— Patrick Chung was on the ground, the result of a whiffed tackle. Dez Bryant was chugging untouched toward the end zone. More than 90,000 Dallas Cowboys fans were roaring their approval, their sounds amplified tenfold from bouncing off the walls and roof of AT&T Stadium.
Everything the Philadelphia Eagles had worked for to that point seemingly was slipping away before their eyes like an out-of-body experience and out of their control.
The Cowboys now were in position with under four minutes remaining to tie a game they never led and steal a victory and an entire season from a team that over the course of six months had accelerated its evolution under rookie head coach Chip Kelly to playoff contention much sooner than could reasonably be expected.
That was when Connor Barwin, the veteran outside linebacker signed as a free agent in the offseason, again showed his worth, demonstrably reminding some of his younger, more excitable and less experienced teammates that the pressure was still all on the Cowboys.
Said Barwin: "I was telling everybody, 'They made a play, but the game is definitely not over yet. That was the biggest play of the game. But you know what? The next play is an even bigger play.' So that's all I was saying. We just need to do what we've got to do to win this next play."
Cornerback Cary Williams needed no reminder. He's been in worse spots later in games and come out ahead, with even more at stake.
It was Williams who broke up the ensuing two-point conversion pass attempt delivered by Kyle Orton.
Then, after the Eagles failed to pick up a first down and had to punt it away from deep in their territory, second-year cornerback Brandon Boykin played more like a poised veteran of multiple Pro Bowls, coming through with his team-best sixth interception to end any chance of the Eagles' season being spoiled by failure to stay composed.
They were the better team. They just needed to remember that, unlike their experience at Minnesota two weeks earlier, when they lost control of themselves and the game but, fortunately for them, not their season.
That was why Williams came out two days after that loss, after having refused interview requests immediately after, and said he was glad it happened.
He might have been more on the money than he could know. Had they not learned a little bit more about how to play under pressure that day, Sunday's result easily could have been reversed, and that would have spoiled everything.
"I think that every loss should be a lesson learned," Williams said. "I think we learn from every situation we're in in life. We would have did a lot of things better in that game, but we lost. ... They were focused and maybe we weren't necessarily as focused as they were."
That clearly was not the case on Sunday night, which is a huge reason they were able to lose a good amount of battles in the trenches and still come out ahead in the war.
It was a rough night for both Eagles' lines at times.
They never did get Cowboys backup quarterback Orton down. Conversely, they failed to meet their usual standards of protection offensively, subjecting Nick Foles to five sacks.
Late in the third quarter, they faced fourth-and-goal at the 1 and didn't get in, Foles not able to push through the pile in front of him.
"Ain't nobody bat an eye," left tackle Jason Peters said. "We all knew the defense — they were patting us on the back, we were patting them on the back. Stick together, you know. I mean, this team's got character."
Character that was fine-tuned in defeat two weeks earlier, in a loss they almost had to have to be able to come out of the other end of a game like Sunday's, with everything on the line and an offseason of misery ahead if there was a failure.
"We didn't even play our best football tonight," Boykin said. "You know, offense, defense, special teams. But we definitely got the win."
That was because their defense wasn't rattled. It had to protect a two-point lead. The players were not nervous.
Maybe having a timeout for the two-minute warning before the Cowboys' first play helped the Eagles settle down and remember, again, that the other guys were under a lot more pressure than they were.
"Nothing much was said [in the huddle]," linebacker Mychal Kendricks said. "We knew what we had to go out there and do. There was nothing to say. You've got to rise to the occasion and step up.
"And that's what we did, so I'm so proud of this group."
Kendricks is another second-year player, obviously brought in by the old regime, who plays at maximum speed and without fear. He's not afraid to make mistakes, which he does. Soon, those mistakes will be minimized and Kendricks will become an elite player.
Until then, they'll take his composure and energy along with the mind-set fostered by veteran calming influences Barwin and DeMeco Ryans and ride it as far as they can.
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