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Cowboys need comeback, touchdown with 41 seconds left to beat Texans 27-23

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Mike Florio and Chris Simms think the question is less whether the Cowboys will beat the Texans at home but whether Dallas can cover the 16.5-point spread.

Arguably the most embarrassing loss in Cowboys’ team history came in the 2002 season opener when the expansion Texans, playing their first game ever, beat Dallas 19-10. The Texans were only 8.5-point underdogs in that one.

They were 17-point underdogs Sunday.

The Cowboys won, but barely, needing a fourth quarter comeback, a fourth-down stop and an Ezekiel Elliott 2-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal with 41 seconds left to win 27-23.

Dallas improved to 10-3 and Houston fell to 1-11-1.

The Texans, though, outplayed the turnover-prone Cowboys as Tremon Smith intercepted Dak Prescott twice and Blake Cashman recovered a KaVontae Turpin muffed punt. The Texans scored 14 points off takeaways and had a chance to put the game away after Smith’s second pick of Prescott was returned 7 yards to the Cowboys 4.

Rex Burkhead was stopped for a 1-yard loss before Jeff Driskel completed a pass to Chris Moore to the 1-yard line. Moore and the Texans thought he scored, but officials ruled Carlos Watkins brought Moore down short of the goal line.

Lovie Smith did not challenge and Burkhead, playing with Dameon Pierce out with a left ankle injury, was stopped for a 2-yard loss to set up a fourth down play. The Texans opted to go for it, and Driskel never had a chance on a keeper with Neville Gallimore and Anthony Barr keeping him out.

Prescott then drove the Cowboys on an 11-play, 98-yard touchdown drive.

The Texans’ final chance came on a Hail Mary by Davis Mills that Israel Mukuamu intercepted in the end zone with three seconds left.

The Cowboys avoided the biggest upset since December of 2020 when the Jets beat the Rams 23-20 despite the Rams being 17.5-point favorites.

Prescott was 24-of-39 for 284 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Dalton Schultz caught six passes for 87 yards, and Noah Brown added four for 85. Tony Pollard had two touchdowns and 62 total yards.