Cowboys survive sluggish start against Eagles to keep playoff hopes alive

Entering Sunday’s game the Dallas Cowboys were 5-6 clinging to slim playoff hopes. After getting off the slow starts in the first half the previous two weeks at home the Cowboys continued that trend on Sunday spotting the Eagles a 14-3 lead going into the half.

The Cowboys would come to life in the second half again scoring a total of 28 points in the second half to take a 38-27 win.

At 6-6 the Cowboys remain in the hunt for a spot in the postseason while the Eagles (3-9) lost their eighth straight. Surprisingly the Philadelphia Phillies (Oct. 1) have won more recently then the Eagles. (Sept. 30)

Game Summary

Eagles running back Bryce Brown scored the games first points on a 10 yard run with 5:44 left in the first quarter. Dan Bailey would connect on a 39 yard field goal attempt for the Cowboys with 13:39 in the second quarter cutting the Eagles lead to 7-3.

Brown continued his heroics in the place of LeSean McCoy. He scored his second touchdown of the game on a 5 yard run after the Eagles went 73 yards on 7 plays in 3:47 pushing the Eagles to a 14-3 lead. In the first half alone Brown totaled 107 yards on the ground.

It was not until their final possession of the first half that the Cowboys began to show life. They put together a 11 play drive of 75 yards. That drive had three big plays. Tony Romo completed a 19 yard pass to Miles Austin on a 3rd-and-13 and found Jason Witten for a 28 yard pass one play later. After a timeout, DeMarco Murray went up the middle for a 1 yard touchdown with 0:45 left in the half. It was Murray’s first game since Oct. 14. Dallas had cut the Eagles lead to four.

With nothing left to lose in the season the Eagles opted not to go quietly into halftime as Alex Henrey would make a 43 yard field goal to send the Eagles into the half with a 17-10 lead.

On the Cowboys opening drive of the third quarter Tony Romo would toss his 166th touchdown setting a new franchise record for touchdown passes surpassing Troy Aikman’s total. The pass came on what was ultimately a busted play that Romo found Dez Bryant for 23 yards to tie the game at 17.

It did not take long for the Eagles to respond. On their next series Foles found Riley Cooper in the endzone for a touchdown as the Eagles reclaimed the lead at 24-17.

Romo and the Cowboys responded in the fourth quarter with a touchdown of 27 yards to Miles Austin, again tying the game.

Alex Henery would kick a 43 yard field goal to break the tie with 9:56 left in the fourth. On Dallas’ next drive Romo again found Bryant for a touchdown, this one for six yards. Dallas had claimed its first lead of the night at 31-27.

With under five minutes in the game the Eagles were faced with a 3rd-and-8 from their own 22 yard line the Eagles kept their chances to win for a few moments. Unfortunately just plays later Brown, who 155 yards rushing at the time, coughed up a fumble that was returned for a 50 yard touchdown by Morris Clairborne.Dallas had completed the comeback and now led 38-27 with just under four minutes remaining.

Damaris Johnson returned the third longest punt return with a 98 yard run back of a Brian Moorman punt with 31 seconds left in the game. The Eagles went for a two point conversion but Foles threw wide of Jason Avant.

The Eagles failed to recover an onside kick as Jason Witten came down with the ball on the kickoff. In a game where they were a 10 point favorite the Cowboys found a way to make things interesting yet survived with a win.

Final: Dallas 38 Philadelphia 33

Final Notes

Dallas entered the game averaging an NFL worst 78.7 yards on the ground per game. Those numbers were helped quite a bit with the return of Murray who ran for 94 of the Cowboys 135 rushing yards and scored one of Dallas touchdowns.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo again topped 300 yards (303) and connected with 3 touchdowns and as importantly did not commit any turnovers.

Bryce Brown who played well for the Eagles before a late fumble finished with 169 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Foles making his third start at quarterback finished 22-of-34 for 251 yards and a touchdown.