Facing a fourth loss in a row, the Dallas Cowboys drubbed the Philadelphia Eagles and reestablished their perch atop their own division.
I’d seen this movie before and thought I could predict the ending. The Dallas Cowboys had inexplicably lost three in a row and were facing the daunting task of trying to turn their season around in front of a national TV audience on Sunday night. Further, despite being mauled by the Minnesota Vikings the week prior, the Eagles and coach Doug Pederson entered the week with all manner of irrational confidence. The stage was set for the Cowboys to fail spectacularly.
That the Cowboys won 37-10 was as surprising as it was fun to watch. The defense–gasp!–forced two turnovers on Philadelphia’s first two possessions. The offense cashed in on each one. Before the game was half a quarter done, it was essentially over. Sure, the Eagles pulled to within seven late in the first quarter, but Dallas kept their foot on the gas and made the ending largely academic by halftime.
It was enough to make one wonder, “Where has that been for the past three weeks?!” To be sure, it was the most complete game the Cowboys have played all season. And not a moment to soon, either. This season was teetering on the brink of disaster. Losses to the Saints and Packers, while frustrating, were at least understandable on one level or another. But last week’s loss to the woebegone Jets threw everything into a justifiable state of flux.
It was enough to make me finally call for head coach Jason Garrett’s job on my own social media feed. If you’ve followed this space for any amount of time, you’ll know that I’ve been a Garrett defender. I’ve always maintained that his teams fight and never give up on him. But that loss to the Jets in the New Jersey Meadowlands last week was just a bridge too far. It simply seemed inexplicable that the team would come out so flat against an obviously inferior opponent.
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But even if you’re the most ardent Jason Garrett hater, you cannot deny that the Cowboys came out on Sunday night and played incredibly well. They were prepared from the outset, and it reflected in the outcome. So if we’re going to rightfully lambaste Garrett for his failings, then we also need to praise him for when his charges show up and win so convincingly. I get it, it’s tough to rejoice in this team’s successes when so many of us want the head coach gone. But this is the hand everyone’s been dealt. I’d rather cheer them on when they’re playing well than bellyache about the head coach still having a job. If you’re doing both, it’s a pretty miserable way to live as a fan.
While I’m at it, I need to throw some well-deserved shine on the Cowboys’ quarterback as well. For better or for worse, Dak Prescott and Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz are attached at the hip. Both were drafted in 2016, but realistically, that’s where the comparisons end. The juxtaposition has more to do with the fact that they both reside in the same division. But unlike Wentz, Prescott wasn’t drafted until the fourth round.
To that end, the Dallas Cowboys have gotten a considerable value on these exchanges. Since both entered the league, Prescott is 4-2 heads-up against his Philadelphia counterpart. Better yet, he’s 4-1 in meaningful matchups. One of Prescott’s losses as a starter in this series was in the 2016 season finale when all playoff positions had been settled. Even better, he’s now 3-0 over the last three meetings, all of which have been pressure-filled matchups with divisional seeding and/or playoff implications attached.
So for all their flaws, the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott still find themselves in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot just before the halfway point of the season. Last week, the sky was falling. This week? Not so much. Such is the nature of this NFL. They absolutely crushed their primary divisional opponent just in time for the bye week. Somehow, someway–and almost in spite of themselves–this is an optimal scenario.
- Published on 10/22/2019 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 10/22/2019 at 10:44 AM