The sky was falling in Dallas last week after a stunning Cowboys loss to the New York Jets, their third straight.
After Sunday, all is well in Dallas. For a week at least.
Cowboys convert on early Eagles mistakes
The Cowboys pounced on early mistakes by the Eagles, converting a pair of first-quarter turnovers into touchdowns to take a 14-0 lead.
Jaylon Smith recovered a fumble by tight end Dallas Goedert near midfield on Philadelphia’s opening drive. The Cowboys responded with a touchdown drive that ended with a 20-yard scamper from wide receiver Tavon Austin.
The next Eagles possession lasted two plays before DeMarcus Lawrence sacked Carson Wentz and forced a fumble that the Cowboys recovered at Philadelphia’s 14-yard line. Two Ezekiel Elliott runs later, and the Cowboys had a 14-0 lead.
From there, they didn’t look back as their defense never allowed the Eagles offense to get on track to make things competitive.
Crucial win after 3-game losing streak
It was a critical win for the Cowboys, who face a stout remaining schedule that includes games against the New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills and another matchup with the Eagles — all teams that should figure into the playoff hunt.
They improve to 4-3 and sit atop the NFC, a game ahead of Philadelphia with a leg up in head-to-head matchups.
That edge in the standings means Dallas’ schedule becomes slightly less daunting as the reeling Eagles are the team coming out of Sunday night looking up in the division standings.
Questions still linger
But it doesn’t erase the troubling signs that showed up in consecutive losses to the Jets, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers after a 3-0 start against the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and pre-Daniel Jones New York Giants — some of the league’s worst teams.
After feasting on the league’s dregs, the Cowboys looked like a second-tier team when facing top-shelf NFC competition. Then the Jets loss raised serious questions about whether the Cowboys are legitimate contenders.
Sunday’s victory didn’t answer those questions. But the Cowboys got the big games they’ve come to expect from their offensive triumvirate of Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, all of whom excelled Sunday.
Prescott connected on 21-of-27 passes for 239 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He added 30 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Elliott finished with 111 yards and a touchdown on the ground while catching six passes for 39 yards. Cooper led the team with five catches for 106 yards.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys defense limited the Eagles to 283 yards from scrimmage while forcing four turnovers.
They’re all good signs that stopped the bleeding that resulted from the Cowboys’ three-game losing streak. But there’s still a long way to go in Dallas.
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