboys had retained possession, and not scored on that drive, the score would have still been only 10-0. But because Green Bay was given --or "gifted"-- with possession and 7 points, the entire tenor of the game was changed.
On their next possession, the Cowboys drove all the way down to the Packers 1 yard line. Tony Romo threw a pass to Jason Witten, which was intercepted.
Had the score only been 10-0 instead of 17-0, had it been a two possession game, maybe instead of passing to try to preserve the clock, they would have let Marion Barber punch it in.
Touchdown. The score would have been 10-7. And that final drive, the touchdown to Roy Williams--that would have been the game winning touchdown, instead of just a consolation score.
Now, some would say that the Cowboys should have never let the game get to that point, and they would be right. But the game did get to that point. There's no changing that. So the question is, would the Cowboys have won if that call had been made correctly? As Aslan said to Lucy, no one is ever told what would have happened.
But you know, they just might have.