IRVING, Texas – In Jason Garrett’s world, he hardly ever takes big-picture views, but Friday was a slightly different.

The picture he took might not have been big, but it was about what the Dallas Cowboys have to do to make the playoffs.

Garrett
Garrett
Now 8-4 after their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys find themselves outside of the playoff picture with four games to play.

“This is what I know: If we do what we are supposed to, plan to do and want to do then good things are going to happen for our football team,” Garrett said. “The way you do that is you focus on today and you focus on your preparation for one game.”

The Cowboys would make the playoffs by winning their final four games and finishing 12-4, but they are 2-3 in their last five games, have a rematch against the Eagles on Dec. 14 and host the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 21 at AT&T Stadium, where they are just 3-4 this season.

It won’t be easy.

The Cowboys return to Valley Ranch on Saturday for meetings and a quick walk-through and start their preparation for Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Garrett’s message when he addresses the team Saturday will be about what went right and wrong against the Eagles and what has to go right for them in December.

“A big part of what we have to do as a coaching staff is to teach everybody how to think about things,” Garrett said “That’s a big part of what our job is, put things in the proper perspective, get their focus on the right things.”

The right thing is the Bears, but Garrett does not believe the challenge in delivering the message is any different than what he said earlier in the season.

“We’d be saying the same thing if the outcome would’ve been the reverse,” Garrett said. “We got to get focused on beating Chicago. We have to learn from this game, build on the good stuff, correct the bad. It wasn’t perfect. Let’s get back to work. Let’s get ready for this next challenge. Treat this like a Monday, [Saturday] like a Tuesday, and here we go.”
IRVING, Texas -- When the Dallas Cowboys return to practice on Sunday to get ready for next week’s game against the Chicago Bears, Tony Romo will fall back into the same practice plan he has followed since the second game of the regular season.

Romo
The Cowboys will have a Wednesday practice in terms of preparation for the Bears game, and Romo has not practiced in a full Wednesday practice since September. He practiced this week leading into the Thanksgiving game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Cowboys did nothing more than walk-throughs to get ready.

Romo struggled in the 33-10 loss, completing 18 of 29 passes for 199 yards. He was intercepted twice and sacked four times. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett reiterated Friday what he said after the game regarding the condition of Romo’s back.

“I don’t think he was bothered physically,” Garrett said. “Maybe bothered by a pass rush.”

It was the first time since Sept. 23, 2012 that Romo, who is playing through two transverse process fractures, did not have a touchdown pass, a span of 38 games, which is the fifth-longest streak in NFL history.

“He’s a human being,” Garrett said. “He’s dealing with stuff. Everybody’s dealing with stuff. At times I thought he threw the ball well. He certainly missed some throws and just the overall environment, there were some tight throws he had to make; there were people around him. We’re behind. We’re throwing a lot. All those things factored together. Just wasn’t as clean as we wanted it to be.”

Garrett said linebacker Rolando McClain was checked out Friday and is expected to be OK. He has been slowed in recent weeks by a knee injury. McClain was in and out of the lineup Thursday, but Garrett does not believe McClain, who did not play football last season, is wearing down.

“He’s been dealing with a couple of things -- the knee, the groin, some other things that he’s had over the course of the last month or so sometimes that can have an impact on your performance,” Garrett said. “But he did some good things in the game. He didn’t show up quite as much as he did certainly the other night. But we’ll get him healthy and cleaned up and get them rolling again for next week.”

Defensive end George Selvie suffered a sprained thumb, “but we think he’ll be OK,” Garrett said.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' coordinators only address the media once a week, so Friday was the first chance we had to speak to defensive coordinator Perry Fewell about what went wrong in Sunday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys. There was a lot to ask.

McClain
Start with the Tony Romo touchdown pass to Cole Beasley -- the 45-yard catch-and run in the third quarter that cut the Giants' lead to 21-17. Beasley caught the ball over the middle with no one covering him, Zack Bowman missed a tackle and Jayron Hosley couldn't catch Beasley as he raced for the end zone. Middle linebacker Jameel McClain blitzed on the play, which was apparently the first mistake.

