The Dallas Cowboys woke up this morning all alone atop the NFC East and smiles abound in the Metroplex for the second week in a row. That’s a combination that has become all too rare for the Cowboys in recent years and it didn’t happen without Dallas having to overcome some major obstacles.
If someone had told me that Dallas would go into that armpit of the East known as Lincoln Financial Field without their star pass rusher….one DeMarcus Ware… and hold the Eagles’ third ranked offense to a mere three points, I would have told you to go home and sleep off whatever you were smoking. Yet, that is just what the Cowboys did on Sunday afternoon. Not only did the Dallas D manage to hold the Philly pass attack in check, they also held LeSean McCoy to a season low 81 yards and intercepted three passes courtsey of rookie QB Matt Barkley after Nick Foles departed the game with an injury late in the second half. Dallas’ defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin also got a bit of revenge on new Eagles coach Chip Kelly for the roastings he suffered by Kelly’s teams in their college coaching days.
The Cowboys got their first road win of the season in one of the most hostile environments they will encounter all year. They also have a 3-0 record over NFC East foes for the first time since 2007. Not too shabby for a largely no-name defense and an offense that was without its starting running back. In the process they quieted a Philly crowd that further entrenched their reputation as one of the most obnoxious group of fans in the league by chanting what sounded like an expletive after a Dallas score. By games’ end, what few that remained were treated to a well deserved wave goodbye by Dallas defender Brandon Carr after his game clenching pick.
The Cowboys had to overcome some questionable officiating on Sunday afternoon. Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox was deprived what looked like an obvious interception when a booth review overturned the ruling on the field that Wilcox retrieved the ball after it bounced off Eagles receiver Jason Avant in the end zone. Dallas receiver Dez Bryant was burned by what appeared to be two bad calls on back-to-back plays. The first occurred when what looked like a difficult diving catch was ruled incomplete. On the next play Bryant was ridden down the field by an Eagles’ defender while the yellow hanky stayed firmly in the referees’ pocket. You have to commend the officials in Philly, though. It must have been really hot wearing their Eagles’ jerseys underneath those striped shirts.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle the Cowboys encountered in Sunday’s win came from inside their own huddle as the running game continued to sputter. With starting running back DeMarco Murray sidelined with an injury…again…rookie Joseph Randle and back up Phillip Tanner were unable to find running lanes. That’s mainly because there weren’t any. Let’s all hope Murray can get healthy and the offense line can over some holes next week when Dallas travels to Detroit to face a much more formidable defense.
For now, though, this Cowboys fan is going to enjoy the moment while hoping that another week will bring another win.