Cowboys' penalties, miscues leave points off board

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tied at 7-7 at halftime, the Dallas Cowboys simply make things too hard on themselves.

After a half in which they should feel pretty good about some of the things they’ve done offensively, like Darren McFadden’s 79 yards rushing, they have to wonder what if.

A 29-yard touchdown catch by Terrance Williams was wiped out because the officials ruled Williams pushed Byron Maxwell in the back after Matt Cassel did a perfect Tony Romo impersonation by spinning out of a would-be sack.

After that it was a comedy of errors. They had an illegal shift penalty. On first-and-25, Cassel had to run after a screen play was sniffed out, picking up 11 yards. On second down Cassel had an incompletion and then Tyron Smith was beaten for a sack of Cassel taking the Cowboys out of field goal position on third down.

This is what teams on five-game losing streaks do.

The defense had a dominating start on the Eagles’ first three drives, but then flailed away on their fourth. They were sliced and diced on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended with DeMarco Murray’s touchdown run on fourth-and-goal from the 1.

By the end of the drive, the Cowboys were gassed, forcing Jason Garrett to call a timeout. Along the way, the Eagles did not face a third down until they got inside the Cowboys 5. Ultimately Murray got the tying touchdown.

Still, for the fourth time in six games without Romo, the Cowboys don’t trail at halftime.

Can they finally win a game without Romo or will they lament that lost chance in the second quarter?