"He was not supposed to pressure on that play. He was supposed to be in coverage. That was an error," Fewell said.

Fewell said he didn't know why the error occurred -- whether McClain misinterpreted the call or confused it for another similar call from the same formation. But he admitted that mistakes such as these are frustrating.

"That's why I don't have hair," Fewell quipped. "It's not genetic. That's the reason why I don't have any hair."

The Giants have been fine with the way McClain has played for the most part since taking over at middle linebacker for the injured Jon Beason. But there is a reason they signed Beason to a big free-agent deal in the offseason, and they do miss him.

Beason
"It's like you lost your starting quarterback," Fewell said. "You lose a guy who, he really didn't practice in the preseason and they elect him captain based just on what he did from last October through OTAs. That says a lot about a guy."

But Fewell knows he has to get by without injured players. That's life as a coach in the NFL. So the fact that he's taking the heat for things like his new middle linebacker missing an assignment and helping give up a long touchdown does not come as a surprise to him.

"That comes with the job," Fewell said. "I'm responsible for it."

He also addressed the personnel groupings and strategy on the Cowboys' game-winning touchdown drive -- something head coach Tom Coughlin seemed to question earlier in the week. Fewell said the main reason he didn't have his pass-rush personnel on the field for that entire drive was that there was a lot of time remaining on the clock and he couldn't be certain the Cowboys would be passing on every down.

"It really wasn't a two-minute situation, so to speak," Fewell said. "They had a lot of time on the clock, so they could run it, they could do a number of things."

Nonetheless, he did admit that pass-rusher Damontre Moore was supposed to be on the field for the final touchdown pass to Dez Bryant, and that the coaches deserved blame for not having the right personnel on the field in that situation.

"We just didn't do a good enough job managing that," Fewell said. "That was a poor job on our part."
PHILADELPHIA -- Bill Davis heard the talk. Two weeks after getting taken apart by Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, his players were talking about how the Dallas Cowboys' offensive line was all hat and no cattle.

Cox
"I don’t think they were trying to talk trash," Davis, the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator, said. "I really don’t. I think they were trying to say, 'Hey, we’re good, too, and we respect them.' I think that’s really all that was trying to be communicated. They came ready to play, they really did. And we see these guys (the Cowboys) in two weeks. So it’s four more quarters just around the corner for us."

The Eagles held up their end. They limited Dallas running back DeMarco Murray to a season-low 73 yards on 20 carries. That’s a 3.7-yard average.

"When you face the top rusher in the NFL and the O-line that’s attached to it, you’ve got to bring your A game," Davis said. "That’s what we tried to do today. That’s all you can do at the end of the day, hope you play defense collectively against the run."

They might have meant a little disrespect to the Cowboys, but it turns out it was in response to a perceived lack of respect from the outside world. Defensive end Fletcher Cox, who normally does the thankless tasks of a 3-4 defensive end without complaint, was simply tired of hearing about how great the Cowboys' offensive line was.

"We knew we had to keep that chip on our shoulder," Cox said. "We believe in each other. We play for each other. You know, 3-4 ends are probably the most underrated players out there. We don’t get a lot of pub. But the folks upstairs know what I’m doing."

The Eagles play a two-gap system, which means their three down linemen are responsible for tying up blockers and letting the linebackers run free to make tackles. They have only allowed one 100-yard rusher, San Francisco’s Frank Gore, all season. Murray has hit the 100-yard mark 10 times in 12 games this season. Arizona held him to 79 yards on 19 carries.

Another major factor Thursday was the progress made by inside linebacker Casey Matthews. With the groin injury to Emmanuel Acho, Matthews played every down in the spot normally held by veteran DeMeco Ryans. Davis said Matthews has really asserted himself in the job.

"Casey did a great job of lining it all up," Davis said. "Casey’s getting better and better. Every call he made, it was solid. He’s animated. Now our guys know that Casey’s going to run the show, and we’re comfortable with that."

The Eagles' defense has had very good (Giants, Carolina) and very bad (Green Bay, Jacksonville) games. In Dallas, it looked like it would be able to hold up in a playoff game. That is a big turnaround from the Green Bay game two weeks earlier.

