During a night in which all 35 college football bowls were announced, it was only appropriate that the Disappointment Bowl took place on Sunday Night Football.
Both the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys have taken incredibly great falls below expectations this season, but the Cowboys proved to be far less disappointing during an encouraging 38-33 victory to move to 6-6 on the season.
With the loss, Philly fell to 3-9.
It was pretty clear from the start that neither defense was interested in, you know, stopping anyone.
Bryce Brown got the scoring started in the first quarter with a 10-yard touchdown, and that was just the beginning of an impressive night. In just the second start of his career, he finished with 169 rushing yards and two scores on 24 carries, but a late fumble cost the Eagles the game.
After Brown's opening score, both teams traded off scores for the rest of the contest, and it appeared that the last team to have the ball would come out victorious. But as Philly was driving the field, down 31-27, the young running back coughed up the ball and fellow rookie Morris Claiborne picked it up and returned it 50 yards for the score.
Philly made it interesting again when Damaris Johnson returned a punt 98 yards for a touchdown with 30 seconds left, but a failed onside kick finally sealed this barn-burner.
In the end, there were 840 yards of total offense and just five punts as both teams were able to move the ball at will throughout the contest.
But Dallas forced the only turnover of the game at the ideal moment and capitalized for the win to stay afloat in the NFC East.
Early on, ESPN's Dan Graziano noted that this was essentially a battle of backups:
So far, an Eagles offense that's down 7 starters has the edge over a Cowboys defense that's missing 5 starters.— Dan Graziano (@espn_nfceast) December 3, 2012
One of those backups (luckily for Philadelphia) goes by the name of Bryce Brown. And he's pretty good. Via ESPN Stats & Info:
Via ELIAS: Bryce Brown- 2nd player since the merger with 100 yds rushing + 2 rushing TD in each of 1st 2 career starts. Other: Arian Foster.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 3, 2012
I guess that's decent company. Then there's this stat, which he accomplished in an unbelievable six quarters (via the Philadelphia Eagles' official Twitter account):
So, yeah, I would say Yahoo! Sports' Brad Evans is pretty spot on with this one:
Regardless if you're a McCoy or Brown zealot we can all agree, Eagles have embarrassment of riches at RB. Slightly better than GB. ;)— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) December 3, 2012
Of course, Bryce Brown wasn't the only one entering the record books on the night. Tony Romo passed a pretty legendary Dallas quarterback with his touchdown pass to Dez Bryant in the third quarter. From ESPN Dallas:
Tony Romo passes Troy Aikman, sets Dallas Cowboys' TD passes mark es.pn/QZE5b1— ESPNDallas (@ESPNDallas) December 3, 2012
Speaking of Dez Bryant, he had another two touchdowns on the night and continued his streak of unstoppable play over the past month. ESPN's Michael Smith:
Dez Bryant is playing like he wants to reach his immense potential. Great to see.— Michael Smith (@michaelsmith) December 3, 2012
He now has 475 yards and six touchdowns over his past four games. I'd say he's hit that potential.
Player of the Game: Tony Romo
Who's your MVP?
The enigmatic QB has Jason Witten (108 yards), Dez Bryant (98 yards), DeMarco Murray (83 rushing yards) and the Philly defense to thank, but you can't go with anyone else here.
Romo completed 22-of-27 throws for 303 yards (11.2 yards per attempt), three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He compiled a QB rating of 150.5.
What's even more impressive is that Romo didn't have an incompletion in the second half, as he led three impressive touchdown drives, including two in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles will try to halt this eight-game losing streak next Sunday when they travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers.
Dallas, meanwhile, heads to Cincinnati to battle the 7-5 Bengals.