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Improved passing game keys Cowboys hot streak

By
The Sports Xchange
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett walks onto the field prior to an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 11 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett walks onto the field prior to an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 11 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo

Dallas coach Jason Garrett flat refuses to talk about his team's five-game winning streak and that's an admirable stance as he's sticking to his one-day-at-a-time, looking-forward approach.

For others evaluating the team, though, there's no looking past the fact that the Cowboys were 3-5 through the first half of this season and now they're 8-5 and leading the NFC East with a great chance of winning the division.

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There's also no mistaking the difference in the passing game.

Dallas defeated Philadelphia on the strength of quarterback Dak Prescott's 455 passing yards and especially wide receiver Amari Cooper's 10 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns.

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There was a point in this season when most folks in Cowboy nation were doubting whether or not Prescott should be the team's long-term answer at quarterback. So much so that owner Jerry Jones spoke up in Prescott's defense.

Now, with Prescott healthy and making plays, he's looking like a top-tier NFL quarterback.

"The thing you like about him most that is he's going to try to get better and better each and every day at everything," Garrett said. "He works as hard as anybody in our building. When you talk about leadership, maybe that's line one of leadership, the example you set for everybody else."

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Prescott managed to lead Dallas to a 29-23 overtime victory over Philadelphia despite an odd dichotomy. He threw two interceptions and lost a fumble before bouncing back with a sparkling fourth quarter and overtime in which he passed for three touchdowns. The last one, a 15-yarder to Cooper on third-and-8, made for a happy Dallas locker room.

"I do know that he's a mentally tough guy and that's the most important thing for that position, maybe for any position," Garrett said. "And I think he demonstrates that week in and week out. Not only playing through adversity but playing through some success and continuing to play and executing and understanding it's a 60-minute game."

Of course, the argument can be made that it's actually Cooper who's making all the difference for Dallas. In six games as a Cowboy, Cooper is averaging 6.7 receptions for 107 yards and a TD.

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"Obviously, Amari is new to our team, so I think he's been embraced by everybody," Garrett said. "He's trying to get himself integrated into our team and he's done that really quickly and it's had a big impact on our team."

--RG Zach Martin reinjured his left knee on Sunday and may miss a game for the first time in his career.

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--LB Sean Lee is expected to return to practice on a limited basis this week after missing five games with a hamstring injury.

--WR/KR Tavon Austin is expected to return to practice on a limited basis after being out since Week 6 due to a strained groin.

--WR Amari Cooper leads the NFL with 642 receiving yards since Week 9 when he debuted for Dallas.

--K Brett Maher set a team with a 62-yard field goal and kicked three field goals on Sunday.

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