The Dallas Cowboys defeated their NFC East rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night in prime time 29-23 despite making several mistakes.
Coming off their bye week and a five-game winning streak, many media pundits predicted the Dallas Cowboys would defeat the Philadelphia Eagles when the NFC rivals faced off on Sunday Night Football over the weekend.
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But not many would have done so if they knew just how much the Cowboys would struggle in the game. Fortunately for America’s Team, they were still to pull the victory out of the jaws of defeat in overtime, 29-23.
At the heart of the Cowboys struggles was their absurd amount of penalties (11 – 84 yards). But that wasn’t totally unexpected as the game’s officiating crew has averaged the highest number of penalty flags per game (20.3) so far this season, according to ESPN.
To make matters worse for the Cowboys is the fact golden child rookie quarterback Dak Prescott looked like a genuine rookie against the Eagles’ blitz-heavy defense. The 23-year old posted his worst completion percentage of the season (48.7%), completing just 19 of his 39 passes. Prescott also threw an interception in the end zone at the end of the second quarter that allowed the Eagles to take a 13-10 lead into halftime. It is only the second interception of his young career.
Prescott bounced back however, throwing for 287 yards, scoring two touchdowns through the air and running in another score. He also had the game-winning five-yard pass to tight end Jason Witten in overtime to seal the victory.
Fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott had another solid performance for Dallas, rushing for 96 yards on 22 carries. He also had four catches for 54 yards. It was the first time Elliott’s been held under 100 rushing yards since Week Two.
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One of the bigger issues on offense surrounded the return of All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant. The Cowboys had begun to spread the ball out more without Bryant in the lineup, as the talented wide out was sidelined with a leg injury for Dallas’ last three games. Upon his return, Prescott seem to force the ball in his direction far too many times.
According to Yahoo, Bryant was targeted a whopping 14 times! That’s seven more than the Cowboys next receiver. Out of those 14 attempts, Bryant caught only four of them for 113 yards and one score. Most of those yards coming on a 53-yard bomb in the first quarter. If Dallas is going to have future success passing the ball, they must spread it out more.
Despite their offensive struggles, it was the Cowboys defense that really won this game. Critical plays by several of Dallas’ defenders kept the game close and help facilitate the team’s victory in overtime. Leading the team in tackles was once again linebacker Sean Lee, who posted a total of 11.
Cowboys defensive tackle Terrell McClain forced a fumble that defensive end Tyrone Crawford recovered. Crawford also had six total tackles and 1.5 sacks. Also posting a sack was veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Defensive tackle Cedric Thornton, who was signed as a free agent this offseason by the Cowboys out of Philly, recorded 0.5 sack as well.