PHILADELPHIA– As the up-and-down 2017 season came to an end, the Cowboys were able to escape Philly with a 6-0 victory, despite there being a lack of big plays.
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 that affected this final game.
Smith's Third-Down Drop –Way back in the first quarter, the Eagles were on the move with Nick Foles in the game. The Eagles were in Cowboys territory and faced a third-and-7 at the 39-yard line when Foles had an open Torrey Smith over the middle. Smith had a step on Sean Lee and could've had a big gain but couldn't come up with the pass. It's likely that drop prevented the Eagles from having the ball inside the 20. On fourth down, the Eagles also misfired on a pass to Smith and the Cowboys took over. While they obviously didn't score, that was a key missed opportunity in a game that only netted six points.
Switzer Provides Breathing Room –Six-yard passes don't always make the list but in a game where points were very limited, a first-down pickup by Ryan Switzer proved to be important. Backed up to their own 11-yard line and facing third-and-3, Dak Prescott found Switzer for a 6-yard gain to the left side. The first down prevented a punt from their own end zone and got the Cowboys out toward the middle of the field. Instead of punting with 4:08 to play in the first half, the Cowboys eventually punted in Eagles territory with 39 seconds left.
Jaylon Smith's Big Tackle – The Eagles were threatening to score in the third quarter, especially after a 15-yard facemask penalty on Maliek Collins got the ball to the Dallas 42. But on first down, Wendell Smallwood was blasted behind the line of scrimmage by Jaylon Smith, who knifed his way into the backfield for the 5-yard loss. That set the Eagles back on their heels and eventually led to a punt to the Cowboys' 1-yard line.
Butler's Catch Flips Field – While Brice Butler will be remembered for scoring the only touchdown, arguably a bigger play for the Cowboys occurred on second-and-22 from their own 7-yard line. Prescott hit Butler down the left sideline for a huge 30-yard catch on the last play of the third quarter. The Cowboys were able to not only get favorable field position, but continued the drive that finished with Butler's touchdown for the only points of the game.
Switzer Extends Another Drive– With the Cowboys leading 6-0, Ryan Switzer again moved the sticks with an 8-yard gain on a third-and-5 play as the offense tried to run out the clock. Switzer's first down moved the ball to the Eagles' 31-yard line as the Cowboys eventually got to the 5 with 16 seconds to play. Despite the missed field goal, the first-down by Switzer likely prevented a punt or a long field goal attempt by Bailey.