When your starting quarterback wants the ball in his hands, there isn't much a coach can do about it. Such is exactly what Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott wanted in his team's week 17 game at the Giants, which carried no meaning for the Cowboys as winners of the NFC East. By the end of the early afternoon, the game stood as one the Cowboys should feel great about before the playoffs, with Prescott delivering a game-winning touchdown pass to Cole Beasley and two-point conversion to Michael Gallup for a 36-35 victory.
The next time we break down a Cowboys game, it will be their third meeting with the Seahawks in two years, with Seattle traveling to AT&T Stadium for the Wild Card round. Before that however, there's plenty to discern from the Cowboys performance against an even more familiar opponent, finishing the year 5-1 against their division by sweeping the Giants.
- Rightfully so, Dak Prescott will say this season comes down to what the Cowboys do in the playoffs, but putting up 387 yards and four touchdowns without Left Tackle Tyron Smith, Right Guard Zack Martin, or Running Back Ezekiel Elliott is a personal achievement worthy of praise.
A year ago, this task proved impossible, though Prescott did keep the Cowboys in the playoff picture with a 9-7 record. Getting to ten wins took one of Prescott's best games, throwing with rare anticipation and poise.
Nine different receivers caught a pass from Prescott, as the Cowboys welcomed Tavon Austin back into the fold. In consecutive weeks, the Cowboys have taken strides to put a shutout loss in week 15 behind them, clicking as a unit before the postseason begins.
Prescott's sequence before throwing the winning touchdown to Beasley felt like the perfect microcosm of his career through three years - two of which have ended with the Cowboys as division champions. Missing Amari Cooper on first down, Dak delivered high on second down and was forced to throw the ball away under pressure on third.
A fourth-and-ten false start penalty on backup Left Tackle Cam Fleming pushed the Cowboys back five yards, but none of this mattered when Prescott dropped Beasley's sixth catch of the game into the back of the end zone. Getting a knee down, Beasley scored for the first time since week six.
Keeping him involved in the offense is just one more way the Cowboys open up their offense to play their best football over the next month.
- The story of this game cannot be told without mention of Blake Jarwin's career day, showing off great route running ability on three touchdowns.
Jarwin has always been a big-bodied TE capable of boxing out defenders, but I thought he flashed a precision in running vertical routes that hasn't been seen before. Playing with a loose upper body and light feet, Jarwin explodes up the field and creates mismatches that either free himself (as it did on Sunday) or teammates underneath.
Between Jarwin and rookie Dalton Schultz, the Cowboys have a tight end by committee approach that is comforting for Prescott, as Schultz has found a role in both the running and play action game. Third Tight End Rico Gathers played six snaps on offense for the Cowboys.
- Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch struggled more than usual at times in this game, but his play chasing down Evan Engram on the sideline was one of the best of the day for the Cowboys defense.
Vander Esch had to cover a lot of ground from the middle of the field to turn and chase Engram, in full stride looking for the end zone. Vander Esch got there along with Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie to prevent a touchdown.
The Giants would end up scoring, but by no fault from Vander Esch, who finds at least one play a game to show up the incredible athleticism and instincts that have made his transition to the NFL easier than ever expected. Even without looking as sharp as usual, the Cowboys defense as a whole was better with Vander Esch than it was with Sean Lee again - which tells Dallas all they need to know about the decision made at LB.
- With the Cowboys using their starters in hopes of gaining momentum for the playoffs, nobody needed a play more than Chidobe Awuzie - intercepting Eli Manning in the end zone.
Awuzie has been caught out of position almost all season, but his size and willing tackling ability on the outside make him an irreplaceable starter for Kris Richard's secondary. Reading the eyes of Manning, Awuzie was able to gain proper depth and make a strong play on the ball.
Not only did Awuzie finish a play when given the chance, but he did so on a part of the field the Cowboys have been terrific at defending, adding to their red zone numbers with the takeaway.
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The Cowboys finished 2018 in a big way, winning on the road with an offensive performance that did enough despite a turnover, missed field goal, and several dropped passes. Leaving room to improve for the playoffs while finding a way to come out on top at the Giants is the way things will have to continue for the Cowboys on a short week.
Also winners of their last two games, the Seahawks come to town having a previous win over the Cowboys from week three on Saturday night.
DAL 37, PHI 10: Cowboys Correct Course by Crushing Eagles
The Dallas Cowboys will need plenty more games like this one to undo some of the damage from their recent three-game losing streak. But with a 37-10 rout of the division rival Philadelphia Eagles tonight, Dallas took a big step toward redemption and restoring order in their season.