"We came ready to play," Davis said.
The Cowboys 33-10 loss to the Eagles on Thanksgiving Day at AT&T Stadium was bad in a lot areas.

Cowboys defensive tackle Jeremy Mincey, who has played well this season, wishes the home crowd would make some more noise.

Mincey
“It’s tough. We need a little bit more support from the fans when the defense is on the field,” Mincey said. “We need them controlling the quarterback. They help the snap count, and they help everything. If our fans could just raise the bar, they want us to raise the bar, they have to raise the bar, too. We’re counting on the fans, just as much as they count on us. We need ya, baby. Come on.”

Earlier in the season, there were large chunks of fans from opposing teams at AT&T Stadium, which raised questions from several players about the commitment level from the paying customer.

Yet, as the season has progressed, Cowboys fans have clearly been the louder voice at home.

“Just make plays,” cornerback Brandon Carr said. “Just get the crowd into the game, that’s all that comes down to. Keep them in the stands for the whole 60 [minutes], that means we have to take care of business.”

Mincey, who had three tackles and a fumble recovery, agrees. However, facing an uptempo offense like the Eagles might have been slightly easier with a little noise.

“I really think the noise could have slowed down that uptempo offense,” Mincey said. “But we just have to continue to get better and do our part.”
As we do after every Dallas Cowboys game, we provide you with our weekly Upon Further Review.

Williams
Williams
1. With defenses taking wide receiver Dez Bryant out of games it was supposed to open things up for fellow wideout Terrance Williams. Williams finished with just two catches for 38 yards in the Cowboys' loss to the Eagles on Thursday. Williams has just five catches the past four weeks. Sophomore slump? Maybe. Quarterback Tony Romo was off on a few of his throws on Thanksgiving Day and Williams didn't help him out on a sideline pass that was intercepted but negated by a penalty. At times the Cowboys will make sure they get the ball into Bryant's hands because he's the No. 1 receiver on the team. Likewise for tight end Jason Witten, who's the No. 1A target for Romo. Should the Cowboys get Williams involved more? Sometimes the No. 2 receiver gets the leftovers in an offense especially with dynamic threats such as Witten and Bryant on the field. But Williams, who did play with a fractured finger, should be more productive.

2. Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan said earlier this week he wasn't that impressed with the Cowboys' offensive line. The line is one of the strengths of the team given it's got three first-round picks and a veteran presence in right tackle Doug Free. The line struggled on Thursday. Romo was sacked four times, though one time he just went down to avoid a hit, and was hurried five times. The run game produced 93 yards, the second-lowest output of the season. Romo did have time to complete some throws yet DeMarco Murray's longest run was nine yards. He's produced at least one 10-yard carry in every game this season. Playing two games in five days could have had an effect or maybe Logan is right. We doubt it because the NFL is a game of matchups and the Eagles are probably just a matchup problem for the Cowboys.

3. Speaking of disappearing acts, where has defensive tackle Henry Melton been? He's been credited with zero tackles the past two weeks. He had a four-week stretch in which he had 2.5 sacks and four quarterback pressures with just one tackle. Now, Tyrone Crawford plays that three-technique position that was slated for Melton and is just a better player right now. Considering the contract Melton signed -- $2.25 million in total compensation for 2014 in a deal that could jump to $29 million over the next four seasons -- you expect better. The Cowboys can get out of the deal by releasing Melton before the first day of the 2015 league year which would force them to have $750,000 in dead money for 2015. Melton's play leaves many questions. Over the next four weeks, he's playing for his future with the Cowboys.

Cowboys' home woes continue

November, 28, 2014
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Here’s some good news for the Dallas Cowboys after a horrendous Thanksgiving Day: They only have one more home game left on the schedule.

Yes, that qualifies as good news.

The Cowboys are the best road team in the NFL this season. They are 5-0 away from home, the only team in the league without a blemish on their road record.

How then to explain the Cowboys’ 3-4 record at home?

“Some of the home games are against very good teams,” quarterback Tony Romo said after Thursday’s 33-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. “That is usually a good analysis of that sometimes. I don’t have a good answer for you.”

