In the fourth quarter of the Christmas Day game between the Cowboys and the Cardinals, there was a penalty flag thrown in Dallas quarterback Stephen McGee's facemask. It might have been the third-weirdest thing to happen in the period.
After that facemask flag, McGee recovered to throw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Miles Austin with under two minutes left to put the Cowboys up 26-24. It was the second-year quarterback from Texas A&M's first career NFL touchdown pass, and came on a great throw that went through a defender's hands.
But then Cowboys kicker David Buehler missed the extra point that would have made it a 27-24, leaving the back door open for ... John Skelton?
The Fordham product had a chance to come back and win the game for the Cardinals. He did, somehow, converting a fourth and 15 and finding Max Komar over the middle to set up a game-winning Jay Feely field goal.
Except! There was an illegal formation penalty on the Cardinals that made Feely's try to put the Cardinals up 27-26 a 48-yarder, which momentarily added drama to the kick ... until Feely put it through with five seconds left.
But! The Cardinals were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after the kick, forcing Feely to kick off from the Arizona 15 ... which he did, brilliantly, putting the ball down near the sideline deep in Dallas territory — and then that ball bounced close to the sideline and toward the end zone without either going out of bounds or for a touchback. Subtle, sure, but that kick sealed the game after Feely won it, and ranks as one of the most improbably great kickoffs anyone will ever see.
Arizona won this game, 27-26, on the strength of clutch play from the first Fordham quarterback the NFL has ever seen and two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first quarter. Dallas lost this game, 27-26, despite gutty efforts from its third-string quarterback, who had a penalty flag chucked through his facemask and threw his first NFL touchdown pass through a defender's hands on the same drive.
Nothing was at stake in this game, which involved two teams eliminated from playoff contention. But the end of it was improbably fun.
Football's weird. Sports are great. Merry Christmas.