The Dallas Cowboys lost on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia and the taste of it is not going to get any better for a long time. Such is life in the NFC East.
Sunday was an opportunity for the Cowboys to seriously vault themselves into contention for the division title, and consideration for the number one seed in the conference. While those things are obviously still achievable, Sunday’s loss to the Eagles takes them further out of Dallas’ control and minimizes the room for error across the second half of the season.
This would not be so upsetting if Dallas never stood a chance in the game like the losses to the Arizona Cardinals or San Francisco 49ers - granted two very different teams in terms of quality - but the Cowboys were in it. They had first and goal from the six-yard line at the very end.
Unfortunately the mistakes all added up even though it felt like Dallas was the better team for parts of the game. As is the case, our stock report features plenty of ups and downs.
Stock Up: Dak Prescott
Would it have been ideal (putting it lightly) for him to not step out of bounds on the two-point conversion? Absolutely. But if we are going to only focus on that then we are doing everything a disservice.
Prescott was the only thing powering the Cowboys offense for their contest in the City of Brotherly Love. Dallas punted twice (to Philly’s five boots) and committed no turnovers on offense. In theory that should be enough.
All told Dak played something like 85-95% of a perfect game for the Cowboys but the mistakes, like stepping out of bounds or whatever else you’d like to cite, loomed too large. It is great to see him playing tremendous football, though.
Stock Up: Jake Ferguson
Ladies and gentlemen, the Robin to CeeDee Lamb’s Batman has officially showed up.
Ferguson continues to be on a tear for the Cowboys and clearly has a strong bond with his quarterback. He was targeted 10 times against the Eagles and hauled in seven of them, including a touchdown as well as a 40-yard reception.
Rank him where you’d like to but we are now talking about a top 5-8 tight end across the entire league. He is a chain-mover and someone who always seems to find the soft spot of the defense.
Stock Up: KaVontae Turpin
Turpin’s touchdown was a gritty one that never really seemed to be in doubt, despite the review that was held. He has now scored offensive touchdowns in each road divisional game this season, one rushing and one receiving, and appears to see his role growing.
We have pounded the table for the Cowboys to involve their speedsters and Turpin certainly falls into that category. Thankfully he was alright after the injury scare. More, please.
Stock Up: Micah Parsons
Micah Parsons was the only part of the defense (shocker) that was playing out of its mind from start to finish. This isn’t a knock on anybody else, but Parsons singlehandedly impacted an offense known for how lethal it can be. And he damn near recovered one of the most insane fumbles of all time.
Things will even out for the team overall and he is a big reason why.
Stock Up: CeeDee Lamb
You know how much it sucks when an amazing player has an amazing performance and their team loses? Sunday’s masterpiece from CeeDee Lamb did not translate into a win.
Since imploring his team to utilize him more (following the loss to the 49ers) CeeDee Lamb has been on an absolute tear:
- 37 targets
- 30 receptions
- 466 receiving yards
- 2 receiving touchdowns
His emergence into the aforementioned Batman role is really working out, you do need Robin though, and he is taking his role as the alpha into a different stratosphere. If this keeps up as the season progresses then brighter days are definitely ahead.
Stock Up: Jalen Tolbert
We have seen enough. This should be our WR3.
Tolbert saw a season-high five targets and caught three of them for 49 yards and even scored his first career touchdown. It is clear that he is the quicker and more-explosive third option at wide receiver and that he saw so much work in a game of such significance suggests that the Cowboys agree he is worthy of a promotion.
Stock Down: Michael Gallup
What goes up must come down which means if Tolbert is taking over WR3 then someone has to be giving it up, and that is Michael Gallup.
To his credit, Gallup had a couple of really impressive/tough catches in the second half of this game, but his drop near the end of the first half did so much damage and evaporated an opportunity to take a seven-point lead into halftime.
Cowboys final drive before halftime (started at own 25)
- 1st and 10: Dak to Lamb for 15
- 1st and 10: Pollard for 3
- 2nd and 7: Dak sacked for an 8-yard loss
- 3rd and 15: Dak to Lamb for 14
- 4th and 1: Dak to Ferguson for 11
- 1st and 10: Dak incomplete to Pollard
- 2nd and 10: Pollard for 7
- 3rd and 3: Prescott incomplete to Gallup
I’ll save you the math and tell you the final line of scrimmage for Dallas was the Philadelphia 33-yard line. When you consider that Dallas had scored touchdowns on each of their previous two drives it stands to reason that the momentum would have kept on going which is why Gallup’s drop was so consequential.
Many will harp on Prescott’s mistake on the two-point conversion (it should absolutely be highlighted as we did up top), but imagine if Gallup catches this and the Cowboys wind up reaching the endzone? That is four more points and allows a field goal to win it at the end.
Stock Down: Terence Steele
What is there to say that hasn’t been said? This was one of his worst games as a Cowboys lineman and certainly his worst since his big-time extension.
Amazingly, Steele is the only Cowboys lineman to have played in every game this season and he might be the least-dependable of the group right now. He allowed the sack on the aforementioned first and goal at the six-yard line and was constantly an open door for business.
Stock Down: Jourdan Lewis
Evaluating the Cowboys secondary requires a bit of a caveat given that Trevon Diggs is no longer a part of the equation and as a result everybody’s role moved up on the totem pole.
The Eagles seemed to be targeting Jourdan Lewis early in this game and often because they were having success against him. The game script sort of changed in the second half, plus Dallas did lock down a bit more, but Lewis was easily the group’s Achilles heel.
Stock Down: Mike McCarthy and Dan Quinn
To be clear, I am downgrading Mike McCarthy the head coach as Mike McCarthy the play-caller seems to really be finding his groove. But nevertheless he and his defensive coordinator deserve their fair share of criticism.
All of the things that people are going to say... that the Cowboys can’t beat a winning team... that they can’t hang with the top dogs... so on and so forth... a high level of blame has to fall at the feet of leadership.
McCarthy gets some blame for the team’s 10 penalties. Yes, the officiating was a bit suspect, it was both ways to be fair, this team cannot afford encroachment penalties or delays of game. Those are not subjective calls that we can protest.
On the Quinn side of things, the Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts entered this game with double-digit turnovers and the Cowboys, the mighty Cowboys defense who is a turnover machine, could not force a single one.
When the good times are rolling people want to say that Dan Quinn is the one who is really pulling the strings. This is the other side of that coin. Quinn’s unit disappointed, although they do deserve credit for locking down in the fourth quarter. Multiple things can be true.