Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett walks onto the field prior to an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo
Given several chances during his Monday follow-up press conference to say that his team won a must-win game against the Philadelphia Eagles and turned its season around on Sunday night, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett stuck to his week-by-week theme.
Garrett maintains professionalism in speaking about wins or losses, but especially about losses when he doesn't flinch much. He's not prone to over-celebrating either and remained steady in the aftermath of the Cowboys 27-20 victory over Philadelphia.
He wouldn't say it was a must-win and wouldn't agree that Dallas was desperate for a victory.
Garrett did applaud his team for maintaining its focus in a roller-coaster type of game in Philadelphia.
"I thought the fourth quarter was probably symbolic of the approach the whole game and what you aspire to have with your team is to handle the success and the adversity of the game and just keep playing," Garrett said.
The Cowboys went to halftime with a 13-3 lead, but then saw it evaporate in the third quarter. But Dallas (4-5) still grasped their first road win of the season.
"Fourth quarter starts it's 13-13, so now everything up to that point really is irrelevant and now we've got to go play, we've got to win the last 15 minutes," Garrett said. "And we did that. We responded the right way."
Dallas got a huge play from linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who thwarted an Eagles drive with a tackle for loss on a key third-down play. And Ezekiel Elliott carried the load, as is always the plan for the Cowboys, and ignited the offense at the end.
"No better guy in the National Football League to hand the ball to as the game gets going than Zeke Elliott," Garrett said. "I think he showed that."
--RB Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 151 yards and caught 6 passes for 36 yards with two total touchdowns in the win over the Eagles. That was his fourth game of more than 100 rushing yards this season and the second time he's combined for more than 180 rushing and receiving yards.
--LB Leight Vander Esch made 13 tackles, all solo, with a TFL, a pass deflected and the first interception of his NFL career. Sean Lee is likely to be sidelined for more than a month with his latest hamstring injury, but the way Vander Esch is playing makes that less of a problem.
--WR Amari Cooper has 11 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown in 2 games as a Cowboy. On the Sunday Night Football broadcast, NBC announcer Cris Collinsworth broke down the Dallas offense with Cooper. Collinsworth guessed that quarterback Dak Prescott was going to look for Cooper any time he had single coverage and, when he didn't, Prescott was going to hand the ball to Elliott or run himself. If Collinsworth was on point, that means Cooper is in for a fantastic rest of the season (if Prescott can hit him).
--K Brett Maher made two of three field goals in the win over Philly. He was shaky on his first make from 25 yards and then missed his third attempt wide right from 42 yards. He has made 18 of 22 attempts for the season, including 8 from 40 yards or longer.