Instant Replay: Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 (OT)

Instant Replay: Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 (OT)

BOX SCORE

ARLINGTON, Texas – So close.

The Eagles almost left AT&T Stadium in first place in the NFC East, but faltered late in a 29-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in overtime.

With the loss, the Eagles (4-3) failed to rip first place away from the Cowboys (6-1), who haven’t lost since their opener against the Giants.

In overtime, the Cowboys won the coin flip and promptly drove 75 yards on 12 plays to win the game. The touchdown came on a 5-yard pass from Dak Prescott, who found time, to a wide-open Jason Witten. Witten had been quiet for much of the evening before that.

The Eagles had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter but allowed the Cowboys to come back and tie it with just over three minutes left in regulation.

With a tied game late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles had the ball twice and twice couldn’t move the ball down the field to score.

The Eagles had a chance to perhaps seal the game late in the fourth quarter when Malcolm Jenkins applied pressure and forced a bad Prescott throw. But Leodis McKelvin couldn’t pick it off. On the next play, Prescott hit Dez Bryant for a 22-yard touchdown to tie the game at 23-23.

The Eagles were able to overcome a somewhat scary first quarter and settled in to actually take a first-half lead. In the second half, they had a 12-play, 69-yard drive that took 4:10 and ended in a huge touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to Jordan Matthews. On that drive, they went no huddle, and it seemed to throw the Cowboys off.

On the ensuing drive, the Cowboys pulled a beautiful 30-yard fake punt run, but had to settle for a field goal. The Eagles responded with a big Josh Huff kick return and a field goal of their own.

Wendell Smallwood had a costly fumble on his first carry of the game, but the Eagles’ defense held the Cowboys to a field goal.

Caleb Sturgis made all three of his field goal attempts (30, 55, 34) and has now made his last 17.

Turning point
The final drive in overtime.

Key stat
The Cowboys went 75 yards on 12 plays to punch in the touchdown that won the game.

First half
The Eagles took a 13-10 lead into the locker room after Sturgis drilled a 55-yard field goal, the third-longest in team history. The big play that led to the field goal drive was Jordan Hicks’ interception in the end zone.

The Cowboys were driving when Hicks intercepted a Prescott pass in the end zone for a touchback. The Eagles then went 43 yards in eight plays to get into Sturgis’ field-goal range.

Sturgis started the scoring on Sunday night, too. After a defensive stop, the Eagles got the ball at their 38-yard line and drove into field for a 30-yarder.

On the ensuing drive, the Cowboys answered quickly. Prescott hit Bryant for a big 53-yard pass and the Cowboys scored their touchdown on a 7-yard run. The Cowboys went up 10-3 with a 38-yard field goal a little later.

The Eagles then got the ball on the Dallas 45-yard line and took nine plays and over five minutes (to give their defense a break) before punching in a short touchdown.

The Cowboys out-gained the Eagles 212-158 in the first half. Both teams had 11 first downs in the first.

Offensive stud
Darren Sproles continues to defy age. He was the Eagles’ most productive back on Sunday and he didn’t fumble. He also moved into eighth place in all-time all-purpose yards in NFL history.

Offensive dud
Nelson Agholor just doesn’t give the Eagles much. Never has. Maybe he never will.

Defensive stud
Hicks saved points with a huge interception toward the end of the first half. In his short career, he’s been a Cowboys killer.

Defensive dud
The Eagles’ run defense allowed Elliott to run over them during parts of Sunday night’s game.

Injuries
Bennie Logan (groin) and reserve linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (hamstring) were both inactive on Sunday night after being ruled out on Friday. Taylor Hart (ankle) was also inactive; he was questionable entering the weekend.

Left guard Allen Barbre (hamstring) left the game early and Stefen Wisniewski filled in for the remainder.

Up next
The Eagles are on the road again next week, but will need just a bus trip to head north to face the Giants in North Jersey. After that, they’ll return home for a game against the Falcons before a cross-country trip to Seattle.

Eagles should stay away from running backs in first round

Eagles should stay away from running backs in first round

Ezekiel Elliott was the fourth overall pick by the Cowboys in the 2016 NFL draft.

He went on to have a historic rookie season, leading the NFL in rushing behind the best offensive line in football.

But do you know who finished second in the league in rushing? That would be the Bears' Jordan Howard, another rookie, drafted in the fifth round. 

If you keep going down the list of the league's top rushers last season, nine out of the top 10 on the list were drafted after the first round. Only three backs in the top 10 were drafted in the first two rounds (Elliott, LeSean McCoy, Le'Veon Bell). 

Whether it's LSU's Leonard Fournette, Florida State's Dalvin Cook or Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, the Eagles should stay away from running backs in the first round.

We'll start with Fournette, considered by most to be the best running back in the class. He was also mocked to the Eagles in a trade-up scenario by Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke with the No. 5 overall pick. Burke is an excellent evaluator, but in this case, he's off the mark. Fournette's talent is real. His combination of size and speed is unmatched by any running back in the class and perhaps any running back in the NFL. He'll correctly be the first back off the board and go in the top 10. 

