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Instant Review: Staff Gives Early Analysis After 38-23 Victory


The Cowboys found a way to rally in the second half and then cruise past the Eagles late, thanks to three defense and special teams returns. The 38-23 win stopped the bleeding for the Cowboys, who had lost four of five games, but now start the second half of the season with a win to improve their record to 4-5. staff writers Rowan Kavner, Nick Eatman and Bryan Broaddus were all on hand and deliver their postgame reactions. Also included is their gut feelings from Saturday afternoon.

Rowan: It wasn't clear after three quarters, but the team that made fewer costly mistakes ended up winning. The Cowboys were by no means perfect, committing penalties in almost every way possible and failing to do much of anything on crucial third downs, but they also took care of the football and took advantage of Eagles turnovers, which ended being the difference and now keeps them in contention in the NFC East. Wins on the road against New York and Philadelphia could be monumental moving forward, but their lack of third down production will cost them more games if they don't figure it out.

Bryan:  Thought this game would be about the big plays and which team would do a better job at making them or preventing them. As many mistakes as the Cowboys had with penalties, they were able to make more big plays than the Eagles and that was the difference in the game – key passes, punt returns and turnovers for touchdowns. The Eagles were not able to match. With Michael Vick out of the game, it made the Cowboys job easier defensively, but LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson did not kill this Cowboys squad like they have in the past. The Cowboys ability to hold them in check was the main reason they took this victory.                                                                                                                                            

Nick: Hmm, who's idea was it to post the initial gut feeling from Saturday? Actually, that was mine and I may want to rethink that idea. But seriously, I just didn't have a good feeling at all about this game for the Cowboys. I'm not going to say I was completely wrong about it, especially since this team played rather lethargic in the first half, and when Michael Vick was in the game, it looked like it might be a long day. But we get onto this team for not finishing games before, so we have to applaud the Cowboys for how they took care of things in this game. Was it a masterpiece? Hardly, but the Cowboys were indeed the better football team. Their backs were against the wall, not only before the game but late in the third quarter, and they showed the necessary fight. I have no problem being dead wrong about this one.

Gut Feelings, posted Saturday, Nov. 10:

Rowan: Head coach Jason Garrett may not want to call his team desperate, but the fact of the matter is the Cowboys and Eagles are both desperate for a victory. The loser of this game can practically kiss the playoffs goodbye. As I wrote earlier this week, these two teams aren't all that different. The winner of this game will be the one that commits fewer errors. The offensive line situation in Philadelphia seems even worse than in Dallas, and if the Cowboys can take advantage and get to Michael Vick, they should pull out the critical road win.

Bryan:I have said this all week and I will say it again, I don't like the matchup against the Eagles. I really don't care about how bad their offensive line has played and the turnovers that they tend to suffer with Michael Vick. I know one thing, if the Cowboys don't come ready to play, they will get beat. If they don't pressure Vick, tackle McCoy, cover Jackson or block Babin again, they get beat. We should not act like this is one of those games where the Cowboys just roll their helmets out there on the field Sunday afternoon and the Eagles will see it and die. If Jason Garrett, Rob Ryan and these players don't take this game, then shame on them. The time of talking about turning things around has now passed, it's time for someone to step up and do something about it. One team will destroy the others will to compete, Cowboys fans hope it's theirs.

Nick: Not feeling this one for the Cowboys. I know there has been a lot of talk about these teams being very similar in a lot of ways – record, quarterback stats, offensive line woes, red-zone struggles, turnovers, penalties … and on and on. That sounds great but all I know is what I've seen last year. And while the Eagles and Cowboys were both 8-8, they weren't that close on the field. Something about playing there at the Linc with all this talk surrounding Philly's losing streak and Andy Reid on the hot seat – I just don't see a good scenario for the Cowboys. The only exception is if they can somehow get an early lead on the Eagles and then put tons of pressure on Vick. I don't think he's that good when it's time to rally and come back. But overall, I see the Eagles using their team speed on both sides of the ball and creating more problems for the Cowboys all day.

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