The Dallas Cowboys' defense has had a very up and down season. Against St Louis, they looked like the 1985 Bears. Against Denver, they looked like the 2008 Lions. In a game that was as close to a must-win as a mid-October game could get, the Cowboys defense played brilliantly in a battle against the Philadelphia Eagles that gave the Cowboys sole possession of 1st place in the NFC East. While the offense did struggle at times, Tony Romo threw for 317 yards and a score, and Dez Bryant tallied 8 receptions for 110 yards en route to the 17-3 victory.
While many, myself included, expected a shootout, the two teams offenses were, well...offensive. The first half alone featured eight drives by each team. One drive ended in a 38 yard field goal by Dan Bailey to put Dallas up 3-0, one drive ended in a missed 60 yard field goal by Eagles K Alex Henery, and another ended with Romo's interception on a desperation pass at the end of the first half. The other 13 drives ended with Chris Jones and Donnie Jones (no relation) exchanging punts.
Dallas took control of the game with a 10 play 66 yard that ended with a one yard touchdown run from RB Phillip Tanner. The drive opened the 2nd half and put the Cowboys up 10-0. After another series of punt exchanges, the Cowboys appeared to be on their way to another score, but an interception by Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans set Philadelphia up on the Dallas 30. While it appeared to be a bad throw by Romo, head coach Jason Garrett revealed after the game that a wrong route run by Tanner brought the extra attention from Ryans. Despite the good starting field position, and CB JJ Wilcox's interception being called back by a booth review, the defense stood strong and allowed only a 31 yard Henery field goal. After the drive, QB Nick Foles (11-29, 80 yards) left the game with a head injury.
With Philadelphia back in the game, Lincoln Financial Field started to get loud. Romo, however, stayed calm, cool and collected, calmly leading the Cowboys on a 10 play, 72 yard drive, culminating in his 9 touchdown pass to WR Terrence Williams. The rookie's third touchdown catch in as many games made it a two possession game and put the Cowboys up 17-3.
Already facing quarterback woes with Michael Vick out, Foles's absence allowed for the NFL debut of Matt Barkley, and the Dallas defense gave the former Heisman contender a rude welcoming. Barkley did finish with somewhat respectable numbers for a 4th round rookie (11-20, 129 yards), but a trio of interceptions shot down any hope and dreams of a comeback. Interceptions by Sean Lee, Barry Church and Brandon Carr solidified the Cowboys victory, their third consecutive win over the hated Eagles. Sinc
e an embarrassing 44-6 loss that cost them a playoff spot, the Cowboys are 7-3 against the Eagles, including 4-1 at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Cowboys were missing RB DeMarco Murray and DE DeMarcus Ware, but you wouldn't have figured that if you watched the game without viewing the injury report. After Foles threw for 296 yards and 3 scores in a win over Tampa Bay last week, he couldn't even make to 100 before leaving the game. He was also sacked three times, with DE George Selvie leading the way with 1.5 and DT Jason Hatcher picking up his 5th. New acquisition Jarius Wynn had an assisted sack. Dallas's defense also held the Philadelphia QB duo to just 22 completions compared to 49 attempts. Also paramount to the effort was the fact that Dallas held LeSean McCoy, the NFL's leading rusher, to just 55 yards on 18 carries. Top Eagles target DeSean Jackson was limited to 3 receptions for 21 yards.
As for their own run game, which was missing Lance Dunbar as well, Joseph Randle had a respectable first career start. The 5th round pick out of Oklahoma State finished with 19 carries for 65 yards. The missing Murray led to more throws for Romo, who responded well. Despite the two interceptions, Romo finished 28 for 47 with 317 yards and 1 TD. Behind Bryant, Williams finished the game with 6 receptions with 71 yards. Cole Beasley also tallied 6 receptions for 53 yards. P Chris Jones took advantage of his many punts, averaging just under 39 yards a kick, with 6 of his 9 punts landing inside the 20.
While the Eagles visit Dallas on December 29, the final Sunday of the season, the Cowboys now look ahead to next week as they continue their road stretch against the Detroit Lions, a team they last faced in 2011. While it's nice to get a win over the Eagles, the Cowboys would love to get a win over the Lions to not only enter the second half of the season at 5-3, but also add some credible wins to their resume. Dallas leads the all time series 13-11. Check back this week for my preview!
DAL 27, PHI 7: Cowboys Winning Every Phase, Build Big Halftime Lead
The Dallas Cowboys certainly heard about Doug Pederson's win guarantee, but did anyone tell Pederson's team? The Philadelphia Eagles have fumbled and flopped their way into a 24-7 halftime deficit in this pivotal Week 7 rivalry game.
Two early fumbles by Dallas Goedert and Carson Wentz helped set up the Cowboys for short fields and touchdowns. Dallas has scored points on all but one of their drives in the first half.
Ezekiel Elliott is on pace for his best game of 2019 so far. He has 65 rushing yards and another 25 through the air, with one touchdown coming on the ground.
Dak Prescott has been sharp with 161 passing yards on 15-of-20 passing. He connected with Blake Jarwin on the team's second touchdown of the night.
Dallas' other touchdown came on a pretty toss play to Tavon Austin, who used his athletic skills to juke one Eagle and then outrace the rest to the endzone.
Brett Maher finished the half with an amazing 63-yard field goal. He also made one from 26 yards earlier.
Standouts on defense so far include DeMarcus Lawrence, who is playing up to his verbal response to the Eagles' head coach earlier this week. We've also some big plays from Maliek Collins, Jourdan Lewis, and Robert Quinn.
