Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Slocum/AP/Shutterstock (13471029bd) Dallas Cowboys’ Noah Brown pulls in a touchdown that was later called back in front of Philadelphia Eagles’ James Bradberry during the first half of an NFL football game, in Philadelphia Cowboys Eagles Football, Philadelphia, United States – 16 Oct 2022
The Cowboys’ offensive struggles took a huge toll on them in this one as they took a 26-17 loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia. Coming into the game, it was assumed this would be one of Dallas’ toughest matchups of the season as Philly came in as the only undefeated team in the league and the presumed favorite in the NFC to this point.
Cooper Rush played his worst game of the season by a wide margin and suffered his first loss as a starter. Rush finished the night 18-38 for 181 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. This could be Rush’s last start as Dak Prescott could come back as soon as next week.
Ezekiel Elliott had a strong game rushing for 81 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Elliott, along with most of the offense, most of their production came in the second half and seemed to be too little too late.
Despite the defense playing well and coming up with key stops, the penalty bug bit the Cowboys again. They committed 10 penalties for 72 yards which quintupled the Eagles’ total for the evening.
The Cowboys would start the game with the ball and immediately got off to a slow start as KaVontae Turpin tripped over his own feet inside the 20-yard line setting them up for subpar field position to open the game. That drive would end up in a three-and-out.
Both teams would trade unsuccessful possessions before the Eagles started the drive, which would result in them striking first. A 15-play drive that stretched from the 7:31 mark in the first into the first minute of the second quarter would lead to Philly’s first score on a Miles Sanders touchdown run. With eight seconds left in the first quarter and the clock running, the Eagles set up to go for it on fourth down with four yards to go from the Cowboys’ 10-yard line. A clear attempt to draw the Cowboys offsides was successful as Dante Fowler jumped and gave the Eagles a first down. A rare mental mistake from the Dallas defense. The Eagles would lead 7-0 in the early part of the second quarter.
The early-game woes would continue for Dallas as on the first play of the following drive, Cooper Rush throws an interception to C.J. Gardner-Johnson giving the ball back to the Eagles on the Cowboys’ 44-yard line.
The Eagles’ run game would take advantage of the opportunity marching down the field and setting up another short-field situation for Philadelphia. On a third and three play from the 15-yard line, Jalen Hurts throws a short touchdown pass to AJ Brown giving the Eagles a 14-0 lead with 10:40 left in the first half.
The Cowboys’ next drive would become controversial on calls from both the referee and the coaching staff. On third and nine, Rush would complete a pass to Ceedee Lamb who would evade some tackles and stretch for the first down marker which he appeared to reach. However, the referee spotted the ball less than a yard short forcing a fourth down try. On the following play, the Cowboys decided a rollout from Rush was the appropriate call. That play would result in an incompletion intended for Peyton Hendershot giving the Eagles solid field position once again.
Dallas’ defense would hold on Philly’s next possession forcing a Jake Elliott field goal. His 51-yard try would split the uprights increasing the Eagles’ lead 17-0 with just under eight minutes left in the half.
The Cowboys’ offense would continue to struggle on the following drive. On third down, Rush would throw a moderately deep pass over the middle which would end up in the hands of Philly star corner Darius Slay for his second interception of the night. The Eagles would regain possession at the Dallas 46-yard line. Yet another drive for Philly in great field position.
Philly would then lead an eight-play drive to the Dallas 16-yard line where Jake Elliott would knock in a 34-yard field goal giving the Eagles a 20-0 lead with under two minutes to go in the first half.
KaVontae Turpin would provide a much-needed offensive spark with a great kickoff return, which he took from halfway in the end zone to the Philly 41-yard line. They would lead a drive to the Eagles’ 12-yard line where Cowboys’ fans quickly bounced from their seats on a Noah Brown catch in the back of the end zone, which would have given Dallas their first score of the night and serious jolt of energy. However, the call was overturned, as he did not land in bounds forcing the Cowboys to continue pushing. They would settle for a 30-yard Brett Maher field goal making the score 20-3 with 33 seconds left in the half.
The first half would end with Philadelphia leading 20-3 and the chance to strike first in the second half.
The Eagles would start the second half with the ball up 17 off a terrible first half offensively from the Cowboys. The Dallas defense would once again hold strong and force a three-and-out.
The Cowboys would reach the end zone for the first time on the next possession after a nine-play drive focused on the run game. Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard would be the focal point of the drive ending in an Elliott 14-yard touchdown run cutting the Eagles’ lead to 10. The Eagles would lead 20-10 with just over eight minutes left in the third quarter.
The Cowboys’ pass rush continues to show why they are among the best in football on the ensuing drive. To seal the drive, on third down, Dallas sent the rush at Jalen Hurts sacking him with three Cowboy defenders in the backfield.
The offense would officially heat up in the second half. The next drive for Dallas would easily be their best of the night to that point. The Cowboys led a 17-play drive starting from their own seven-yard line to score their second touchdown of the night. The drive that started with just under seven minutes to go in the third would be capped off with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Rush to rookie TE Jake Ferguson on the first play of the fourth quarter. This is Ferguson’s first touchdown catch of his career. The score would cut the Eagles’ lead to three at 20-17 early in the final quarter.
The Eagles would lead a clutch drive on the next possession, which resulted in huge touchdown taking away some of the previously gained momentum from Dallas. Philly led a 13-play drive that ended in a seven-yard touchdown pass from Hurts to DeVonta Smith giving the Eagles a 26-17 lead. Immediately after the score, Trevon Diggs would be called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which the Eagles would accept to move their two-point try from the two to the one-yard line. However, it would come to nothing, as the Eagles’ try was unsuccessful keeping the score at 26-17.
The Cowboys would try to gain some ground back after giving up a score on the next drive. However, it would end with Cooper Rush’s third interception of the night on a deep shot to Ceedee Lamb. Lamb had his man beat and was off to the races if the pass had been completed. Eagles star rusher Brandon Graham pressured Rush and delivered a hit that wobbled the pass. It was C.J. Gardner-Johnson for a second time who picked off Rush.
The following Philadelphia drive would result in a punt as the Dallas defense held up once again. Dallas would get the ball back with 2:39 left in the game trailing by nine.
Dallas’ biggest drive of the night would start at their own 12-yard line. The Cowboys would drive all the way to the Eagles’ 41-yard line where they would try a 59-yard field goal to cut the lead to six, but would miss the attempt presumably ending the game with the Eagles up nine with 1:13 left in the game.
The Eagles would control the ball the rest of the way and take the win 26-17. The fire of the rivalry was evident in the last minute of the game as Osa Odighizuwa and Eagles’ center Jason Kelce got into it. The penalty was called on Odighizuwa, but would make no impact on the game.
The Cowboys will fall to 4-2 on the season as Cooper Rush took his first loss as a starter. The Eagles will remain undefeated at 6-0 sitting atop the NFC East and remaining the only undefeated team in the NFL.
Dallas will look to rebound next week as they travel back home to take on the Detroit Lions.