Not exactly a statement win, but we'll take it--- Eagles 17, Dallas 9

Not exactly a statement win, but we'll take it--- Eagles 17, Dallas 9

Eagles

Not exactly a statement win, but we'll take it--- Eagles 17, Dallas 9

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You’ve got to be realistic…we are a M*A*S*H unit in shoulder pads…

That Jim Schwartz called his best defensive game ever under the circumstances is a true credit to his legacy. That we got super lucky on a bunch of weird glitches by the Cowboys’ offense was equally a factor.

The entire game felt to me like it was being played in The Twilight Zone. For some reason, most of the gremlins were working against Dallas. We had our share, too.

Carson Wentz had a better outing than Dak Prescott did… but mostly because Wentz did his best Trent Dilfer impression and simply colored inside the lines.

Carson Wentz ran off the field with his arms raised in triumph, a defining victory for a criticized QB that led an Eagles team limping toward the finish to first in the NFC East. His shaky receivers, suddenly sure-handed…The wins that got away, now sealed in crunch time.

“You can see the sense of belief that each of these guys have,” Wentz said. Believe this, the Eagles need one more win to go from 5-7 three weeks ago to division champs.

Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones broke up Dak Prescott‘s fourth-down pass to wide receiver Michael Gallup in the end zone with 1:15 left in the game, and Philadelphia denied Dallas a division crown in a 17-9 win on Sunday.

“Game on the line, you know you gotta make a stop and it’s time to rise,” Jones said. “When we get those plays, we’re going to make them.”

For the second week in a row, the much-maligned “El Sid” came up with a huge late-game PD to stop a crucial drive.

The Cowboys (7-8) would have clinched their second straight NFC East title with a win in Philadelphia. And, they would have eliminated the Eagles (8-7), who only need to win their final game next week against the Giants to clinch the East. The Cowboys can still win the East with a win next week against Washington and an Eagles loss to the Giants.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones left his suite with time left on the clock — and perhaps with time running out on Dallas coach Jason Garrett. The difference between a division title and missing the playoffs could seal Garrett’s fate in Dallas.

“We all expected to leave here as NFC East champs,” Jones said. “We’re not.”

Yes, it’s been an ugly season for the division. But the Eagles won’t care about records if they’re hosting a NFC wild-card game.

“I guess Jason Garrett has to go take an Uber home,” Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham yelled as he walked into the locker room.

Playing with a sore right shoulder (rotator cuff), Prescott attacked the Eagles cornerbacks on the final drive and had Dallas in position to possibly tie the game until Sidney Jones made the clutch stop.

“I had an opportunity, I just didn’t make the play,” Prescott said.

Wentz was 31 for 40 for 319 yards and a touchdown, and Miles Sanders ran for a score to keep the Eagles’ playoff hopes alive.

Prescott finished 25 for 44 for 265 yards. Two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott, who had averaged 114.8 yards rushing in five games against the Eagles, was held to 47 yards.

“We all have to own it,” Garrett said. “Unfortunately, we don’t control our destiny anymore. But we control our opportunity next week at Washington.”

Wentz gave the Eagles needed breathing room when he hit former college quarterback Greg Ward for 24 yards and Miles Sanders scored on a 1-yard run on the final play of the third quarter for a 17-3 lead.

This was the game Wentz needed to win, his spirit growing after the Eagles rallied on the final drive in two straight weeks to beat the Giants and Redskins and thrust themselves back into the playoff picture. He rallied the Eagles with a pep talk in the tunnel before they hit the field for perhaps the biggest game of the 26-year-old QB’s career.

“We are built for this moment,” Wentz said. “Play with so much confidence, so much swagger, that everyone in the stadium can feel you.”

Perhaps fueled by the emotional edict, Wentz came out connecting on almost every pass, and a maligned wide receiver group that suffered a season-long case of the drops suddenly made plays.

Wentz hit JJ Arcega-Whiteside — whose late-game drop cost them in a loss against Detroit — for 27 yards on the first play on a drive that ended with Jake Elliott‘s 36-yard field goal.

