They say that a win is a win.
Sure, it is always nice to break a two-game losing skid against two division leaders, but you would certainly hope that victory also added some hope.
Not this one.
If ever there was a cosmetic victory for Dallas, this was it. The scoreboard showed a 38-23 win for the Cowboys. I always love getting to that 40 mark in a football game, but these points didn’t come the way you might expect.
No, quarterback Tony Romo didn’t pass for 400 yards and four touchdowns. DeMarco Murray didn’t even play, so you know he didn’t go off or anything.
Getting to the point, Dallas was lucky to run into a team that’s a bigger mess than they are, period.
With the Eagles floundering in what looks to be the final season for head coach Andy Reid, the Cowboys looked like the same team they’ve been since that ancient victory over the defending champion New York Giants way back when.
I’m not sure there are many other teams that Dallas would have beaten yesterday. I don’t say that because the offensive stats weren’t in the right category or anything. The Cowboys did almost as much as possible to lose this game up until the defense and special teams finally decided to take matters into their own hands.
The No. 13 is generally considered unlucky, especially when a given Friday falls on that date. But when that number applies to penalties committed in a football game, it’s generally fatal.
Without the heroics of those other phases of the game, the offense was primed to offer up another ridiculous loss which would have likely ended any possibility of postseason play for the Cowboys.
And the defense wasn’t much better up until the dam broke on the Eagles in the fourth quarter, an event fully expected when Michael Vick was knocked out of the game in the first half with a concussion.
There’s only so much you can expect from a rookie making his first appearance in an NFL football game at midseason, especially when a guy named DeMarcus Ware is lined up across from him. Yet, second string quarterback Nick Foles wasn’t exactly terrible in his NFL debut.
Foles actually got his Eagles an early second-half lead following a 44-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin that had no business being caught in the first place. His lone interception, a game-killer, came on a fluke deflection that Dallas cornerback Brandon Carr snagged just above the grass because receiver DeSean Jackson could not catch a perfectly thrown pass. Carr plucked the ball after it deflected off Ernie Sims, the first Dallas defender that could have grabbed the ball.
Congratulations to Carr on his first interception in a Dallas uniform, even if it came nine games into the season. If Dallas had anybody else that could rush the passer, Carr would have a few more.
But you just felt like a defense that has been almost solely responsible for the Cowboys few wins this year should have done a little more. Instead, the defense offered up penalty after penalty. I quit counting the offsides penalties and the pass interference infractions at some point in the third quarter.
Rookie corner Morris Claiborne played the kind of game that would have gotten former Dallas corner Terrence Newman arrested.
Yes, the defense finally helped itself in a big way by the final quarter, but they did plenty early in the game to kill any hopes of winning against a better team.
And the offense, while not turning the ball over all day, still had a dogfight against a rookie quarterback into the early part of a fourth quarter filled with Eagles breakdowns everywhere but on defense. This will happen when your offensive line is completely inadequate.
Philadelphia came in allowing Dallas to run the ball for some yards. What they didn’t want was to give up the big play, which they eventually did as Romo hit receiver Dez Bryant with a controversial 30-yard touchdown pass to end the third quarter.
It was 17-17 to begin the fourth quarter and obviously still anybody’s game. Foles had been playing for the better part of two quarters by then.
But in the end, it's a "W."
Now comes the part of the schedule that the most optimistic of Cowboys fans have been waiting for.
Four of these final seven games on the schedule come against teams with three wins or fewer, including Cleveland next weekend, who has but two victories. There’s a reason there’s talk of ousted Browns president Mike Holmgren possibly landing in Dallas next year.
Also, only two remaining road games would appear to give Dallas a decisive advantage down the stretch until you consider that America’s Team doesn’t win very often at Cowboys Stadium.
As I see it, every victory Dallas picks up only drops them down one or two notches in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft next April.
Make no mistake though: This Dallas Cowboys team is not a contender and they have no business in the postseason under any circumstances.