Give the Dallas Cowboys credit for playing their best game of the season so far when they had to have it.
The Cowboys defeated NFC East rival Philadelphia, 27-20, and there’s no doubt who the stars were on both sides of the ball.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott posted an outstanding 151 rushing yards and a touchdown, and 6 catches for 36 yards and another TD. He led the Dallas offense to its most productive road game of the campaign by 10 points.
“We’ve been having a rough year offensively,” Ezekiel Elliott said in a postgame interview with NBC’s Michele Tafoya. “We haven’t been doing what we’re capable doing. Today we came out, we started fast, we executed and we finished the ball game.”
Elliott and the offense’s night stood up because of the way linebacker Leighton Vander Esch played the entire night. Vander Esch, who had 11 tackles, all solo, set up Dallas’s first score of the night with an interception and return to the Eagles’ 38.
But Vander Esch’s play of the game came in the fourth quarter when Philadelphia was trying to convert a third-and-two from the Dallas 30. Eagles QB Carson Wentz dumped a pass off to running back Corey Clement behind the line of scrimmage. While Clement was trying to navigate blockers and get to the first down, Vander Esch curled around block and wrapped up the Eagles RB by the ankles, dropping him for a five-yard loss.
Wentz’s pass to Zach Ertz on fourth down came up a yard short of a first down.
Although the Eagles got the ball back with 53 seconds left, they couldn’t tie the game.
And that’s how Dallas clinched its first road win of the season.
The Cowboys’ consistent theme has been bouncing back. They did it again by bowing up on the road six days after losing their first home game this season.
With his job under scrutiny, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 270 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers.
The many questions about the Dallas organization from the top down might be quieted for a week, though they certainly won't be far below the surface. But the Cowboys (4-5) have a chance to pull up to .500 by Thanksgiving Day. Dallas travels to Atlanta next week.