For the second time this season, the Eagles came within seven points in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Coming into the game, the Eagles were second in the NFC East, trailing the Cowboys by one game.
The Eagles were riding a two-game winning streak while the Cowboys were on a four-game winning streak of their own. With three weeks remaining after the Week 14 matchup, both teams had plenty to play for. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they ended up on the losing end for the second time this season.
“It is what it is right now and we just got to keep working and get everybody ready to play, everybody caught up and get ready for the next one,” Doug Pederson said. “There’s no quitting in this group and I think you’ll see that next weekend.”
Although the NFC East crown may be out of reach, the Eagles are still in the hunt for a wild card spot after receiving plenty of help in games from around the league last weekend. The Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers all lost last weekend, which gives the Eagles hope for the final three weeks of the season if they can string together some victories.
The Eagles will need to find a way to start faster than they did against Dallas, as they were shut out in the first half by a stingy Cowboys’ defense. The Eagles only trailed 6-0 at halftime, but once again, they were forced to come from behind in the second half.
“It’s tough, I mean we just can’t find a rhythm early in the games,” Eagles tight end Zach Ertz said. “It’s tough when you can’t find a rhythm.”
Ertz hauled in five catches for 38 yards in a game where the Eagles spread the ball around offensively against a very tough, physical Cowboys defense.
The Eagles received the ball to begin the second half, but they were not able to capitalize and punted. The Cowboys marched 51 yards in nine plays for another Maher field goal from the Philadelphia 3-yard line. Dallas extended their lead 9-0.
The Eagles punted on the following drive, but after the punt the defense came up big by intercepting Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and running it back 29 yards to the Dallas 2-yard line.
The next play, Wentz connected with Alshon Jeffrey for a 2-yard touchdown to cut the Dallas lead to 9-6.
On the ensuing possession, Michael Bennett forced another turnover, this time a Dak Prescott fumble, to get the Eagles the ball back with a chance to take the lead. While the Eagles didn’t find the endzone following the fumble, Jake Elliott tied the game up with a 26-yard field goal.
Dallas’ prized mid-season addition Amari Cooper caught three passes for 53 yards on the following drive, including a 28-yard touchdown, his first of the night. The Cowboys took the lead back 16-9. The Eagles offense would respond shortly after, and Carson Wentz found Dallas Goedert for a 3-yard touchdown to knot the game at 16-16.
Prescott responded quickly, however, hitting Cooper for a 75-yard strike down the right-sideline to put the Cowboys in front 23-16.
The Eagles had three minutes to work with and needed a touchdown. The Eagles offense moved into scoring position as the clock ticked. Once down in the red zone, Wentz connected with his veteran running back Darren Sproles for a 6-yard score. With the extra point, the game was sent to overtime with the score at the end of regulation 23-23. The Cowboys won the overtime coin toss and elected to receive. Unfortunately, the Eagles couldn’t get the ball back in overtime, as the Cowboys marched down the field with Ezekiel Elliott carrying much of the workload.
To end the game, Amari Cooper caught a touchdown pass that was deflected on a great effort by Rasul Douglas, giving the Cowboys the win and likely the division.
“It’s tough obviously, you want to be on the field, you want to be able to put the ball in your offense’s hands, put the ball in my hands,” Ertz said about not starting overtime on offense. “Unfortunately, we did not get that opportunity. Rasul made a heck of a play at the end of the game, just unfortunate that it came up like that and the ball bounced right to the guy.”
While the Eagles came up short of their goal these last three weeks of stringing together three divisional wins, there are still three weeks left to play in the season with a realistic shot at a wild card spot.
“The message [over the last three weeks] was to commit for three weeks, do everything you can to win three games in-a-row over against three division opponents,” Ertz said. “Came up a little short.”
The Eagles will refocus during practice this week and look to knock off the Los Angeles Rams, who are coming off a loss to the Chicago Bears. If the Eagles can stack three wins together to finish the regular season, they will give themselves a good chance to earn the No. 6 seed. But most importantly, the focus is on a tough Rams team this week.
Kickoff is set for 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC on Sunday.