Cowboys Salvage Winning Record with Ugly 6-0 Victory over Eagles

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 31, 2017

Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott in action during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys ended a disappointing 2017 season on a high note by shutting out the Philadelphia Eagles 6-0 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Both teams struggled to do anything offensively in the frigid temperatures. The Cowboys didn't get on the board until the fourth quarter when Dak Prescott found Brice Butler to cap off a 99-yard drive.

In an otherwise frustrating year for the Cowboys, they did salvage things down the stretch with four wins in their final five games to finish over .500 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2008-09.

Until the Cowboys' first touchdown drive, Prescott had 74 yards on his first 10 completions. Dallas' quarterback ended his sophomore season with 179 passing yards in Sunday's win.

With so much attention on Dez Bryant this week, the three-time Pro Bowler didn't do much to inspire confidence. He had three catches for 24 yards and posted his worst numbers by targets (132), receptions (69), yards (838), yards per reception (12.1) and touchdowns (six) in a season in which he played all 16 games.

Bryant was asked about his contract earlier this week and possibly needing to take a pay cut in 2018:

Bryant will currently count $16.5 million against the Cowboys' salary cap next season, per Spotrac.

FS1's Skip Bayless thinks it's time for the Cowboys to move on from their star receiver:

While Bryant struggled his way through the season, Ezekiel Elliott had 103 yards on 27 carries. His 98.3 rushing yards per game will lead the NFL in 2017, though he finished 17 yards short of cracking the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight year.

There was some hope the Eagles offense would be able to tread water after Carson Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14, especially after Nick Foles threw four touchdowns in a 34-29 win over the New York Giants the next week.

Unfortunately, his performance has dropped seemingly in lockstep with the temperature in Philadelphia. Foles ended Sunday's game going 4-of-11 with 39 yards and one interception before being taken out.

Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation didn't mince words assessing Foles' showing against the Cowboys:

Things got so bad during Foles' brief appearance that Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com was clamoring for Nate Sudfeld:

A sixth-round pick by the Washington Redskins in 2016, Sudfeld made his NFL debut on Sunday. The Indiana product looked effective early and showed good mobility before finishing with 134 yards on 19-of-23 passing after entering in the second quarter, though he was sacked three times and couldn't get the Eagles into the end zone.

NFL on Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson went so far as to say at halftime that Sudfeld looked better than Foles running Philadelphia's offense, via Joe Giglio of SportsRadio 94WIP:

With optimism waning among Eagles fans heading into the postseason, Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer did jokingly offer this encouraging note:

The Eagles did provide some entertainment during the game, thanks to punter Donnie Jones and a pair of sweatpants:

The 2000 Baltimore Ravens and 2015 Denver Broncos proved an elite defense can take a team to the promised land.

Philadelphia's defense has come up huge in the past two games, allowing a combined total of 575 yards and 16 points. Sunday's effort was particularly impressive because the Eagles didn't play five starters on that side of the ball, including defensive linemen Timmy Jernigan and Brandon Graham.

With the Eagles on a bye week before their first playoff game, head coach Doug Pederson has time to figure things out with Foles and the offense. They could also lean heavily on the running game with LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi to take pressure off the quarterback.

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