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Game Notes

LAC 28, DAL 6: Cowboys Defense Gets Carved Up

Jess Haynie

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With playoff hopes hanging by a thread, the Dallas Cowboys welcomed the L.A. Chargers to town for a Thanksgiving Day game. In the end, the only thing Dallas fans had to be thankful for was the clock hitting zero.

Philip Rivers threw for 434 yards and three touchdowns as he made the Cowboys defenders look like just a few more of his many children. On the other side, Dak Prescott managed just 179 yards and threw two more interceptions as desperation for the game, and the season, set in.

Rivers threw touchdowns to three different receivers. The biggest day went to Keenan Allen, who had 172 yards on 11 catches. More than once, Allen's running ability after the catch left Cowboys falling over themselves.

The absences of RB Ezekiel Elliott and LB Sean Lee on each side of the ball were once again painfully obvious. The last three weeks have made it clear that Dallas cannot execute without these two key players. The Chargers, with only four wins before today, had no trouble handling business.

Other Notes

  • For the second week in a row, Dallas failed to get a sack. Rivers has always done a good job of getting the ball out quickly, but he was barely pressured the whole day. The short week may have taken too much gas out of the pass rushers.
  • The wait for Dez Bryant to become the franchise leader in touchdowns catches continues. He only had three catches for 37 yards today. One good opportunity came to him on a deep pass into the endzone, but Dez was tangled up with the corner and couldn't pull it in.
  • This was the worst game we've seen from the Cowboys secondary all year. Chargers were wide open half the day and our guys never seemed to be close enough to the action. The missed tackles were too many to count.
  • Alfred Morris and Rod Smith each had nine carries with nearly even yardage; 36 for Morris and 41 for Smith. It was Rod who scored the team's only touchdown, but a failed two-point conversion is what landed Dallas with just six points for the day.
  • Zack Martin left the game with a concussion in the first half and did not return.
  • Dallas only gets a week off, not the usual 10 days, as they host Washington next Thursday night.



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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1 Comment
  • Russ_Te

    Nothing epitomizes this season more, than Dak finally breaking an historic TD drought of 10 quarters (even Campo didn’t do it), on a pretty bootleg and then it comes OFF THE BOARD because of holding on Dez.

    The Chargers have a porous run defense, the Cowboys had the right idea to exploit it, they had Tyron Smith back, and the offense is still comatose.

    If this drought is about the absence of Elliott, then it is about how defenses plan for him that opened up the passing game, more than the actual rushing yards then to now. It looks like Dak cannot run an offense without it.

    I will spot some sophomore regression, some forcing the issue because the offense is struggling, but I don’t buy it as a serious indictment on Dak as a pro QB. Aikman had a very similar downturn in 1996 when Irvin was suspended and Emmitt Smith was out with a neck injury after diving over the pile on the goal line in Chicago that year.

    Dak will progress from the things he’s overreaching on, but I still see the offensive lethargy as receivers and schemes driven. Not Dak, not the RB’s. When you are this bad, the OL cannot escape blame either of course. But to me the problem mostly is that there are no easy hits anymore, nobody is getting open consistently, and that is making Dak try for lower % throws.

    That’s not his game. Firing Linehan, still leaves the fact that Garrett has presided over the same lethargy. Your HC has to be better than this.

Game Notes

Brett Maher’s 62-yard FG Gives Cowboys 6-0 Halftime Lead over Eagles

Jess Haynie

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Brett Maher
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Brett Maher drilled a 62-yard field goal, a new Dallas Cowboys record, to give his team a 6-0 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime.

A holding penalty by Tyron Smith seemingly took the team out of field goal range, but Maher bailed him out with the monster kick.

The lead could be bigger it not for some Dallas mistakes. Dak Prescott threw an interception on an otherwise strong drive, and Maher ended another drive with a missed field goal.

However, the Eagles have also struggled. A strip sack by Tyrone Crawford ended their last drive of the half. Randy Gregory also got a sack on Carson Wentz earlier in the game.

Overall, though, Philadelphia just isn't converting downs and being stifled by this exceptional Cowboys defense. They only have 70 total offensive yards at the half.

Ezekiel Elliott is putting together a big day, already with 72 rushing yards and another 20 yards receiving. Rod Smith also has 24 yards of offense, adding to the major production from the RB position.

Speaking of position production, the Cowboys tight ends have already accounted for six catches for 37 yards. Blake Jarwin has four of those receptions, which is a new career high.

The Eagles will get the ball to start the second half.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Vs Eagles Leads NFL in Playoff Leverage for Week 14

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Leaning on Elliott, Young Defense Earns Cowboys Win in Philly

The Dallas Cowboys are certainly playing like a playoff team as of late, but aren't in the clear yet when it comes to holding off Sunday's opponent -- nor the Washington Redskins -- in the NFC East. At 7-5, the Eagles and Redskins sit a game behind the Cowboys with identical 6-6 records.

