It was a thriller, that's for sure, a national prime-time television audience and 91,827 fans treated to a slugfest between rivals. Unfortunately, though, the Cowboys once again could not finish the fight, falling to Philadelphia, 33-27, in overtime, their losing streak now extending to six games.
Frustratingly, though, this marked the fourth time during this dismal stretch that the team has been tied or ahead at the half, and it was the fifth game in which they actually owned the lead at some point. This also marked the second outing in this losing streak that they lost in overtime, also falling in the extra frame to the Saints.
But, of course, there are no moral victories in the NFL. There is no reward for just coming close.
With Matt Cassel making his third start in the absence of Tony Romo, the team mustered 411 yards of total offense, including 134 on the ground, led by Darren McFadden's 27 carry, 117-yard effort. Cassel himself finished with 299 yards on 25-of-38 passing and tossed three touchdowns.
After seemingly ignoring Cole Beasley in the previous two games, the receiver failing to record a single catch, Cassel found his man nine times for 102 yards and two scores. He also connected with Dez Bryant five times for 104 yards and a highlight-reel touchdown, the receivers as a group recording all but one of Cassel's completions.
Cassel did, however, have a costly interception, a theme that has also been recurring during this losing streak. Dallas once again lost the turnover battle, the defense unable to record a pick or interception while also surrendering 459 yards of total offense.
The Cowboys started the game just as they have in six of their previous seven contests on the year – they put points on the board. On the team's opening possession, Cassel first found Bryant for a 51-yard connection, the second-longest completion by Dallas this season, then capped off the series with a 5-yard strike to Cole Beasley to put the home team up 7-0. This marked Beasley's first catch of any kind since Cassel took over quarterbacking duties in Week 7.
Over the remainder of the first half, though, the Cowboys totaled only 83 yards and failed to add to their point total. And, with the Eagles able to tie the game early in the second frame, thanks to a 13-play, 80-yard drive and 1-yard scoring run from DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys have now outscored their opponents 39-23 in the first quarter of games this season, but been outscored themselves, 54-40 in the second quarter.
While the first half was largely dominated by the defenses, the second half became a heavyweight battle with the two teams trading punches. Philadelphia picked up right where it left off by reaching the end zone on its first possession of the third quarter, driving 95 yard on seven plays.
However, just when things seemed to be getting away from the Cowboys, Dallas responded, answering the call with their own 10-play, 80-yard drive that saw Cassel complete four passes to Beasley for a total of 59 yards, the last a 17-yard strike across the middle that saw the receiver split the seam and reach the end zone, tying the score at 14 all, where it remained heading into the fourth quarter
Within a matter of minutes, though, the score was 21-21. Cassel tried to throw a quick out to McFadden on the right side, only to watch linebacker Jordan Hicks step in front of the pass and then race 67 yards untouched for the pick-six and a 21-14 lead.
It was Hicks, you might remember, who landed on Romo in the two teams' first meeting of the season, the blow fracturing the collarbone of the Cowboys quarterback.
But on the ensuing kickoff, Lucky Whitehead ran it back 79 yards to the Philadelphia 24. Three plays later, a scrambling Cassel threw a jump ball into the end zone that Bryant somehow managed to soar above the scrum to haul in for the touchdown.
If nothing else, the fans were getting their money's worth.
And it continued, with both sides then twice trading field goals. The Eagles were good from 31 yards with Bailey coming right back with a 41-yarder to tie it up at 24-24. Then Philadelphia took the lead again thanks to a 53-yard field goal.
That gave Dallas the ball at its own 20-yard line with 1:46 left in the game. And while it wasn't pretty, thanks to three penalties by the Eagles that kept the drive moving, the Cowboys were able to set Bailey up with a 44-yard attempt with only seven seconds left in regulation.
And while he made it interesting, the ball ricocheting off the left upright before going through, Bailey was good, sending the game into overtime, 27-27.
But the way this night had been going, there was a certain feeling that whoever won the coin toss could very well win the game. And sure enough, the Eagles called tails, tails came up and nine plays later, Philly had the 33-27 win.
The home team nearly caught a break when on fourth-and-1 at the Dallas 43-yard line, Ryan Mathews appeared to fumble the ball with the Cowboys recovering. But replay showed that the running back was down and with possession once again, the Eagles took advantage.
On the very next snap, Bradford found Jordan Matthews over the middle, defender Byron Jones having fallen down. The receiver was then able to race untouched into the end zone for the 41-yard game-winning touchdown.
With the loss, the Cowboys fell to 2-6 on the year, falling further in the NFC East standings and desperately needing a victory in their final outing without Romo, a road game at the 3-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday.