There is only one word to describe the Dallas Cowboys’ play against the arch-rival Philadelphia Eagles over one long month ago.
The Cowboys looked like they had forgotten to board the team plane as the Eagles quickly jumped out to a 21-0 lead before the Cowboys knew there was even a football game going on. The Eagles went on to score 34 points before the Cowboys added a score of their own in the final quarter. The game mercifully ended with a humiliating 34-7 Cowboy loss.
Dallas’ defense had their worst game of the year, allowing running backLeSean McCoy to gash them for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Michael Vick wasn’t any kinder to the Cowboys through the air, completing 84 percent of his passes while racking up 279 yards and throwing for 2 touchdowns. To add insult to injury, Vick also gained 50 yards on the ground.
The Dallas offense didn’t fare much better. The Cowboys were held scoreless until the fourth quarter when Romo hit Laurent Robinson on a 70 yard touchdown pass which marked the only bright spot of the night for the boys in silver and blue.
But this time, the Eagles have the Cowboys’ attention.
No longer playing like the underperforming team they had been for the first 2/3 of the season, the Eagles have somehow managed to sneak their way back into the playoff picture, and are coming off two straight victories in which they outscored their opponents 71-29.
However, the Cowboys, who just regained control of the NFC East and are back in control of their own destiny, are finally playing with some confidence of their own.
Against the Buccaneers last Saturday, the Cowboys defense played their best game since they had prior to that fateful night in Philadelphia in October. After weeks of being manhandled by opposing offenses, most of which are mediocre at best, they held Tampa Bay to less than 200 yards of offense, hopefully giving them the confidence they’ve been lacking for several weeks.
On the offensive side of the ball, Tony Romo is playing his best ball of the season, perhaps of his career, and Felix Jones is coming off his second straight 100+ yard game.
Saturday’s game a “must-win” for the Eagles, as a loss would definitively end their playoff hopes.
Though the Cowboys are not technically in a must-win situation, this match-up is the most important of the season for them so far. At least until next week.
But Dallas cannot afford to look ahead.
Not with the dangerous and newly confident Eagles flying into town this Christmas Eve.