The Cowboys going 5-0 from their first win at the Eagles in week 10 to their third divisional game of this stretch would go a very long way in cementing the Cowboys mid-season turnaround. As has always seemingly been the case in this division though, the same is said of the defending Super Bowl champs.

With a loss, the Cowboys stand just over a 50% chance at the postseason. A win would add 42 percentage points to this figure, setting up the Cowboys favorably through a December schedule that features the Colts, Buccaneers, and Giants.

Brian Burke on Twitter

NFL playoff leverage week 14

The only team with more at stake today is the visitors of AT&T Stadium. The Eagles gain 47 percentage points on their playoff hopes with a win, though even this marginally moves the needle over 50% for them. An Eagles loss all but ends their chances of repeating as NFC East winners.

Though the Redskins are reduced to their third quarterback in Mark Sanchez, their early kickoff at the 4-8 Giants provides hope that they'll remain in contention through the regular season. In a division that will be dictated by the moves made at the trade deadline, it sure feels like the Cowboys and Eagles are pulling away however - with Dallas in prime position to lap the competition starting Sunday.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

If the Cowboys and the Giants win today, Dallas would have to lose out, and the Redskins or Eagles would have to win out in order for the Cowboys to lose the division. In other words, Dallas and NYG winning today would mean one more victory and the Cowboys clinch the NFC East.

Wide Receiver Amari Cooper has made a bigger difference than Dallas could have ever hoped for. With the Eagles secondary banged up again for their meeting with the Cowboys, a home team with sights set on playoff football could begin to fine tune their offense to match a defense that set the tone against Philadelphia last time out.

National pundits may be forecasting a "classic" late season collapse for the Cowboys, but fans know better than this. It was in fact early season losses that dug the hole the Cowboys are viciously fighting out of. Asking for this opportunity against the Eagles is as good as it gets for Jason Garrett's young team, once 3-5 after eight weeks that feel like ages ago.

So does any dominant stretch of football from the Eagles, though the Cowboys shouldn't be quick to find out just how much Philly wants to play spoiler.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Vs Eagles Leads NFL in Playoff Leverage for Week 14" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Dak Prescott Exploits Eagles’ Secondary

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott Weighs in on Cowboys "Dak-Friendly" Offense

It's rivalry weekend for the Dallas Cowboys as they get ready to host the Philadelphia Eagles. It will undoubtedly be a special game since the Eagles are practically playing to save their season this time around. Tables have turned for these two teams with now the Cowboys as home favorites for this fun matchup.

As always, here's this week's edition of Cowboys Wishlist. Enjoy!

Wish #1: Get Jourdan Lewis Playing Time

Cornerback Jourdan Lewis did a fantastic job versus the New Orleans Saints last week and I'm intrigued to see if the Cowboys will continue to find a job for him and get him on the field. Lewis had an interception and some other key plays in just eight snaps. Lewis has been an interesting narrative this year.

He's a good player and getting him more involved could result in good things for this team. We'll see if the Cowboys use him in this important divisional game.

2018 Rushing Title: Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley in Neck-and-Neck Race

Wish #2: Get The Early Big Lead, Rest Elliott

Running Back Ezekiel Elliott has done an amazing job for the Cowboys over the past four weeks. Both in the passing and running game, Zeke has been able to consistently move the chains as he's received a huge workload to carry the offense and control the time of possession. He currently leads the league in touches per game.

If the Cowboys are able to get a big lead early, I wish we get to see a lot of backup RB Rod Smith. As much as we all love to watch Zeke be fed, this time Cowboys Nation should appreciate seeing him on the sideline a bit more than usual. For that to happen, though, an early considerable lead is required.

Wish #3: Improve on Red Zone

So far, the Dallas Cowboys have been able to efficiently move the ball and get first downs. What they have struggled with though, is the red zone. Many times, we've seen the offense settle for three instead of getting seven.

This Saturday I argued why, if the Cowboys are able to improve on red zone, this could be a playoff caliber unit. This team shouldn't struggle as much in this area. With Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, Amari Cooper lined up and a mobile QB, Scott Linehan's squad simply needs to do better.

Wish #4: Dak Prescott Gets 300 Yards

The Philadelphia Eagles have placed CB Jalen Mills on IR. With Ronald Darby out already, the Cowboys are about to face a very injured secondary. Philadelphia ranks 26th in passing defense. Dak Prescott's stats have greatly improved since week 7.

However, a big 300-yard performance has yet to occur. I wish he gets just that against the Eagles. For this, he'll certainly need help from his receivers, including Amari Cooper, who has been outstanding with a Star on his helmet.

What are your wishes for this week's matchup versus the Eagles?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Dak Prescott Exploits Eagles’ Secondary" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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