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Don’t Forget About These 5: Too Many Stalled Drives; Misjudged Punt & More
ARLINGTON, Texas – This game clearly got away from the Cowboys in the second half as the Eagles scored the final 30 points in what ended as a blowout here at AT&T Stadium.
But all games have those plays that can get lost in the shuffle, but still played a huge part in the final outcome. Check out the five from this game that turned the tide.
Dak’s first incomplete pass – On the opening series of the game, the crowd was already buzzing after Ryan Switzer’s career-best kick return of 61 yards started the possession at the Eagles’ 37. But on third-and-3, Dak Prescott went over the middle to Dez Bryant, who couldn’t corral a pass that hit his fingertips. The incomplete pass led to a long field goal by Mike Nugent to get the Cowboys on the board. But in a game like this, field goals weren’t going to get the job done. That incomplete pass let the air out of the building for a moment and told both teams that it could be a long night if the Cowboys couldn’t convert third downs.
Dez Couldn’t Escape Darby’s Tackle – After the Cowboys had driven down to the Eagles’ 11-yard line late in the first quarter, Prescott tossed a quick pass in the flat to Bryant, who needed to beat cornerback Ronald Darby for a possible first down and touchdown. However, Bryant couldn’t get out of Darby’s reach and finished with just a 2-yard gain. On third down, the Cowboys couldn’t convert and had to settle for yet another field goal. The play was designed for Bryant to simply make a play, but he couldn’t in the open field.
Switzer Misjudges Punt; Field Position Flipped – In the second quarter, the Cowboys defense made yet another key stop to get off the field. This time, the Eagles were backed up to their own 14-yard line and punter Donnie Jones was actually standing in his end zone to field the snap, while return man Ryan Switzer was around midfield. But for some reason, Switzer went to his left to anticipate the punt that went way to his right. He couldn’t get back over there in time before the ball hit the ground and rolled some 20 yards down to the Cowboys’ 25. Instead of getting the ball near midfield, the offense was pinned back at its own 25. A few plays later, Prescott was picked off.
Wentz Picks Up First Down to Jeffery – In the third quarter, trailing 9-7, Carson Wentz had third down at the Cowboys’ 37-yard line, and considering they had no kicker available, it was probably going to be a punting situation if they didn’t convert. But Wentz fired a pass over the middle to Alshon Jeffery, who hauled in the 18-yard reception at the Dallas 19. That gave the Eagles a chance to take the lead a few plays later and they never looked back. A stop there probably gives the ball back to Dallas with the 9-7 lead and the momentum.
Morris’ First-Down Run Stalls Drive – The Cowboys trailed 15-9 but were on the move after a 12-yard run by Alfred Morris and then a 20-yarder on the next play to set up a first down at the Eagles 39. But on the next first down, the Eagles were ready for Morris, who was stuffed for minus-1. That set up two more plays that resulted in just 1 yard, forcing the Cowboys to punt from the 39. The Eagles took over at their 10-yard line and were in the end zone in just five plays, thanks to a 71-yard run. Had the Cowboys got a few more yards, it’s likely another field goal scenario. Read