The Dallas Cowboys atoned for an embarrassing Thanksgiving Day loss to the Philadelphia Eagles by beating the Bears, 41-28, in Chicago on Thursday night.
That’s the good news.
The bad news? Dallas (9-4) has a rematch with the Eagles on Sunday Night Football – just 17 days after getting crushed at home, 33-10, by Mark Sanchez and friends. What exactly happened that day?
“They beat us Thanksgiving,” Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick said on The MoJo Show. “They were the better team on that day. Nothing’s going to be given to you in this league, and we learned that. Nothing’s going to be given to them, either. The game’s going to be played next Sunday night. Sixty minutes. May the best team win.”
Beating the Bears was critical for Dallas, which had lost three of five after starting 6-1. It appeared that the Cowboys were playoff locks through seven weeks, but then they hit a rough patch. With upcoming games at Philadelphia, against Indianapolis and at Washington, why should Cowboys fans believe in this team, especially after three consecutive 8-8 seasons?
For Scandrick, it’s simple: The Cowboys have leadership – both young and old – on both sides of the ball.
“I just think that we’re playing hard,” Scandrick said. “We’re young. We’re hungry. We’re playing hard.”
Indeed, in the past, it seemed that the Cowboys would panic if things didn’t go their way. This year, however, they’re playing with a great deal of poise – regardless of the situation.
“No panic,” Scandrick said. “We rehearse all these situations. We’re well-prepared for all these situations that happen in the game by our coach, Jason Garrett. We just go out and try to execute in crunch time.”
For the most part, they have. Many NFL analysts predicted that Dallas would be one of the worst teams in football this year with a chance to be statistically the worst defense in league history, especially after losing linebacker Sean Lee during OTAs.
Nevertheless, Dallas has held it together.
“We didn’t have Sean Lee this whole season,” Scandrick said. “We lost him on the first day of OTAs, so we can’t use that as an excuse. Everybody just looks on paper and says, ‘Oh, you guys lost Sean Lee.’ Yeah, Sean is a great player, but we haven’t had him this season.”
The Cowboys got off to a fast start against Chicago, taking a 35-7 lead into halftime. Chicago, however, pulled to within 38-28 with 6:09 to go. The Cowboys were happy to win, but they know they can’t let up against the Eagles, especially on the road.
“We got to clean some things up from (our win against Chicago),” Scandrick said. “We did get out to a fast start, but we did not finish. We’re going to have to go up to Lincoln Financial and play for 60 minutes and four quarters. What we do right now is we take some time, we take a deep breath, we look ourselves in the mirror and we realize we’re 9-4 and we got a one-game season. We just need to win one game and we’re going to execute our game plan. We’re not worried at all.”