The Cowboys were embarrassed on their home turf at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night. They can lick their wounds for three days before taking the field again at AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving Day.
Five things to know about the dumpster-fire of a game -- or at least a second half -- Sunday night:
It was close… for a half
The Cowboys actually took a lead into halftime, as they have in three of their five losses this season. The offense had mustered just three field goals, but the defense was pitching a shutout after an opening-drive touchdown by Philadelphia. Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown dropped an interception that could’ve opened the door to more points for Dallas before the break. Instead, it remained 9-7.
But then the second half happened. Thirty Eagles points later, the game was final. Philadelphia gained 268 yards of offense -- including touchdown drives of 75, 90 and 85 yards -- to Dallas’ 99 in the second half.
Dak’s three picks
Statistically, Dak Prescott had his worst game as a pro Sunday night. He threw three interceptions for the first time in his career, and also lost a fumble on a fourth-quarter sack.
In his defense, one of the interceptions came on a pass that deflected off Terrance Williams. Another was a glorified punt on a ball thrown about 40 yards downfield. And the third came on a 4th-and-10 play with the Cowboys already down 28.
If you’re gonna throw three picks, that’s the way to do it. But there’s no defense for a four-turnover game. Prescott lost the overhyped Dak-versus-Wentz quarterback battle Sunday.
The Cowboys rushed for 112 yards Sunday night -- not an overwhelming number, but a good one against this Eagles team. Philadelphia was averaging right around 66 yards allowed on the ground this season, and Dallas passed that number in less than two quarters. In the second half, Dallas was quickly playing from behind and didn’t have many opportunities to run the ball. Alfred Morris, who has started the last two games without Ezekiel Elliott, rushed for 91 yards on 17 carries for a respectable 5.4 yards-per-carry clip.
One week after Chaz Green got embarrassed at the hands of Adrian Clayborn and the Atlanta Falcons while filling in for the injured Tyron Smith, Byron Bell was the replacement left tackle Sunday.
Twitter was NOT a fan of Bell’s performance.
Give my dad a month to train, and he would do better at LT than Byron Bell and Chaz Green— Derek Hall (@D_Hall30) November 20, 2017
Surprise, your backup tackle got beat. Poor job by the front office on attempting to retool this o-line. Chaz Green at guard? Terrible idea. Byron Bell? Terrible. Cooper? Awful.— Benjamin Bullock (@BenBulljive) November 20, 2017
How did Byron Bell or Chaz Green become Pros?¿?¿? #CowboysNation— Logan Harmon (@OmegaTexasTV) November 20, 2017
BYRON BELL LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO— Delonte West is Steph Curry's granddad (@Maccpot) November 20, 2017
But, while the 28-year-old allowed a sack, he held his own better than Green, against a better defensive front seven than the Falcons group that torched Green. And, even if Cowboys fans hated Bell’s performance Sunday, they can take solace in the fact that the coaching staff prepared him better for the game than Green. Bell was given consistent help, rather than being left on an island to allow six sacks.
Playoff hopes are dwindling
The Cowboys’ playoff chances have a pulse, but not much sign of life. At 5-5, they’ll wake up Tuesday morning (following a Monday night tilt between Atlanta and Seattle) as the No. 10 team in the NFC standings and no tiebreakers against the teams immediately ahead of them.
Before Sunday night, the two games against Philadelphia looked like “prove-it” games that could write the script for the Cowboys’ push at a Wild Card berth, even if the division was out of reach. But if Sunday night was a barometer for the season, things are bleak at best.
With four Zeke-less games remaining, and possibly multiple others without Sean Lee, it will be an uphill battle to make the playoffs, even against a pretty manageable slate of games against the Chargers, Redskins, Giants, Raiders, Seahawks and Eagles. Going 5-1 the rest of the way is about the team’s only hope, and that will be no easy task with All-Pro players on the shelf.
© 2017 WFAA-TV