PHILADELPHIA – Say what you want about Jason Garrett's messages. We all know he'll put just about anything on a T-shirt or sign around the locker room or meeting room to get his players' attention.
But sometimes, it's the simple things that seem to resonate the most.
We all know Jason Garrett's favorite words when it comes to his team's ability to compete.
Yeah there might have been a few four-letter words thrown around last week after that embarrassing Monday night loss. But it was the five-letter word they showed early and often that paved the way Sunday night.
And man, did they bring the fight. They fought before the game, during the game, right before halftime, and then all the way throughout the second half when it turned into a slugfest.
It was like two prizefighters just trading punches back and fourth. It was Zeke. Then it was Ertz. Then Zeke again and then Ertz for another round.
But when Zeke came back for the final time, plunging into the end zone to give the Cowboys a 27-20 lead, it proved to be the final haymaker thrown in this battle of desperation.
Because that's exactly what it was for both teams. It was a desperate game for the Cowboys and Eagles both, especially after the Redskins moved to 6-3 on Sunday afternoon. But you knew all along that Dallas and Philly were making a push, which is why both teams went out and traded for high-quality receivers before the trade deadline.
Both teams were in desperate need of a win and it was evident from the start, even a little earlier when players and coaches from both side got into a heated exchange on the field with plenty of pushing and shoving to go around.
I would imagine neither side needed that altercation to get fired up for the game. The Cowboys players admitted all week how "pissed off" they were following the Monday night loss to Tennessee. So with or without the pregame incident, the Cowboys were ready to play.
And more importantly, they were ready to win.
As cliché as both phrases sound, you could tell just how bad the Cowboys needed to win. They answered the bell every single time it looked as if the Eagles would take control of the game.
But in reality, the Cowboys never lost it. They never lost the lead. They never lost control of the situation.
The Eagles had just nailed a 56-yard field goal before halftime and it's now 6-3. After Dak Prescott took an unnecessary sack, which prompted Philly coach Doug Pederson to start calling timeouts in an attempt to get the ball back. But on third-and-15, the Cowboys didn't just sit back, but instead went aggressive and picked up a 25-yard gain to Michael Gallup. Just like that, the Cowboys were in the end zone with a 13-3 lead.
Let's move to the third quarter and the Eagles were down 10 but driving with a first down on the 11. But the Cowboys stuffed the run for a three-yard loss and the Eagles eventually kicked a field goal to trim the lead to seven.
Later in that quarter, the Eagles took advantage of a missed field goal and drove the field to tie the score on a TD pass to Zach Ertz, who literally couldn't be stopped.
But with the crowd finally into the game, and the Rocky music blaring through the speakers, the Cowboys just answered the challenge once again. They went 75 yards on nine plays and finished the drive with a third-down pass to Elliott, who snuck into the end zone for a score.
The Eagles of course came back again but the Cowboys answered, this time winning the game with an impressive drive.
The Eagles gave the Cowboys punch after punch, but not only did they avoid most of the big blows, but found a way to counter.
And after what we saw just six days earlier, that approach and mindset has to be applauded.
I know many Cowboys fans have simply grown tired of Garrett's message, mainly because they're tired of the empty results.
And that's fair. When things are ugly like they were Monday night, the blame falls at the feet of the coaching staff.
But it should go both ways. The Cowboys were ready to play Sunday night. They were prepared for what they would face with the Eagles and more importantly, they were prepared to fight.
Yeah, the Eagles might have some fancy new rings to flaunt. And right now, the records of the two teams are the same.
But on this night, the Cowboys were simply better.
They out-played them on the field. They out-coached them on the sidelines. And when it was all said and done, they had just a little more fight.