Philadelphia Eagles Feast On Dallas, 33-10
Nov 27, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) celebrates scoring a touchdown with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (18) in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
For weeks, and weeks, and weeks the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans have heard nothing but how great the Dallas Cowboys are, how the Dallas Cowboys have become the class of the NFC East, how the Dallas Cowboys are the team to beat right now, etc.
So. Much. For. That.
On a holiday on which Americans typically dine on birds, it was instead the Philadelphia Eagles who feasted on a delightful dish of Tony Romo, Jerry Jones and an overmatched “Big-D” defense.
Final score: Philadelphia Eagles 33, Dallas Cowboys 10
If you’d already eaten your turkey and stuffing, this was the ultimate Philly dessert. If you were waiting to enjoy a late meal, the Birds served up a perfect appetizer. And if you chose to enjoy your meal during the game, it was the perfect glass of wine to compliment the cuisine.
Mark Sanchez was pinpoint and decisive, even effectively running the read option a few times. He was 20-of-29 for 217 yards, but threw for more than 200 in the first half alone when the Eagles were wearing the Dallas defense down, forcing the Cowboys to chase receivers, running backs and tight ends all over the field.
And it’s safe to say the foolish talk about LeSean McCoy losing a step should be behind us. McCoy was a beast, pounding the holes, being patient at other times and then exploding into the second level. He ended the game with 25 carries for 159 yards and a touchdown in what was without a doubt his (and the offensive line’s) best performance of the season.
And the defense. Wow. What a performance. Four sacks on Romo. Only 73 yards rushing for DeMarco Murray. Two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Simply outstanding.
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In the end, it was a dominant performance by Philadelphia against a Dallas Cowboys team the national media had fallen in love with and anointed a Super Bowl favorite. But forced to travel halfway across the country on a short week, the Eagles were more than up to the task, while Dallas looked like the same Dallas team we’ve all seen for the last few seasons.
The Philadelphia Eagles are 9-3 overall, alone in first place in the NFC East and will have 10 days to get ready for a showdown with the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 7.
About the only thing to complain about in the first half was that Philadelphia settled for three field goals in the second quarter, when all three could have been cashed in for six instead. Mark Sanchez threw for 202 yards and LeSean McCoy carried 14 times for 83 yards.
The Eagles opened the game with a picture-perfect, nine-play, 80-yard drive, highlighted by a 22-yard run from LeSean McCoy. Mark Sanchez finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run, executing a perfect read-option play, to give Philadelphia the lead.
The Birds scored again on their next drive, kept alive on a key third-down play from Sanchez to Riley Cooper. Sanchez hit Jordan Matthews two plays later, finding the rookie over the middle. Matthews picked up the ball and raced to the corner of the end zone for the 27-yard strike.
Dallas rebounded and got a touchdown on the next drive, capped with a one-yard run by DeMarco Murray.
From there, it became the Cody Parkey show in the second quarter, but it easily could have been a touchdown party instead. Parkey’s first field goal, from 31 yards, came after Sanchez missed a wide-open Brad Smith that would have been the Eagles’ third touchdown (although in real time it looked like Smith quit on the route).
Parkey’s next field goal, from 22 yards, came after a Dallas goal-line stand, as McCoy was stopped twice and then a Sanchez attempt to Cooper fell incomplete.
Still, the Birds led, 20-7, with Dallas taking over from their own 23 with 1:30 to go. On first down, Tony Romo found Cole Beasely for a short gain. As Beasley turned upfield, Brandon Boykin made a perfect tackle on the ball and Nate Allen recovered the fumble, returning it 22 yards to the Dallas 11. The Eagles were unable to cash in and settled for a Parkey kick from 26 yards away, and the Eagles led 23-7 at the break.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense came up with a stop on Dallas’ first possession of the third quarter, but the Cowboys quickly got the ball back, recovering a LeSean McCoy fumble at the Birds’ 13. But the Eagles’ defense stiffened, buoyed by a big second-down run stop by Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan, and sacked Romo on third down to force a Dan Bailey field goal that made it 23-10.
But Shady was not discouraged, with Kelly feeding him on the ensuing drive and McCoy making Dallas pay. He raced in from 39 yards, taking advantage of a huge hole on the right side of the line and outrunning everyone to the end zone to give the Eagles a 30-10 lead with 7:20 remaining in the third quarter.
Philadelphia extended its lead in the fourth quarter on another short Parkey field goal, this one from 25 yards, but the drive was worth well more than three points. The Birds drove 67 yards in 15 plays, burning 6:37 from the clock while bumping their lead to 23 points with 11:01 to go in the game.
QUICK SIX OBSERVATIONS
1) Sure was nice of Jason Garrett to burn all three of his timeouts before halftime, giving the Eagles plenty of time to add that field goal off the Beasley turnover. Thanks, Jason.
2) I spent most of halftime writing, but looked up a few times to see Pitbull and some guy I don’t know singing while the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders were shaking their butts. I think I got everything I needed from that performance with the sound down.
3) Going back to that Beasley fumble, how about Brandon Boykin? That kid just makes plays.
4) I don’t listen to the TV announcers during games (you couldn’t pay me to listen to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman), instead going with the 94 WIP team of Merrill Reese and Mike Quick. But for those who listened to TV, why on earth was there a special in-game segment with Jimmie Johnson? Like we didn’t have enough Cowboys on the live broadcast team already, they needed to add Jimmie?
5) Speaking of that, FOX sure seemed set on a celebration of the Dallas Cowboys. Showing off some old-timers’ game, showing Daryl Johnston and other former Cowboys in the stands, etc. You know, I hate to ruin the narrative, guys, but there was another team playing. They were wearing white, and green, coached by a guy named Chip Kelly, doing a lot of cooler and more entertaining things than the “star” guys…
6) Tony Romo looks like an absolute mess. He assumes the fetal position whenever the pocket shows signs of collapsing and his passes flutter like wounded ducks. In a few weeks on what will likely be a cold, December night, the Birds welcome him to Lincoln Financial Field. I hear bones become more brittle in cold weather (that may not be scientifically accurate).