DALLAS (38) d PHILADELPHIA (33)
The Headline: Cowboys win the battle of whose defense is less crap
Before anything else, I would like to conduct a quick poll here, if you thought the Cowboys had blown it when they allowed the Eagles to return that punt for a touchdown, raise your hand… be honest. Yeah I thought that too, good to know I wasn’t alone there. Dallas is the only NFL team that you expect to blow a seemingly insurmountable lead with half a minute left, maybe San Diego too but still. It says a lot that the Cowboys, trying to keep pace with the rest of the wild card pack and possibly even the Giants, did not hold a lead against the team having lost 7 in a row until late in the fourth quarter. In a surprisingly even and entertaining game, the Cowboys were able to bring themselves back into the game on the back of a perfect 10 for 10, three touchdown second half by the much maligned Tony Romo. He will have his poor moments that have Cowboys fans going prematurely grey and/or bald but in the second half he was nothing short of spectacular making all the right calls at the line to guide his offense to the crucial points.
Key Stat: Dallas: 29 pass plays against 33 running plays
The return of Demarco Murray allowed the Cowboys to abandon their pass-crazy approach and employ a balanced approach to their game. Murray was not Adrian Peterson back there, rushing for 83 yards on 23 carries but he presented enough of a threat that the Eagles had to keep an eye on him. He was also able to produce when the team asked him to which is more important than getting gaudy stats.
Key Play: Morris Claiborne recovers Nick Foles fumble and returns it for a touchdown
With the game going back and forth, the Cowboys had fought hard to finally put themselves in the lead but you could not help but feel the Eagles had another score in them. Bryce Brown ran up the middle and had the ball knocked loose by Josh Brent, Claiborne pounced on the ball and was able to run it back to the end zone for what turned out to be the crucial points of the game.
Man of the Match: Dez Bryant
6 catches, 98 yards, 2 touchdowns
Despite the issues surrounding him off the field, there can be no doubt that Dez Bryant is an incredibly talented receiver, torching the Eagles defense whenever he got on the field. If he ever improved his conditioning to the point where he did not have to take long spells on the sideline to deal with cramps then there is no doubt he would be considered among the NFL’s best.