Did the Cowboys really roll over against the Eagles because the game was “meaningless?”

After the Giants beat the Jets on Saturday, the Eagles-Cowboys game became 100% meaningless to the Eagles, as they were eliminated from playoff contention.  The game, however, remained meaningful to the Cowboys, as they could still claim a wildcard if they beat the Eagles, lost to the Giants the following week, and the Falcons lost each of their next two games.  Unlikely, sure, but certainly not a crazy possibility. The Eagles proceeded to completely dominate the Cowboys, eliminating them from wildcard contention. Thoroughly. On both sides of the ball.

I’ve been reading a lot about how the Cowboys basically rolled over against Philly because the game was “meaningless.”  Obviously, Tony Romo was knocked out of the game early and spent the rest of the evening trying to keep his hand from swelling up like the Goodyear blimp, and after being described as a “true game time decision,” Felix Jones spent most of the day on the bench nursing an injured hamstring.

Meanwhile, important players like DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, Mike Jenkins, and Laurent Robinson were all listed as questionable.  Do the following snap counts look like the Cowboys didn’t care whether or not they won that game?

Player Snaps vs Eagles % of snaps vs Eagles Season snaps % of season snaps
Abram Elam 62 100% 980 99%
Gerald Sensabaugh 62 100% 934 95%
Terence Newman 57 92% 771 79%
Anthony Spencer 56 90% 871 89%
DeMarcus Ware 52 84% 844 86%
Mike Jenkins 50 81% 574 59%
Sean Lee 43 69% 798 81%
Orlando Scandrick 43 69% 616 63%
Jay Ratliff 39 63% 700 71%
Bradie James 34 54% 385 39%
Jason Hatcher 30 48% 392 40%
Keith Brooking 25 40% 379 39%
Kenyon Coleman 23 37% 398 41%
Marcus Spears 23 37% 380 39%
Victor Butler 21 34% 233 24%
Sean Lissemore 20 32% 273 29%
Frank Walker 19 31% 331 34%
Clifton Geathers 8 13% 31 3%
Alan Ball 8 13% 464 47%
Alex Albright 4 6% 43 4%
Bruce Carter 3 5% 34 3%
Player Snaps vs Eagles % of snaps vs Eagles Season snaps % of season snaps
Doug Free 69 100% 1019 99%
Kyle Kosier 69 100% 1019 99%
Tyron Smith 69 100% 1013 99%
Jason Witten 69 100% 1013 99%
Phil Costa 69 100% 963 94%
Miles Austin 66 96% 510 50%
Stephen McGee 65 94% 65 6%
Montrae Holland 54 78% 641 63%
Dez Bryant 54 78% 733 72%
Laurent Robinson 40 58% 550 54%
Martellus Bennett 36 42% 418 41%
Sammy Morris 34 49% 60 6%
Tony Fiametta 17 25% 221 22%
Chauncey Washington 17 25% 17 2%
Kevin Kowalski 15 22% 85 8%
Felix Jones 7 10% 329 32%
Tony Romo 4 6% 931 91%
Jesse Holley 3 4% 53 5%
John Phillips 2 3% 333 33%


  1. Serena says:

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  3. proxy list says:

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  4. Gary says:

    They were certainly trying, both the coaches and the players. Cowboys fans want to say they weren’t to justify getting thoroughly outplayed? That’s fine. I might do the same thing if the roles were reversed.

    And as you said, if they weren’t trying, that’s just stupid. I hope the Giants beat them and Atlanta loses again.

  5. […] was furious a few times when things didn’t go right. DeMarcus Ware was playing his butt off. Jimmy logged the snap count over at Blogging the bEast. Dallas sat Romo and Jones due to injury concerns, but everyone else played. This wasn’t a […]

  6. TheStallion54 says:

    The game was 20-7
    Jimmmy, You dont think if Romo was playing they cant score more than 20 points. Your argument is that the Cowboys were playing hard, If so, the defense holds the eagles to 20, Romo could easily have gotten 21.

    The Cowboys rolled over because the pulled Romo and Felix, but pretty much because Romo was pulled.

    1. slandog says:

      Sure they could have easily scored 21 with Romo in the game. Or they could have scored 6 with Romo in the game as well. You’re speculating on that Romo would have done better.

      But the Eagles have had Romo’s number a few times as well during his career.

      1. TheStallion54 says:

        Romos beat the eagles, the eagles have been romo
        goes both ways

    2. Remind me how many points Romo put up in the first matchup.

  7. Joe says:

    I dont think they rolled over, but i do think they had in a Back up QB and the 3rd and 4th sting RB’s……. think what you want……if dallas beats the Giants, then this game did not matter, if the Giants beat the Cowboys, I’m sure it will be because they took a bad beating (two actually) at the hands of the eagles…..

    In closing, winning a “meaningless” game, does not always work out for the best, had we lost to the eagles last year in week 17, we would have had a shot at Pat Petersen…..I think that Tyron is a great tackle and we need him badly, but we could have also used Peterson this year…..there have been some other tackles later that have started at RT, and done well this year.

  8. itsallablur says:

    It was obvious after the first two series of the game the Cowboys were going to get rolled. And they did. However, if Vick had been knocked out on the Eagles first series and VY came in, I doubt the Eagles put up two (actually, 3) touchdown drives in the first half. Conversely, had Romo not gotten dinged it’s not hard to imagine the Cowboys at least being able to keep it within two scores.

    What’s my point? I have no idea, but Cowboys minus Romo & Jones/Murray is like Eagles minus Vick & McCoy. Neither is likely to win many games no matter the circumstances surrounding the game.

    1. itsallablur says:

      FWIW, Eagles minus Vick/McCoy > Cowboys minus Jones/Murray, so they probably still win head-to-head. Dallas seems to think their red-zone is a welcome mat to opposing offenses.

      1. itsallablur says:


  9. deg0ey says:

    Whilst the snap counts suggest that the coaches still cared about the result and chose not to rest their starters, it gives no indication on how the players treated the game. It’s quite plausible (likely, even) that the players didn’t go out and give 100%. Just because the starters were out there doesn’t mean they were actually playing to win.

    I didn’t actually watch the game (had family stuff going on) but I find it hard to believe that the game would have been quite so one sided if the Giants had lost.

    1. slandog says:

      I call BS to your comment saying that the players didn’t give 100%. Most every player has incentives in their contracts, that if they meet them will get a bonus. I’m sure many of the Cowboy players were close to some of those incentives.

      Now I’m not sure at all who or what the incentives were. But I’m sure that if they were in playing the game they didn’t go at only 80% or whatever you think they gave. If they played they went 100%. Otherwise if what you’re saying is true wouldn’t the score be more lopsided then just 20-7?

      1. deg0ey says:

        I’ve no idea, I’ve already said I didn’t watch the game. I was just offering speculation as to why some may have said the Cowboys rolled over.

        You can’t “call BS” on something that’s not stated as fact. All I was saying is that I could believe that some of the guys had one eye on the Giants next week and weren’t as focused as they might’ve been if the game actually meant something.

  10. ameer says:

    I don’t know what your trying to prove here it’s obvious the eagles have a great advantage in the trenches, but the cowboys have an advantage in the qb position. So when Romo left the scales tipped way too much and the cowboys couldn’t handle it.

    Now I’m not sure if it was the eagles taking their foot off the pedal in the second half (which I doubt) but I enjoyed watching our defense get to Vick and hold them to 2 field goals in the second half.

    But it was too bad that Mcgee couldn’t put us back in the game.

    1. Dez Bryant's Probation Officer says:

      Romo dominated the Eagles in the first meeting between the Boys and the Birds. His absence in game 2 made all the difference.

      1. soso says:

        Romo wasn’t the reason they lost that game the defense was. Do me a favor and compare Romo’s numbers this year to Vick’s and then try being sarcastic

        1. Brian says:

          Romo also lead the Cowboy offense to a grand total of 7 points the first game. He definitely deserves at least some of the blame for that loss.

  11. Derf Diggy says:

    I don’t think it matters at this point…No?

    1. It’s probably obvious where my opinion falls on the matter, in that I think they were trying to win this game as much as any other this season.

      If you’re asking if it matters at this point from the Eagles perspective, I would say no, it doesn’t. Their season ended at around 4:30 on Saturday, so the win was most certainly meaningless to them.

      But if you’re asking if it matters at this point from the Cowboys perspective, then yes, based upon the way they played on Saturday, I think they’re in trouble.

      1. Derf Diggy says:

        I don’t think that game had anything to do with how they do going forward. What happened after the first Eagles/Boys game? It’s not too indicative of anything really. Eagles fans will argue all week it “matters in the grand scheme of things”…but it doesn’t. The Eagles are a better team, and if they would’ve taken care of business throughout the season, they’d be division champs…instead they let two very average teams battle it out…both with HUGE flaws on the defensive side of the ball. That’s really the gist of things…and if the Giants end up winning, it’ll have nothing to do with the Boys losing to the Eagles the week before…just like the Giants winning in Dallas despite being on a 4 game skid.

        So in reality….it’s shrug worthy for most..but it’s something for Eagles fans to hang their hats on. I’d do the same if the shoe was on the other foot.

        1. Mr.Electric10 says:

          Exactly my feeling. It just shows what could have been had we not blown so many leads early in the year

  12. Dez Bryant's Probation Officer says:

    It was meaningless after the first quarter when it became obvious that the Cowboys were getting raped. Now the Cowboys will lose to the Giants and finish the season in third place in the division.

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