December 31, 2017 / 9:47 PM / 8 months ago

Cowboys hold off Eagles

Cowboys hold off Eagles

PHILADELPHIA — As the playoffs loom, the Philadelphia Eagles must find a way to fix their offense.

For the second straight game, the Philadelphia offense sputtered badly. If it happens in two weeks, the Eagles could be bounced quickly from the playoffs.

This time, the Dallas Cowboys blanked the Eagles 6-0 Sunday at frigid Lincoln Financial Field.

“As a whole, it’s not exactly what we want,” Eagles quarterback Nick Foles said. “There’s a lot to build on and I’m confident we will build on it.”

Quarterback Dak Prescott threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Brice Butler early in the fourth quarter and the Cowboys held on for the shutout victory.

Despite having already been eliminated from playoff contention, the Cowboys still finished with a winning record at 9-7.

“Today was not perfect by any means,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. “I thought we fought and battled.”

Running back Ezekiel Elliott was a bright spot with 27 carries for 103 yards. It was an interrupted season for Elliott, as the second-year player missed six games due to a suspension.

“I’m actually sad that the season is over,” Elliott said. “I wish we were playing in the playoffs right now. I’m going to use that as fuel for next year.”

After last week’s ineffective performance in a 19-10 win over the Oakland Raiders, head coach Doug Pederson opted to bring back Foles to start against the Cowboys.

Foles did not perform well once again, going 4 of 11 for 39 yards, one interception and a miniscule 9.3 passer rating.

“We as an offense expect to execute better,” Foles said.

Third-stringer Nate Sudfeld started the second quarter and played the rest of the game. Sudfeld went 19 of 23 for 134 yards with most of the completions coming on short passes.

“I felt confident before today that I could go in and do my part and help this team win,” Sudfeld said. “Stacking some reps together is awesome. I’m more confident than ever in my ability and I know that I can help this team out if they need me.”

The Eagles struggled mightily on third down (2-for-11) after going 1-for-14 last week.

Though the Eagles already own home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, they had a chance at their first 14-win regular season in franchise history. Instead, they wound up 13-3 and were shut out for the first time since the regular-season finale on Jan. 3, 2010, a 24-0 loss at Dallas.

“I know this whole locker room feels confident because of the body of work we have put in all season,” Eagles defensive end Chris Long said. “We have stuck together and we continue to do so. We’ll put in the extra work to get ready for the postseason.”

The teams remained scoreless through three quarters and the stadium began to empty out quickly.

Then, the Cowboys took over at their own 1-yard line and marched 99 yards in 12 plays with Butler hauling in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Prescott with 12:19 remaining. Butler broke free from cornerback Rasul Douglas and went into the end zone untouched. Kicker Dan Bailey sent the extra point wide left, leaving Dallas with a 6-0 advantage.

Neither team could mount any kind of offense in the first half and the game was scoreless at halftime for the first time in the history of the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry. This was also the first NFL game to be scoreless at the half since Week 14 of the 2011 season when the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos played.

The Cowboys and Eagles combined for 216 net yards, nine punts and eight penalties in the first half.

NOTES: Eagles CB Sidney Jones made his debut against the Cowboys. Jones was the team’s second-round pick in the 2017 draft, but sat out the first 15 games with an injured Achilles. ... Multiple reports are linking Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz as the possible next head coach of the New York Giants. ... Cowboys WR Cole Beasley (illness) wasn’t active for the regular-season finale. Beasley had 36 catches for 314 yards and four touchdowns this season. ... Other key players out for the Cowboys included LT Tyron Smith (back) and CB Orlando Scandrick (back). Both were placed on injured reserve. ... The Eagles rested a number of players such as S Rodney McLeod, RB Jay Ajayi, DE Brandon Graham, DT Tim Jernigan and DE Derek Barnett, among others.

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