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Cowboys turn out to be a bad team after all against the Eagles, drop chance to win NFC East 17-9

Turns out we just got fooled again.

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles
He wasn’t great, but he was good enough.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys got the coin toss right this week, but very little else, falling to the Philadelphia Eagles 17-9 in a game that likely will wind up deciding the NFC East, although it is not quite official. We are left with the ruins of a season that started with so much promise, and saw this game lost because of all the same problems that have plagued Dallas this year.

There was no reason that this one should have been lost, with the Eagles gutted by injuries. But Carson Wentz had a strong game, making passes when he had to. Dak Prescott generally did not, and when he did get the ball in the right spot, it was far too often dropped. Amari Cooper was basically a non-factor. Tony Pollard had the mistake that may have killed the last real chance for the Cowboys with a third quarter fumble on third and one. He was in because Ezekiel Elliott was shaken up a couple plays before. The Cowboys’ defense had crucial breakdowns that allowed Philadelphia to make some big plays, and after a highly questionable decision to throw it on third and one in the fourth quarter, it started to look like the spirit was beaten out of the Dallas players.

Simply put, we got fooled again. After a truly dominant performance against the Los Angeles Rams, it looked like this was a team that could be dangerous, no matter how it got into the playoffs. But it needed to step up big on the road, and it just didn’t. They couldn’t get sacks, they couldn’t get takeaways, the offense sputtered too often, and several of the backup players forced into playing for the Eagles had really good performances, like Miles Sanders, who had the final dagger on a 38 yard run right up the middle when the Cowboys were trying to make a final stop. The big weapon for them all game was Dallas Goedert, who had nine catches, and seemed to get a first down on every one, including the one inside the two minute warning at the end that helped make sure the Cowboys would not have any last gasp chance.

One of the recurring problems that came back played perhaps the biggest role in this one. That is starting slow, and the Cowboys were just impotent for almost the entire first half. Prior to the one somewhat impressive offensive drive to get a field goal with only :29 seconds remaining in the half, the Cowboys had only mustered 98 yards of offense and three first downs. Elliott was really bottled up, and first down runs were failing with regularity.

Throughout the game, the Eagles secondary played very, very well, while the Cowboys had some badly blown coverages. Dallas also had trouble with the Philly screens, which they knew were coming.

The Dallas special teams once again played a role, providing no real return yards while allowing some good ones on kickoffs. Chris Jones had some very short punts. Only Kai Forbath did his job well, going three for three on field goal attempts. Jake Elliott of the Eagles was the kicker making misses, going one for three.

Prescott’s health was a hot topic all week, and while he was able to go the whole game, he was just not accurate. There were multiple throws where he had a receiver open for a big gain, possible a score. But he often overthrew them. Cooper also looked really off, with some of those galling drops.

Even as badly as they performed, the Cowboys were still in it late in the fourth. The Eagles were just not consistent enough to put the game away. Dallas only trailed by 8 points when they forced a punt, largely due to their first sack of Wentz, and had 4:33 left - but had to start from their own 12. They drove to the Philadelphia 19, but a sack of Prescott led to a failed fourth down throw to Michael Gallup, who along with Randall Cobb provided what little offensive spark they had. They would get the ball back after it went over on downs.

Even though there is a small chance the Cowboys could still back into the playoffs if the Eagles fall to the New York Giants next week and Dallas takes care of business against Washington, but let’s be frank. This team does not belong in the playoffs. And it is hard to imagine how there would not be a change at head coach. This was just one more in a series of abject failures. Give the Eagles credit, they reached down and found something to get this win, while the Cowboys came up so very short.

This was likely the final nail in the Dallas season. And in the career of Jason Garrett as their head coach as well.

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