It’s hard to believe that we’re now up to week 14, and this is the first time Dallas and Philadelphia have played. After what happened the year before, when the two teams played in consecutive weeks to end the regular season and begin the playoffs, both Dallas victories, I suppose the NFL was hoping to secure dramatic, high stakes football late in the season. It’s just too bad the league didn’t see the 2010 debacle in Dallas coming. They could have found a better option for Sunday Night Football.
Anyway, the Eagles and Cowboys had mirror reflective records of 8-4 and 4-8, respectively when the game started. Unavoidably, the same would be true at the game’s conclusion, but how it would look was in doubt for much of this game.
Right off the bat, Michael Vick to DeSean Jackson. 60 yards. First play of the game. A Vick touchdown run a few plays later made it 7-0 quickly. It would have been easy to allow that play to take them out of it completely, but Dallas drove the field on its opening drive and tied it on a Jon Kitna to Jason Witten one-yard pass.
Almost a full quarter later, the Eagles finally grabbed the lead back, as Vick threw a touchdown toss to Todd Herremans. Who’s that you ask? Why, he’s an offensive lineman for Philadelphia, and to my surprise, this wasn’t his first trip to the endzone, as you can see from his career stats. It’s bad enough to give up so many big plays to receivers, but when it’s an offensive lineman, forget about it. The halftime score was 14-10 Philly, following a 50-yard David Buehler field goal just before the break.
In the third quarter, A Vick interception set Dallas up with good field position inside the Philadelphia 40-yard line. On the first play following the turnover, with the score 14-13 after another Dallas field goal, Felix Jones made a big play, catching a screen pass and taking it up the left sideline for 35 yards to the Eagles’ two-yard line. He would later score a touchdown to put the Cowboys ahead 20-14. Two David Akers field goals tied the game early in the fourth quarter. Then came the play of the game.
Everything was looking pretty good for the Cowboys. The score was still tied, and after a Mat McBriar punt and a penalty against the Eagles on the return, Philadelphia was backed up on its own nine-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Vick and Jackson really outdid themselves. A relatively short pass to the sideline resulted in a 91-yard touchdown when Mike Jenkins…sigh…attempted to jump the route, missed the ball and allowed Jackson to outrun everyone in the stadium to the endzone. Even with such a big play, there was still over 11 minutes to go, and it was a one score ballgame at 27-20.
Well, another Akers field goal made it a 10 point game, but Dallas didn’t give up. They managed to convert a fourth-down play on a Kitna scramble, which led to another Witten td catch. Then with time becoming an ever more precious commodity, Dallas couldn’t stop Philadelphia from picking up first downs, and they ran out the clock. As Jonathan Bales from the Dallas Cowboys Times put it:
At the end of the game, the Cowboys’ defense needed to stop LeSean McCoy on the ground. They knew runs were coming, and they still got gashed. That was really disheartening.
That about sums it up.
So Dallas loses a close game 30-27 to a future playoff team. Despite keeping it close, and actually leading for a bit, the same problems the team had with Phillips at the helm returned with full force.
Turnovers were even, but as usual, they came at bad times for both teams. The last one for Dallas came right after the Jackson 91-
yard play, and the Eagles got a field goal out of it, and effectively put the game away. The run defense was bad, as the Cowboys gave up 171 total yards, and LeSean McCoy averaged over nine yards per carry in gaining 149 of those yards. Yikes. Interestingly enough, despite the big plays made by DeSean Jackson, Vick “only” had 270 yards passing, although 210 of them went to Jackson. This wouldn’t bother me so much if those yards didn’t come in such big chunks. The guy only caught four passes. That’s just ridiculous.
On a positive note, it was good that Dallas didn’t just roll over when these plays happened. The huge gain on the opening play and the bomb late in the game didn’t keep the Cowboys down. Also, Witten, Felix Jones, and even Buehler had solid games. The defense just couldn’t get stops when they needed them; the same old song and dance.
Record to this point: 4-9
Oh yeah, remember this? It’s all anyone talked about after the game.