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After a rocky start, the Cowboys turn it on to beat the Eagles 37-17 and stay alive in the NFC East

The Cowboys picked a great time to play their best football.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys kept their season alive with a 37-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. This team is picking a good time to play their best football, and have now won three straight games. It was not looking good early as things got off to a rocky start, but by the time the second quarter rolled around, this Cowboys team was humming on both sides of the ball.

Ezekiel Elliott was back in action this week after missing his first game ever due to injury last Sunday against the 49ers. He started out grinding the yards, but finished the game with 105 yards on 19 carries and made some real strong runs helping to keep the team in favorable down and distances.

The real strength of the offense on this day was the great performance by backup quarterback Andy Dalton. The veteran finished the game 22/30 for 377 yards with three touchdown passes and one pick. All three of his star receivers: Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup, had big receptions of 50+ yards. Equally impressive was how the Cowboys defense clamped down after the Eagles first two possessions. It appeared as if the Jalen Hurts hype train was going to keep chugging along, but the Cowboys defense would have none of that. It was a great performance by both sides of the ball.

Things did not start out well as the Eagles took the opening drive 75 yards on 11 plays to take an early 7-0 lead. The Cowboys defense had problems stopping the zone read, allowing over five yards a rush whether it was Jalen Hurts keeping it and going to the outside or Miles Sanders darting up the middle. The Cowboys offense answered with a good drive themselves thanks to a couple big plays in the passing game, a 35-yard completion to Amari Cooper on their first play from scrimmage and a 26-yard pass interference penalty when Andy Dalton was trying to Michael Gallup down the sideline. Unfortunately, the drive stalled and they had to settle for a Greg Zuerlein field goal.

The Eagles struck fast on their second possession when on the first play Hurts connected with an old nemesis, DeSean Jackson, for an 81-yard touchdown pass. Just like that, the Eagles had a 14-3 lead. The Cowboys went three-and-out on their ensuing drive as a third down draw play from Ezekiel Elliott fell just short of the first-down marker. Luckily for Dallas, the Eagles tried their own draw play on their own third-and-four play that went nowhere. Thanks to such clever play-calling, the Cowboys defense made their first stop of the game, and it seemed to be a turning point in this game.

Game Score Alert: The Panthers scored their second touchdown of the day to go up 13-0 on Washington.

The Cowboys carried the momentum of that stop to get their first touchdown of the game. The offense went 63 yards on 10 plays thanks to several short passes on first down that set up favorable second and short plays. The drive was capped off when Dalton found Gallup over the middle as he split the defense for the score. The Cowboys were right back in the thick of things.

The Cowboys were close to creating the first turnover of the game when rookie Reggie Robinson popped Eagles returner Boston Scott, causing the ball to come loose. Unfortunately, it came out too close to the sideline as special teamer C.J. Goodwin’s foot touched out of bounds prior to securing the ball, allowing the Eagles to keep the ball.

Game Score Alert: The Panthers go up 20-0 on Washington when Teddy Bridgewater finds Robbie Anderson for a touchdown.

The Cowboys stopped the Eagles on their next possession, and the offense fired quickly with a catch and run of 55 yards by Gallup, setting up the offense first-and-goal at the Eagles nine-yard line. Unfortunately, the Cowboys missed a great opportunity to punch it end as a 3rd-and-inches turned into a 4th-and-2 after a questionable play-action turned into a loss. Dallas had to settle for a field goal to make it a 14-13 game.

Game Score Alert: The Panthers lead Washington at halftime, 20-3.

Philadelphia moved the ball 55 yards on their next drive, but they also had to settle for a field goal. The Cowboys had one last shot to get points before the end of the half, and they didn’t disappoint. In just under two minutes, the Cowboys went 75 yards on 11 plays, and finished things off with two straight passes to Gallup, including a seven-yard touchdown strike. The Cowboys continuously attacked the Eagles rookie corner Michael Jacquet as the rookie struggled to hang with Gallup. Dallas led 20-17 at halftime.

The Cowboys received the second half kickoff and kept rolling with a 75-yard touchdown drive that took only five plays. Dalton continued with his good decisions and showed great patience when he allowed a wheel route to develop, leaving CeeDee Lamb wide open for a 52-yards touchdown. This gave the Cowboys a ten point lead early in the third quarter.

After a three-and-out, the Cowboys offense had the ball again, and again they were off and running. Dalton hit Cooper for a 69-yard passing play, which is the longest play for the Cowboys this season. But similar to what happened in the first half, the Cowboys offense was unable to get into the end zone, settling for another field goal and extending their lead to 30-17.

Game Score Alert: The Panthers lead Washington 20-6 at the start of the fourth quarter.

The Eagles finally re-gained some momentum when cornerback Darius Slay Jr. jumped in front of CeeDee Lamb for the games first turnover. This gave Philadelphia the ball at the Cowboys 28-yard line. But the Cowboys defense didn’t waver. Aided by a couple Eagles penalties, Philadelphia couldn’t capitalize on the Slay interception and turned the ball over on downs. This was a huge blow for the Eagles chances of getting back into this game.

FINAL SCORE: Carolina 20, Washington 13. Division still up for grabs heading into Week 17!

The Eagles had some chances in the fourth quarter to comeback, but the Cowboys defense just wouldn’t let up. Whether it was a turnover on downs, or actual turnovers, the defense just kept making plays. Anthony Brown stepped in front of Eagles receiving Travis Fulgham for a pick in the end zone that was a backbreaker. After the Cowboys went three-and-out, the Eagles again turned it over on when Randy Gregory stripped the ball from Hurts. That effectively ended the game.

The Cowboys scooped up another touchdown late when CeeDee Lamb ran a jet sweep in for a score, making the final 37-17. The Cowboys are still alive for the NFC East crown. They need a win next week over the Giants, and a Washington loss to the Eagles, and they are in the playoffs. It’s quite a turnaround for this club.

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