Grading the Cowboys vs. Eagles
RUN OFFENSE: A – The Eagles defense posed some challenges, but in the end the Cowboys still made difference-making plays on the ground, rushing 34 times for 187 yards. Yes, punter Chris Jones’ 30-yard run on a fake helped. But quarterback Dak Prescott had 38 yards on scrambles and Ezekiel Elliott averaged 4.4 yards per carry with 96 yards on 22 carries. He would have gained more than 100 for the third consecutive game if a 63-yarder was not called back because of a questionable holding penalty on center Travis Frederick.
PASS OFFENSE: B – For Dak Prescott, it’s not how you start, but how you finish. Before overtime, he completed 14 of 34 passes for 231 yards with one touchdown and one interception and a number of horrible misses. But again, he did throw a game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter and was five of five for 56 yards with a game-winning touchdown pass in the overtime. Dez Bryant caught four passes for 113 yards in his first game back after missing three games with a knee injury. Cole Beasley had four receptions for 53 yards after being ignored for the first three quarters
RUN DEFENSE: B – Little Darren Sproles had his moments against the Cowboys, rushing 15 times for 86 yards. But Ryan Matthews only had 10 yards on four carries. And the Eagles just had 97 yards on the ground. The Cowboys forced a fumble in the fourth quarter off Wendell Smallwood. Sean Lee was all over the field with 11 tackles, including two tackles for losses. The Cowboys didn’t allow a 100-yard rusher for the seventh consecutive game.
PASS DEFENSE: A – The Cowboys didn’t allow a 100-yard receiver for a seventh consecutive game. Consider that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz completed 32 of 43 passes, but only tallied 202 total yards. He was sacked three times. Jordan Matthews had 11 receptions for just 65 yards. The Cowboys tackled well in the secondary. Safety Brandon Jones had eight tackles and cornerback Brandon Carr had seven tackles.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C – Lucky Whitehead made two horrible decisions on returns that cost the Cowboys field position. He also had a fumble. There were a number of penalties on special teams that hurt the Cowboys. The Cowboys gave up a 53-yard kickoff return. But Chris Jones averaged 44.4 yards on five punts and the Cowboys didn’t let Darren Sproles get loose on punt returns. Dan Bailey made three field goals.
COACHING: A— For much of the season, it has been discussed how much rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have sparked the Cowboys. Against the Eagles, it was coach Jason Garrett pushing the team over the top with his aggressive play calls and fourth-down gambles. The Cowboys were losing and needed a shot of momentum. Garrett gave them that with a fake punt and the decision to go for it on fourth down in overtime on the game-winning touchdown drive.