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.”

10 Eagles to watch during 2017 training camp

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USA Today Images/CSN

10 Eagles to watch during 2017 training camp

The Eagles kick off their 2017 training camp this week for a season with higher expectations than a year ago. 

A big reason for that is because Carson Wentz is entering his second season after an up-and-down, yet promising, rookie campaign. We're not going to list him as a player to watch because we're all going to watch him anyway. 

Another big reason for optimism is plenty of newcomers. Many of them are listed. 

Here are 10 players to watch during Eagles training camp 2017: 

Nelson Agholor 
We mentioned the newcomers, but let's start with a guy who has been here for a couple of disappointing seasons. Agholor will probably never live up to his draft status, but now it's just about making him a decent NFL player. This spring, he was the best receiver on the field, which was undeniable as it was infuriating to fans. Because it just hasn't translated into games and until it does, no one will care much. But it's worth watching to see if he can continue his impressive offseason. Maybe this year, with a reduced role, he won't be a headcase. 

Derek Barnett
The first-round pick showed some impressive signs during the spring, especially when he beat Lane Johnson a few times 1-on-1. But now the pads go on and the real football begins. Barnett has a real chance to not just earn playing time but also earn a starting job during this training camp. 

Ron Brooks/Joe Walker
We cheated a little here by lumping these two together, but it kind of makes sense. Both are coming back from serious injuries, which is why we need to see what they can do. Walker tore his ACL during the preseason a year ago. Before he did, he was set to be the team's backup middle linebacker. It wasn't until his injury that the Eagles went out and signed Stephen Tulloch. And Brooks was playing OK as the Eagles' slot cornerback before his ruptured quad tendon in October. Jim Schwartz seems to really like him, but many folks have seemingly forgotten about Brooks this offseason. 

Timmy Jernigan
Of all the newcomers, Jernigan might be the most overlooked, but could also make the biggest impact. He's here with just one year left on his contract but will get a chance to put up some serious numbers while playing next to Fletcher Cox on the interior line. 

LeGarrette Blount
Blount reportedly has language written into his contract that gives him bonuses based on staying under 250 pounds. Even if he's under 250, Blount is still a big back, about 20 pounds heavier than rookie Corey Clement. Blount is up there in age and had a huge workload for the Patriots last season. How much does he have left? 

Rasul Douglas 
Of all the Eagles' rookies, Douglas might need to have the most immediate impact. The third-round pick might be thrust into a major role this season just because of the lack of talent at the cornerback position. He was impressive in the spring but is bound to have ups and downs as a rookie. 

Alshon Jeffery 
The Eagles actually have a real No. 1 receiver. Jeffery made some spectacular catches during the spring, but he and Wentz need to build their rapport, which they had extra time to do when the receivers went to North Dakota. We'll see how far along he and Wentz are soon enough. 

Donnel Pumphrey
It's pretty shocking to see how small Pumphrey looks without pads, especially standing next to Blount. How will the Eagles use the tiny running back? Will he be more of a receiver out of the backfield and in the slot? And can his body really hold up in the NFL? 

Isaac Seumalo 
Yeah, we're telling you an interior offensive lineman is a guy to watch. Seumalo has a real chance to beat out Allen Barbre for the starting left guard position. Either way, Seumalo figures into the Eagles' plans for the future as a guard or as the center who eventually takes over for Jason Kelce. 

Mack Hollins
Of the rookie receivers, Hollins was clearly more impressive this spring. I became convinced Hollins can play football in shorts and a helmet. Now, we'll get to see how he does when the pads go on. With his size/speed combo, he's certainly an intriguing prospect.

NFL Notes: As Cowboys prep for training camp, Jerry Jones backs Ezekiel Elliott again

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USA Today Images

NFL Notes: As Cowboys prep for training camp, Jerry Jones backs Ezekiel Elliott again

OXNARD, Calif. -- Jerry Jones interjected some bad-boy anecdotes from his youth, smiled at the thought of life before social media and even asked a couple of questions himself Sunday at his annual training camp opener with reporters.

When the topic is the multitude of off-field issues confronting the Dallas Cowboys -- headlined by star running back Ezekiel Elliott -- their owner, president and general manager can dance with the best of them.

"I can give you the same old excuses -- young, aggressive, got a lot of energy," Jones said. "Hard to paint that picture of the days when it won't be this easy, they won't be as pretty and they won't have the money. Somehow you've got to paint the picture."

Elliott is still waiting for clearance from the NFL on a year-old domestic violence case that prosecutors didn't pursue. The NFL rushing leader last season as a rookie, Elliott didn't help himself with his involvement in a bar fight a week before the Cowboys flew to California for camp.

Jones reiterated his belief that Elliott wasn't guilty of domestic violence in a dispute with his ex-girlfriend last summer in Columbus, Ohio, where he starred for Ohio State. But the Dallas owner still wouldn't speculate on whether Elliott will get suspended.

The Cowboys will have two suspended defensive players when the season starts in pass rushers David Irving and Randy Gregory. Two more could be: cornerback Nolan Carroll (drunken-driving charge) and linebacker Damien Wilson (aggravated assault charges).

Receiver Dez Bryant was late to report at the team's practice facility in suburban Dallas on Friday, a day before he was on the team flight to California. Irving decided to stay in California rather than report in Texas, and running back Darren McFadden missed the charter flight (see full story).

Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald motivated by quest for championship
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Training camp is a drag at this point in Larry Fitzgerald's long and accomplished NFL career. Of course, the quest for the ring is the main reason the 14-year veteran continues to play.

The longtime Arizona Cardinals wide receiver isn't sure what his future holds as far as retirement.

"That's the only reason I'm playing at this point," Fitzgerald said Sunday, the second day of Cardinals training camp. "From a personal standpoint, things I've accomplished, they're fine. But the thing that you will say is out of your control because you're in a team sport is a championship."

Fitzgerald said he feels good, and when retirement comes there won't be a podium or tears because "that's not who I am."

Yet it is important to him to still be productive as a player when he decides to step away. Fitzgerald admitted it would be a struggle to accept a diminished role due to not being able to give 100 percent.

"The end is never really pretty for elite athletes. It never looks good. You watch Michael Jordan in a Washington Wizards uniform or see Tony Dorsett playing for the Denver Broncos. ... It's weird because you're used to seeing them at their most dominant stage," Fitzgerald said. "For me, I really want to do things at a high level and be able to walk away and still be someone who can play at a high level."

Fitzgerald has asked others who are closer to retirement or have retired about their thought process going into it. He's been doing that for the last few years, checking in with the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tony Gonzalez.

For now, he still enjoys being around teammates and staff, asking questions in an effort to improve as a player and setting an example and providing leadership for young players (see full story).

Browns: Rookie Peppers signs, full class under contract
CLEVELAND -- Browns rookie defensive back Jabrill Peppers has signed and now Cleveland's entire draft class is under contract.

Peppers and the Browns had been haggling over guaranteed money on his four-year-deal, which is worth $10.3 million and includes a $5.6 million signing bonus.

The Browns chose Peppers -- one of Cleveland's three first-round selections -- with the No. 25 overall pick. The former Michigan standout played numerous positions for the Wolverines, but the Browns will try him at strong safety and as a kick returner.

Peppers may have been passed over by other teams after he had a diluted urine sample at the scouting combine. Peppers was placed in the first stage of the NFL's substance abuse policy, but he can be cleared from the program after 90 days if he has not positive tests.

Cleveland's rookies were scheduled to report to training camp Sunday night with the veterans arriving on Wednesday. The Browns will open their second training camp under coach Hue Jackson on Thursday.