PHILADELPHIA – Make no mistake, the Cowboys and Eagles knew going into this game that improving their playoff seeding was possible.
And even with the Cowboys winning this game Saturday night, they'll need some help on Sunday to move up in the NFC playoff picture.
Still, both teams treated this matchup like a glorified preseason game with starters getting pulled early or not even playing at all.
But it's technically the regular-season finale so we'll treat the game as such here. Let's go through the handful of plays not to forget that either changed the outcome of this game or was something of significance in the big picture.
Joseph's dropped interception – Usually, negative plays for the winning team aren't included in this piece, but this wasn't exactly a normal game. On the first drive for the Eagles, Cowboys rookie cornerback Kelvin Joseph dropped a rather easy interception on the third play of the game. Not only did it go through his hands, but the ball fell into the hands of Philadelphia's DeVonta Smith for a first down. The Eagles then drove the field for a touchdown. Even though it didn't affect the game too much, that play would've changed the first half overall and probably the perception of Joseph's night.
Zuerlein hits 48-yard field goal – This play is included because it shouldn't be overlooked when judging Zuerlein's effort against the Eagles. He's missed six extra points this year, including one Saturday night, but he did make a 48-yard field goal in the first quarter and five more extra points. He wasn't perfect, but he also wasn't ineffective.
Fourth-down gamble on opening drive – The Cowboys were down 7-0 and the drive was about to stall with a fourth-and-4 at the Eagles' 34-yard line. But the offense stayed on the field and Dak Prescott found Amari Cooper open for a 14-yard gain. On the next play, he hit Cedrick Wilson for a touchdown and the shootout was on. How things could've been different without that early first down.
Cooper's sideline catch and hit – The Cowboys were facing third-and-long before halftime when Prescott fired a rope to Cooper, who not only made the catch at the 2-yard line, but took a big hit that knocked him a few yards out of bounds. We talk about Cooper's route-running and hands, but rarely his toughness. That was shown on that play, and it set up a touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz.
Eagles shank punt – With the Cowboys leading 23-17 late in the first half, the Eagles were trying to answer, but on fourth down, punter Arryn Siposs shanked a 26-yard punt that didn't even cross midfield. The Cowboys were able to get the ball back and score again as Prescott tossed his fourth touchdown pass of the half for a 30-17 lead.