Dallas Cowboys

Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas Cowboys defense answer the bell in Philadelphia

The Dallas Cowboys’ defense was embarrassed after last week’s loss to Tennessee.

For the first time in 2018, the Dallas’ defense was pushed around. And it came after a bye week and against an offense not highly regarded. (After the Titans dominated the Patriots on Sunday perhaps that assessment needs revision.)

No matter the measurement, the Cowboys’ defense desperately wanted (and needed) a rebound performance Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field and they got it.

Dallas held Philly to 132 first-half yards and led 13-3 before the Eagles put together their first touchdown drive in the third quarter that tied the game at 13-13 late in the third quarter.

In the second half, the Eagles’ offense came alive and burned the Cowboys with several long plays, including a 51-yard pass from Carson Wentz to Nelson Agholor that set up a touchdown to tie it at 20-20 at with 7:27 left in the game.

After the Cowboys’ offense gave them a 27-20 lead with 3:19 remaining, the defense had one last more shot to seal the win. Wentz led the Eagles quickly into Dallas’ territory from a drive that started on the Philly 30. A 17-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery got the drive jump-started.

Philadelphia had the ball at the Dallas 30 at the two-minute warning and a 3rd and 2.

Rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch fought through two blockers to tackle Corey Clement for a five-yard loss. The Eagles went for it on 4th and 7 and after a review of a pass to Zach Ertz for a gain of six yards was ruled shot of the first down. Vander Esch led the Cowboys with 13 tackles and picked off Wentz in the first quarter to set up Dallas’ first score of the game. It’s Vander Esch’s first interception.

“Jaylon [Smith] and I love playing with each other and we take pride in being around the ball,” Vander Esch said.

The Cowboys’ took over with 1:09 remaining but failed to sustain a drive and were forced to punt back to Philly with 40 seconds left. The Eagles took over again at their 32. DeMarcus Lawrence hit Wentz to force and errant, incomplete pass. Wentz, however, moved to the Eagles to the Dallas’ 32 with 11 seconds remaining. Wentz’s 23-yard pass to Ertz was completed inside the Cowboys’ 10 and as Ertz was being tackled he pitched it to Golden Tate, but Jeff Heath was there for the tackle as time expired.

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