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After further review: Dak Prescott elevates his game and young cornerbacks impress in Cowboys win

Re-watching the Cowboys game film from the Eagles game illuminates some interesting points.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys came away with the victory on Christmas Eve as they beat their divisional rivals 40-34. The offense was humming against a very good Philadelphia Eagles defense, but the defense looked very beatable most of the night. In the end, the Cowboys did enough to get the win, but how do we feel about the way they played? Let’s see what we can uncover after taking another look at the game film.


The Eagles have a great defense, but their pass defense is a lot better than their run defense. So, it shouldn’t surprise us that the Cowboys were going to go out and try to get the ground game going. This task turned out to be a lot harder than expected as the Eagles were dominating the line of scrimmage and had linebackers and safeties firing through the gaps.

Despite churning out many inefficient runs, the Cowboys stayed committed to the running game and it never seemed to get any better. The Cowboys just weren’t able to get enough blockers in the right places for these runs to have a chance. Call it poor design, call it poor execution, call it whatever you want, but these early-down runs did them no favors.


Dak Prescott is a great quarterback, but his performance this year has been repeatedly scrutinized. Some of it is fair, and some of it is not. Interceptions have cast a dark cloud over Dak’s collection of work even though many of them aren’t necessarily his fault. And even though he hasn’t played as badly as it may have looked on the surface, there are times when his game has been a little off at times. Saturday afternoon, however, was not one of those times.

Despite starting off his first drive with an interception returned for a touchdown, Prescott showed no sign of being affected. And as we mentioned earlier, failed early downs constantly put the offense in unfavorable third-down situations, but most of the day Prescott was up for the task.

Against the Jaguars, Prescott was constantly breaking the pocket as the pass protection just hasn’t been holding up that long. Whenever Dak felt the pressure, he’d bolt. This game wasn’t a whole lot different as Prescott wasn’t going to wait around to be sacked over and over. Dak rolled out of pocket, but this time he was able to find open receivers and fired bullets their way.

And when Prescott escaped the pocket sometimes he didn’t like what he saw and just decided to run with it. He made things really difficult on the Eagles' pass defense as he always had an answer for them. Whether he was throwing strikes in the pocket, throwing them out of the pocket, or just beating them with his legs Dak was very effective.


The wide receiver position has been under fire for most of the season as many haven’t felt the group is strong enough. Trade talks about Brandin Cooks and Odell Beckham Jr. pipe dreams have garnered our attention, but the reality of it is, the front office likes their guys.

The team did add veteran T.Y. Hilton to the group and he made an impression right away with an improbable 3rd-and-30 conversion on a deep pass down the sideline. CeeDee Lamb had a 10-catch, 120-yard, two-touchdown game as he looks more and more like a star in this league. Michael Gallup was relatively quiet with just four catches for 36 yards, but he did have a nice touchdown catch on a scramble play. And even the forgotten one, Noah Brown, made several key blocks to spring the ball carriers. That is what Noah Brown does.

Ultimately, the tools at wide receiver were used very well and the Cowboys passing attack brought the fight to a very good pass defense.


The Eagles' punter never had to kick in this one. The Cowboys' defense forced four turnovers so that played a part in it, but they also couldn’t make stops for a large part of the day. They would come up with nice plays on first or second down, but then get caught in a bad spot on third down.

Trevon Diggs played off too much at times allowing the Eagles' receivers to beat him to the first-down marker. The Eagles' offense constantly looked for matchups they could exploit like putting Anthony Barr on running back Kenneth Gainwell. And once again, the Cowboys' pass rush just wasn’t getting to the quarterback fast enough as Garnder Minshew had enough time to roll out and find an open receiver.


One thing we should be happy about is how well the Cowboys' young reserve corners played in this one. The team continues to look for solutions at the position after enduring the following circumstances...

  • Jourdan Lewis - injured
  • Anthony Brown - injured
  • Kelvin Joseph - benched

DaRon Bland is one of the best Day 3 steals in April’s draft as he came up with his fifth interception of the season. He’s now tied for second-best in the league this year. He’s having a great year.

We are starting to get used to this type of performance by the young corner, but we got a pleasant surprise from another youngster in Nahshon Wright. The second-year corner from Oregon State made his first-ever start replacing Joseph on the outside, and he did a nice job. With great length and good closing ability, Wright was making all sorts of plays. He was effective against the pass and he was wrapped up extremely well against the run. This was quite promising. Maybe Dan Quinn and company know a little something about what this guy can do after all.


Jayron Kearse came away with two turnovers as he made a great interception over the body of his receiver and then scooped up a fumble on a poor QB/RB exchange. These Cowboys defensive backs just keep making plays.

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