With the playoffs and NFC East title on the line, the Dallas Cowboys come up short at Lincoln Financial Field. Heading into the game, Dallas had everything they needed to clinch the NFC East and punch their ticket to the playoffs.
They had just come off a dominating win against the Los Angeles Rams, Jason Garrett and the coaching staff looked competent, and the Eagles were limping into the match-up with players freshly signed off the practice squad. None of that mattered as Philly left with the win a one-game lead over the Cowboys heading into week 17.
Number One Offense?
Sunday’s performance was one of the Cowboy’s worst games in recent memory. Against an injury-riddled Eagle’s secondary, Dallas didn’t score a single touchdown. Newly signed kicker, Kai Forbath was the sole bright spot for Dallas, connecting on three field goals. Coming into the game as the NFL’s number one offense in yards-per-game (434) and tied for fifth in points-per-game (27), Dak Prescott and company only put up 311 yards and nine points. The saddest part of this is the Eagle’s defense was allowing 23+ points-per-game, ranked 17th in the league. Dallas failed to exploit the match-ups they had in the secondary. Prescott connected on just 56.8 percent of his throws for 265 yards.
Diving deeper into the numbers, the rest of the offense failed to help Dak lead the team to victory. Dallas’ pass catchers dropped six passes, with two of them likely being touchdowns. The ground game was nearly nonexistent as Ezekiel Elliott only carried the ball 13 times for 47 yards. A disappointing 3.6 yards-per-carry coming on the heels of his 100+ yard performance against the Rams.
Dallas’ Defense Outplayed
On the other side of the ball, Dallas’ defense did all they could after the Eagles jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. In the first half alone, Rod Marinelli’s group was on the field for over twenty minutes. Surprisingly, Dallas was only down 10-6 at halftime. In the end, the defense couldn’t contain Carson Wentz and these no-name receivers thrown together by the Philadelphia Eagles. Wentz threw for 319 yards and a touchdown while completing 78% of his passes. Yet again, Dallas yielded 100+ yards to an opposing offense on the ground. Miles Sanders led the way with 79 yards and a touchdown. Carrying the ball 20 times, Dallas had no answer for Sanders and company as Philly fought their way to 431 total yards.
All is not lost as the Cowboys are not technically eliminated from the playoffs yet. However, they will need some help and a drastic turn around in the locker room. If Dallas defeats the Washington Redskins next week at home and the Eagles lose to the New York Giants, the Cowboys hold the tiebreaker over the Eagles.
Both teams would sport an 8-8 record with Dallas having the better division record. Whichever team holds on to win the NFC East, limp into the playoffs hoping to steal a victory as they will host at least one home game.
For more on the Dallas Cowboys and NFL be sure to follow me on Twitter @FootballRaw.
New designs are dropping in our merch store! Be sure to check out the latest threads!