That’s as good of an answer as any.

With the exception of the Washington Redskins, the Cowboys’ home losses have come against quality teams. The Arizona Cardinals and Eagles lead their divisions. The San Francisco 49ers have advanced to at least the NFC Championship Game the past three seasons and are currently fighting for a playoff spot.

Only one of the Cowboys’ road wins came over what could be considered a quality opponent: the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, who had lost only once before at home with Russell Wilson at quarterback. The rest of the Cowboys’ road wins came over opponents with a combined 10-34 record.

The AT&T Stadium crowd isn’t the issue, no matter what defensive end Jeremy Mincey might have said Thursday evening.

There’s no question that the Cowboys didn’t have much, if any, of a home-field advantage in their first three games at JerryWorld this season. Those felt like bowl crowds, with bunches of 49ers, New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans fans invading Jerry Jones’ $1.2 billion football palace, but the Cowboys went 2-1 in those games.

The Cowboys have had no complaints about the makeup of the crowds in the past four home games. If the crowds haven’t been loud, it’s because the Cowboys failed to give their fans reasons to get fired up.

“I’d have to count it, but this may have been the most numbers of fans that we’ve had, or in the top two or three of the fans,” Jones said after the loss to the Eagles. “I was excited about it being Thanksgiving, excited about the makeup of the crowd, almost 100 percent Cowboys fans, good and loud, and they never got to get in it, because again, we just couldn’t respond after Philadelphia did so well in the initial drives.”

It won’t be easy for the Cowboys to finish .500 at home. Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts are the one opponent left on the home schedule.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Mark Sanchez seemed to be fully in control of the Eagles offense Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys, even when his control was called into question.

Sanchez got into an on-field shouting match with wide receiver Riley Cooper in the fourth quarter of the Philadelphia Eagles' 33-10 victory. Cooper had lined up in the wrong spot on a third-down play, and Sanchez had to call a timeout to correct the mistake.

Sanchez
The two were seen on television shouting at each other after the incident.

“We’re a family and families get heated and get upset and that’s the way it goes,” Sanchez said after the game. “Both of us had something to say. We said it and that was it.”

Cooper was not seen in the Eagles’ locker room after the game.

On the field, Sanchez completed 20 of 29 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball seven times for 28 yards as the zone-read reappeared in the Eagles’ offense after going missing in last week’s win over Tennessee.

“(The Cowboys) were trying to bend the (defensive) end and tried to take away the back,” Kelly said. “Obviously, when they try to outnumber us, the quarterback can be a weapon at certain points of time during the game. We saw something from the sidelines and just knew that if they presented the same look, there’s an opportunity for us to pick up some yards.”

The Tennessee game was the first in Kelly’s tenure that saw the Eagles fail to run a single zone-read play. In his previous starts, according to ESPN Stats and Info, Sanchez ran a total of six zone-read plays for 34 yards. Against Dallas, the Eagles ran a total of 21 zone-read plays for 135 yards and two touchdowns -- one by Sanchez, one by LeSean McCoy.

The strong running game also made Sanchez’s use of play-action effective. Sanchez completed 6 of 9 passes for 61 yards and a touchdown off play-action fakes.

With Nick Foles scheduled to have a CT scan Friday on his collarbone, the Eagles should have a clearer timetable on his possible return. The scan should show how far along the bone is in the healing process. Kelly has refused to answer questions about his intentions when Foles is cleared to return.

Last season, Foles began to play well while Michael Vick was recovering from a hamstring injury. When Vick returned, Foles kept the starting job.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The scorch marks left by Aaron Rodgers were still there. Every member of the Eagles defense could probably close his eyes and still hear the footballs whistling past them from that 53-20 blowout.

Two weeks later, they had to come to Dallas and face another high-powered offense complete with Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and a line that allows them all to thrive.

[+] EnlargeCary Williams, Brandon Graham, Chris Prosinski, Philadelphia Eagles
Tim Sharp/Associated PressThe Eagles defense was all smiles after throttling Dallas' high-powered offense on Thursday.
“Obviously, you knew you’re going up against DeMarco Murray, leading the National Football League in rushing,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “And then they’ve got weapons like [Jason] Witten and Dez Bryant and Tony [Romo]. They’re playing really, really well on the offensive side of the ball. I thought our defense overall did a really nice job.”

