Cowboys must feast on cupcakes

PHILADELPHIA -- The banner unfurled in Lincoln Financial Field's Section 119 late in Sunday's game said all you need to know about the sorry state of the Philadelphia Eagles:


Yep, Andy Reid's team (for at least a few more hours) is an even bigger mess than Jason Garrett's Dallas Cowboys. Heck, the Eagles are a much bigger mess than the Cowboys, as evidenced by Sunday's final score: Cowboys 38, Eagles 23.

It took a little while for the Cowboys to make it clear that they weren't as bad as the Eagles. Or for the Eagles to fall apart, depending on your perspective. But then Garrett's beloved all three phases went boom, boom, boom -- Dez Bryant's diving 30-yard touchdown catch, Dwayne Harris' 78-yard punt return for the go-ahead score and Brandon Carr's 47-yard pick-six -– in a span of 155 seconds.

Just like that, the Cowboys handled their business against a bad team. Hey, ain't no shame in that.

If the Cowboys keep doing that for the next few weeks, they'll actually be in decent shape as they head down the stretch.

The Cowboys might not be well, but they're definitely alive. And they're about to start the softest stretch of the schedule.

Just look at the next few weeks, when the Cowboys won't have to hop on a single flight. They'll welcome three of the league's worst teams to Jerry World: the 2-7 Cleveland Browns, the 3-6 Washington Redskins and these 3-6 Eagles.

The Cowboys survived -- on life support, perhaps -- a brutal schedule in the first eight games. Based on opponents' winning percentage, they had the NFL's toughest schedule at the halfway mark.

They had better fatten up over the next few weeks. If they do, they might even find themselves in the driver's seat of the division, as poorly as the NFC East-leading Giants have been playing lately.

If they don't, this season will be a failure before they even get to the fourth quarter.

"You've got to start now," Carr said. "You can't keep waiting, because before you know it, there will only be one game left and Christmas won't be so happy. I think it's time for us to turn that corner."

You can count on Garrett going rote and saying the Cowboys are just focused on stacking good days together. Looking at a stretch of the schedule goes against everything that Garrett is about.

But this is the rare occasion when we can go to Jerry Jones to get a healthy dose of reality. The truth is the Cowboys have to go on a roll here.

"We've got to get on one that would be exceptional in the NFL," Jones said. "We don't have any room."

There is actually some hope of that happening.

The Cowboys have at least temporarily solved their biggest problem. They haven't committed a single turnover in the past two weeks.

Tony Romo's cape still fits. Just watch his scramble and throw to Miles Austin for a 25-yard gain, a Houdini act that left a few Eagles pass rushers puzzled about how they didn't get him to the ground, extending the Cowboys' game-tying touchdown drive. That highlighted another magnificent performance by Mr. November (20-3 career in this month).

Bryant made two big plays and didn't do anything dumb. Maybe the dude can deliver on his promise about living up to his immense potential the rest of the season.

And, frankly, Rob Ryan's defense has been good enough to give the Cowboys a chance in almost every game this season. Maybe the couple of turnovers it forced Sunday are a sign of things to come.

Then again, maybe the Dallas defense was just fortunate to be playing against a backup quarterback on a team that can't figure out how to win.

"It's something that we cannot find," Eagles running back LeSean McCoy said. "We are still searching for that solution."

The schedule might be the solution for the Cowboys, at least for the next few weeks.

Not even the Cowboys can screw this up, right?