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Undermanned Defense Fights To The Bitter End

ARLINGTON, Texas – Looking at the final box score from Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys doesn't tell the full story for the Eagles' defense.

Dallas racked up 576 yards of total offense and possessed the ball for over 45 minutes, and while some of the Cowboys' individual numbers were impressive, the Eagles' defense battled from the first snap to the final whistle in the 29-23 overtime loss.

While the Eagles' offense struggled out of the gate, the defense did its best to stand tall. In a first half that was riddled with offensive missteps, the defense kept Dallas to just six first-half points, keeping Dallas out of the end zone and the Eagles in the game.

"We know they're going to make plays, we're going to make plays," safety Malcolm Jenkins said afterwards. "I was pretty proud of the way guys played."

The defensive line came up with a number of big plays, as the unit was the catalyst for three forced turnovers (two interceptions), while generating three sacks.

"I think we did a good job of getting after the quarterback. We knew it was going to come down to them against us in the rush," defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. "Just trying to get (Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott) off his spot, and I think we did that, but I don't think we did enough to win the football game. When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter what you do or how hard you do it, if you don't win, nothing else matters."

As the game went on, Dallas took its shots and were able to find holes in the defense. Ezekiel Elliott touched the ball 40 total times and had 192 yards from scrimmage. Amari Cooper went off for 217 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime. The Eagles' secondary has been depleted by injury all season long, from Ronald Darby to Jalen Mills to Rodney McLeod, the list goes on.

On Sunday, Sidney Jones left the game with a hamstring injury, and as the secondary looked for answers, it was second-year pro Rasul Douglas who was there to step up. The West Virginia product played the best game of his young career, intercepting a pass and recording nine total tackles.

"I thought he played phenomenal to be honest," Jenkins said of Douglas. "I felt for him on that last play. Ball comes out quick and he plays it exactly the way he's supposed to. The ball just kicks up in the air and Amari Cooper tracks it."

The Eagles' offense picked up momentum in the game's second half, and a 6-yard Carson Wentz to Darren Sproles touchdown with 1:39 left on the clock sent the game to overtime. In the extra period, Dallas took the opening kickoff and never looked back. Cooper's third touchdown of the game – a 15-yard play that Douglas got a hand on, only to take a fortuitous bounce for Dallas – was a dagger, but the team's never-give-up mentality was on full display for over 60 minutes.

In the end, despite a resilient effort, the Eagles came up short. Ultimately, Dallas just made more plays. Now, the only thing the Eagles can do is learn from Sunday's game and prepare for a West Coast trip to play the Los Angeles Rams.

"At the end of the day, if we're going to go out and fight like that against the opponents that we play, I'll take that every week," Jenkins said. "We just go compete and let the cards fall where they may, and sometimes that doesn't work out in your favor, but I know for a fact that guys competed, and they gave everything they had."

Take a look at the best photos from the Eagles' game against the Dallas Cowboys.

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