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DAL 6, PHI 0: Cowboys Win, But at What Cost?

Many will remember 2017 as an ugly year for the . It was only fitting that their season finale was perhaps the ugliest game of all.

You might see that score and think two field goals won the day. But on the contrary, Bailey missed the extra point after a touchdown pass from to . Bailey also missed a 20-yard field goal in the final minute, after which he hung his head in personal defeat.

It was one of several low points in this “victory” for the Cowboys.

While finishing 9-7 and giving his first back-to-back winning seasons was nice, that was one of only a few positives to take from the game. In fact, some would even argue that the win will ultimately hurt the Cowboys due to draft positioning. The 9-7 finish will likely put the Cowboys in the late teens of April's draft, whereas an 8-8 finish could've had them around the 15th pick.

Also lost were opportunities to see more of the younger players as the Cowboys stuck with starters for much of the game.

We never got to see rookie QB , or much out of WR and other prospects. Prescott, , , and played more than the non-existent stakes of the game would have suggested.

One starter who may wish he hadn't played is , who suffered a knee and left the game. Cooper had to be helped off the field and it could be a big blow to his upcoming . The seventh-overall pick in 2013 has had his career marred by .

So yes, the Cowboys win. But from Cooper's knee to Bailey's confidence to our 2018 draft spot, this game may be more memorable for the losses.

Other Notes

  • 's quest for a 1,000-yard season fell 17 yards short. He had 103 rushing yards on 27 carries, being given every opportunity to hit the milestone. After getting just 28 yards on his first 10 carries, Zeke found more running room in the second half and almost hit his goal. Still, Elliott will finish the year with the best per-game average of any RB in the NFL.
  • may wind up with a half-sack by the time this game is reviewed. What appeared to be a shared sack with was fully credited to Jones in the moment. If it does get split, it will give Lawrence a total of 15 for 2017. Beyond that one play, DeMarcus was terrorizing early in the game and seemed to be getting pressure on every Eagles passing play. You'll get to see him again in next month's .
  • Just as impressive was , who was out there playing like a championship was on the line. The defensive leader put on a display of heart and personal accountability that we can only hope his young teammates took note of.
  • recorded his first interception on a poor throw by Foles; the ball sailed and was an easy snag for the rookie corner. Along with the pick, Awuzie was laying out some tough hits and showing his toughness. While question marks abound for this , the Cowboys' young trio of corners with Awuzie, , and is something they can feel good about.
  • led the team with four catches and once again reminded you of , who was inactive due to illness, with his playing style. Will Dallas seek cap relief by cutting Beasley due to Switzer's presence? That's one of the big questions for the coming months.

Well folks, that's it for 2017. Our attention will now turn to free agency, the draft, and perhaps the changing of coordinators and other assistant coaches. Stay tuned to Inside in the months ahead.

The games may be over, but the business of football never really ends.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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fgoodwin

Throwing the game to gain a few draft spots would have been despicable and I cannot believe fans (and some bloggers) actually encouraged that.

You play to win — always. Anything less compromises the integrity of the game.

This isn’t the NBA.

Russ_Te

Definitely a pyrrhic victory, getting Dak and even Elliott more pounding which only = wear off the career treads. No Cooper Rush, and a lower draft pick than if you play the game to lose it.

Then again Rush might have scored enough himself in this game to win. But he needed the start obviously, and Dak did not. Dak looked unsure again and awful with his accuracy, but sharpened up down the stretch to get the TD drive.

Regression for him in 2017 both with regard to accuracy and decision making, but a lot less running game help than 2016 and more hits taken.

It’s possible he is at a crossroads for his career, and will only move from here to elite status with the right coaching.
He has to learn how to play better and smarter under duress, and somebody needs to get to the bottom of where the wild throws are coming from. I’m not sure Linehan can’t do it, but there is a good chance he is out IMO as a molifier to fans while Jones makes the bad decision of keeping Garrett.

Tough for Cooper but I tend to doubt his FA value. I think after being given about 6 different opportunities at LG, his game finally rose up to a passable level. I figure him to be back as next year’s starter, but OL / OT depth is pressing and it is likely that a couple new prospects are on the way. Top need IMO.

Bailey, mental funk without question. I only cut him if it’s not gone next year. Today’s game winner: Butler. He proves what speed will do to help this passing game.

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