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After weeks of seeing things go wrong for the Dallas Cowboys Youth Jaylon Smith Jersey , it was certainly nice - and even a relief - to see things turn out so positively in the 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The biggest impact was that Dallas kept at least a slim hope for the playoffs alive. But a long road remains ahead. Meanwhile, there were some interesting, and for a change, positive things we learned from the game - and one big thing that still is up in the air.Dak may be returning to his winning waysWatching the game, especially from the point of Michael Gallup screen pass that led to the first touchdown, was like going through the standing stones back to 2016 and seeing that fourth-round draft pick surprise everyone. There was a lot of vintage Dak Prescott from then on. He still has his flaws, but for a little over a half, he showed us his strengths. Here is just one of the plays he made (on similar ones, he has failed too many times this season). The difference here (as Cowboys blogger/writer Joey Ickes observed) is that he did not bail out when the pressure came, but climbed the pocket, which allowed him to keep his eyes downfield and see Cole Beasley coming open. In the first half of the season, far too often Prescott tried to escape the pass rush by escaping to the outside, often with a spin move. That reliance on his athleticism to get him out of trouble means that he had to take his eyes off the receivers, and things would generally break down before he could look their way again. If he can maintain this pocket discipline, things are going to be much better for the Cowboys.I mentioned the screen play to Gallup earlier because that seemed to be a turning point in the game for Prescott. The team struggled a lot on third downs before the bye week, so thisconversion on 3rd and 15 really gave them a boost, especially Prescott. His effectiveness was noticeably better after that.Prescott still has certain limitations, but this game showed how he could still thrive if things are right. Which brings us to some other things that really helped in the game.Zeke got fedThe game started out like so many for Ezekiel Elliott, with little room to run. His yards gained on his carries to start the game, in order, went for 1, 2, 1, 3, 5, 11 but wiped out by a penalty, 2, and 1. Little space to run, nothing really happening.And then he burst up the middle, hurdled a defender, and only the turf monster stopped him from going right to the end zone. As it was, he got 32 yards - and the dam was breached. He, of course, went on to amass 151 yards on the ground, averaging 7.9 yards a carry - despite that slow start. This is why the Cowboys don’t want to give up on the running game too early, because Elliott and the offensive line do tend to wear down the defense. And once Dallas found the end zone, the long runs by Elliott just kept coming. It was a fine example of how the air and ground games are interrelated, with one helping the other. When both your quarterback and running back are on, then the opponent has to pick their poison. Load up the box to try and stop the run, or drop back to cover the pass. If you can catch them guessing wrong on what you are doing, you will eat - just like Zeke did.This wide receiver group is suddenly a whole lot betterObviously, the promotion of Lance Lenoir from the practice squad was the key . . .Oh, you say that Amari Cooper had something to do with this? OK, point conceded.Cooper has, in two games, proven he is a legit WR1, and his production projects out to a 1,000 yard season if he had a full 16 games with Dallas. And his presence is making things better for the rest of the receivers, at least based on the evidence of this game. Gallup Womens Chidobe Awuzie Jersey , Cole Beasley, and Allen Hurns all had multiple receptions, and no drops. Hurns in particular looked much better, and even seemed to be running crisper routes himself. Funny how a good example and a little friendly competition in the room can work out, huh?The Colombo era is off to a great startPaul Alexander was replaced by Marc Colombo (and Hudson Houck) in an attempt to fix the malaise on the offensive line. And despite having Xavier Su’a-Filo replacing an injured Connor Williams, as well as Adam Redmond having to cover 13 snaps for a dinged-up Zack Martin, that is what happened in this game. The Elliott stat line speaks to the effectiveness of the run blocking, and although Prescott was sacked four times, they once again seemed to happen when he held the ball too long or, as on the opening play of the second half, the wrong play was called for the defense they faced as Michael Bennett did not bite at all on the bootleg and came in untouched to blast Prescott. But after that, Dak seemed to have good protection on most of his pass plays, and it paid off as the Cowboys would go on to put together back to back 75-yard touchdown drives, both answering Philly tying the score. Those two drives are worth looking a bit deeper at, because they show just how well the Cowboys offense was clicking. There were four third downs converted between the two, and Prescott had only one incomplete pass. Things were operating like a well-oiled machine when they needed it most. It takes all the parts, and they were all doing their job.Let’s not forget the new sheriff on defenseLeighton Vander Esch was a divisive and controversial pick in the first round this year. Now, it is hard to find any fault for a rookie who is not only proving to be the most productive defender on the team, but by just about any standard is one of the best linebackers in the NFL. You can say that linebacker is a devalued position in the pass-centric league. But he is showing he is a lot more than just a run stopper.That play set the tone for the first half, when Philadelphia could only muster three points. And he also provided a crucial stop with his tackle for a loss to set up the failed fourth down conversion late in the game. It’s like he is a healthier clone of Sean Lee.The weak spot for the defenseOK, it can’t all be unicorns and rainbows. After a very solid performance in the first half, the Dallas secondary started springing some leaks. Some