After stifling him all game, Eagles had no answer in OT for Dak Prescott

After stifling him all game, Eagles had no answer in OT for Dak Prescott

ARLINGTON, Texas — Dak Prescott didn't complete more than two consecutive passes at any point in regulation Sunday night.

In overtime, he couldn't miss. 

Prescott, 14-for-34 through four quarters, torched the Eagles' defense in overtime, completing all five of his passes for 56 yards and the game-winning five-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten that gave the Cowboys a 29-23 walk-off win at AT&T Stadium.

Overtime was a nightmare for the Eagles, who watched the Cowboys drive 75 yards in 12 plays to complete a comeback from 10 points down early in the fourth quarter.

“Obviously disappointing for the defense, because that’s the position we want to be in,” Jordan Hicks said. “That’s the position you hope to be in at the end of the game.

“Defense on the field, going out there, holding them, keeping them out of the end zone. That’s exactly where we want to be, and we just came up short.”

A year ago, the Eagles beat the Cowboys in overtime in the same stadium on Jordan Matthews’ 41-yard touchdown catch from Sam Bradford.

In that game, Sam Bradford was 5-for-5 for 56 yards and a touchdown, and the Cowboys never got on the field.

This time, Prescott duplicated Bradford's numbers, and the Eagles never got on the field.

It's the first time the Eagles have gone into overtime and never run an offensive play since a 1999 loss to the Redskins in Landover.

On the Cowboys’ overtime drive, the Eagles’ defense — so sharp much of the game — just had no answers for Presecott.

Prescott connected with Cole Beasley on a 24-yard gain down to the Eagles’ 37, he gained two yards on a 4th-and-1 keeper at the Eagles’ 28, he connected with Ezekiel Elliott for 10 yards down to the 4, then threw the Eagles’ defense off with a spin move on the final play of the game before finding Witten wide open in the end zone.

“He just improvised,” Nolan Carroll said. “Especially on the last play. Just scrambled and found the open guy.”

Prescott with 6½ minutes left in the fourth quarter was 9-for-26 for 152 yards, with no TD passes and one interception.

He was 10-for-13 for 134 yards with two TDs and no interceptions in the final 13½ minutes.

“Everybody in the league knows that Dak can scramble and he extends plays with his legs and gets guys open and there’s nothing else to really say about it,” Jalen Mills said.

“Very frustrating. We pride ourselves on playing great football as a defense, and we just didn’t make the plays we had to make at the end.”

The Cowboys scored the last 16 points of the game and beat the Eagles in overtime for the first time ever.

“It was 0-0 when we got the ball,” Prescott said after his first career overtime game. “We’ve been great in the first few games of getting the ball first and scoring. That’s kind of how I took it and thought of it. We got the ball and needed a touchdown.”

The Eagles got the Cowboys in only one third down on the game-winning drive — and they stopped them. But the fourth-down conversion was lethal.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett could have sent out Dan Bailey, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, for a 45-yard field goal, but went for the kill instead.

It was the first fourth-down attempt against the Eagles in 34 overtime games in franchise history.
 
“He was asking if we should kick it,” Prescott said. “I was going back and forth with Coach on what to do. I said ‘I’ve got those big guys in front of me, we can get that yard,’ and that’s exactly what we did. They made some space for me to get that yard.” 

The Eagles had so many chances to put this game away, but it was all Dallas in overtime.

“It just wasn’t good enough,” Connor Barwin said. “We needed to come up with a play here, a play there, to at least hold them to a field goal and give our offense a chance.”

Going into Sunday, the Eagles were the stingiest second-half defense in the NFL, allowing only 19 points after halftime.

In Dallas, they allowed 16 in the final 13½ minutes.

“For them to be able to drive down the field on us, that was very uncharacteristic of us and the way we play defense,” Nigel Bradham said. “They don’t score, we win. That was our mindset. We did some good things, but a disappointing way to finish.”

Eagles propose four rules to be considered by NFL next week

Eagles propose four rules to be considered by NFL next week

Next week, when the NFL convenes for its owners meetings in Phoenix, there will be 15 proposed rule changes under consideration by the competition committee. 

While the one proposed rule change would cut regular-season overtime from 15 to 10 minutes (see story), there are 14 others up for discussion. 

