The Dallas Cowboys clipped the Eagles 17-3 to take a one-game lead in the NFC East.
Last week, the media and wannabe media snickered that owner/president/general manager Jerry Jones didn’t know the names on his turnstile defensive line. As well as they have been playing the past two games, such criticism is warranted.
With DeMarcus Ware missing the first game of his nine-year career, pundits wondered from where the pass rush would arise. The same place it arose when Ware hobbled through the first six games: Jason Hatcher and George Selvie. Hatcher earned his 6th sack of the year, and Selvie earned 1.5 sacks today. Who got the other half? Jarius Wynn, signed this week.
Selvie and Wynn’s combination sack on the third quarter’s final play knocked out Nick Foles, forcing rookie backup quarterback into the game for the entire fourth quarter, where he threw three interceptions. Linebacker Sean Lee, safety Barry Church, and cornerback Brandon Carr were rookie Barkley’s welcoming party to the NFL. Lee earned his ninth career interception, second of the season. Church got his first career interception, the second turnover of this season. Carr got his second interception of the season.
“Defense was outstanding today. They did a fantastic job,” Garrett said.
The NFL’s leader in rushing yards, LeSean McCoy, rushed 18 times for 55 yards with 3.0 yards per carry. Nick Foles went 11/29 for 80 yards, while Matt Barkley went 11/20 for 129 yards and 3 interceptions.
Riley Cooper led all Philadelphia receivers with 6 catches for 88 yards. DeSean Jackson only had 3 catches for 21 yards, and injured himself in the course of the contest.
Tony Romo went 28/47 for 317 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, and took 2 sacks in his 100th start. He threw a 9-yard slant to Terrance Williams for his lone touchdown. His first interception was in the end zone on a Hail Mary at the first half’s end. His second interception was picked off by linebacker Demeco Ryans, who appeared to be in the passing lane covering Phillip Tanner. FOX analyst Troy Aikman indicated it was a bad throw by Tony Romo, while Brad Sham and Babe Laufenberg, the play-by-play team on the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network, indicated it was on Tanner for releasing from his blocking assignment and carrying his defender into the passing lane to receiver Cole Beasley, the intended target.
“We had a little miscommunication on where the back was supposed to be on that play,” Garrett clarified.
Dez Bryant shut out cornerback Cary Williams’ yapping and had 8 catches for 110 yards. Terrance Williams had the lone passing touchdown and 6 catches for 71 yards. Cole Beasley even had 6 catches for 53 yards, while reliable tight end Jason Witten had 4 catches for 48 yards.
Joseph Randle stepped up and had a decent game. He had 19 carries for 65 yards, and 3 catches for 28 yards. His filling in for the injured DeMarco Murray was solid.
Terrance Williams and Joseph Randle weren’t the only Cowboys rookies to play splendidly today. J.J. Wilcox started again at safety and knocked away a pass to DeSean Jackson in the third quarter that would have been a touchdown catch. He would have had an interception as well, if not the play had been overturned.
“He plays with the right kind of demeanor,” Garrett said of his rookie safety from Georgia Southern.
After a completely scoreless first quarter, Dallas finally struck first blood with a 38-yard Dan Bailey field goal with 3:21 left before halftime. Receiving the second half kickoff, the Dallas Cowboys mounted a 10-play, 66-yard drive capped off by Phillip Tanner’s one-yard touchdown run, the second of his career. Dallas took a 10-0 lead.
The Eagles scored a field goal for the fourth quarter’s first play, the foundation for that Eagles scoring drive being Romo’s interception to Demeco Ryans. With it being 10-3, the Cowboys immediately took the ball down the field and Romo found Williams for a nine-yard slant to make it 17-3 Cowboys, the game’s final score. The Barkley interception festival commenced shortly thereafter.
The Cowboys penalties were a mix of mental errors by both players and referees. Nevertheless, Dallas finished with 12 penalties for 75 yards compared to the Eagles’ 5 penalties for 33 yards.
Dallas dominated the time of possession 36:13 to 23:47. For this week, the Cowboys will again dominate first place in the NFC East, the only team to have solely held first place for four total weeks.
At Ford Field in Detroit next week, the Cowboys face a schizophrenic Lions team that is in the win one-lose one phase, coming off a last-second loss to the Cincinnati Bengals today. At 4-3, both teams will look to stay relevant in their respective divisions’ races.