Cowboys turn out to be a bad team after all against the Eagles, drop chance to win NFC East 17-9 - Tom Ryle, BTB
As usual, Tom recaps the game. However, this one was a bit more disappointing.
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.
Big game, big expectations; yet, the Cowboys failed to show up.
The Cowboys (7-8) will have to beat the Washington Redskins (3-12) in Week 17, and the Eagles, who have now won three straight, will have to lose to the New York Giants (4-11) for Dallas to advance in the postseason.
Even as they lost seven of 10 games after their 3-0 start, the Cowboys kept falling back on a familiar refrain of controlling their destiny within the division. The only reason why they maintained that chance was because of the struggles by the Eagles, Giants and Redskins.
Now all Dallas can do is hope.
This is the fourth time in coach Jason Garrett’s nine seasons the Cowboys lost de facto NFC East championship games in Weeks 16 or 17. In 2011, the Cowboys lost to the Giants. In 2012, they lost to the Redskins. In 2013, they lost to the Eagles.
Jerry, as expected, is “very disappointed” in the Cowboys’ effort on Sunday.
Jerry Jones expresses his disappointment in the Cowboys’ inability to capture the NFC East title vs. the Eagles.
Three takeaways from Eagles’ win over Cowboys: Impact on NFL playoff picture, Jason Garrett’s future, more - Todd Haislop, Sporting News
Well, the Cowboys’ season is all but over, but what are the immediate implications?
Jason Garrett likely won’t return as Cowboys coach
We’ve figured for weeks that the Cowboys coach needed to lead his team to the NFC championship game (at least) to save his job, so if Dallas indeed misses the playoffs, and if this loss to a previously .500 division rival in Philadelphia is one of the biggest reasons, then Garrett should be considered as good as gone.
Of course, the Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones won’t need to fire Garrett if he opts for a coaching change. That’s because Garrett’s contract is set to expire when Dallas’ season ends. The lack of an extension for the 53-year-old coach has been the biggest elephant in a room full of them. Jones’ frustration as the Cowboys have limped to a 7-8 record in Garrett’s 10th season as coach seems to be rising to the level of a fan base that appears eager to move on from Garrett.
Sunday’s loss to the Eagles was inexcusable for Garrett’s Cowboys for multiple reasons, including the absurd amount of injuries still impacting Philadelphia. But Dallas should not have been in a position to lose the division in the first place.
The Cowboys, despite a collection of talent that led Sporting News to believe they could win Super Bowl 54, have defeated just one team with a winning record all season (the Rams last week). Now they’re an Eagles win over the Giants (or a loss to the Redskins) away from failing to reach the postseason.
Dallas Cowboys play calling questioned as Philadelphia Eagles take control of NFC East - Stefan Stevenson, The Star-Telegram
The play-calling was certainly head-scratching.
The Dallas Cowboys trailed by 11 points to start the fourth quarter and the social media reaction wasn’t kind to a listless first three quarters Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
Two play calls on 3rd and 1 drew particular derision from media and fans.
The first came in the second quarter when Troy Pollard fumbled on a read-option play with Ezekiel Elliott on the sideline. Elliott had actually taken himself off the field and the turnover did not lead to any points.
The second 3rd and 1 came in the second half and was an incomplete pass.
The Eagles won 17-9 to move into first place in the NFC East. If Philadelphia wins next week against the Giants, they’ll win the division. The Cowboys have to beat the Redskins and hope the Eagles lose to the Giants to win the division and earn the lone playoff berth from the East.
On 4th and 8 with the game on the line, the Cowboys throw a fade. The lowest % pass in the playbook. Think about that...— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) December 23, 2019
They didn’t have a pick or rub play on the menu but an alley-Ooop pass to your WR2..
Amari Cooper said that he was pulled off the field by Cowboys coaches before critical fourth down - RJ Ochoa, BTB
Some of the play-calling was not the only confusing decision.
The Dallas Cowboys were a disaster against the Philadelphia Eagles in a number of ways that might not be quantifiable by even the world’s most renowned mathematicians. One of their biggest transgressions was the way that they handled the game’s final real chance for their offense (there were plenty of mistakes before this as well). Facing fourth and eight with the slimmest of hope that they could still tie the game, Dallas sent out an offense that did not feature either Amari Cooper or Randall Cobb. Why?
It’s not clear if we’ll ever get that answer, but many were speculating throughout the game that Cooper was hurt given his poor performance and repeated absence during plays. Jason Garrett confirmed that Cooper was not hurt, but it was Cooper’s words that were perhaps the most damning. In speaking to reporters after the game he said that the Cowboys coaches... took him off of the field.
Amari Cooper says he was pulled by the coaches prior to that fourth down.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) December 23, 2019
Amari Cooper also had some questions regarding some of the play-calling...
Amari Cooper was asked about his missed connections with Dak Prescott. He said he thought the Cowboys could’ve done more to take advantage of Philadelphia’s secondary. pic.twitter.com/L1wnDvCyW6— David Helman (@HelmanDC) December 23, 2019
Cowboys’ Jason Garrett explains pulling Amari Cooper before season-altering play against Eagles - Dan Bernstein, Sporting News
Jason Garrett attempted to explain why Cooper was not in the game for the biggest play of the season.
After the game, Cooper (1,097 receiving yards this season) said he did not leave the field because of injury. Instead, he said, he was rotated out by Cowboys coaches as part of a planned swap.
Garrett pointed to fatigue when pressed on what went into his controversial personnel decision.
Why weren’t Amari Cooper & Randall Cobb on the field for the Cowboys 4th down chance to tie the game? Jason Garrett said both players were on the fieledfor a lot of plays in 2-minute offense & neeed a rest. Cooper said it was part of normal rotation.— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) December 23, 2019
Another source had this to say:
A #Cowboys source disputes the notion WR Amari Cooper was benched. Instead they wanted to give Tavon Austin a shot at the DBs because Eagles having hard time w smaller quick guys. They got in hurry up mode so they had to wait to put Cooper back in. “Rotation change, not bench.”— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) December 23, 2019
To the surprise of no one, Dallas Cowboys come up with embarrassing no-show in Philly - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram
Was Sunday all that surprising, though?
To say you were you surprised by the Dallas Cowboys’ embarrassing no-show in Philadelphia on Sunday would be disingenuous.
How could you, considering their inconsistent and disappointing play all season?
But it doesn’t make it any less devastating and disheartening for those still hoping against hope for a miracle.
The Eagles answered the call on Sunday and came with an inspired performance.
The Cowboys didn’t.
They still have a glimmer of hope.
But why bother?
That was a disaster. Here are our audio thoughts on Sunday’s loss.
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