After signing with them in December, T.Y. Hilton made his debut for the Dallas Cowboys in their Week 16 game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday. The signing was met with optimism from both team owner Jerry Jones and coach Mike McCarthy. On Saturday, we saw why. The veteran wide receiver made only one catch on the day — but it was huge.
Dallas was trailing 34-27 in the fourth quarter. After Dak Prescott was sacked on consecutive plays, the Cowboys faced a third-and-30. The conversion might have seemed impossible — but it wasn’t. Prescott fired a pass deep down the field and to his left. When the ball came down, it fell right into the arms of Hilton, who had broken free from Philadelphia’s defense.
3rd and 30… FIRST DOWN @dallascowboys
📺: #PHIvsDAL on FOX
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/Gd75wOq015 pic.twitter.com/7alkEGa8qM
— NFL (@NFL) December 24, 2022
The catch went for 52 yards and, by yardage spent in the air, was the longest completion of Prescott’s career.
Darius Butler and Shaquille Leonard, both former teammates of Hilton’s with the Indianapolis Colts, were ecstatic to see Hilton make such a big play. Butler tweeted, “Play of the GAME! So happy to see my dog back out there.” Leonard responded to Butler’s tweet with a similar message. “My guy TY always come through whenever you need him! Love to see it man @TYHilton13.”
My guy TY always come through whenever you need him! Love to see it man @TYHilton13 https://t.co/J90Xv4hZ7Y
— Darius Shaquille Leonard (@dsleon45) December 25, 2022
Two other former teammates in Indianapolis, Zaire Franklin and Michael Pittman Jr., also praised Hilton. Franklin tweeted “TY‼️ blurrrrrr I see you OG @TYHilton13” while Pittman chimed in with “THERE HE GO!!!! @TYHilton13”
TY‼️ blurrrrrr I see you OG @TYHilton13
— Zaire Franklin (@ZiggySmalls_) December 24, 2022
THERE HE GO!!!! @TYHilton13 👻 https://t.co/szMlKUusta
— MPJ (@MikePitt_Jr) December 25, 2022
But past teammates of Hilton’s weren’t the only ones marveling at the play. Longtime Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant tweeted that Hilton’s catch was “One of the biggest highlight plays of the night was TY HILTON GRAB OMG!!!”
One of the biggest highlight plays of the night was TY HILTON GRAB OMG!!!
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) December 25, 2022
Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, meanwhile, added that “TY Hilton is 33 years old and has been relaxing with his family for the last 11 months and then he can just show up in December and catch a 50-yard pass on third-and-30.”
Blogging the Boys, Dallas SB Nation site, succinctly tweeted “TY HILTON MY WORD.”
TY Hilton is 33 years old and has been relaxing with his family for the last 11 months and then he can just show up in December and catch a 50-yard pass on third-and-30.
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) December 24, 2022
TY HILTON MY WORD
— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) December 24, 2022
Four plays later, the Cowboys were in the end zone for the tying touchdown. Dallas turned two subsequent turnovers Philadelphia turnovers into a pair of field goals to go up 40-34 — which ended up being the final score.
The win kept Dallas’ hopes alive for not only the NFC East crown but also the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. The Cowboys will still need to win both of their remaining games and get some help, so it’s not probable — but it is possible. Without Hilton’s catch, that would likely not have been the case.
[NFL on Twitter]