of the yards surrendered may have been part of a move to softer coverage, but mostly it just looks like the Eagles got things figured out. Zach Ertz in particular was just catching everything, and getting nice yards while doing it. In their defense, Chidobe Awuzie broke up two passes in the first half, including one that likely saved a touchdown, and Xavier Woods did even more, with three PBUs. Still, this has to tighten up if the Cowboys don’t want to bank on Prescott and Elliott having dominating performances for much of each game.But the big question is still out thereThat is: Have Scott Linehan and Jason Garrett finally figured out how to game plan and call the offense?There is no question they had it right in this game. But as has been shown, part of that came from really good performances by Dak, Zeke, Amari, and, well, just about everyone on offense. Which takes us right back to the chicken-or-egg problem. How much has poor performance by the players hampered the play-calling, and how much of the poor performance is because the players were being put into bad situations by the OC?It is going to take more than one game to give us any real indication of whether this is another outlier like the Jacksonville Jaguars game, or if the team is really finding a path forward. The way things worked against the Eagles speaks for itself, but Dallas has yet to show a shred of consistency from one game to the next. Now the team is headed back to Atlanta, where the Falcons did a number on Prescott last season that probably still wakes him up from nightmares of Adrian Clayborn coming nearly unhindered to throw him down again.Prescott showed some resiliency in Philly, which is a positive. Now he and everyone else on the Cowboys, from the head coach on down, need to prove that it was not just a fluke. David Price put his postseason woes behind him, pitching the Boston Red Sox back into another World Series with a 4-1 victory over the defending champion Houston Astros on Thursday night.Rafael Devers hit a three-run homer as the Red Sox stunned Justin Verlander and the Astros in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series to win the best-of-seven set 4-1, a perfect 43rd birthday present for rookie manager Alex Cora. After dropping the opener at home, Boston took four straight — including three in a row at Minute Maid Park to improve to 5-0 on the road in these playoffs.Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and the Red Sox will try to bring Boston its fourth crown in 15 years when they open the World Series on Tuesday night at home in Fenway Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers. The Red Sox were last in the World Series when they won it all in 2013.HOUSTON (AP) — Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora says Chris Sale is set to make his next start, lining up the lefty ace for the World Series opener.Cora said before Game 5 of the AL Championship series against Houston on Thursday that Sale threw off flat ground again earlier in the day and was feeling better since the stomach illness that led to him spending a night in a hospital.The next Red Sox game will be home the World Series opener in Fenway Park on Tuesday against either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers.FOOTBALLPop Warner, the country's largest youth football program, is implementing a concussion-awareness initiative aimed at educating young athletes about how to recognize symptoms of a head injury.The program is called CrashCourse and was developed with Stanford University education Authentic Cole Beasley Jersey , engineering and medical researchers. It uses an interactive online video of a high school football game and a symptoms simulator.Pop Warner has 325,000 participants in its youth football leagues, including cheerleading and dance, with about 225,000 players. Pop Warner officials plan to promote and encourage use of the program to its coaches and local leagues organizers through social media and email.NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL will celebrate its 100th season in 2019 with a yearlong series of "NFL 100" events.The league says the historic celebration will salute fans; highlight the unifying nature of football and its positive impact in communities; bring together generations of past, present and future players; and look ahead to the NFL's next 100 years.A special "NFL 100" logo was unveiled Thursday night during halftime of the Broncos-Cardinals game. It will be prominently displayed throughout the 100th season during celebrations on the field, in stadiums, game broadcasts, NFL Films and NFL Network programming, and in digital and social media content. That logo will be featured on game balls and on every player's game jersey in the neck area.NFL 100 will officially kick off at the Super Bowl in Atlanta.FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Kacy Rodgers missed being around the players and coaches the most while not knowing when he'd feel well enough to be back.A health scare sidelined the New York Jets defensive coordinator for two games — a tense few weeks for Rodgers, who was medically cleared and returned to work this week on a full-time basis.Bowles announced on Oct. 5 that Rodgers was dealing with something "serious" after visiting the doctor the previous day. The 49-year-old Rodgers underwent tests and then had what he called "a procedure" and was able to do some office work at the team's facility last week.Rodgers declined to provide details about the exact nature of his illness, saying he preferred to keep it private.FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams has been suspended three games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, a ban he will serve while on injured reserve because of lingering issues from offseason surgery for a broken right foot.The league said Thursday the suspension will be in effect Sunday when the Cowboys visit Washington. After Dallas' open week and a home game against Tennessee, the final game of the ban will be Nov. 11 at Philadelphia.But Williams will miss at least three more games after that while on injured reserve. His first possible game is Dec. 9 at home against the Eagles.SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah mother said in a lawsuit Thursday that school officials brushed aside an alleged sexual assault of her son by his football teammates as "boys being boys" and hazing that went too far.The woman said her 14-year-old son was pinned down by two teammates while a third rubbed his genitals on her son's face on Sept. 17 in the small Utah city of Gunnison as several other players watched and laughed.The three boys were criminally charged earlier this month. One of the boys, a 16-year-old, also is charged with six counts of felony rape and five counts of forcible sexual abuse.South Sanpete County Public Schools Superintendent Kent Larsen didn't immediately respond to email and phone messages seeking comment.GYMNASTICSDALLAS (AP) — The attorney for former USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny says her client had no clue of a Texas grand jury indictment when he traveled to Tennessee on a family vacation.The Walker County district attorney's office says Penny was arrested Wednesday by a fugitive task force after being indicted for allegedly tampering with evidence tied to the sexual assault investigation of imprisoned gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.Penny's attorney, Edith Matthai, says her client was arrested at a vacation cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, while he was with his wife and three children.She says authorities made no attempts to order Penny to Texas before the arrest. The attorney said Penny is "confident that when all the facts are known it will be shown that he did nothing criminal."BASKETBALLNEW YORK (AP) — The NBA is getting even more transparent about the calls its officials make.The league has revamped its nba/official website, adding video archives of plays that merited reviews as well as detailed breakdowns of the responsibilities of officiating crews working each game.A daily injury report is a new addition to the site. That injury report will be updated three times per day.Other features of the new site include a sortable digital rulebook with video breakdowns of what makes a certain play legal or illegal, as well as the continued postings of the detailed reports breaking down all calls made in the final two minutes of close games.AUTO RACINGAUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Force India and Sergio Perez announced Thursday a one-year extension for 2019 for the Mexican driver ahead of the U.S. Grand Prix and next weekend's return to Mexico City.Perez has been with Force India since 2014, and he and his management team have been closely involved in the restructuring of the team. He is expected to partner next season with Williams driver Lance Stroll, whose father led a consortium in helping resolve the Formula One team's financial problems.Perez is seventh in the 2018 championship standings, the same position he finished in 2016 and 2017. He has five podium finishes over his career with his best finish this season a third place at AzerbaijanGOLFRICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The PGA Tour Champions has announced that Dominion Energy has agreed to a 10-year extension of its sponsorship of a tour stop in Richmond.The extension, announced on the day before the opening day of the tour's annual visit to the Country Club of Virginia's James River Course, extends the company's commitment through 2029. The tour for players 50 and older made its debut in Virginia's capital city in 2016.This year's Dominion Energy Charity Classic is the opening event in the tour's three-event Charles Schwab Cup playoffs.COLLEGESNEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer for a longtime Adidas employee urged jurors to use common sense to conclude college basketball coaches knew money was being paid to families to steer top players to their schools.Attorney Michael Schachter told jurors at a criminal trial's closings Thursday they could follow the evidence to conclude coaches at Louisville and Kansas encouraged payouts.A prosecutor later disagreed, saying coaches were not "running rampant." The jury is likely to start deliberations Monday in the trial of an aspiring sports agent and two men who worked on the behalf of shoemaker Adidas.Schachter, who represents James Gatto, an Adidas sports marketing manager, mocked the idea that coaches of the caliber of Bill Self at Kansas and Rick Pitino at Louisville didn't know what was going on.AWARDSNEW YORK (AP) — U.S. goaltender Maddie Rooney and Paralympic Nordic skier Oksana Masters have been selected Sportswomen of the Year by the Women's Sports Foundation.Rooney made the winning save in the gold-medal shootout against Canada at the Olympics in South Korea. The victory ended Canada's streak of four straight Olympic women's hockey titles.Rooney, now a junior at Minnesota-Duluth, made 87 saves in four games, allowing just five goals.Masters journeyed from an orphanage in Ukraine to the U.S. before winning two Olympic golds and a bronze in cross-country skiing and two silvers in biathlon.South African track star Caster Semenya received the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award at the Salute to Women in Sports. Gail Boudreaux, CEO of the health insurer Anthem, was honored with the Billie Jean King Leadership Award.SPORTS MARKETINGSEATTLE (AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged a former Microsoft sports marketing director with five counts of wire fraud, accusing him of attempting to embezzle $1.5 million from the company and using his NFL connections to sell Super Bowl tickets for his own gain.Jeff Tran, 45, was the director of sports marketing and alliances and managed the company's relationship with the NFL and its payments to third-party vendors, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports .In addition to selling off Super Bowl tickets intended for Microsoft employees, he allegedly coordinated the issue of false invoices to charge Microsoft for bogus services and the transfer of money for himself, according to the indictment filed Wednesday.A Microsoft spokesperson said the company had investigated Tran, fired him and then contacted law enforcement.It was not immediately known if Tran has a lawyer. 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