Amari Cooper's Walk-Off TD Gives Dak Prescott, Cowboys Wild OT Win vs. Eagles

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2018

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 09: Amari Cooper #19 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a touchdown reception against Sidney Jones #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles  at AT&T Stadium on December 09, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys won their fifth straight game, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 29-23 in overtime Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Amari Cooper caught his third touchdown pass of the game in overtime to deliver the Cowboys the victory. He had 10 receptions for 217 yards and the three scores.

Ezekiel Elliott, who entered the game 26 rushing yards behind league leader Todd Gurley, had 28 carries for 114 yards. Dak Prescott finished 42-of-54 for a career-high 455 yards.

Carson Wentz threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Alshon Jeffery led the team with six receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown.

       

Amari Cooper Has Made Cowboys a Genuine Super Bowl Threat

In retrospect, the Oakland Raiders might have been foolish to only get a first-round draft pick back in return for Cooper.

Before Cooper's arrival and even a few weeks after he joined the team, the Cowboys didn't look like they could make a deep playoff run. Their defense was dominant at times, but their offense wasn't playing at an elite level. Think back to Week 5 when Dallas mustered 292 yards and 16 points in an overtime defeat to the Houston Texans.

Now that Cooper has had time to get used to his new surroundings, Dallas is an entirely different squad offensively. That was never more evident than on Cooper's 75-yard touchdown reception with a little over three minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Immediately after the Eagles tied the game following a Dallas Goedert touchdown reception, head coach Jason Garrett drew up a deep pass to Cooper, and Prescott hit him perfectly in stride. When the Cowboys needed to make something happen, they turned to Cooper.

In the buildup to Sunday's game, Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill made waves when he told reporters the Cowboys "always choke" and that that was going to happen when they took the field against Philadelphia.

Cooper made sure Grugier-Hill would have to eat his words.

       

Carson Wentz's Fourth-Quarter Turnaround Perfect Response to Critics

As the Eagles put together a pair of game-tying scoring drives in the fourth quarter, Wentz showed flashes of the quarterback who sent fans into a frenzy last year.

Therein lies a source of frustration from those same Eagles fans, though. Philadelphia has all of the necessary pieces to build a dynamic offense. Instead, it gains 70 total yards through the first half of Sunday's game.

It doesn't reflect well on Wentz when people are earnestly pondering a quarterback change.

Perhaps Frank Reich's and John DeFilippo's departures have something to do with Wentz's development going backward. Philadelphia lost its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in the same offseason. The Eagles replaced Reich and DeFilippo with Mike Groh and Press Taylor, neither of whom had a strong body of work in the NFL.

One strong quarter shouldn't completely overshadow an otherwise underwhelming showing from Wentz, and it doesn't negate everything else he has done this year. In order to be a title contender, the Eagles need Wentz to hit a different level than the one he has displayed in 2018.

However, the fourth quarter showed the version of Wentz who was an MVP candidate in 2017 hasn't disappeared completely.

       

Jason Garrett Has No Excuses for Cowboys' Continued Futility in Red Zone

The Cowboys out-gained the Eagles 576-256. Despite that, they had six points in the first half and might have lost in regulation altogether if Jake Elliott had successfully converted his point-after attempt in the third quarter. Rather than taking a four-point lead into the fourth quarter after Jeffery's two-yard touchdown reception, the Cowboys were up just 9-6.

Dallas' inability to score touchdowns inside the red zone helped keep the Eagles in the game.

Entering Sunday, 48.6 percent of the Cowboys' red-zone possessions ended in touchdowns, which ranked 26th, according to Football Outsiders.

This is happening so frequently the blame has to fall on Garrett. When a team with so many playmakers and a solid run-blocking unit routinely has little to show for its red-zone appearances, the coaching staff has questions to answer.

As much as Cooper has done to solidify the team's hopes of winning a championship, consistently leaving points on the board is the kind of thing that can prove costly in the postseason.

       

What's Next?

At 6-7, the Eagles fall two games behind the 8-5 Cowboys in the NFC East title race. They travel to L.A. Memorial Coliseum for a date with the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 16. Dallas faces off with the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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