Cowboys fans are probably still trying to wrap their heads around that victory. Somehow, the Dallas Cowboys managed to win 29-23 in overtime over their NFC East rival, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys moved to 8-5 on the year and are ever so close to snatching the NFC East crown. Still, amidst all that good news was a team that almost gave the game away. The Cowboys did all the things they shouldn’t do when trying to put away an opponent that is hanging on by a thread. Turnovers, penalties, mental errors, a missed field goal, it was a torturous performance that only brought joy on the final play. And that final play was made by the guy who saved the Cowboys bacon.
Before we get to that, let’s give out a few other kudos. Ezekiel Elliott had forty touches on the day, 28 rushes and 12 receptions, and he turned out 193 scrimmage yards. That’s a workhorse. Also, we need to shoutout Dak Prescott, good Dak Prescott, that is. Yes, the turnovers are a huge issue. But he also posted 455 yards passing, a 78% completion percentage and three touchdowns. When the team needed him most in the fourth quarter/overtime, he crushed it.
So that’s two-thirds of the new Triplets, but it was the third guy in that family that gets the game ball. You can argue that no one has meant more to this team this season than Amari Cooper. That’s not saying he’s the best player, although he’s close; it’s saying that his arrival roughly coincided with this team’s revival.
When you narrow the focus down to just the Eagles game, you find a big-play receiver that carried the Cowboys to victory. 10 catches, 217 yards and three touchdowns. It’s a monstrous game that tops the monster game he put up on Thanksgiving when he had eight catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Cooper has had two games in the past month that are the kind that usually come around once a career, maybe twice, for most players. Only the elite see those kind of numbers multiple times in a career. Cooper’s had them in the past month.
He did it in multiple ways. One touchdown came on a long pass where he simply ran by the defensive back and calmly grabbed the ball in the back of the endzone. Another came on a run after the catch that was reminiscent of his Thanksgiving Day explosion. His final, and most important touchdown, came on a tipped ball where he kept his head and ended the game.
That’s what we’re learning about Amari Cooper, he’s no one-trick pony. He’s a precise route-runner who can get open to convert third downs. He can run by a defense and catch a long one. He can catch a short pass and make the play huge with yards after the catch. And we also have to say, he has shown very consistent hands. If Dak gets it to him, he catches it.
There was a lot debate about giving up a first for Cooper. It was legitimate debate at the time, no one was quite sure what the Cowboys were getting. The stud early in his career, or the inconsistent guy the past year or so. So far, we’re getting a better Amari Cooper than we’ve seen in his career. Oh yeah, that Eagles receiver that they traded for when they missed out on Cooper, the one that was such a deal according to some... one catch for seven yards.