ARLINGTON, Texas — TY Hilton’s introduction to the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t have been better as it came on Saturday at what may be the darkest moment of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Facing third and 30th after Dak Prescott was sacked in back-to-back games and the Eagles trailed 34-27 with 8:02 left, Hilton made a 52-yard reception and sped from cornerback Darius Slay.
“Third-and-30,” Prescott said with a smile. “Find TY”
Four games after Hilton’s catch, CeeDee Lamb had his second touchdown reception of the game, a 7-yarder that tied the score at 5:49 to play. The Cowboys would score two more field goals for a 40-34 win over the Eagles, keeping their faint hopes of the NFC East title alive with two games remaining and perhaps giving them a confidence boost should the rivals tie again in the playoffs should meet.
“It’s great and it appealed to us,” Hilton said. “If I’m able to do that, the sky’s the limit for us.”
Hilton said he had a feeling before the ball banged. When the Cowboys performed this piece in practice, Prescott went to see him several times. When Slay had his eye on the quarterback and not him, Hilton, who only joined the Cowboys on December 12, felt even better.
“The ball just took off and I was like, ‘Well, let’s go’ and that’s what I do, man. I just make games,” Hilton said. “That’s what I’m here for, keep playing, keep guiding these guys and helping them in any way I can. And when I come out, just show that I’m still here.”
At the start of the game, Hilton, 33, said he could still walk. His 2021 season with the Indianapolis Colts was ended by injury, but after watching his kids play football throughout the summer and fall, he said his body feels refreshed.
“This is a guy who’s made a lot of big catches in his career,” Prescott said. “Had a long career and been very, very successful [earlier in the game] I went to him and he drew the holding call. Right here, third and 30, yeah he made it up with him when I released it and I knew I had to let some leeway underneath. I knew he was going to make a game and it would be either that or an incompleteness. He obviously went and made a catch.”
According to ESPN Stats & information research. Over the past 10 seasons, Hilton is tied for Tyreek Hill and AJ Green with 17 for receiving at least 50 yards. DeSean Jackson has the most at 30.
Saturday’s game was Hilton’s first of 2022. He was inactive against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week.
The Cowboys’ main focus in recent months has been on the possible addition of free agent Odell Beckham Jr. He has visited the team and met with the medical staff, coaches and players. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones often expressed optimism that Beckham would join the Cowboys and make a contribution once the playoffs began.
Hilton almost covertly slipped into a workout that was so good the Cowboys stopped him midway because they knew he still had juice.
“It’s a people business,” said coach Mike McCarthy. “Obviously TY is extremely talented and extremely tested. He’s played at the Pro Bowl level for several years, so obviously these situations are unique, A, for him to be available and then an opportunity to get a deal going. They couldn’t. I find anything but extremely high praise for him when it comes to the phone calls he made. He was everything plus.”