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Eatman: Sadly, Just Decent QB Play Wins This Game


PHILADELPHIA – The quarterback wasn't as good as we thought he'd be.

He was careless with the ball. He made poor decisions down the field and turned it over too many times.

Now, let's talk about Ben DiNucci.

Yeah, the Cowboys rookie making his NFL starting debut had plenty of rocky moments as well. He held onto the ball too long. Didn't have great awareness and also had some questionable throws.

Still, because of how bad his counterpart, Carson Wentz, was on the other side, the Cowboys had a reasonable shot to win this game.

It just seemed like every time they got moving on offense, something would happen – whether it was a penalty or a sack, or a fumble, or even both.

With that, the Cowboys just simply didn't enough offense to win this game.

For some reason, this game has me thinking how Cowboys fans should be livid. And trust me, judging from some of the social media responses, they are.

But they should be. They should be pissed off. Mad. Disappointed. If it's a negative feeling, Cowboys fans should definitely have it.

Oh, not about this game so much. Although, it was a winnable game with a chance to regain first place in the division, and against the Eagles. So sure, be mad about Sunday's game if you want to, but I think most people weren't expecting a one-score game in the final few minutes.

But on a larger scale, Cowboys fans should be upset at what this season could've been, should've been and almost positively would've been had they lost their starting quarterback – the one who has never been hurt in his career.

I know this should column should be about the Eagles game – and in a way, it is.

Frankly, this loss to Philadelphia is yet another prime example of how bad the Cowboys miss their key players, but especially the quarterbacks.  

Think what you want, but a healthy Andy Dalton probably wins this game for the Cowboys. With Dak, I say Dallas wins by two touchdowns.

Remember when there was a debate whether Dak was better than Carson Wentz? Seriously, there were times Sunday night when I'm not sure Wentz was actually the best quarterback on the field.

But hey, give him credit. His team won and he got his offense into the end zone twice, including the fourth quarter to take the lead.

The Eagles were able to win despite his four turnovers.

Congrats, they got the win. They're in first place and they've already faced Baltimore and Pittsburgh. So the schedule should be favorable for them down the stretch.

That's the good news for the Eagles. The bad news is ... that is their starting quarterback, their future. OK sure, the Eagles are missing a few players on that offense, but they got a few back as well.

But the guy who fumbled twice and threw two really bad passes that Trevon Diggs caught, is the player they are trying to build around.

Maybe, that's actually a silver lining for the Cowboys.

Hey, I'm not trying to be negative towards the Eagles. My point is that Sunday's game should've been a huge discrepancy between the quarterbacks.

One was the No. 2 overall pick of the draft just four years ago and is one of the highest-paid players in all of football.

And the other has no business playing in the NFL right now, much less making his debut on Sunday Night Football.

But for a good part of the game, it was hard to decipher between the rookie and the veteran franchise quarterback.

And make no mistake about it, DiNucci was not very good. I seriously thought he might play a little better. Honestly, I thought he would throw the ball better.

We heard things like "slingin' it" and "has a cannon" from his teammates this week. I really didn't see a lot of that. Sure, he's got some zip on the ball at times, but he's also got a weird throwing motion that doesn't really let him sling it too far down the field in the intermediate passes.

But DiNucci's problems weren't so much throwing the ball, but not throwing it.

He didn't have the best feel for the pocket. I don't know what kind of mental clock he had at James Madison, but it was probably cut in half during this game. Too many times it seemed as if he was way too comfortable standing in the pocket instead of getting rid of the ball. And it was those plays that proved to be the difference.

We caught wind earlier in the week the Cowboys might actually try a few trick plays here and there to add some wrinkles and perhaps throw the Eagles off balance bit.

As it turned out, none of those really worked, aside from the double-reverse on the first drive of the game. After that, it seemed as if Philly was waiting on everything and certainly didn't fall for it again.

Frankly, I've always said that when a team starts out the game with trickery, either a double-pass, or an onside kick or just anything and everything to fool their opponent, it usually means they already know it's going to be a long day.

Sure, you can take the flip side and call it "playing to win" or being aggressive. But really, it's just a way to steal a few big plays because you know that lining up head-to-head won't be advantageous in the long run.

And they were right. The Cowboys weren't able to do that, evident by the fact they didn't get a touchdown and settled on three field goals.

Nine points isn't going to win many games at all in the NFL, especially with this Cowboys defense – a unit that played its best game of the season. Did the defense get the messages the Cowboys sent this week by cutting and trading away veterans? Or did they just face an Eagles offense that isn't very good? Perhaps a little of both.

The Cowboys were scrappy. They fought. They did about as much as they could do. In the end, they lost to a slightly-better football team. A football team that isn't very good.

At this point, being mad about what this Cowboys team is, seems pointless.

Now, being mad or upset about what this could've been, is a different story. Because Sunday's game is all the proof you need.

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