The Eagles held Murray to a season-low 73 yards on the ground. They sacked Romo four times and intercepted him twice. Dallas never got into any kind of rhythm.

“You look at our entire defense,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “Everybody has a chip on their shoulder. Everybody has something to prove. We don’t have a lot of big-name guys, but we have a group that loves playing together and is not afraid to compete against anybody. They really did what they have done all year.”

Early in the second half, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy fumbled the ball away at his own 13-yard line. The Cowboys had a chance to narrow the Eagles' lead to 23-14. Murray ran for 9 yards to the Eagles' 4 on first down. On second down, Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox broke in and dropped Murray for a 1-yard loss.

“Fletcher dominated that play,” linebacker Connor Barwin said. “He got a TFL (tackle for loss). We held them to a field goal. I think that was the play of the game. It set the tone for the whole game. We knew defensively we were going to play well all day and they weren’t going to get anything.”

The Cowboys never scored again. Romo could not get the ball to his weapons.

“That’s what happens when you rush disciplined,” Barwin said. “We squeezed the pocket. He had nowhere to really go. He had no choice but to go down. That’s a credit to rushing together as a group.”

During the short practice week, the Eagles voiced their displeasure at all the attention the Cowboys’ offensive line had been getting. They were leading the NFL in rushing, so the line must have been playing well. But the Eagles remembered beating Dallas here at the end of last season, and felt they could be effective against that line.

“We knew we had to keep that chip on our shoulder,” Cox said. “We believe in each other. We play for one another. Nobody can stop us.”

No one was talking that way in Green Bay. Two weeks later, it was an entirely different story.

Cowboys' defense comes up short

November, 27, 2014
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The problems the Cowboys were able to avoid on defense for a majority of the season were finally revealed Thanksgiving Day.

A lack of pass rush.

No playmakers in the secondary.

No elite players overall.

The Cowboys let go of elite defensive end DeMarcus Ware (release) and quality pass-rushing defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (free agency) this offseason.

[+] EnlargeSproles
Tom Pennington/Getty ImagesThe Cowboys' defense gave up a season-worst 464 yards to the Eagles on Thanksgiving.
What was left for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was a scrappy group, and for the bulk of the first three months of this season, it played well.

Thursday afternoon, however, the Cowboys' defense was eaten up by quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Philadelphia Eagles' offense in a 33-10 loss.

The Cowboys allowed a season-high 464 yards, gave up four plays of 20 or more yards (two of which went for touchdowns). The Eagles scored on five of their first six possessions.

"They simply just kicked our ass on offense, defense, kicking game," cornerback Orlando Scandrick said. "They controlled the field position. They just came in and did whatever they wanted to with us."

The positives from the Cowboys' defense were few: one forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a sack.

LeSean McCoy, the talented and speedy Eagles running back, rushed for 159 yards. On his 38-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, he stiff-armed rookie linebacker Anthony Hitchens, and backup safety C.J. Spillman whiffed on the tackle.

The Cowboys had trouble dealing with the speed of the Eagles'offense and handling Sanchez's zone reads. On an early fourth-quarter play, Sanchez faked the handoff, sucking in defensive end Anthony Spencer, who followed the running back up the middle. Sanchez then ran untouched for 13 yards down the sideline for a first down.

It wasn't the first time Sanchez suckered the Cowboys. On his 2-yard TD run, he faked a handoff to McCoy and ran untouched into the end zone as defensive end Jeremy Mincey fell for it.

Those weren't the only miscues by the Cowboys' defense.

With the Eagles facing second-and-20 at their own 21, Sanchez completed a pass to Jeremy Maclin that went for a 58-yard catch and run. Cornerback Brandon Carr let Maclin go, thinking he had deep help from safety Barry Church. The Cowboys were playing Cover 2, which means a safety was supposed to help the corners if a receiver ran deep. When Carr let Maclin past his portion of the zone, Church reacted too late to prevent a big play.

