The Eagles' defense had found a way to keep Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in check and get off the field on third downs.
After the Cowboys converted three of their first third-down opportunities, the Eagles turned the tables and were successful on Dallas' next five chances. They had hoped to make is six straight when the Cowboys lined up for a third-and-5 at Dallas' 39-yard line in the third quarter.
Romo lined up in the shotgun with a back to his left. The Eagles, in their nickel defense, lined up Jason Babin and Trent Cole at end and Fletcher Cox and Cullen Jenkins at tackle. Romo took the snap and Cox looped around on a stunt from the left defensive tackle spot to come up behind the right side of the defensive line. Cox and Cole converged on Romo at the same time. An elusive quarterback, Romo escaped by taking a few steps back, spinning to his right and stepping up in the pocket. Romo was not done. He tucked the ball away and ducked to avoid diving attempts by Babin and Jenkins. With the front four cleared, Romo calmly stepped up and found wide receiver Miles Austin for a 25-yard gain.
"He got away. He escaped," Cox said. "We just have to get off on the field on third down, especially on that play right there. When we have a chance, we have to capitalize on it."
That play signaled the turning point in the contest. Three plays later, Romo connected with wide receiver Dez Bryant who dove to haul in a 30-yard touchdown to tie the game at 17-17.
"I don't rank them, but that one's number one," Romo said of his scramble. "That was a big point in the game. I think we were trailing at the time and we obviously needed to score points on that drive. We kind of lost the momentum a little bit there. There's a time and a place to almost give yourself a chance to extend the play sometimes and that was an opportunity for it I thought."
Thanks to the scramble, the Cowboys outscored the Eagles 28-6 down the stretch to come out of Philadelphia with a 38-23 win on Sunday. Furthermore, the Bryant touchdown was the team's final offensive points of the game as Dwayne Harris scored on a punt return and the defense scored twice in the fourth quarter.
"It was a big play in the game. It was a big play. It was one we definitely want to have back," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said of Romo's Houdini act. "The guy made a play. You give it to him for making a play right there. We've got to find a way to get him down."
Romo finished 19-of-26 for 209 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 122.1 passer rating. The Cowboys rushed for 56 yards in the game's opening quarter, but had just 45 yards the rest of the way as the Eagles adjusted for the delayed draws.
The defense allowed only 17 of the 38 points that Dallas scored. The Eagles were even able to generate a much better pass rush than of late with three sacks in the contest. However, the Eagles were dealt a fifth straight defeat. And the inability to come up with the game-changing plays is something the defense is trying to resolve.
"It makes me jealous," Ryans said. "We have to get them. We have to get those kinds of plays on our defense. Upset? I'm not upset, but how can we capitalize and hit them right back with the big play on our defense and our special teams."
Despite the setback, the Eagles are going to forge ahead and try to right the wrongs in the final seven games of the season.
"It doesn't sit well with me. It doesn't sit well with anyone here. That's not what we go out and work for," Ryans said. "We have to go out and prove it on gameday. That's something we're not finishing. We're not getting it done on gameday."
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