There won’t be an NFC East champion crowned this week. Dak Prescott threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the second half, to lead the Dallas Cowboys past the Gardner Minshew-led Philadelphia Eagles, 40-34, to stay alive in the division race.
Philadelphia put up a valiant effort with Minshew at quarterback, but four turnovers that led to 20 Cowboys points resulted in their undoing. Dallas scored the final 13 points to win the game, six of which came off of a Minshew interception and a Miles Sanders fumble to give them short fields and take control of the game.
Prescott tied the game at 34 with 5:49 left with a seven-yard touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb to erase the Cowboys’ second 10-point deficit of the day. The Cowboys took their first lead since the first quarter after converting a 48-yard field goal by Brett Maher with 2:19 to play. After Sanders’ fumble, the Cowboys drove down to the Eagles eight-yard line — but T.J. Edwards kept the game alive with a tackle on Prescott in the final two minutes. Maher kicked a 26-yard field goal with 1:41 to play to put Dallas up 40-34.
Minshew and the Eagles offense got to the Cowboys’ 19-yard line in the final minutes, but couldn’t go any farther as Dallas stopped Philadelphia by forcing an incomplete pass on fourth down to seal the victory.
Minshew finished 24 of 40 for 355 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. DeVonta Smith finished with eight catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns, while A.J. Brown had six catches for 103 yards.
Lamb had 10 catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns for the Cowboys. Prescott completed 26 of 35 passes to eight different receivers while also having six carries for 41 yards.
The Eagles won’t clinch the NFC East, but still need one win in the final two games to lock that up and home-field advantage. The Cowboys clinched at least the No. 5 seed in the NFC with the win.
A recap of the game can be found in the live blog below, but here are some takeaways from this NFC East thriller.
Why the Cowboys won
Dak Prescott deserves a lot of credit for throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns against the No. 1 pass defense, but the Cowboys also forced four turnovers against the Eagles — and scored 20 points as a result. If it wasn’t for the Eagles’ errors, the Cowboys may not have had an opportunity to win the game in the fourth quarter.
CeeDee Lamb had 100 receiving yards in the first half to erase the first 10-point deficit, while Prescott made clutch throws in the second half to keep Dallas within striking distance before the defense give him an opportunity to win the game with the turnovers forced.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games for Dallas, but the Cowboys are still alive in the NFC East race.
Why the Eagles lost
Four turnovers that led to 20 Cowboys points led to the loss. The Eagles have turned the ball over four-plus times in two games this year — and lost both games. Minshew threw two interceptions, but those could be attributed to Quez Watkins as much as to him. Miles Sanders also had his second fumble in two games and Minshew botched a handoff to Boston Scott.
The Cowboys scored points off of all the Eagles turnovers. There’s the 40-34 final.
What else can you say about Dak Prescott completing a 52-yard pass on third-and-30? Prescott found T.Y. Hilton on a simple go route during which Hilton beat Darius Slay and Josiah Scott for the long completion and the first down. This was Hilton’s only target of the game (and he wasn’t in the league two weeks ago), and he beat the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL.
The Eagles just forced a fumble on Prescott and sacked him to create the third-and-30, and the defense let Dallas off the hook. Keep in mind the score was 34-27 in the fourth quarter when the catch occurred. Dallas scored the tying touchdown four plays later and didn’t look back as the Cowboys rallied for the victory.
An incomplete pass on third-and-30? The Eagles may be NFC East champions.
Play of the game
Prescott’s throw to Hilton was the turning point, but Daron Bland’s interception was vital toward the Cowboys completing the fourth-quarter rally. Facing a third-and-4 on the Cowboys’ 46-yard line, Bland stole a pass intended for Quez Watkins that resulted in a crucial interception for the Cowboys in a 34-34 game.
Dallas used the turnover to get a field goal and take a 37-34 lead with 2:24 left. Judging by the play, Bland just outdueled Watkins on a ball the Eagles wide receiver could have snagged for the first down to keep the drive alive.
This was the Cowboys’ third turnover of the game.
“I’m still fast. They gotta respect me.” — Cowboys wide receiver T.Y. Hilton on catching the 52-yard pass from Dak Prescott on third-and-30 to keep Dallas in the game. The Cowboys scored four plays later to tie the game at 34.
Hilton, playing his first game with the Cowboys, caught one pass for 52 yards.
The Cowboys (11-4) finish up on the road with games against the Titans (7-8) and Commanders (7-7-1), with the Tennessee game on Thursday. The Eagles end the year with home games against the Saints (6-9) and Giants (8-6-1), with the Saints game on Sunday, Jan. 1.