Once again, we were harshly reminded that this is a 60-minute game.
On a night when owner Jerry Jones was honored with his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring, the Dallas Cowboys fell, 37-9, to the rival Philadelphia Eagles in front of 93,247 fans and a prime-time television audience – a score that certainly wasn't pretty, especially considering that at the half the Cowboys had largely stifled the visitors and were leading 9-7.
But over the final two quarters, the Eagles dominated, pushing their record to 9-1 on the season, the NFL's best. In the end, they racked up 383 total yards of offense, compared to the Cowboys' 225. And most of that success came on the ground, as Philadelphia chewed up 215 rushing yards with Jay Ajayi earning 91 on his own.
That total, though, was actually matched by the Cowboys' Alfred Morris, who averaged an impressive 5.4 yards per carry on his way to 91 rushing yards as well. But Dallas just couldn't muster much in the passing game, as Dak Prescott had one of the worst performances of his young career, completing only 18-of-31 pass attempts for 145 yards with no touchdowns, three interceptions and a paltry 30.4 passer rating.
Still, early on, Dallas appeared as if they could go toe-to-toe with the heavyweights. And they did … for two quarters.
The Cowboys were first to get on the board after Ryan Switzer returned the opening kickoff 61-yards to the Philadelphia 37-yard line. And while Dallas was unable to move the chains, Mike Nugent split the uprights on a 48-yard field goal to get his team on the board, 3-0.
The lead, however, didn't last long. The Eagles bounced right back with a drive that appeared almost effortless, as they marched 75 yards in eight plays, never had a third down and earned gains of 10, 7, 6, 10, 7 and 21. Kenjon Barner capped the series with a 4-yard rush up the middle to put Philadelphia up 7-3.
But as easy as that possession was for the visitors, nothing would come easy for the Eagles over the remainder of the first half. Wentz went 5 for 5 on that first series, only to then connect just once on his next seven tries.
And the Cowboys responded, going on an 11-play, 65-yard drive of their own. But they again had to settle for a field goal, this time Nugent good from 27 yards.
That's when, quite unexpectedly, the game turned into a defensive struggle, as after that initial drive of 75 yards, the Cowboys held Philadelphia to just 40 offensive yards and kept them from moving the chains on third down six times.
This came despite Prescott throwing two interceptions. The first of those came when his pass was tipped, went off Terrance Williams' hands and then into the waiting arms of safety Rodney McLeod, giving the Eagles possession at the Dallas 15-yard line. But the Dallas defense held firm and then caught a break when Philadelphia kicker Jake Elliott's attempt flew wide right.
The same was true on Prescott's second pick. Although the Eagles were set up at the Cowboys' 46-yard line, they were unable to make any progress and were eventually forced to punt.
Not that the Cowboys were doing much better, though. When they weren't turning the ball over, the team was relying on their own punter, Chris Jones, to at least keep the field position battle in check.
Finally, Dallas got on a roll late in the second quarter. On their seventh series of the first half, the Cowboys were able to once again work their way into field goal range, Nugent's aim true for a third time, this time from 47 yards, to give the home side a 9-7 advantage at the half.
Unfortunately, after the break, an Eagles offense that has been averaging a league-leading 31.4 points per game figured things out and reached the end zone on each of its next three possessions.
And Dallas just couldn't keep up. The Cowboys were outscored 16-0 in the third quarter, allowing the visitors to total 188 yards of offense while making good on all four of their third down opportunities.
Philadelphia went on drives of 75 yards and 90 yards on their first two possessions of the third frame, both of which ended in a touchdown. Running back Corey Clement got the honors on the first one, dashing up the middle for an 11-yard score, which was followed by Wentz's first touchdown toss of the game, this one to Torrey Smith.
With their kicker out due to injury, the Eagles were forced to go for the two-point conversion after every touchdown and were successful on each of their first two tries, the score now 23-9 as the clock ticked over into the fourth quarter.
Not that things got any better. Wentz capped his team's next possession – an 85-yard drive on 11 plays – with a completion to Alshon Jeffery on a fourth-and-5 call that went the necessary 17 yards for the touchdown. At least the two-point conversion failed, the lead now up to 29-9.
But alas, when it rains, it pours. On the Cowboys' next series, Prescott dropped back to pass on third-and-5 at the Dallas 45-yard line, only to have his elbow hit and the ball fumbled. Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham scooped up the prize and rumbled into the end zone, the blowout official, 37-9.
With the loss, the Cowboys fell to 5-5 on the season with any thoughts of a repeat division title certainly dashed. They'll now turn right around and host the Los Angeles Chargers at 3:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.