Bad Start, Worse Fourth Doom Eagles

With a chance to blow open their run for the NFC East, the Eagles stumbled out of the gate, and fell to the Cowboys on Sunday night.

It began when Josh Huff watched a kickoff land five yards in front of him, with Dallas recovering off of the snafu. From there, it was ugly early for the Birds.

On the way to the 38-27 victory Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field, Dallas put up 21 points by the start of the second quarter. Almost immediately off of the botched return, DeMarco Murray ran in for a one-yard score.

After that, the Eagles failed miserably on two drives, punting well enough, only for Dallas to drive right down for two Dez Bryant touchdowns of four and 26 yards. Bradley Fletcher was effective as a Swiss-cheese umbrella in trying to cover the star receiver.

Gradual Comeback

The Eagles managed to make a game of it headed into halftime. Chris Polk scored on a five-yard run midway through the second quarter, and Cody Parkey added a 47-yard field goal beneath the two-minute warning to make it 21-10 headed into the locker room.

Into the third, the Eagles managed to stifle Tony Romo, who played far better than his Thanksgiving effort (three touchdowns, no picks). Polk added another touchdown after a long Jeremy Maclin catch-and-run set up goal-to-go.

With the score 21-17, Vinny Curry forced a Romo fumble deep in Dallas territory, recovered by Cedric Thornton. Darren Sproles added a one-yard touchdown to give the Eagles a 24-21 lead, scoring all of their points consecutively.

The Collapse

The Cowboys responded with a long drive to end the third quarter, ending with a Murray touchdown from two yards out. On the ensuing drive, Mark Sanchez, playing benignly to this point, threw a pick off the hands of Zach Ertz, and into the mitts of J.J. Wilcox. Four plays later, Romo hit Bryant for a 25-yard score, once again with Fletcher lagging behind.

The Eagles would meekly respond with a 43-yard Parkey field goal, bringing them within eight, down 35-27. A chance to force a tie was thwarted when Brent Celek fumbled while staggering for a first down, and Dallas managed to extend the lead with a Dan Bailey boot from 49-yards.

Bruce Carter would pick off Sanchez to officially end the game, dropping the Eagles to 9-5, while the Cowboys climb to 10-4. An Eagles win over the Redskins Saturday, coupled with a Dallas loss to Indianapolis next Sunday, would put the Eagles back in front by virtue of division record.

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