Eagles latest victims of Dallas turnaround
by Kelly Bell
There is an old saying that there can be no peaks without valleys between them. This is very true, and lately the Dallas Cowboys have indeed savored no peaks–just one long. lofty plateau. In an overtime thriller, the Pokes completed a season sweep of the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, sending the crestfallen Birds on a long flight back to the City of Brotherly Love smarting from the 29-23 loss. Last week’s stunning, 13-10 upset of the heavily favored New Orleans Saints featured a defense that stymied every aspect of the NFL’s most feared offense. The Sons of Doomsday showed up at this week’s contest at AT&T Stadium, too, but this time it was the Dallas turbocharge that led the way.
With quarterback Dak Prescott bombing Philly for 455 yards and three touchdowns, recently acquired wideout Amari Cooper picked off a whopping ten of those throws for 216 yards and two scores while hungry runner Ezekiel Elliot pounded out 113 steps on the ground. The Prescott-to-Cooper connection finished off the visitors in the fifth period when Coop grabbed a deflected ball and strolled in for the winning TD. The loss drops Philadelphia to 6-7 and, coupled with a defeat the slumping Washington Redskins suffered in an earlier game, firmly ensconces Dallas atop the National Football Conference’s Eastern Division.
True, the scores in the Cowboys’ five-game winning streak have not been that one-sided, the most outright being the 31-23 decision over the Skins two weeks ago, but this does not count in the standings as the Cowboys have rallied from an out-of-character 3-5 first half of the season to a nifty 8-5. The earlier losses, though, remain a factor to be considered. They still count in the standings, and the Pokes must remember this as they finish the playoff stretch. They cannot afford to take anyone for granted.
Next week’s game at Indianapolis versus the 7-6 Colts is unlikely to be a laugher. The mere presence of superstar quarterback Andrew Luck will test even Dallas’ stingy defense. The following outing will be when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to Big D. At 5-8 they will be playing for pride, and they have lots of that. The Cowboy regular season will conclude on the road against the New York Giants. Although the New Yorkers also have an unimpressive-looking 5-8 talley they are coming off stunning back-to-back victories over the Chicago Bears and Washington. Furthermore, when they came to Texas earlier in the season, the home team barely eked out a 20-13 win. Like the Pokes, they are playing much better now. They would dearly love to use Dallas as a springboard to a .500 regular season and hope for a much better next year. Although two of the last three Cowboy opponents have losing records and the Colts have lost almost as many as they have won there is a good chance it will not be as easy as it looks on paper. This is no time for the Boys to take anything for granted.