Cowboys Chronology: 'Will + Fight' In Philly

PHILADELPHIA - The Seahawks, Lions and Cardinals all won their Week 15 games to remain in NFC Playoff contention. Cowboys teeth-gnashing adide, there was nothing unfair about it for the combatants in the Dallas-at-Philly game; the more deserving team simply need to follow suit. And ... it did.

The Big Lead

The Dallas Cowboys did what the Dallas Cowboys do on the road: win, just like they have done for the past seven games in 2014. ... This time with a thrilling, fight-minded 38-27 signature win Sunday night at Philly.

"The people who are most successful in life and the teams that are the most successful have a lot of (fight)," coach Jason Garrett said. "I think we demonstrated that tonight. Obviously got off to a really good start. They're a good football team. We knew they were going to battle back. We knew it was going to be 60 minutes. I thought we made real critical plays in all three areas to help us win this game. Obviously the overriding factor was out will and our fight and our determination."

Dan Bailey started it from the start. The instantly legendary kicker popped up a fly ball on the opening kickoff that landed in between Eagles returners Josh Huff and Brad Smith. Cowboys special teamer C.J. Spillman dove on the ball to give Romo and company their first drive at the Eagles 18. Dallas capped off the five-play drive with a one-yard DeMarco Murray touchdown.


Chip Kelly's offense is renowned for taking just over 20 seconds to crank out each play. When the execution fails, as it did with the Eagles did with their first two drives, ground-and-pound offenses like the Cowboys -- even with a shift of gears to be pass-first, as CowboysHQ predicted -- can melt clock and pad their lead. On back-to-back drives, Romo hit Dez Bryant for touchdowns of four yards and 26 yards to eventually put Dallas up 21-0.

Could you ask for a better start if you're Dallas?

How about a better finish? Since 2011, the Cowboys were 3-1 when having a second-quarter score margin of 21 points or greater. The Eagles stormed back with 24 unanswered points over the course of the second and third quarters that read as follows:

Backup running back Chris Polk rushed for a five-yard score. 21-7 Cowboys.

Rookie kicker Cody Parkey nails a 47-yard field goal. 21-10 Cowboys.

Polk rushes again for a touchdown, this time up the gut for a yard. 21-17 Cowboys.

The tightening of throats could have commenced.

On the ensuing drive, Romo had Words-with-Friends free time while scanning the field for an open receiver on third-and-19. Instead, defensive end Vinny Curry blindsided Romo and jarred the ball loose, recovering it at the bottom of the pile.

Two plays later, Darren Sproles rushed to the right side for a one-yard touchdown.

24-21 Eagles. The NFL-on-ESPN Twitter feed -- an official body of sorts -- proclaimed the Cowboys were "imploding." ... a piece of analysis as juvenile as it was wrong.

Rather than panicking and saying, "It's happening again..." Dallas mounted an eight-play scoring drive capped off by a two-yard Murray touchdown run. They regained the lead at 28-24 and never looked back.

Three plays into the following Eagles drive, Dallas safety J.J. Wilcox picked off a tipped Sanchez pass intended for tight end Zach Ertz. The field position at the Philadelphia 42 gave Romo another shot to hit three-time-papa Bryant for a 25-yard touchdown on third-and-7 to extend the Cowboys lead to 35-24.

Philadelphia responded with a 43-yard Cody Parkey field goal to cut the lead to 35-27 with 10:45 left in the game. With their fast-paced offense, scoring a touchdown and a two-point conversion (or compensating for a failed attempt with a field goal) wasn't out of the question.

And indeed, Dallas punted the ball back to Philadelphia with 8:27 to go. A holding call on the Eagles after a five-yard LeSean McCoy rush made it second-and-13 from the Eagles 20 yard line. Wilcox came up with the big play again by stripping Brent Celek after a 14-yard catch as the tight end was still on top of a defender and not yet down by contact. Linebacker Kyle Wilber picked up the ball, and Garrett's impending challenge secured the possession after referee Terry McAulay's review.

Bailey added a 49-yard field goal to set the game's final score at 38-27. It was all over except for the screaming and shouting -- and the obligatory Sanchez pick that linebacker Bruce Carter grabbed to put the Cowboys in victory formation.

Onside kicks

* Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray accounted for all of the Cowboys' touchdowns with three receiving and two rushing respectively. The last time this happened in Cowboys history was Oct. 12, 1980 when Dallas demolished San Francisco 59-14 in Texas Stadium. Drew Pearson had three receiving touchdowns and backup running back Ron Springs had two rushing touchdowns.
* The Cowboys are now 7-5 in Lincoln Financial Field with Tony Romo having a 5-2 record. Both are the most wins by an opponent in the NFC East.
* Birthday boy Jeremy Mincey notched two sacks (his first ever against Mark Sanchez) Sunday night. It was his fourth two-or-more sacks in a game in his career.
* Murray hasn't rushed for 100 yards or more against a 3-4 defense since Washington on Monday Night Football on Oct. 27.
* According to stat savant Scott Kacsmar, any other time a quarterback has posted a 7-0 road record, he has won the NFL MVP award (think Tom Brady in 2007). Romo is 7-0 on the road, and is actually 8-0 on the road when including Dec. 22, 2013 in Washington.
* The last time the Cowboys made the playoffs with two losses in the division was 2009.
* Jason Witten's seven catches Sunday night were a season-high, but his 69 yards receiving were second-best for 2014.


*Dez was one of five Cowboys who caught a pass of 11 yards or more -- very much a part of a Dallas gameplan that saw vulnerability in the Eagles secondary.

The Final Word

"It's very obvious he's doing very well, and I'm very proud that his hard work is paying off. ... It is beyond my expectation when we started the year that we’re sitting here with the [10] wins.” - Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Jason Garrett's job security.

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