By Kevin McGuire

The Dallas Cowboys had a few extra days to prepare for revenge against the Philadelphia Eagles, and perhaps it paid off. Dallas raced to a 21-0 lead in the first half and found enough in the tank to respond in the second half once they let the lead slip away. When all was done Sunday evening at Lincoln Financial Field, the Cowboys flew home with a 38-27 victory and sole possession of first place in the NFC East.

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Just a few short weeks ago Mark Sanchez had one of his best games as the starter for the Eagles. This was not anywhere close to that Thanksgiving performance. Sanchez completed 17 of 28 passes for 252 yards without a touchdown, and he was sacked four times and intercepted twice. Sanchez was off for most of the night as well, overthrowing his targets in key moments. Simply put, Sanchez is not a quarterback that can afford to make too may mistakes, and Sunday night showed that. Grade: F


The Eagles went three-and-out on each of their first three possessions of the night, this after giving up a possession on the opening kickoff to quickly go down 7-0. LeSean McCoy rushed for just 64 yards and 16 carries and was without a touchdown. The offense held the football for just 18 minutes 5 seconds for the entire game, which did the defense absolutely no favors. The Eagles also had four turnovers in the game. Grade: F


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The Eagles were highly vulnerable on third and long situations, especially early in the game. This allowed the hole the Eagles dug deep in a hurry. On a night when the defense needed a solid start, it did not get the job done. Dez Bryant torched the Eagles secondary for three touchdowns and 114 yards. At some point, why not add an extra defender on Bryant, who inexplicably found himself wide open at times. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher were a mess from start to finish for the Eagles, and the defensive front did little to make things difficult for Tony Romo. The defense recorded three sacks, but Romo was much more comfortable under center this week compared to Thanksgiving. Dallas scored touchdowns on all three red zone trips. Grade: F

Special Teams

The game got off to a terrible start when the Eagles  failed to field the game’s opening kickoff from the Cowboys. This led to a quick Cowboys touchdown. Darren Sproles returned one punt for a total of one yard. Needless to say, the kick return game was not strong Sunday night. The kicking game continued to be more dependable though. Cody Parkey converted each of his two field goal tries, one from 43 yards and another from 47 yards in addition to being perfect on extra point attempts. Punter Donnie Jones launched a 68-yard punt at one point, and averaged 52 yards per punt. Parkey and Jones are the only reason the Eagles did not get an “F” in this week’s report card. Grade: D


So here is the situation. The Cowboys are now in the driver’s seat in the NFC East with time running out, and that should be a very scary thought for the Eagles. The Eagles must win their final two games against Washington and the Giants and hope the Cowboys lose one of their final two games in order to claim the NFC East through a tiebreaker. The Eagles still own the best record in the NFC East, which comes into play after splitting the season series with Dallas.  The Cowboys host the Indianapolis Colts next week, which will be the most likely opportunity for a loss from Dallas. The Eagles may have let the NFC East slip through their fingers down the stretch, which could leave them left out of the postseason. Few people probably thought that would happen.

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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on