The game got ugly in a hurry for the Eagles, who fumbled on their first two possessions and set the Cowboys up for touchdowns on each. Philadelphia would answer with a score on their next drive to make it 14-7, but it was all Dallas from there.
It was a joint effort from all parts of the Cowboys roster tonight. Ezekiel Elliott had 111 yards rushing and another 36 receiving, plus one touchdown on the ground. Dak Prescott threw for 239 yards and one score and ran for another touchdown.
Dallas' defense limited Philadelphia to just 283 total yards. DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, and Jourdan Lewis each recorded sacks while Xavier Woods had a rare interception for the Cowboys secondary.
Even special teams contributed; Brett Maher nailed a 63-yard field goal to end the first half and made his two other FG attempts as well.
The Eagles were missing several key players on both sides of the ball, giving them a bit of an excuse for how lopsided this game got. But with Dallas now getting bye week rest while Philadelphia has to stay on the road in Buffalo, is this the beginning of the end for the Eagles' season?
- Amari Cooper led the receivers tonight with 106 yards on five catches. He did not appear to be hampered by any injury despite our worries earlier in the week.
- Maher's 63-yard field goal put him in the NFL record books as the only kicker to ever hit three career FGs from 60 or more.
- Prescott's 21st career rushing touchdown broke Roger Staubach's record for most all-time rushing TDs by a Cowboys quarterback.
- Some negative injury news coming out of the game; Leighton Vander Esch (neck) and Robert Quinn (ribs) both had to leave and didn't return. No word yet on severity for either, but hopefully the bye week is all they need to recover.
- Jeff Heath was also shaken up toward the end of the game but appeared to be okay on the sideline.
- No injury setbacks for any of the Cowboys' previously concerning players. Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, Tyron Smith, and La'el Collins all made it through without incident.
- Dallas now gets a long rest with the bye week and their next game not coming until Monday, Nov. 4th, against the New York Giants. While the Cowboys are healing up, the Giants will be traveling to Detroit next Sunday.
DAL 27, PHI 7: Cowboys Winning Every Phase, Build Big Halftime Lead
The Dallas Cowboys certainly heard about Doug Pederson's win guarantee, but did anyone tell Pederson's team? The Philadelphia Eagles have fumbled and flopped their way into a 24-7 halftime deficit in this pivotal Week 7 rivalry game.
Two early fumbles by Dallas Goedert and Carson Wentz helped set up the Cowboys for short fields and touchdowns. Dallas has scored points on all but one of their drives in the first half.
Ezekiel Elliott is on pace for his best game of 2019 so far. He has 65 rushing yards and another 25 through the air, with one touchdown coming on the ground.
Dak Prescott has been sharp with 161 passing yards on 15-of-20 passing. He connected with Blake Jarwin on the team's second touchdown of the night.
Dallas' other touchdown came on a pretty toss play to Tavon Austin, who used his athletic skills to juke one Eagle and then outrace the rest to the endzone.
Brett Maher finished the half with an amazing 63-yard field goal. He also made one from 26 yards earlier.
Standouts on defense so far include DeMarcus Lawrence, who is playing up to his verbal response to the Eagles' head coach earlier this week. We've also some big plays from Maliek Collins, Jourdan Lewis, and Robert Quinn.
Leighton Vander Esch had to leave the game with a neck injury and is questionable to return. Hopefully, the Cowboys won't need him.
Great start by the good guys! Let's keep it going!
Eagles @ Cowboys 2019: Gameday Inactives for Both Teams
Kickoff between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7 of the 2019 season is almost upon us. The teams have now officially declared their inactive players for tonight, and the Cowboys' list comes with many sighs of relief.
After a week of worrying that several starters and other key players could miss this pivotal game, Dallas should have most of them on hand.
Cowboys inactives: Devin Smith, Anthony Brown, Luke Gifford, Adam Redmond, Brandon Knight, Justin Hamilton, Dorance Armstrong.
Losing Anthony Brown, who is essentially a starter as the nickel corner, isn't great. But it will mean more playing time for Jourdan Lewis, and to some that could be a blessing in disguise.
As for Philadelphia, their inactive list features several key names
Ronald Darby is active for the #Eagles. Rookie Shareef Miller active for the first time. The inactives for tonight's game against the Cowboys: DeSean Jackson, Avonte Maddox, Darren Sproles, Nigel Bradham, Nate Herbig, Jason Peters, Tim Jernigan.
You can read more analysis of the Eagles' missing players here. But just to summarize, that's two offensive starters(Jackson, Peters) and three from the defense (Jernigan, Bradham, Maddox) who won't be playing in Dallas tonight.
Will these injuries decide the game? Will Dallas take advantage or will Philly overcome?
We're about to find out!
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