Everyone’s worst fear came to reality as the Philadelphia Eagles rolled into town and put a whooping on the Dallas Cowboys. While it started slow, the Eagles turned things on in the second half and would demolish the Cowboys, 37-9. Philadelphia has now won eight straight games while the Cowboys have lost two in a row. The playoff picture just got a lot cloudier for Dallas as they sit on the outside with a 5-5 record. Here are 10 thoughts on the game.
1. Eagles offense hot out of the gate
The Eagles offense looked sharp on their opening drive as they marched 75 yards on eight plays in just over four minutes. They were very efficient as they managed six first downs on those eight plays. This was largely attributed to outstanding effectiveness on first down. They had first down plays of 10, 7, 10, 22, and then capped it off with a four-yard touchdown. They never had a third down and barely even had a second down.
That’s not the start we were hoping for from this defense.
2. Cowboys can’t finish drives
The Cowboys first two possessions offered up some reasons to get excited as Ryan Switzertook the opening kickoff 61 yards down to the Eagles 37-yard line. But the offense would go three and out and have to settle for a field goal.
On their second drive, they had some good plays including a nice 22-yard run, a bootleg to Noah Brown, and a nice designed run for Dak Prescott. But once again, the Cowboys offense couldn’t close the deal. Of course, the Eagles defense caught a break when this pass interference was missed.
Even when the offense picked up some steam, they couldn’t ever get into the end zone.
3. Dak played awful
After getting sacked eight times last week, I can see how Dak Prescott could be hearing the footsteps play after play. The Cowboys designed a lot of plays to get the ball out of his hands quickly, but even still – Dak would rush his throws.
He would throw passes low to Dez Bryant. He would sail them over Cole Beasley’s head. He was off target several times and it stalled drives. For the first time ever he would throw three interceptions in the game. It was the worst game of his career.
The Cowboys needed Prescott to play out of his mind in this game, but what they got instead was an unforgettable performance.
4. Defense held it together in the first half
If I told you the Cowboys wouldn’t score a touchdown in the first half, you probably would think that the route had begin. Not so fast. While the Eagles offense looked unstoppable on their opening drive, the Cowboys defense started clamping down. The last four drives in the first half were all three-and-outs for a total of eight yards.
Despite two Prescott interceptions, the Cowboys were able to take a 9-7 lead into halftime thanks to the play of their defense. It turned out to be a wasted opportunity as the defense just didn’t have a second half in them.
The first half could have ended in spectacular fashion if Anthony Brown would have been able to come up with that fluttering duck of a pass by Carson Wentz (actually it was tipped by David Irving). But Brown was caught in an awkward position and wasn’t able to make a clean play on the ball.
Brown would get called for a hold in the end zone, yet he would still allow the receiver to catch it.
I can’t remember seeing such a night and day contrast from one season to the next as to what we are seeing from Brown this season. Every game there are these face palm moments that really hurt the team.
6. Run defense got torched up the middle
The Eagles did a good job trap blocking and taking David Irving out of the play. Most of the damage Philadelphia did in the running game straight down the middle, including a 71-yard burst by Jay Ajayi.
It shouldn’t be this easy.
7. Cowboys passing game didn’t do their part
Without Tyron Smith, all eyes were on backup left tackle, Byron Bell. The veteran linemen did a solid job for most of the game. He did allow the defender to get around him and strip the ball away from Prescott which resulted in a defensive touchdown.
And with no with Ezekiel Elliott, people wondered if the Cowboys could get their running game back on track. Alfred Morris did a great job. He ran for 91 yards on 17 carries (5.4 ypc) against the top run defense in the league.
But as good as these backups did filling in, the offense still couldn’t get things together.
The Cowboys didn’t score a touchdown in this game, which hasn’t happened since 2015 when they had atrocious backup quarterback play.
8. Can’t wrap up Carson
There were so many times the Cowboys had Wentz dead to rights, but he slipped away like a greased pig. The defense just could not bring the Eagles quarterback down and he got loose just enough to make the play. Third-down stops turned into drive-continuing mishaps as the defense just couldn’t bring him down.
9. Can’t stop the Eagles’ offense
For the fourth straight game, the Eagles have scored 30 or more points. It was looking promising early when Dallas held them to only seven points in the first half, but the wheels fell apart in the second half.
Carson Wentz played well, despite only completing 14 passes for 168 yards. The Eagles would do their damage on the ground as they finished with 225 yards rushing. It was back to the same ol’ “Sean Lee ‘s not here” debacle. And the hits keep on coming.
10. This team just wasn’t up to the task
I applaud the creative play-calling on offense in the first half to attempt to circumvent their left tackle deficiencies. It was an admirable effort by the defense in the first half to make so many stops against a really good offensive team.
But then, everything went south. The Cowboys had no fight in them. We can talk about how this guy was out and how sorely he’s missed or we can just recognize that this team just doesn’t have it in them to make the plays.Philadelphia is a great team and nobody expected it to be easy, but what the Cowboys put out on the field on Sunday night was disappointing.