Leighton Vander Esch had to leave the game with a neck injury and is questionable to return. Hopefully, the Cowboys won't need him.
Great start by the good guys! Let's keep it going!
Eagles @ Cowboys 2019: Gameday Inactives for Both Teams
Kickoff between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7 of the 2019 season is almost upon us. The teams have now officially declared their inactive players for tonight, and the Cowboys' list comes with many sighs of relief.
After a week of worrying that several starters and other key players could miss this pivotal game, Dallas should have most of them on hand.
Cowboys inactives: Devin Smith, Anthony Brown, Luke Gifford, Adam Redmond, Brandon Knight, Justin Hamilton, Dorance Armstrong.
Losing Anthony Brown, who is essentially a starter as the nickel corner, isn't great. But it will mean more playing time for Jourdan Lewis, and to some that could be a blessing in disguise.
As for Philadelphia, their inactive list features several key names
Ronald Darby is active for the #Eagles. Rookie Shareef Miller active for the first time. The inactives for tonight's game against the Cowboys: DeSean Jackson, Avonte Maddox, Darren Sproles, Nigel Bradham, Nate Herbig, Jason Peters, Tim Jernigan.
You can read more analysis of the Eagles' missing players here. But just to summarize, that's two offensive starters(Jackson, Peters) and three from the defense (Jernigan, Bradham, Maddox) who won't be playing in Dallas tonight.
Will these injuries decide the game? Will Dallas take advantage or will Philly overcome?
We're about to find out!
Cowboys Wishlist: Let Tony Pollard and Blake Jarwin Play
Welcome to primetime. Tonight, the Philadelphia Eagles will play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium for an exciting NFC East matchup. The Cowboys are slightly favored for this one, but it will not be an easy game. Both teams sit at 3-3 and will fight for the division lead. It'll be an exciting night for Cowboys Nation.
Without further ado, let's get to this week's Cowboys Wishlist!
Wish #1: Everyone Plays
After a week of uncertainty regarding the health of several key players, the Cowboys are expected to play with both their staring offensive tackles, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, WR Amari Cooper and CB Byron Jones. That's certainly surprising, but it's great news to hear ahead of such an important game for the Cowboys.
On the other hand, the Philadelphia Eagles will miss plenty of starters including OT Jason Peters. Of course, nothing will be official for Dallas until the inactives are announced. I wish the inactives list matches early reports of these key players being expected to play.
Wish #2: Return to Exploiting Play-Action
There's no way around it. The Cowboys were being very successful using play-action during the first three weeks of the season, being among the NFL teams to use it the most. For some reason, though, they seem to have walked away from it. Somehow, they figured out what was working and stopped doing it. Many have argued about how play-action works and whether or not the run must be established for it to work. Analytics suggest it doesn't work that way.
Anyway, the trend is pretty clear. Throughout the first three weeks, the Cowboys averaged play-action plays on 39.56% of their drop-backs. The last three weeks that average has been 17.3%.
It's hard to find an answer as to why this has happened to Kellen Moore's offense, but I wish they go back to what was working so effectively at the beginning of the season.
Wish #3: Let Dak Prescott Win The Game
Speaking of play-action, I truly believe Dak Prescott is the least of the Cowboys' problems right now. He's played pretty well and has shown how much of a warrior he is, specially last week when he took a beating from the New York Jets' defensive front.
I love what RB Ezekiel Elliott brings to the table, but the offense should rely on the passing game. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are a very solid duo of wide receivers and Dak Prescott has proven he can handle the job. I'd like to see the Cowboys putting the offense on Dak's back.
The Eagles secondary has been far from decent this season, with plenty of teams airing out against them. The key to this game is the passing game.
Wish #4: First Cowboys Drive Ends in TD
The Cowboys' slow starts have really been one of the biggest issues for this football team this season. Even when they were on a win streak and faced weak opponents, Jason Garrett's team started slow on both offense and defense. That could be the difference in such an important game for the Cowboys. It's time for them to start fast, and score fast.
The Cowboys' offense has been pretty good. In fact, they rank second in offensive DVOA on Football Outsiders. If they figure out how to score early - when game scripts matter the most - this unit could be special.
Wish #5: Let Tony Pollard and Blake Jarwin Play
The Cowboys have chosen to give Jason Witten the vast majority of the offensive snaps at TE this season. As a consequence, Blake Jarwin has seen the field less than he should. Through six weeks, he's only played in 38.1% of the offensive snaps. Jarwin is young and talented and has been good when given the chance. I hope his snap count increases today.
Similarly, I wish the Cowboys' give Tony Pollard a more important role. Instead of using him as much as they did in the first three weeks, his snap count percentage has dropped all the way down to 17.68%.
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Redskins Fire Gruden; Garrett Now Has Hottest Seat in NFC East
Game Notes2 weeks ago
Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly From Week 5 Against the Packers
Game Notes2 weeks ago
Takeaway Tuesday: OT Brandon Knight Had a Promising Debut
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Brett Maher Goes 1/3 on Field Goals, Time to Kick Rocks
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Jourdan Lewis, the Change the Dallas Cowboys Defense Needs
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Kris Richard: Dallas Cowboys Defense is a “Work in Progress”
Star Blog2 weeks ago
QB Dak Prescott’s “Ups And Downs” Named Cowboys’ Biggest Disappointment
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
The Duo of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup Continues to Show Elite Potential