The Eagles spotted the Cowboys 21 points Sunday night. They nearly made the gap up, but their dramatic comeback efforts fell just short in the end as Dallas left with a 38-27 victory.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez threw for 252 yards and running back Chris Polk picked up his first career multi-touchdown game, but it wasn't enough to save the Birds.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns, while running back DeMarco Murray ran for 81 yards and a pair of scores, and the Cowboys just had too much for the Eagles' defense.
The first quarter came up all Dallas as the Eagles looked out of rhythm from the first play of the game. A short opening kickoff took a strange bounce and the Cowboys recovered the ball inside the Eagles' 20-yard line. Dallas manufactured a five-play, 18-yard drive that put the blue and silver up by seven just over two minutes into the game.
A three-and-out series from the Eagles returned the ball to the Cowboys, who marched 88 yards in 16 plays and just over eight minutes for another touchdown, this time a four-yard pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant. The Cowboys led 14-0 with three minutes to play in the first quarter, and they weren't done. Three minutes into the second quarter Bryant caught another touchdown pass to put Dallas up by 21.
And then the Eagles woke up in a big way.
They began with an 11-play, 84-yard drive that took just under three and a half minutes off the clock. The offense took advantage of tempo and burned its way down the field, capping it off with a five-yard Chris Polk touchdown run. On the ensuing Dallas drive, the Eagles forced a punt and took the ball back into Cowboys territory, where Cody Parkey drilled a 47-yard field goal.
The Eagles trailed 21-10 at halftime, but momentum had switched to the Birds' sideline.
The second half began with similar success as the Eagles' defense forced the Cowboys to punt the ball away on their first possession, and Sanchez and the offense took over at their own 14-yard line. After a few penalties and a few minor gains, Sanchez found wide receiver Jeremy Maclin for a 71-yard catch and run, which put the Eagles at the 1-yard line. Polk punched it in from one yard out for his second touchdown of the game, and all of a sudden it was 21-17 Dallas.
But the Eagles weren't done with the comeback. After pinning Dallas at its own 15-yard line, defensive end Vinny Curry forced a fumble by sacking Romo, and defensive end Fletcher Cox recovered the ball in the Dallas red zone. The Eagles ran the ball three times, punctuated by a 1-yard Darren Sproles carry into the end zone, and the Birds claimed their first lead of the game at 24-21.
However, Dallas wasn't going to roll over, either. The Cowboys answered with a demonstrative drive of their own, marching 78 yards in eight plays to reclaim the lead at 28-24. On the Eagles' next possession, a Sanchez pass to Zach Ertz tipped off the tight end's fingers and landed in the hands of safety J.J. Wilcox for an interception. The Cowboys capitalized on the turnover and marched 42 yards in four plays to score another touchdown with Bryant's third touchdown of the game to take a 35-24 lead with 12:48 to play in the game.
Not quick to surrender despite the two-score deficit, Sanchez led the Eagles back down the field once more with an impressive catch and run from wide receiver Josh Huff, and Parkey kicked another field goal, this one from 43 yards out, to make it a 35-27 game with over 10 minutes to play. After forcing Dallas to punt the ball away, the Eagles looked to be making hay towards another score before tight end Brent Celek fumbled a pass in Eagles territory. The Cowboys capitalized, kicking a 49-yard field goal to regain the 11-point lead with just over four and a half minutes to play.
From there, the Eagles just didn't have enough time to cobble together a second full comeback attempt, and the Cowboys wound the clock to the victory.
The Eagles travel to Washington, D.C., to face off with the Washington Redskins (3-11) Saturday, Dec. 20 at 4:30 pm.