Of those 15, seven were submitted by NFL teams. And of those seven, four were submitted by the Eagles

Three of the four rule proposals from the Eagles are safety related. 

Here are the four from the Eagles, per the NFL: 

1. Gives additional protections for long snappers on kick plays. 

2. Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays. 

3. Expands the “crown of helmet” foul to include “hairline” part of helmet. 

4. Amends the challenge system by granting a third challenge if a club is successful on at least one of its initial two challenges, and expands reviewable plays outside of two minutes of each half.

The first proposed rule would offer long snappers -- Jon Dorenbos included -- some extra protection. It would add this language to Article 6, Unnecessary Roughness: "When a team is in scrimmage kick formation, a defensive player may not initiate contact with the snapper until one second has elapsed after the snap." 

The second proposed rule change is one of the proposals that has garnered the most attention. Basically, the league now allows players to leap over the line of scrimmage on kicks as long as they don't touch anyone. This new rule would completely outlaw the process of leaping over the line. 

It seems like this rule change is likely to happen. The NFLPA has previously asked for this rule to be changed. 

"So the inevitable is going to happen, and just hearing from the players association, Philly now proposing it is really in the best interest of the game," former Eagle and league football operations director Troy Vincent said on a conference call Thursday. 

The next rule does pretty much exactly what it says: it expands the area that is considered to be the "crown of the helmet." 

Here's the new language that would be added to Article 8, Initiating Contact with the Crown of the Helmet: "Lowering the head and making forcible contact with the crown or 'hairline' parts of the helmet against any part of an opponent shall be considered a foul even if the initiating player's head moves after initial contact and the majority of contact occurs with the side or front of the helmet."

Finally, the last proposal isn't a safety one. It's about replay and is pretty self-explanatory for the most part. 

The reasoning given for this rule change on the proposal: "Provides coaches with a greater opportunity to correct subjective officiating errors, but excludes those fouls that have a minimal opportunity for reversal."

NFL owners mull cut of regular-season overtime to 10 minutes

NFL owners mull cut of regular-season overtime to 10 minutes

NEW YORK -- NFL owners will consider proposals next week to cut regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10; eliminate players leaping over the line on kick plays; and expansion of coaches' challenges and what can be reviewed by officials.

In what promises to be a busy annual meeting next week in Phoenix that will include discussing the Raiders' potential relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas, the 32 owners also will vote on changing the mechanics on replay reviews and other items intended to reduce downtime during games.

The Eagles proposed four rules changes, including abolishing the leaping techniques that league football operations director Troy Vincent said Thursday "don't belong in the game."

Seattle and Buffalo co-authored a proposal allowing a coach to challenge any officiating decision, whether a foul is called or not.

"That is a significant change to our current replay rule and it is something that will be on the floor and will be debated next week," NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino said.

Another major change would be the reduction of overtime in-season; the extra period in the playoffs would remain at 15 minutes. The powerful competition committee, of which Vincent and Blandino are members, believed it's a player safety issue, noting that number of snaps for games going to OT -- especially deep into the overtime -- is excessive. Especially if a team has a quick turnaround.

"We don't know where a team is going to be playing the next week, it could be four days later," said committee chairman Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons. "We felt we should put an end to it. We don't think it will lead to more ties. Could it? It could, but we are not concerned with that."

As for changing the format of overtime to ensure both teams always get a possession -- a popular topic after how the Super Bowl ended -- Blandino said the league's wants to keep the element of sudden death in the extra period.

The "leaper rule" has taken some priority among competition committee members, the players' union and coaches. Vincent said coaches have begun scheming how to defense it, which can "create a real safety issue."

"It is really in the best interest of the game" to outlaw leaping on kicks," Vincent added.

McKay noted that the NCAA is in the process of passing a similar ban on the technique.

During the meetings that run from Sunday to Wednesday, the teams will be shown plays the competition committee believes should result in suspensions or ejections. Game officials already have had the leeway to eject players, but it rarely has happened; there were three in 2016.

"They don't happen very often, let's give the players credit," McKay said. "We have 40,000 plays in a year. We'll show a tape that will have four or five plays that would warrant suspension. This is not a widespread situation."

Added Vincent, a former NFL defensive back: "When you see the plays, they are catastrophic. We had two players who did not return for the season. They are high-impact plays that belong out of the game. It will be a real point of emphasis this season."