The Dallas Cowboys continued their fight to make the playoffs this week against the struggling Philadelphia Eagles (riding a seven game losing streak). The Cowboys, at 5-6, were also trying to get back to 500. The Eagles rolled into Dallas without QB Michael Vick, WR DeSean Jackson, and RB LeSean McCoy. The Cowboys were playing without NT Jay Ratliff, CB Orlando Scandrick, and recently signed DB Charlie Peprah. Here is a brief synopsis of each 1st half possession:
Possession 1, Philadelphia Eagles:
The Eagles won the toss, and Dan Bailey’s kick was not returned. OLB DeMarcus Ware got a hit on the first play to force an incompletion. After a short run that forced outside, it was 3rd and 12. QB Foles hit WR Cooper for on a slant for a first down. After an incomplete, the Eagles went back to Bryce Brown for a gain of one yard. On 3rd and 9, TE Brent Celek fought for a few extra yards and the first down. On 1st down, Bryce rushed over the RG for 5 yards taking the Eagles to very close to midfield. On 2nd and 5, Bryce was run out of bounds by CB Morris Claiborne and OLB Anthony Spencer for a loss of 6 yards, which brought up 3rd and 11. A swing pass to Brown picked up about 8 yards, but was not enough for the 1st down, forcing the Eagles to punt (former Cowboy Matt McBriar).
Dwayne Harris called for the fair-catch at the Cowboys’ 11.
Possession 2, Dallas Cowboys:
On 1st down, RB DeMarco Murray, although not 100% healthy, rushed for 12 yards on his first carry after missing 6 games. On the next play, he scampered for another 8 yards, although he did appear to be ‘favoring’ his injured ankle at times. On 2nd down, Murray was bottled up in the middle of he line to force 3rd and 2. On 3rd down, QB Tony Romo was sacked by Brandon Graham (after beating RT Doug Free). The Dallas punt went out of bounds near the Eagles 34 .
Possession 3, Philadelphia Eagles:
On 1st down, RB Bryce Brown broke their middle, made a few tacklers miss, and gained 24 yards. On 1st down, Brown picked up 3 yards in the middle. Off a play fake on 2nd down, they hit Celek on the backside for a first down all the way down at the Cowboys 23. A screen pass to the WR set the Eagles up with another first down on the Cowboys 10. On first and goal, Brown took the carry wife left; he strolled into the endzone without being touched by a defender.
Dallas Cowboys 0 – Philadelphia Eagles 7
Possession 4, Dallas Cowboys:
The Cowboys started their second drive on their own 20. On first down, QB Tony Romo his RB Murray over the middle for a 6 yard gain. On an inside draw, Murray picked up about 10 yards for a first down. On 1st down, Romo went long to WR Kevin Ogletree, but it was broken up by Eagles CB Cromartie. Under pressure on 2nd down, Romo had to throw the ball away. On 3rd and 10, Romo connected with Mr. Reliable, TE Jason Witten for a new set of downs. RB Felix Jones picked up 2 yards on 1st down. From the shogun with 5 WR, Romo hit free agent rookie WR Cole Beasley for a 1st down at the Eagles 42. With lots of time, Romo eventually hit Murray in the flat for a loss of one yard (Witten was wide open down field but apparently Romo did not see him.) After another rush by Murray, the Cowboys were facing 3rd and 8. Under immediate pressure from the Eagles pass-rush, Romo took off up the middle for 15 yards and the first down. The first quarter ended on a short pass to Murray, which took the Cowboys inside the Eagles 15.
END of FIRST QUARTER
On 1st and 10 from the Eagles 13, Romo was under pressure again, he hit Ogletree in the endzone, but he was out of bounds. The pass-interference penalty was negated by yet another holding penalty by RT Doug Free. On the repeat of 1st down, Murray took the carry up the middle for a gain of 4. On 2nd down, Murray picked up a few more yards, but another penalty flag was thrown; holding on McKenzy Bernadeau. The Cowboys then had 2nd and 15 on the Eagles 18. Romo was hit as he threw and the ball sailed incomplete. On 3rd down, Romo was sacked by Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. Romo was slow to get up, and he walked off the field gingerly. Dan Bailey hit the 34 yard field goal.
