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Two Cowboys penalties help Dallas win by stopping clock, saving timeouts

The Dallas Cowboys' Jeremy Mincey (92) rushes the

The Dallas Cowboys' Jeremy Mincey (92) rushes the New York Giants' Ereck Flowers (76) during the first half of a game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. Credit: AP / Michael Ainsworth

ARLINGTON, Texas - The Cowboys committed two bad penalties late in the fourth quarter that helped them win Sunday night's game.

The first was a personal foul against defensive end Jeremy Mincey after he slugged Ereck Flowers and knocked the rookie's helmet off his head. That cost the Cowboys 15 yards, but it also stopped the clock with 2:17 remaining. The Cowboys had called a timeout, but it was given back because of the penalty.

"A boneheaded decision," Mincey said of the play that helped his team win.

"The penalty was big, weirdly, how that benefited us," said Tony Romo, who wound up throwing the winning 11-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with seven seconds left.

Then Odell Beckham Jr. made a sliding 16-yard catch on third-and-14 from the 20. DeMarcus Lawrence was flagged for defensive offside and the penalty was declined, but that, too, stopped the clock with 1:54 remaining and again saved the Cowboys a timeout that they were trying to call.

NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino went on Twitter after the game to clarify that ruling.

"On declined offside penalty late in NYG-DAL game," he wrote, "by rule, inside 5 min of 4th Qtr clock starts on snap after a foul (accepted or declined)."

Tom Coughlin said those plays only added to the overall confusion of the final few minutes of the game, especially the first one.

"With the back-and-forth with the penalties and whether the clock was running, [the penalties] gave them a timeout back," he said. "It would have been a little more difficult for them had that timeout that they took been able to stand."

They may be quirks in the rules, but those were the two penalties by the Cowboys that actually wound up hurting the Giants.

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