"Bottom line, they did a very good job of executing," Marinelli said. "And we were up and down at times there, but we just got to execute against a team like that, coaches and players."

The Cowboys didn't, and next Thursday they visit the Chicago Bears and strong-armed quarterback Jay Cutler, who has three big targets in the passing game in Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett.

Last season, with basically the same defensive personnel -- but including Sean Lee (out for 2014 with a knee injury) and Ware -- the Cowboys gave up 490 yards and lost 45-28 at Chicago.

It won't be easy to erase the poor Thanksgiving Day defensive effort.

"Just not our standard around here," Carr said. "It will be addressed."

With 2014 nearing its end and a playoff berth hanging in the balance, a Cowboys defense that has been hanging around and doing the little things right is on the verge of falling apart.

"I feel like we never got into a good rhythm defensively like we normally [have]," defensive tackle Henry Melton said. "But I looked at the scoreboard and said, 'Wow, they had 30.' That's just not us. We got to figure out what we got to change and get back to work."
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys remain an 8-8 team until they prove otherwise.

That might seem like a slap in the face of a team that won six straight games after a Week 1 loss and sat down to Thanksgiving dinner with an 8-4 record despite being on the wrong end of a 33-10 rout by the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles. So be it.

[+] EnlargeDez Bryant
AP Photo/Tim SharpDez Bryant said he's determined not to let Dallas' playoff aspirations dwindle this December.
This isn’t the time for pats on the butt. It’s time for harsh truths to be told. And there are respected voices in the locker room anxious to do so.

The Cowboys can either recognize and respect their recent history or be doomed to repeat it. The odds of another .500 finish are awfully slim -- they’ll find a way to win at least one of their four remaining games, right? -- but the disturbing trend of the Cowboys crumbling in December can’t simply be dismissed.

“Man, we can’t piss away this opportunity,” seven-year veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick told ESPNDallas.com. “I’ve been here for a long time. When you piss away opportunities, change is happening. I don’t know if everybody quite knows that yet.”

What might those changes be? Let’s not put coach Jason Garrett’s head on the chopping block again yet. Those discussions can wait until they’re necessary.

They can be avoided, but only if these Cowboys respond to the December challenges a heck of a lot better than they have the past few bitterly disappointing seasons.

If the Cowboys fail to make the playoffs for a fifth straight season, matching Dallas’ longest drought since this was an expansion franchise in the 1960s, they’ll set a new standard for screwing up down the stretch. But they’ve managed not to make the playoffs in extremely painful fashion each of the past few seasons, all of which ended with a loss in the de facto NFC East title game.

The Cowboys were riding high with a 7-4 record after Thanksgiving in 2011. They lost four of their last five games, letting the New York Giants beat them twice to claim the division title.

The 2012 Cowboys rallied after Thanksgiving, winning three consecutive games to improve to 8-6, perhaps convincing owner/general manager Jerry Jones to back off his quiet, back-roads pursuit of Sean Payton and believe in Garrett’s process. Then Dallas dropped its last two games, losing to rookie sensation Robert Griffin III and the Redskins with the division’s lone playoff spot at stake in Week 17.

The 2013 Cowboys were 7-5 after Thanksgiving, only to lose three of their final four, with Philadelphia claiming the division crown at JerryWorld in the final week of the regular season.

The Cowboys haven’t had a problem putting themselves in position to fight for a playoff spot, and they’re in pretty good shape again this season entering the stretch. They’ve just been miserable failures when it comes to finishing the job.

“We are in a good position being 8-4, but we’ve got to learn from this and move forward,” said tight end Jason Witten, who has only one playoff win to show for his tremendous 12-year career. “I know we have the right type of guys to do that.”

Scandrick’s point isn’t that Dallas should dwell on the past. But the Cowboys darn sure better figure out how to make sure this season will be different.

“Know what? He’s 100 percent right,” fifth-year receiver Dez Bryant said as he walked to the elevator to leave the stadium, his voice rising with every step. “He’s 100 percent right. I agree with Orlando, because I was just thinking the same damn thing.

