Final Score: Dallas 38 - Philadelphia 23
The Dallas Cowboys outlasted the Philadelphia Eagles in the “Desperation Bowl.” The Cowboys used touchdowns by their special teams and defense in the fourth quarter to escape Philadelphia with a 38-23 win.
The Cowboys improve to 4-5 while dropping the Eagles to 3-6 on the season. Philadelphia can all but kiss the playoffs goodbye as the Cowboys climb a little closer to the New York Giants who lost to Cincinnati earlier in the day.
Let's take a closer look at the final player grades and analysis for the Dallas Cowboys.
Tony Romo: B+
Tony Romo had his second performance with no turnovers, however you have to question how much faith his coach has in him. Although he finished with a 122.1 passer rating on 19-of-26 passing for 209 yards, he did not throw a single pass in the fourth quarter.
Romo started the game shaky but picked it up late in the first half. He threw two touchdown passes, including a beautiful 30-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant.
Our only concern is that Romo did not get a chance to put the game away late in the fourth quarter with the Cowboys only up eight points.
Felix Jones: B+
Felix Jones had a decent night running the football. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry and gained 71 yards on 16 attempts.
Jones added another 22 yards on 3 receptions which included an 11-yard touchdown catch. He did everything he could to get into the end zone on that play. It will be interesting to see how Jones performs once running back DeMarco Murray is back in the starting line-up.
Lance Dunbar: B-
Lance Dunbar did a good job being a change-of-pace back. He gained 20 yards on 6 carries and nearly broke a long run early in the second quarter.
We still feel Dunbar has done enough to gain more carries in the future as he displays potential to be an explosive back.
Miles Austin: B-
It appears as if Miles Austin re-aggravated his hamstring injury and was largely irrelevant in the game. He only caught two passes for 32 yards. Although the 16 yards average per catch is nice, his productivity was down.
Dez Bryant: A
Dez Bryant flashed signs of his potential averaging 29 yards per reception. He caught three passes for 87 yards and a tough 30-yard touchdown catch.
He also got free in the secondary for a huge 49-yard catch and all that remains is for Bryant to show some consistency.
Kevin Ogletree: F
Kevin Ogletree continues his roller-coaster season. He was so far removed from the offensive game plan that quarterback Tony Romo did not even throw him the ball once. Ogletree may find himself on the bench more often.
Cole Beasley: B-
Cole Beasley saw a lot of playing time today, but only had one pass thrown his way. He caught that pass for three yards and it was good enough for a first down.
It may be possible that the Cowboys are going to give Beasley a try in place of Kevin Ogletree.
Jason Witten: A
Jason Witten continues to be Tony Romo’s go-to guy. He did not have many big plays, having caught eight passes for 47 yards, but he did provide Romo a chance to move the chains when needed.
Witten continues to be a great leader on the Cowboys offense and he led all receivers with 10 targets and finished with those eight receptions.
Tyron Smith: A-
Tyron Smith played a mistake-free game. He committed no penalties and was pretty good at pass blocking. Smith did give up a sack, but he was successful at opening up running lanes for Felix Jones.
Doug Free: C
Doug Free is starting to become a false start machine. He was charged with another false start early in the game and continues to be a liability on the line.
Free gave up two sacks and most of the pressure that got to Romo came from Free’s side.
Ryan Cook: B+
Ryan Cook has got to be in a difficult position. For someone who was not with the team at the start of training camp, he sure has seen plenty of playing time. He was solid in snapping the ball, and only made a few mistakes in allowing pressure up the middle.
Mackenzy Bernadeau: C-
We are not sure if Mackenzy Bernadeau is worth the money. He continues to allow pressure to get to Romo and he is often confused on who to pick up when the defense stunts the linemen.
Jay Ratliff: B
Although Jay Ratliff only had three total tackles, he was constantly in the backfield re-routing the Eagles running backs. He was a force in the middle of the field and provided plenty of defensive pressure.
