The Dallas Cowboys fell just short in a 28-23 loss to the first-place Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday.
While the game was close throughout, Philadelphia used a 14-0 third quarter to pull away, and Dallas’ late comeback was halted as wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was tackled at the four-yard line on the final play of the game.
“We knew this was the kind of game it was going to be, and we came up short,” Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy told the media postgame. “That’s why we work the way we work, and that’s what we’ll do — go back to work. A lot of football left to be played, but we had our opportunities, and we were in a position to win the game.”
The Cowboys came up short on three crucial plays during the second half that could have changed the game’s outcome.
Trailing 28-17, Dallas mounted a drive that reached the Philadelphia one-yard line early in the fourth quarter. However, the Philadelphia defense came up with a goalline stand that included tight end Luke Schoonmaker falling inches short of a touchdown on fourth-and-goal.
Later in the quarter, the Cowboys scored a touchdown on a pass from Dak Prescott to Jalen Tolbert and attempted a two-point conversion to cut the deficit to three. Prescott scrambled to his right and dove for the pylon, and the attempt was initially deemed successful. Yet, upon review, he was ruled to have stepped out of bounds before reaching the goalline, meaning the Cowboys needed to score another touchdown.
Dallas got one last shot to take the game, quickly driving down the field in the final minute with some help from some Philadelphia penalties. The drive reached the Eagles’ six-yard line before guard Tyler Smith was called for a false start.
“I felt like it was ticky-tack, but I’m not going to make excuses or say anything,” Smith told the media after the game. “It is what it is, but that’s something I’ve got to be better at. That’s something I’ve got to improve on because we can’t have that, especially if we want to win a championship.”
The Eagles sacked Prescott on the next play, and Lamb could not elude defenders after catching the ball deep in Philadelphia territory as the clock expired.
“An inch or two on one of those three plays, and we could be talking about a different outcome, but they got this one,” Prescott said. “We’re going to take it. We’re going to move forward and use the fight and the success. A lot of good things came out of this despite the loss.”
Those good things came in all phases, as the Dallas defense held one of the league’s most dynamic offenses to under 300 yards. The Cowboys offense, which entered the game converting on just 40.74% of its red zone possessions, scored on three of its five red zone chances and put up over 400 yards against a defense that allows the eighth-fewest yards this season.
“We showed today that we can contend with anybody — absolutely anybody,” Smith added. “We are part of that upper echelon. It’s just a matter of tightening up the small things, seizing the moments that we’ve got to seize, and doing what we’ve got to do. We’ll be back, and we’ll be better. … We’re going to see them again, and I feel like things will be different.”
Dallas (5-3) returns to the field at 3:25 p.m. CT on Sunday when it hosts the New York Giants (2-7) at AT&T Stadium.