Cowboys Put Eagles on the Brink with OT Win
(973espn.com) - The lede was shaping up nicely ... Kamu Grugier-Hill, usually Latinised as Nostradamus, is a Hawaiian football player and reputed seer, who is best known for his prediction made earlier this week.
"I mean, look at Dallas’ history," Grugier-Hill said. "They always choke. So, we’ll go down there and make them choke.”
Amari Cooper hasn't been in Dallas very long, however, and the receiver picked up at the trade deadline made sure there would be no choking, at least not this Sunday, hauling in 10 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns, the last one a 15-yarder in overtime which was was a deflection off Rasul Douglas, ensuring a 29-23 win for the Cowboys.
The win puts Dallas at 8-5 on the season, two games up on Philadelphia (6-7) with just three games to play and to make matters worse the Cowboys hold the tiebreaker between the two teams after sweeping the season series.
According to FiveThirtyEight.com the difference between a win and loss for the Eagles was stark, with a positive outcome spiking their playoff probability to 70 percent after some desirable 1 PM outcomes and the actual ending sending it tumbling down to just 12 percent. The Cowboys can clinch the NFC East with one win in their final three games.
The Eagles offense was as bad as it's ever been in the Doug Pederson era deep into the third quarter but Dak Prescott was also deep into shooting the Dallas counterpart in its own foot with three turnovers, keeping Philadelphia in the game.
In the first half, Prescott did not see Douglas peeling off in zone coverage to pick off an underthrown pass to Cooper in the red zone.
Later in the third quarter the Eagles down 9-0 and reeling Prescott really went to work, airmailing a wide-open Cooper as Corey Graham sat in centerfield for what nearly as a pick-six. A quick WR screen from Carson Wentz to Alshon Jeffery got the two yards Philadelphia needed and after a Jake Elliott missed PAT, the Eagles found themselves down by a FG, 9-6, despite being outplayed badly.
That advantage was quickly erased by a Michael Bennett strip sack of Prescott just inside Eagles territory. A big 4th-and-3 conversion on a pass to Darren Sproles out of the backfield kept the drive moving and ultimately ended with Elliott tying the contest with a 26-yard field goal.
The game turned into a shootout from there with the Eagles countering two Cooper TDs with Wentz TD throws to Dallas Goedert and Sproles, the second of which sent the game to overtime where the Cowboys won the toss and went on an eight-plus minute march that never gave Wentz and Co. an opportunity to answer.
From a numbers standpoint, the game was a mismatch with Dallas rolling up 576 yards of total offense to just 256 for the Eagles, who were awful on third downs in the game, finishing just 1-of-9.
Wents rebounded from a poor start to finish 22-of-32 for 228 yards and three TDs with a passer rating of 120.2. Prescott, meanwhile, threw for 455 yards and picked on Sidney Jones, who was in and out of the game with another hamstring issue, as well as Douglas and De'Vante Bausby.
Ezekiel Elliott, meanwhile, ran for 113 yards on 28 toted for the Cowboys.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen