Leave it to the Cowboys to lose to Tennessee at home on Monday night and beat the Eagles on the road on Sunday night.
With everyone ready to bury them, the Cowboys pulled off an upset that saved their season for at least another week. They beat the defending Super Bowl champions 27-20.
The winner was Washington, which is sitting pretty at the top of the NFC East with a 6-3 record. The Cowboys and Eagles both are 4-5.
It was the Cowboys’ first road victory after four road losses and their most unlikely win this season.
Dallas never trailed Philadelphia, and the two times the Eagles tied the score in the second half, the Cowboys responded with Ezekiel Elliott go-ahead touchdowns.
Elliott called it a “must-win” last week, and he made sure the Cowboys won Sunday. He had his second-best game of the season, rushing for 151 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries while catching six passes for 36 yards and a touchdown.
Elliott’s 1-yard touchdown run with 3:19 remaining proved the game-winner as the Eagles came up short on their final two drives.
The game ended with the Eagles inside the Cowboys 10-yard line, but out of timeouts, they didn’t get off another play.
Dak Prescott also had one of his best games of the season against a secondary ravaged by injuries. He completed 26 of 36 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 9 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
It was a disappointing and frustrating night for the home team, which was coming off its open date while the Cowboys were on a short week. Eagles fans booed their own team more than once.
Carson Wentz went 32-of-44 for 360 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but he fell 9 yards short of a chance of extending the game with a PAT or winning it with a 2-point conversion.
Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:
1. Jason Garrett may have saved his job.
At least for another week. The Cowboys coach likely still needs to earn a playoff berth, and to do that, his team likely will have to win the NFC East.
The Cowboys are expected to need at least nine wins to accomplish that, and at 4-5, they have no room for error.
But the hot seat will cool a little this week for Garrett, who has retained Jerry Jones’ support despite the team’s early season struggles.
Garrett is 71-58 since replacing Wade Phillips during the middle of the 2010 season, and he has only two postseason berths.
2. Golden Tate will help but not immediately.
Coach Doug Pederson said last week the Eagles had “a nice, tight plan” for Tate.
It was tight all right, and quiet.
The Eagles acquired Tate in a trade deadline deal with the Lions on Oct. 30. He caught eight passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns in Week Four against the Cowboys. Tate caught only two passes for 19 yards Sunday.
His assimilation into the offense will take some time.
Tate led the Lions with 44 catches for 517 yards and three touchdowns. That put him on pace for his first 100-catch season and his fourth 1,000-yard season in five seasons with the Lions, but he is unlikely to reach 100 catches and could fall short of 1,000 yards.
Still, Tate arrived with only one goal in mind, and the Eagles traded for him with the same goal in mind. Tate will help before the season is done.
3. Zach Ertz is one of the best tight ends in football.
He entered the game with 61 receptions for 644 yards and three touchdowns. He had 14 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns Sunday.
The Cowboys couldn’t stop him until his final catch, tackling him at the 9 as time expired. In 11 career games against Dallas, he has 52 catches for 504 yards and four touchdowns.
Ertz easily could set single-season career highs, with 78 catches, 853 yards and eight touchdowns as his current single-season bests.
4. The Cowboys aren’t likely to keep Sean Lee next season unless he agrees to a pay cut.
The weakside linebacker missed his 46th of a possible 137 games in his career. Hamstring injuries cost him 14 of those games, including Sunday’s.
Lee’s contract runs through 2019, with a $7 million base salary and a $10.1 million salary cap hit for next season. The Cowboys can save $7 million by cutting him before next season, and Lee would count only $3.075 million in dead money.
Rookie Leighton Vander Esch, the team’s first-round pick, showed them the future with Lee on the sideline. He intercepted Wentz in the first quarter to set up the Cowboys’ first field goal.
He had the play of the game in the fourth quarter, too, tackling Corey Clement for a 5-yard loss on third-and-two from the Dallas 30 with less than two minutes remaining. It appeared Clement had a big gain with blockers out in front before Vander Esch blew it up. Jeff Heath tackled Ertz short of the first down on the next play, forcing the Eagles to turn it over on downs.
Vander Esch finished with 13 tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass breakup and an interception.
5. The Eagles miss Jay Ajayi.
They are having a tough time running the ball, with three running backs combining for 14 carries for 64 yards. Wentz had two carries for 7 yards.
Ajayi had 499 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns on 80 touches in seven games last season. The Eagles don’t have any reinforcements coming, so they’ll have to make do with what they have.
At halftime, NBC studio analyst Tony Dungy reminded Pederson not to forget about the run, so maybe running it better is as simple as running it more.