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Don't Forget These 5

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Don't Forget These 5: Couldn't Avoid Drive-Killers 


PHILADELPHIA – This game had its share of big plays, weird plays and plenty of memorable moments that led to the Eagles' 23-9 win.

But all games have those hidden plays that make a difference. Here are the five plays you can't forget about that played a big factor in the outcome.

DiNucci loses 12 on first drive – The Cowboys took the ball out of the gate and it didn't take long to realize this was a different look. The "Wildcat" formation and some double-reverse plays. The Cowboys were moving the ball and had Philly on its heels. But with a first-and-10 at the Eagles' 37, Ben DiNucci held the ball too long in the pocket and was dropped for a 12-yard loss back near midfield. While the Cowboys were able to manage a field goal, it seemed to be their best chance to actually get a touchdown. It also showed Philly a blueprint on how to attack the young quarterback, which they did all game.

First-and-goal turns into disaster – The Cowboys finally got a turnover they've been desperately looking for when Donovan Wilson sacked Carson Wentz and forced a fumble at the Eagles' 25. Already leading 3-0, the Cowboys marched inside the 5, thanks to a couple of big runs from Zeke Elliott. But on first-and-goal at the 4, Zeke was stuffed in the backfield for a three-yard loss back to the 7. That put a different formation into the game and forced the Cowboys to have to pass. On second down, DiNucci was sacked by Brandon Graham, forcing a fumble and negating yet another scoring opportunity.

More trickery leads to big loss – See a pattern here? The Cowboys were moving the ball but found some sort of bump in the road that moved them backward. In this case, the Cowboys had just picked off Carson Wentz again and were on the move. The offense ran the ball seven straight times with a combination of Elliott and Tony Pollard. On second-and-8 from the Eagles' 26, they went back into the bag of tricks and ran a double reverse to Cedrick Wilson, who had an option to throw but was smothered by the Eagles defense for a 10-yard loss back to the 36. On third down, the Cowboys managed just two yards and had to settle for a field goal attempt. This time, Greg Zuerlein missed the 52-yarder. Think what those 10 lost yards did for that attempt.

Schultz flagged for holding in open field – Trailing 15-9 late in the third, the Cowboys were back on the move and into Philly territory. On first down from the Dallas 47, DiNucci had a designed rollout to the left where he picked up 11 yards. But on the play, tight end Dalton Schultz, who was in front of the play, was flagged for a questionable holding calls, although his hands remained inside the defender and seemingly made a textbook block. The penalty pushed it back 10 yards from the spot. Instead of first down at the Eagles 42, it was first and 11 back at the Cowboys 47. The Cowboys ultimately turned the ball over on downs but without that penalty, perhaps the Cowboys get another first down and could've kicked a field goal.

Again, DiNucci loses yards to stall momentum – The Cowboys were still in the game late in the fourth quarter, trailing 15-9. It was first down at the Eagles 25 and the offense finally found a rhythm thanks to the short passing game. But on first down, the call was to roll DiNucci out of the pocket and again, he was rushed and then sacked for a four-yard loss. That put them behind the chains and ultimately led to a third-and-long. This time, the rookie took another sack, fumbled the ball, and it was eventually recovered for a game-clinching fumble return of 53 yards.

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