Down by a touchdown with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Dallas Cowboys lined up for what seemed like a routine punt. But Joe McKnight, who would seem more like a return-man than a guy coming up the gut on the rush, ensured the Cowboys punt attempt would be far from routine. McKnight came up big, thanks to his own athleticism and a Dallas gaffe that proved costly.
McKnight lined up right over the center, sprinting into the backfield moments after the snap. It wasn't as though he timed the snap perfectly and burst through a gap, he simply used his speed and athleticism to exploit a hole over the long snapper. And as he neared Matt McBriar, McKnight laid out with full extension, extending an arm at just the right moment to stuff the punt attempt.
Everything else fell into place for the Jets as the punt bounced backwards toward the end zone. Isaiah Trufant was in the right place at the right time, receiving a favorable bounce as the popped up into his waiting arms. A quick scamper to the end zone later and the Jets had suddenly come all the way back from a 14-point deficit to tie the game.
As Dallas coughed up the lead late, the Jets came up with big play after big play, and perhaps none were bigger than the blocked punt. A little bit of luck and a whole lot of execution by McKnight helped turn the game, sending the Jets to their first win of the season on the first Sunday Night Football of the year.
For more on the Cowboys, check out the SB Nation blog Blogging the Boys. For more on Rex Ryan and the Jets be sure to head over to Gang Green Nation. Follow the rest of the Week 1 action at SB Nation NFL.