“Let me tell you something, [the message is] going to get across. Because we’re going to let them know.

“People learn how to get their message across to other teammates. That’s exactly what we’re going to do. We’ve got to get our message across to everybody. We’ve all got to get on one page, one page and one page only.”

The Cowboys better find a page from a different book. Everybody is sick of reading the same ol’ story with this team.

No excuses from Tony Romo

November, 27, 2014
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Dallas Cowboys' 33-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on Thursday.

Feeling fine: In a normal week Tony Romo would be practicing for the first time on Thursday. Instead he was playing his second game in five days. Romo completed 18 of 29 passes for 199 yards and had his streak of games with a touchdown pass end at 38. He was also intercepted twice.

"There's no excuses," Romo said. "You've just got to be ready to play. The game is Thursday and that's when you play."

Romo took pain medicine before the game to help with the two transverse process fractures he suffered on Oct. 27 against the Washington Redskins. He said he thinks things will begin feeling closer to normal again after the Cowboys play the Chicago Bears on Dec. 4 and have a 10-day break between games.

That hard road: The Cowboys had a chance to get a leg up in the division with a win, but now find themselves in a fight for a playoff spot. The rematch with the Eagles comes Dec. 14, but the Cowboys have three of their final four games away from home.

And that might not be such a bad thing. The Cowboys are the only undefeated team on the road (5-0) and are 3-4 at AT&T Stadium. Three of the Cowboys look to climb past eight wins in a season for the first time since 2009.

"We understand that what we need to do is go earn it moving forward," coach Jason Garrett said. "Today was an opportunity we didn't cash in on, but we have to learn from this game and move forward."

Defensive woes: Five days after allowing 417 yards on 74 plays to the New York Giants, the Cowboys have up 464 yards on 75 plays. It is the second time this season the Cowboys have allowed more than 400 yards in back-to-back games. The more the defense has to play, the more it gets exposed.

"I think if you look at some of those games, we had a lot of help from possession with our offense," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said.

The Cowboys converted on 4 of 12 third-down chances, which is the fifth straight game they have converted fewer than half their opportunities.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Philadelphia Eagles' 33-10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys:

McCoy
Thriller: Eagles running back LeSean McCoy appeared at his postgame news conference wearing a white leather jacket that recalled one made iconic by singer Michael Jackson. After McCoy answered questions for a few minutes, Eagles public relations director Derek Boyko told McCoy it was time to go. “Your jacket is trending on Twitter,” Boyko told McCoy.

Seems like old times: For most of the season, the Eagles have been answering questions about what was wrong with their running game. The offensive line, which remained healthy as McCoy led the NFL in rushing last season, was riddled with injuries early on. For the past two weeks, the line has been clicking. “There was so much space,” McCoy said. Center Jason Kelce agreed that the running game finally feels like it did in 2013.

Campaigning: Defensive end Fletcher Cox dropped Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray for a 1-yard loss in the red zone, and the Eagles held Dallas to a field goal. Teammate Connor Barwin called it the play of the game. “Fletcher Cox is great every day,” Barwin said. “He is a Pro Bowl player.” Cox said he didn’t know if his reputation was growing. “Defensive ends in a 3-4 defense don’t get much attention,” Cox said.

Rapid Reaction: Philadelphia Eagles

November, 27, 2014
Nov 27
7:50
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- A few thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles33-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

What it means: The Eagles (9-3) took control of the NFC East race with their first road victory over a quality NFC opponent this season. And they did it fairly convincingly, zipping 80 yards in nine plays for a touchdown on their opening drive and never looking back. Although the Eagles bogged down in the red zone in the first half, they were able to build a 30-10 lead by the third quarter. Mark Sanchez played perhaps his finest game as the Eagles’ starting quarterback, managing the no-huddle offense and distributing the ball to his receivers without any turnovers.

Stock watch: Sanchez’s stock rose with each decision and each smart throw he made. It was beginning to look as if Sanchez would throw two interceptions per game, and that would have been costly in a big divisional game like this. Instead, Sanchez produced his best all-around performance in the Eagles’ biggest game of the season so far. He even ran the ball five times for 29 yards and a touchdown. It is going to be very interesting to see what coach Chip Kelly does when Nick Foles is cleared to return to action.

