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Coopers dramatic catch lifts Cowboys by Eagles in overtime

Sports Xchange
10 Dec 2018, 13:30 GMT+10

ARLINGTON, Texas -- In a game of strange calls and herky-jerky momentum swings, one last weird bounce gave the Dallas Cowboys what they came for.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott's third-and-eight pass from the Eagles' 15 bounced up off the hands of Philadelphia cornerback Rasul Douglas and into the arms of Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Cooper toted the found treasure in for a 15-yard touchdown to end the overtime contest and Dallas celebrated a key 29-23 NFC East victory over the Eagles on Sunday afternoon at ATT Stadium.

"I just knew I had to get the ball out," Prescott said of the walk-off touchdown pass. "And the defender actually played it pretty well, being inside right there. Amari running his route and being strong was still able to go make an attempt at that and the ball popped right back up in his hands and it was just great."

Dallas won the overtime toss, took the ball and marched 75 yards in 13 plays for the victory. With the win, the Cowboys extended their current winning streak to five games, improved to 8-5 and pushed ahead by two games over Philadelphia in the NFC East.

Now a Dallas win in the final three games of the regular season or an Eagles loss will likely clinch the division title for the Cowboys. Washington could also catch Dallas, but that seems far-fetched considering the Redskins have lost four straight, including a 40-16 defeat at home against the Giants on Sunday.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz admitted after the game that he's a bit exasperated at the team's current position.

"We're absolutely surprised where we are at," Wentz said. "We never envisioned ourselves nor penciled ourselves with a losing record at this point in the season."

However, both Prescott and Dallas coach Jason Garrett refused to talk about division-championship scenarios following the game.

"We've never wavered, we've never blinked," Prescott said. "We knew the team we had in training camp. We knew the team we had when we were 3-5. We didn't stop, we're never going to stop. Our backs were against the wall, our backs are still against the wall regardless of whatever lead we have. This is a team with the mindset and mentality that wants to go one way and that's forward."

Cooper is proving his worth. Dallas sent a first-round pick in next year's draft to Oakland for the fourth-year wide receiver. He caught 10 passes for 217 yards and 3 TDs in the win over the Eagles.

In six games with Dallas, Cooper has caught 40 passes for 642 yards and 6 touchdowns. That's good enough for the team lead for the season in yards and receiving touchdowns and trails only Cole Beasley and running back Ezekiel Elliott in receptions.

"He's a hell of a football player," Garrett said. "He's made a huge impact on our team since we've gotten him. I thought he did a good job of staying patient early on in the ball game and just continuing to work to get open. I thought Dak did a really good job of getting him the ball in critical moments."

Speaking of Elliott, he carried his usual heavy load as he rushed for 113 yards on 28 carries and had 12 catches for 79 yards.

Dallas out-gained the Eagles 576-256 in total yards, but it almost wasn't enough.

Philadelphia won a wild fourth quarter, 17-14, to force overtime.

Eagles kicker Jake Elliott tied the game at 9 with a 26-yard field goal with 12:15 remaining.

Then the Cowboys responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive, their first of the game. Prescott capped it with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Cooper.

But the Eagles responded late in the quarter by marching 47 yards for a score. Wentz hit tight end Dallas Goedert for a 3-yard touchdown with 3:12 left.

Instead of putting together a time-consuming drive that could have ended the game in regulation. Prescott went deep on the Cowboys' first play of their ensuing possession. The Dallas QB hit Cooper in stride for a 75-yard touchdown and a 23-16 lead.

But the Eagles held serve with a 6-play, 75-yard TD drive. This time, Wentz hit Darren Sproles for a 6-yard score that tied it at 23.

Wentz completed 22 of 32 passes for 228 yards and 3 TDs, most of it coming in the second half.

"I just told the team to keep believing and let's go get this done and we did Wentz said. "We were able to score down in the end but were just a little too late."

The Eagles erased a 6-0 halftime deficit by early in the fourth.

Prescott gave up two interceptions and a fumble, but the Cowboys survived losing the turnovers battle 3-1.

"I just stayed true to myself, stayed true to what I was doing and I didn't get down on myself," Prescott said. "I credit my teammates, my coaches, everybody just believing in me and letting me know that on the sideline."

The opening kickoff featured a controversial call. Cowboys returner Jourdan Lewis appeared to fumble, but he was called down by contact. Eagles coach Doug Pederson challenged the call and, after review, the officials said Lewis did fumble, but it wasn't a clear recovery by Philadelphia.

"That was a pretty terrible call, to be honest," Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "They reviewed it, and the explanation I got was that it wasn't a clear recovery. Although (linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill) had the ball in his hands and there was only Eagles defenders on the ball in the replay. Whoever is watching that in New York should stay off the bottle."

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