By: Greg Rector
Dallas 37 Eagles 10
If you’re old enough to remember Sanford and Son, you’ll remember Fred Sanford would often feign a heart attack and talk to his late wife Elizabeth by saying “I’m having the big one Elizabeth, I’m coming to join you.” Well, that’s how I felt last night watching the Cowboys play a complete game for the first time this season!!! They now have put themselves into position to be NFC East champions, and the only team from the division to make the playoffs. I was dead certain that we would see a blowout game, glad to see it was Dallas that did the blowing out of our biggest rival.
Right from the start the Cowboys played inspired football. They went right after the Eagles, forcing two quick fumbles, recovering both, and scored two short drive touchdowns. If you read my preview for the game, you know I said the defense needed to do exactly that. This had a normally sedate Cowboys crowd, loud and proud early on. That’s how you need to start EVERY game.
Keys to the game:
The defense finally lived up to what they are capable of. The league average for quarterback pressures is 26%, Sunday night the Cowboys pressured Wentz on 53% of his passing attempts. That’s despite losing both Quinn, and Vander Esche, before halftime. Forcing any quarterback out of their comfort zone makes fumbles and interceptions possible. It also makes for a much easier game for the secondary, who played magnificently last night. Some guy named Ertz. was barely targeted, Wentz did not have time to find him. The biggest change was not getting thrashed on the ground. Actually saw tackles for loss or very short gains. That must keep going.
The turnovers made my one prediction of needing to pass to establish the run a moot point. Elliott had a great game against the Eagles. Normally very stout against the run, Elliott ended a long streak of games the Eagles had without giving up a 100-yard individual rushing game by any RB. The return of Collins and Smith made a huge difference to the effectiveness of the offensive line. Run blocking was excellent and the pass blocking wasn’t too shabby either. Further aided by the return of Cobb and Cooper, Prescott time and again moved the chains. His technique is so much better than last year. Hope he spends every summer with QB guru Tom House. The Eagles players said he would only throw to wide-open receivers a couple of years ago, now he is fearless in throwing to small windows. The masterful drive to get Maher within his range for the late 63 yard (Would have been good from 70) field goal was simply magnificent. That’s how you put nails in the coffin.
Most importantly there was no letting up. The game is 60 minutes long, and there was no doubt the Cowboys were the dominant team for all 60 minutes. That’s all we have asked for as Cowboys fans for a long time. Play a complete game. They delivered against the Eagles, in a big way. The play calling was much more akin to Moore’s style versus that of Coach Clapper. With the bye this week, the players can recover from the numerous nagging injuries etc… They must keep that level of commitment going, there’s plenty of tough games that lay ahead of them after the bye. Enjoy this one Cowboys Nation, there’s still plenty of work ahead to move into the level of the 49’ers, Saints, Packers, and Vikings.
You can find me on Twitter @GregCowboys