Defensive turnaround: The Eagles' defense got carved up by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in a 53-20 loss two weeks ago. With DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant, it seemed likely that Tony Romo would have similar success against the Eagles. But the defense was much better, getting pressure on Romo while limiting the damage done by Murray. The Eagles allowed just 10 points, second only to their 27-0 shutout of the New York Giants on Oct. 12.

Game ball: LeSean McCoy conceded the other day Murray will not allow him to defend his NFL rushing title. But McCoy still wanted to outshine Murray when the two shared a field. He did just that, breaking a 36-yard run on the Eagles’ opening drive and running 38 yards for the touchdown that made it 30-10. McCoy ran for 156 yards. He topped 1,000 yards rushing on the season, becoming the first Eagle ever to do so four times.

What’s next: This was the first game in the most important three-game stretch of the Eagles’ schedule. They host defending champion Seattle next week and the Cowboys a week after that. By winning the first of those three games, the Eagles set themselves up well to make a run at the postseason.

Rapid Reaction: Dallas Cowboys

November, 27, 2014
Nov 27
7:48
PM ET
video

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys' 33-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium.

What it means: The Cowboys are effectively two games back of the Eagles in the NFC East race with their second division loss of the season and could be in a fight to clinch a wild-card berth after suffering the worst home loss of the Jason Garrett era. If the 8-4 Cowboys want to win the division, they might have to run the table, which means winning the Dec. 14 rematch at Lincoln Financial Field. Winning the division means hosting a playoff game, and that might not be a good thing for the Cowboys, whose four losses have all come at AT&T Stadium.

Tony Romo’s consecutive games with a touchdown pass ended at 38. He was sacked four times and picked off twice.

This game was over in the first half, as the Cowboys' defense was pathetic on its first three drives, giving up two touchdowns (80, 88 yards) and a field goal after allowing a 59-yard pass on second-and-20. The offense was worse. Romo missed an open Jason Witten on the third drive, Travis Frederick had a quick third-down snap on the fourth drive that led to a sack and Cole Beasley fumbled on the fifth drive.

The Cowboys didn’t need to play perfectly to beat the Eagles, but they couldn’t play as poorly as they played.

Management backfires: Sometimes the right thing can turn out to be the wrong thing. Garrett often is criticized for his clock management, but he smartly used timeouts late in the first half when Philadelphia had the ball in hopes of gaining a possession. The defense allowed a field goal to go down 20-7, but the Cowboys had 1:30 to operate to gain a score. Given how they performed five days earlier in a hurry-up situation at the New York Giants, they had to feel confident in their chances. But Beasley fumbled on first down. Nate Allen recovered, and the Eagles were able to convert the takeaway into another field goal with 21 seconds left in the half for a 23-7 lead.

Game ball: There really are no good choices here in a game that was such a mismatch. Defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford picked up the first sack of his career, poking the ball free from Mark Sanchez in the second quarter, but the Eagles recovered and were able to get a field goal on that drive. Crawford finished with three tackles and a tackle for loss. On a day like Thursday, that’s really the best the Cowboys had to offer.

Stock watch: For most of the season, the Cowboys' defense has been just good enough -- helped by an offense that kept it off the field. Five days after the Cowboys were torn up by the Giants, they were ripped to shreds by the Eagles. The Cowboys allowed three touchdown drives of least 80 yards, couldn’t stop LeSean McCoy (159 yards), couldn’t sniff Sanchez (completed 69 percent of his passes) and could not get off the field on third down (8 of 15). For the second time this season, the Cowboys have allowed 400 yards in back-to-back games. The good news is they gave up just one touchdown after the first quarter. With a rematch in two weeks, can the Cowboys figure out how to match up with the Eagles?

What’s next: Usually the Cowboys get a 10-day break after Thanksgiving, but they will play Dec. 4 against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. It is their first Thursday-to-Thursday schedule since 2007, when they beat the New York Jets on Thanksgiving and followed with a win against the Green Bay Packers the following week.

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