In an all-important NFC East showdown, the Dallas Cowboys fell behind early and couldn’t make a comeback as the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Cowboys 26-17. The loss ends the Cowboys’ four-game winning streak and puts them at a 4-2 record with a third-place spot in the NFC East.
First-Half Cowboys Highlights
The first quarter was all about the defenses. Dallas’ offense struggled to move the football as they only recorded one first down on two possessions being forced to punt twice. While the Cowboys’ defense played well on their first drive allowing one first down to also force a punt.
Dallas’ early game struggles began on the Eagles’ second drive of the game as Philadelphia was able to drive down the field. A big reason for that was they converted two fourth downs on the drive with one being a Jalen Hurts completion to AJ Brown on fourth and three. The other was Dante Fowler going offsides on fourth and four. On the next play, Miles Sanders runs it in for a four-yard touchdown to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead over the Cowboys early in the second quarter.
On the very next possession for the Cowboys, Cooper Rush throws his first interception of the season on the first play of the drive. The next Eagles drive didn’t last long as Hurts connected with Brown on a bootleg pass that went for 15 yards for a touchdown. That score put the Eagles up 14-0 over the Cowboys with 10:40 to go in the second quarter.
The next Cowboys’ offensive drive stalls out after Rush throws an incompletion on fourth and inches at their own 34-yard line with Philadelphia getting the ball back. Dallas’ defense got a big stop though forcing a three-and-out with Jake Elliott hitting a 51-yard field goal to increase the Eagles’ lead to 17-0.
Things didn’t get any better for Rush as he throws a second interception of the game with Eagles cornerback Darius Slay jumping in front to nab it. Philadelphia would take advantage of it and convert a second field goal to go up 20-0.
Dallas finally got a big break from KaVontae Turpin who returned the kickoff 63 yards to the Eagles’ 41-yard line.
Rush completed a couple of passes to get Dallas to the Eagles’ 12-yard line. The Philadelphia defense would hold strong there and force the Cowboys to have Brett Maher kick a 30-yard field goal to make the game 20-3 at halftime.
Second-Half Cowboys Highlights
Dallas got off to a really good start in the second half as they started with only allowing one first down before the Eagles were forced to punt. Thanks to Tony Pollard and good play-action passes from Rush, the Cowboys were able to drive right down the field on their first offensive possession of the half. It ended with an Ezekiel Elliot 14-yard touchdown run to make the Eagles lead 20-10.
The defense for the Cowboys once again forced another punt after five plays and started to get some momentum. Elliot got the ball moving for Dallas as he helped move the ball down the field. Rush made some nice completions as he got more confident in the pocket. Their drive ended at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a Rush touchdown pass to tight end Jake Ferguson. It was Ferguson’s first career touchdown to make the game 20-17.
Philadelphia’s offense found some life by staying on the ground with the run and killed a lot of clock as they drove down the field. They made it a 13-play drive that took over seven minutes before Hurts found Devonta Smith open in the end zone for six points. After failing the two-point conversion, the Eagles led 26-17 with only half the quarter left for Dallas to make a potential comeback.
On the next drive, Rush thought he had a wide-open CeeDee Lamb down the field, but while trying to throw it, he was hit by the Eagles’ defense. That led to a bad interception that would be the third turnover of the game for Rush. The defense was able to make a stop as Hurts fumbled the snap on the fourth play of the drive that was recovered but the Eagles, but Dallas forced them to punt.
On the final drive of the game, the Cowboys were able to convert on some first down with long completions. Brett Maher was called upon to hit a 59-yard field goal, but he pulled it to the left and missed it. That miss essential ended the game and gave Dallas a heartbreaking loss on the road.
The hope is that this game has made Cowboys fans realize that Dak Prescott is truly the better quarterback for the job. Cooper Rush struggled throughout the game to find open receivers while forcing passes into double or triple coverage. His second-half performance was much improved as he got some of his swagger back. In the end, his three interceptions doomed the Cowboys from ever making a real comeback.
As for the running game, it was the Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliot show in the second half carrying the offense. Both backs found success in the second half as the Eagles defense struggled to stop the run. They were able to lead the Cowboys’ offense with 134 rush yards and one touchdown in the game.
Dallas’ defense deserves a lot more credit than what they will get for their performance. They were set up with bad field positions throughout the first half with two interceptions in their territory as well as a failed fourth down conversion in their territory. No support from the offense in the first half forced them into bad positions where Philadelphia took advantage and scored points.
They played much better in the second half, but a fourth-quarter touchdown drive is what truly ended the game for the Eagles. Philadelphia right tackle Lane Johnson had been knocked out of the game with a concussion which led to Micah Parsons having a strong second half beating backup tackle Jack Driscoll on multiple occasions. Dallas just wasn’t able to stop the run which was the main part of what caused them to lose the game.
Dallas’ loss ends a four-game winning streak dropping their record to 4-2 on the season. With the Eagles and New York Giants winning, the Cowboys dropped to third in the NFC East. They will have a great chance of bouncing back on Sunday as they play the struggling Detroit Lions. The biggest storyline will be whether Prescott returns or Rush gets a chance at redemption.
Cowboys Box Score
|Leighton Vander Esch||7||3||0||1||0||0||0|
|Dante Fowler Jr.||2||2||1||1||0||1||0|