But would the Eagles give up a second-round pick to obtain Fournette? It's just hard to see as realistic. This team has too many holes and not enough draft picks to make a move like Burke suggests. Fournette looks like he'll be a special player, just not for the Eagles.

Then there's Cook, who seems to be the belle of the ball with Eagles fans. Watching the tape, it's undeniable: Cook is an extremely talented player. But evaluations aren't black and white. Cook has issues with injuries (multiple shoulder surgeries) and has had a couple issues off the field. 

He also tested poorly at the combine. In the biggest audition of his life, Cook's numbers didn't match what you saw on tape. That has to make you wonder if he was fully prepared for the combine. If the Eagles take Cook, there's no doubt he'll make their offense better. The biggest concern has to be his long-term success and the value you get taking him at 14 over another player at a more valuable position.

Lastly, there's McCaffrey. It's easy to see the fit here. McCaffrey is an explosive back who runs routes and has the ball skills of a receiver. He's also incredibly dangerous in the return game. Unlike Cook, McCaffrey tested off the charts in Indy. His strength (10 reps at 225) is the only real concern.

From a scheme perspective, McCaffrey is perfectly suited for Doug Pederson's offense. Pederson can use McCaffrey much like Andy Reid used Brian Westbrook over a decade ago. McCaffrey's struggles running between the tackles are a little overblown, but it still has to be a concern for a team that doesn't have a proven, primary back. 

This is also a strong running back class. Toledo's Kareem Hunt would fit nicely in this offense and should be available in the third round. Clemson's Wayne Gallman is a tough, versatile back that could be available in the third or fourth. There's also BYU's Jamaal Williams, Pitt's James Conner and Wyoming's Brian Hill, all of whom should be there in the middle rounds.

When you look at who else could be there at 14, it just doesn't make sense to draft a running back. If you're looking to give Carson Wentz more weapons, either Clemson's Mike Williams, Western Michigan's Corey Davis or Washington's John Ross should be there. Any of them could give Wentz a long-term receiving threat. 

If you're looking to improve the defense, there are plenty of options. In case you've been living under a rock this offseason, this cornerback draft class is crazy deep. Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore is the best of the bunch and will likely be gone by 14. His teammate, Gareon Conley, should still be around at 14. So should LSU's TreDavious White, Alabama's Marlon Humphrey, Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley and Florida's Quincy Wilson. 

Don't count out Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett as an option if he's on the board. With Vinny Curry's struggles and the Eagles' lack of depth, a pass rusher is a definite need. If Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster slips for a spat he had with a hospital worker during the combine, he's worth a long look. He's a game-changing 'backer.

Elliott was as close to a sure thing as you can get. There's a reason he was taken at No. 4 overall. If Cook and McCaffrey are there at 14, there's a reason for that, too. 

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie isn't often very outspoken on football or political matters. 

He has apparently made an exception. 

Just a few days before Lurie is tentatively scheduled to speak to Philadelphia reporters while in Phoenix for the league's annual meetings, the Eagles owner authored a story for Time Magazine railing against political polarization in Washington.

Lurie has not spoken to reporters publicly since last March in Boca Raton, Florida, at the 2016 owners meetings. 

The owner's essay was published just hours after House Republican leaders pulled legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Friday afternoon. Lurie, for the record, donated money to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year.

Lurie, the Eagles' 65-year-old billionaire owner, in the story, uses football as an example for which Washington should strive. 

Here's how Lurie begins the piece:

"What do football, political polarization and autism have in common? They all illuminate aspects of the human condition, explaining who we are, where we are headed and the hurdles along the way. As a sports team owner I rarely publicly discuss politics, but as a member of a family touched by autism, I often think about the unspoken millions of people who live with the daily challenges of this disorder."

Lurie then goes on to explain why football can act as a guide for Washington when it comes to united for the common good:

"What I have learned from football can be applied to society at large. Just as we intensely game-plan against an opponent in sports, we need to game plan for the reality and consequences of polarization. Extreme polarization is the opponent -- not each other. A football team is made up of players from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and political viewpoints. What unites them is grit, determination, and the desire to win. They join in a common goal and do what is necessary to transcend their differences for the greater good of their team.

"What unites Americans is far more negative. We are now in an age where communicating verifiable information becomes secondary to the goal of creating a common enemy that unifies people in fear, negativity and opposition. This masks our inability to solve serious domestic problems (poverty, violence and institutional racism to name three current examples) and diverts our attention from obvious suffering."

Lurie then writes that we, as Americans, have the "necessary resources" to tackle serious problems, like autism, but lack the leadership to put aside differences. 

The whole piece isn't very long and is worth reading in full to gain a better understanding of its context. 

Next week while in Phoenix, Lurie will surely be asked about what motivated him to write the piece.