With playoff chances below 1%, the Dallas Cowboys found their formula

12:05 PM ET

ARLINGTON, Texas — By the time the Dallas Cowboys got home from Baltimore early in the morning on Dec. 9, they were a broken team.

They were emotionally spent from the sudden death of strength and conditioning coordinator Markus Paul on Nov. 25 and physically beaten down after the 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, their sixth defeat in seven games.

At 3-9, their season looked over from any angle possible. Tanking became a topic. A high first-round 2021 NFL draft pick seemed like a sure thing.

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Their defense could not stop anyone. Their offense scored more than 17 points once in that seven-game span. Their special teams were making too many mistakes with some ill-timed decisions.


“We look totally different than we did two months ago,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said.

Close to two months ago — Nov. 1, actually — the Cowboys lost 23-9 to the Philadelphia Eagles, with rookie Ben DiNucci at quarterback, unable to score a touchdown.

On Sunday, they

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