Jason Hatcher: A
Jason Hatcher provided plenty of pressure, although he never got to the quarterback. He only finished with one tackle, but he might have had one of the biggest plays in the game. Late in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys nursing an eight point lead, Hatcher pounced on a fumble in the end zone scoring a touchdown and sealing the victory for the Cowboys.
Kenyon Coleman: B-
Kenyon Coleman provided plenty of run support on the line of scrimmage yet he only finished with one solo tackle. Coleman needs to be more effective rushing the passer. The bad news is that Coleman left the game with a triceps injury and did not return to finish the game.
DeMarcus Ware: B+
DeMarcus Ware did not register a sack tonight, but his presence was still noticed. He finished with two solo tackles, a tackle for a loss, and was credited with two quarterback hits.
It is unclear if Ware’s hit on quarterback Michael Vick knocked Vick out of the game.
Bruce Carter: A+
Bruce Carter has been a beast ever since Sean Lee was sidelined with an injury. Carter was all over the field, and he was a constant force against the run game.
He finished with 10 solo tackles and credited with two tackles for a loss. The Cowboys will continue to need Carter to step up his play.
Anthony Spencer: B+
It is clear that the Cowboys need Anthony Spencer in the lineup. Spencer was all over the field, registered a sack and ended the game with three solo tackles and one QB hit. Spencer was constantly in the backfield, and although he only got to the quarterback once, his pressure made the Eagles QBs move from their spot.
Ernie Simms: B
Ernie Simms has been fantastic in replacing Sean Lee. Simms was equally impressive against the run and verses the pass. He finished with six total tackles, five of them solo, and one pass defensed.
Brandon Carr: A-
Brandon Carr continues to earn his huge free agency paycheck, and this week he even had an interception returned for a touchdown. Carr had four solo tackles, several pass blocks and the one interception.
Morris Claiborne: D
Morris Claiborne struggled on the Eagles opening drive, gave up a touchdown pass to Riley Cooper, and never recovered all night. It was the rookie’s worst performance as a Cowboy to date, and even though he had five solo tackles, he gave up far too many receptions.
He had five total penalties in the game, which included two defensive holding calls, two pass interference calls, and one offside. Chalk this game up to a rookie lesson.
Gerald Sensabaugh: B-
It appears as if Gerald Sensabaugh is often out of position in coverage. In the third quarter, the Cowboys gave up a deep touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin, and Sensabaugh was nowhere to be found. Sensabaugh only had three solo tackles in the game.
Danny McCray: B
It looks like as if Danny McCray is still learning the safety position. McCray only had three tackles and was constantly late getting over to help the cornerbacks.
Dan Bailey: A
Dan Bailey continues to be perfect on field goal attempts inside of 50 yards. He is 14-of-14 on such attempts and today he added a 30-yard field goal. He also made 5-of-5 extra points.
Brian Moorman: B-
Brian Moorman had a couple of shaky punts. He did manage to pin the Eagles inside the 20-yard line three times. He averaged 41.1 yards per punt, and had a long of 53 yards.
Dwayne Harris: A+
Just when it looked like Dwayne Harris was looking to give up his punt return duties, BOOM, he returns one 78 yards for a touchdown. Harris averaged 24.3 yards on 3 returns.
Jason Garrett: C
Usually when a head coach wins a game, he is rewarded with a grade of an A. Unfortunately for Jason Garrett, his coaching is not why the Cowboys defeated the Philadelphia Eagles.
Garrett almost lost this game for the Cowboys by not having a killer instinct. With the Cowboys holding a 31-17 lead, he had the Cowboys run the ball on three straight plays on their first offensive series in the fourth quarter and they were forced to punt.
The Eagles scored a touchdown and after an unsuccessful onside kick, Garrett ran the ball three straight times again gaining only four yards and giving the Eagles another shot at trying to tie the score.
Fortunately for Garrett, the defense bailed him out by sacking rookie Nick Foles in the end zone and recovering a fumble for a TD. Garrett’s biggest problem continues to be that he plays not to lose, instead of playing to win.