The Dallas Cowboys proved on Sunday that they can hang with the Philadelphia Eagles, but moral victories won't do much justice after a loss of that magnitude.
After all, the Cowboys are now a full two games behind the Eagles in the NFC East and NFC and now will need help along the way -- on top of beating Philly in the Week 14 rematch in Dallas -- to unseat their rivals atop the division.
At the end of the day, Dallas had too many drops, made too many mistakes and came up short (literally and figuratively) one too many times in high-leverage moments to win the game. There's a lot to feel good about from the Cowboys' performance, but these three players came up small in the biggest game of the season.
3. Luke Schoonmaker
No, this has nothing to do with Schoonmaker's near-TD in the fourth quarter. Earlier in the half, a Schoonmaker holding penalty wiped out an 18-yard run from Rico Dowdle, who, for what it's worth, didn't see the field enough.
Getting back to Schoonmaker, his penalty killed the drive. Dowdle's scamper would have had the offense poised to score with a 1st and 10 from the Eagles' 27. The penalty was enforced at Philly's 40, so instead the Cowboys had 1st and 10 from midfield. They didn't get close enough to attempt a field goal and punted.
Sure enough, the Eagles scored the game-deciding touchdown on the next possession to make the score 28-17. The drive admittedly was buoyed by woeful officiating and poor discipline by Dallas' defense, but you can't help but point to Schoonmaker's holding penalty as something that flipped the momentum at a crucial moment in the game.
At worse, the Cowboys get a field goal following Dowdle's big run to get within a point. In the best-case scenario, they score a touchdown to take a 24-21 lead.