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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys Take Control Of NFC Playoff Picture

Dallas Cowboys aren't just alone atop the NFC East after the Viking lose their second in a row, Dallas is the top seed in the NFC.

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Scout’s Eye: Breaking Down The Game-Changing Plays From All Three Phases - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
There’s a lot to digest after a win of that magnitude. So let’s take a look at just how the Cowboys managed their sixth-straight win.

We’re starting to see more of those plays from Anthony Hitchens that we saw during his rookie season. His tackle of Carson Wentz on 3rd-and-1 was as athletic as it comes. The defense was in base personnel with Damien Wilson on the field. The plan for Wentz had two options: Darren Sproles in the flat or Trey Burton up the field. Sean Lee was able to carry Sproles, while Morris Claiborne eliminated Burton. With no options available, Wentz had no choice but try and secure the first down with his feet. Hitchens was faking a blitz in the "A" gap when Wentz took off to the outside. Hitchens was able to run around Barry Church and Zach Ertz, battling along the line to close the ground on Wentz. With a well-executed block down tackle, Hitchens was able to cut down Wentz four yards from the marker and create a punting situation.

Sources: Cowboys Morris Claiborne Could Face Surgery For Sports Hernia Injury - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
After the good news of last night, there are a few black clouds on the horizon. Two players in the Cowboys secondary face injury issues.

That kind of schedule would put Claiborne out until late in the season, perhaps coming back for a playoff run. If these reports are true, Anthony Brown becomes a very important player for the Cowboys. The return of Orlando Scandrick is fortuitous, given the prospect of a Claiborne surgery.

Jason Garrett sporting scrape on cheek after touchdown celebration - Todd Archer, ESPN
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett got a little carried away in celebrating with Jason Witten after Sunday night's overtime win over the Eagles.

"We were all kind of excited after he scored and we’re all running around out there and I gave him a big hug," Garrett said. "And I forgot he had a helmet on and I didn’t. I got the side of his helmet."

Updated NFC playoff picture: Cowboys in possession of number one seed - Khari Murphy, Cowboys Wire
After the Cowboys win against the Eagles on Sunday, where does that leave them in the NFC playoff picture?

Sunday’s victory over Philadelphia was instrumental in many ways for the Dallas Cowboys. With the win, the Cowboys moved closer to securing the top seed in both NFC East and NFC conference. Dallas now sits at 6-1, tied for the best record in the entire NFL.

In rolling dice, Jason Garrett shows trust, confidence in Cowboys - Charean Williams, The Star-Telegram
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has played the part of a gambler this season. The Cowboys are 5-for-5 on fourth down, including both attempts Sunday.

"… Any decision you make about faking a punt or trying an onside kick or going for it on fourth-and-1, those are all meant to give our team the best chance to win. We certainly believe in our team; we believe those situations are going to work out for us. They’re well practiced; they’re well thought out before the game. When the circumstances arose, we thought those were the best things to do at those particular times, and they worked out. It’s one thing to make the call. The players are executing those things. They did a really nice job of taking the work in practice to the game and executing those in critical moments in the game."

There will be growing pains, but there's no reason for Cowboys to go from Dak to Romo right now - Kevin Sherrington, SportsDay
When you hit your knees tonight, and you're giving thanks for Dak and Zeke and Jason and your favorite daily newspaper, don't forget a shout-out to Doug Pederson too.

Even if Dak's performance wasn't pretty Sunday, Garrett noted the day after that it's not how you should judge a quarterback. As an example, he called Romo's come-from-behind, last-second 25-24 win over Buffalo on a Monday night in '07 "one of the best games he ever played." And that despite six turnovers, including five interceptions. Your point is taken, Jason. Still, let's not give the kid any ideas.

Rookie Club Celebrates OT Win With Students At Local Junior High - Dave Helman, Dallas Cowboys
To this point in their debut season, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are used to being the youngest guys in the room.

"It was great just watching the program that they’re working on, the different scenarios that come up in real life – that come up in my life," Prescott said. "I know they’ll go through them. They’re only in middle school, but those scenarios and situations will come up. It’s very beneficial to them."

Dak And Zeke Report: How Did The Cowboys Win The Eagles Game? - VAfan, Blogging The Boys
In their seventh game, at home after a bye, Dak Prescott looked rusty and mostly off target. Zeke had some nice runs, but his biggest was called back on a dubious penalty. Yet they hung in there...

It was at this point, with 6:26 left in the game, that Dak Prescott stepped up and made huge play after huge play. He began with his first pass to Cole Beasley for 12 yards. This was followed by a 63-yard run around the left side by Ezekiel Elliott that was called back on a rather dubious holding call on Travis Frederick. Jerome Boger’s officiating crew throws an average of four more flags per game than any other reffing crew, and it showed again last night. It was now first and 20.

Attorney releases statement urging NFL to end Ezekiel Elliott abuse probe - ESPN
Ezekiel Elliott's attorney has issued a statement directed at NFL investigators urging them to end a six-week-long probe about an abuse claim made against the Cowboys' rookie RB.

Robert S. Tobias, a principal assistant city attorney in Columbus, told USA Today on Monday that he still believes there "were a series of interactions between Mr. Elliott and (his accuser) where violence occurred." But he said there was conflicting and inconsistent information in evidence, and not enough to tag Elliott with criminal charges.

"Given the totality of the circumstances, I could not firmly conclude exactly what happened," Tobias told the paper.

Chris Jones’ fake punt helped swing the momentum for the Cowboys - Dwain Price, The Star-Telegram
Chris Jones hasn’t run a fake punt since high school but he did on Sunday night.

"That is the first fake punt I think I’ve ran since probably high school,’’ the 27-year old Jones said. "We knew going into the week to look for a specific look, and what they gave us was favorable to that.

Dak Prescott says talk of QB controversy hasn't affected relationship with Romo, won't hurt Cowboys 'in any way' - Brandon George, SportsDay
Dallas Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott said Monday there is no awkwardness to his relationship with veteran Tony Romo despite the two basically competing for the starting quarterback job.

"We've been good from Day 1, so I don't think it's really served any justice on our relationship at all," Prescott said. "It's not anything we're going to let come in between us, much less hurt the team in any way."

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