He ended the second drive with an 6-yard TD pass to Dallas Goedert that had Eagles fans going wild. The Linc was rocking, as Wentz started 9 for 11 for 107 yards and a touchdown.

“That playoff atmosphere, you can’t beat it,” Wentz said.

The Eagles couldn’t keep it going, stymied in part by a questionable call from coach Doug Pederson. Pederson called a timeout on a fourth-and-1 on the Dallas 33-yard line, thought about the call, and drew up a pass play out of the shotgun that was incomplete.

Dallas’ Kai Forbath kicked field goals of 49 and 32 yards to keep the score a manageable 10-6 at halftime.

Pederson had Elliott try a 55-yarder early in the fourth that was no good and gave Dallas a short field that led to Forbath’s 49-yarder that made it 17-9.

“We’re going to be rooting for another team hoping that we get a chance,” Prescott, “That’s not a position anyone wants to be in, depending on someone else.”

EAGLES INJURIES:  TE Zach Ertz injured his ribs early in the game and was listed as questionable to return after a visit to the locker room. But Ertz, Philadelphia’s leading receiver, got wrapped and returned to the lineup for the final drive of the first half. … CB Ronald Darby left the game with a hip flexor, and the other CB, Jalen Mills, also left with an injured ankle. Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones took their spots.

Matchup
1st Downs 16 23
Passing 1st downs 12 18
Rushing 1st downs 4 4
1st downs from penalties 0 1
3rd down efficiency 3-14 6-14
4th down efficiency 1-2 0-1
Total Plays 62 71
Total Yards 311 431
Total Drives 11 12
Yards per Play 5.0 6.1
Passing 257 313
Comp-Att 25-44 31-40
Yards per pass 5.6 7.6
Interceptions thrown 0 0
Sacks-Yards Lost 2-8 1-6
Rushing 54 118
Rushing Attempts 16 30
Yards per rush 3.4 3.9
Red Zone (Made-Att) 0-2 2-3
Penalties 2-20 4-30
Turnovers 1 0
Fumbles lost 1 0
Interceptions thrown 0 0
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 23:48 36:12

Game Leaders

Passing Yards

DAL
D. Prescott25-44, 265 YDS
PHI
C. Wentz31-40, 319 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing Yards

DAL
E. Elliott13 CAR, 47 YDS
PHI
M. Sanders20 CAR, 79 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving Yards

DAL
M. Gallup5 REC, 98 YDS
PHI
D. Goedert9 REC, 91 YDS, 1 TD
Tight end Dallas Goedert stepped up with Ertz ailing and led the Eagles with nine catches for 91 yards, both career highs, and a touchdown.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox forced the game’s only turnover, as he stripped the ball from running back Tony Pollard in the third quarter and it was recovered by safety Malcolm Jenkins.  This may have been the biggest play of the game. It was initially not ruled a turnover, but head coach Doug Pederson challenged the call and the Eagles won. Fitting, considering how the Eagles should have had a fumble recovery on the opening kickoff of last year’s game in Dallas, only for it to be missed by the referees.
Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat each accounted for a sack with both coming in the fourth quarter. Very big plays…
The Eagles did what everyone expected them to do on offense – emphasizing the short passing game, involving the tight ends heavily (Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz combined for 13 receptions, 119 yards, and a Goedert 6-yard touchdown catch to give the Eagles a 10-0 lead in the first quarter), and Sanders and Boston Scott in the screen game. The two combined for 11 receptions. Greg Ward contributed four receptions and 71 yards, including a 38-yard play when he came free in the third quarter to set up Sanders’ touchdown run.
“Resilient. Energetic. I think there’s been a lot of excitement with the unknown. I think with a lot of new faces and a lot of guys that maybe weren’t expected to be making these plays that unknown factor just is exciting,” Wentz said when asked how he would describe the personality of this team. “I think just the resiliency that I’ve seen, it’s been the next-man-up mentality from really the moment I got here in Philly. You see it over and over and it’s exciting to see these guys come to work with a sense of belief and the pride they take in their work to get it done out here on Sundays.”
Just don’t know how many more casualties this team can take physically before it becomes a ghost ship…
Carry on.

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