Dallas Cowboys 3 – Philadelphia Eagles 7
Possession 5, Philadelphia Eagles:
On the kickoff, a huge hit by Cowboys RB Phillip Tanner dropped the Eagles returner at the 16. On 1st down, in the face of a blitzing LB, Foles stood in there and hit TE Celek for 19 yards. Despite having lots of time to survey the field, QB Foles had to throw the ball away. On 2nd and 10, the Cowboys dropped the Eagle RB for a short loss. Facing 3rd and 12, a short pass from Foles dropped incomplete. McBriar’s punt went out of bounds near the Cowboys 20.
Possession 6, Dallas Cowboys:
On 1st down, TE John Phillips made a catch for a short gain, then Felix Jones had a short run up the middle to force 3rd and 5. Another false start was called on Ryan Cook to make it 3rd and 10. A great catch by Jason Witten gave the Cowboys a 12 yard gain for the 1st down. The ball was very close to the ground, so Eagles’ Head Coach Andy Reid challenged the catch. It was ruled an incomplete, so the Cowboys had to punt.
Possession 7, Philadelphia Eagles:
The Eagles began their drive on their 27. Under pressure, Foles dumped the ball to the back for no gain. It was a great play by Ware to drop the receiver. On 2nd and 13, RB Brown was able to get to the edge and turn up field all the way to the Cowboys 40. After a short rush on first down, the Eagles tried a rush from the shotgun for another short gain to bring up 3rd and 6. Foles hit WR Jeremy Maclin for a 21 yard gain and setting up the Eagles at the Cowboys 12 yardline. Foles again faked the stretch play to the right, then came back to Celek on the left for 7. On 2nd down, Brown waltzed through the middle of the line for his second TD.
Dallas Cowboys 3 – Philadelphia Eagles 14
Possession 8, Dallas Cowboys:
The Cowboys started at their own 25. Neither WR Miles Austin or Dez Bryant has a reception yet. The Cowboys rushed the ball for a short gain on 1st down. On 2nd down, RT Doug Free was called for another holding penalty after getting beat to the outside. On 2nd and 19, Romo finally had time to look over the field and hit TE Witten to bring up 3rd and 4. From the shotgun. Romo went back to Witten for a first down. On 1st down from their 35, the Cowboys tried an end-around to Ogletree, but he dropped the ball and it resulted in an 8 yard loss. On 2nd down, Romo threw another ball to Witten for 13 yards. Facing 3rd and 5, Dez Bryant made a great one handed catch on the sideline. On the last play before the 2-minute warning, Romo threw a short incomplete. On 2nd and 10 from the Eagles 45, a short pass to Murray resulted in a short loss. On 3rd and 13, Romo hit WR Miles Austin who make the catch, broke a tackle, and got the first down at the Eagles 29. Romo then hot a wide-open Jason Witten to take the ball all the way down to the Eagles one yardline. The Cowboys were finally able to punch the ball in to the endzone in a short yardage situation; Murray scored the TD.
Dallas Cowboys 10 – Philadelphia Eagles 14
Possession 9, Philadelphia Eagles:
On 1st down from the 16, Brown carried the ball for another 20 yards, given him 98 yards rushing in the 1st half so far. The Eagles went deep on 1st down, but Foles overthrew Maclin, who had a step on CB Brandon Carr. Foles then hit Jason Avant to get the Eagles to the Dallas 34 yard line with 14 seconds left in the half. The Eagles then ran the ball for 3 yards and called their second timeout. After another rush, the Eagles set up to kick a 43 yard FG. The kick was good as time expired
Dallas Cowboys 10 – Philadelphia Eagles 17
END OF FIRST HALF
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was published minutes after the end of the 2nd quarter, so it is largely unedited.