CHRISTMAS VICTORY: 5 observations from the Cowboys’ win against Philadelphia

Dec 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (88) celebrates with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) after scoring a touchdown during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

CHRISTMAS VICTORY: 5 observations from the Cowboys’ win against Philadelphia

The Dallas (11-4) defense struggled all game long to stop the Philadelphia (13-2) offense, but on the final drive, the Cowboys got the stop that eluded them for the first 58 minutes to escape with a 40-34 win on Christmas Eve at AT&T Stadium.

Long day for Dallas defense

The Cowboys’ defense gave up scores on five of 10 drives in Saturday’s game at AT&T Stadium, as Philadelphia put up 34 points, but when they needed a stop late, they got it.

The Cowboys shut down an Eagles offense that amassed 442 total yards, including three straight passes from inside their 20-yard line in the final minute of the game.

It is the second straight week, and just the second time this season, that the Cowboys allowed more than 30 points. Last week it took overtime, but the Eagles crossed the 30-point mark early in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles finished 355 yards passing from backup quarterback Gardner Minshew, including 100-yard receiving games for A.J. Brown (103) and DeVonta Smith (113).

The Eagles had their way with the Cowboys’ defense in the first half, gaining 196 yards on 39 plays. Philadelphia scored on four of their five drives, with the Cowboys’ only stop coming by way of a Jayron Kearse interception.

After the Cowboys tied it late in the first half, the defense could not get the game to halftime locked at 17. Dallas let Philly move 46 yards in 1:43 to take a 20-17 lead to halftime with a 47-yard Jake Elliott field goal.

It is the eighth time this season that the Cowboys have given up double-digit points in the first half, including four of the last five games.

Usual performance from Prescott

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had what is becoming his usual performance on Saturday, completing a high percentage of passes while also turning over the football.

Prescott finished by completing 27-of-35 passes for 347 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception.

After his early turnover, Prescott was nearly flawless. He was able to complete passes to eight different receivers while finishing with a 124.3 QB Rating.

As for the turnover, it was his 12th interception in 10 starts this season, but he led the Cowboys on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter to push Dallas to 11 wins this season.

Early in the game, it was tough going for Dallas.

After throwing a pick-six on his third pass of the game, Prescott responded by finishing up the first half completing 16-of-18 passes for 168 yards and a 36-yard touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb. However, the interception, his eighth in the last five games, put the Cowboys in a 10-0 hole that they continued to fight out of the entire game.

Lamb has big impact

CeeDee Lamb crossed the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season, grabbing ten passes for 120 yards for the Cowboys on Saturday afternoon.

He had a pair of touchdown catches, including a game-tying grab from seven yards out late in the fourth quarter.

Lamb had eight catches for 108 yards at halftime, making it his second straight game surpassing the century mark in receiving yards with 126 in the loss to Jacksonville.

The Cowboys’ top wide out now has 1,207 yards this season on 91 catches, with eight touchdowns.

Run game struggles

A running game that the Cowboys had leaned on for most of the season was pretty non-existent on Saturday.

Ezekiel Elliott led the way with 55 yards on 16 carries, but with a long of 22 yards, the rest of his carries amounted to just 33 yards. He did find the end zone in the first quarter to get the scoring started for Dallas.

Elliott made it eight straight games with that touchdown run in the first quarter, the longest streak for the team since Emmitt Smith did it in 1994-95. After the Cowboys fell behind 10-0, Elliott paid off a 14-play, 75-yard drive with a one-yard TD run.

Tony Pollard added just 19 yards on nine carries but found his footing in the passing game. Pollard caught six passes for 61 yards.

Dallas wins TO battle

The Cowboys turned the Eagles over four times, which was key to the Cowboys escaping with a victory on Saturday afternoon.

The Cowboys intercepted Minshew twice, and then also recovered two fumbles – one from Minshew and one late from Miles Sanders.

The Cowboys’ only turnover was a costly one, as Dak Prescott threw an interception that gave the Eagles an early double-digit lead.

The Eagles got the first turnover of the game when Josh Sweat picked off an errant Dak Prescott pass in the first quarter and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown. It gave the Eagles a 10-0 lead.

The Cowboys got their first turnover of the game next, when Jayron Kearse intercepted Gardner Minshew. Six plays later and Prescott hit CeeDee Lamb for a 36-yard touchdown to give Dallas its first lead of the game at 14-10.

With the Cowboys trailing by a touchdown in the third quarter, Kearse struck again. This time the Cowboys safety scooped up a Gardner Minshew fumble at the Philadelphia 40. The Cowboys got a TD pass from Prescott to Michael Gallup to pull the game even at 27-27.

The Cowboys added a DaRon Bland interception, his fifth of the season, in the fourth quarter, and the game tied at 34-34. The Cowboys took a lead they would not relinquish on a Brett Maher field goal just a few plays later.

On the next Philly drive, the Cowboys recovered a Miles Sanders fumble at the Eagles’ 21 that turned into another Maher field goal and the final points of the victory for Dallas.

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