Going into the Cowboys game against the Eagles, conventional wisdom said that we were looking at a shootout. Both teams had suffered plenty of bad defensive outings in the early part of the season and both teams possessed high-scoring offenses. But last week, the Dallas defense started to show signs of life when they held down the Washington Redskins offense even though Robert Griffin was rounding into form (check out what he did today against the Bears defense). The momentum was carried over to this game in a stubborn effort the yielded a 17-3 victory.
The woes of the defensive line have been well-documented, injury after injury including DeMarcus Ware who had to sit this one out. Still, somehow, they are managing to hold on. George Selvie continues to up his stock with 1.5 sacks on the day and as a unit they accounted for three sacks and a fistful of hits, eventually knocking Nick Foles out of the game. They also played well against the run.
At linebacker, Sean Lee was a one-man show. His ability to track down LeSean McCoy and the run game was a huge reason McCoy only had 55 yards rushing. And for good measure, he threw in a key interception.
In the secondary, tight man-to-man coverage helped to shut down the Eagles all day, just like it did last week against the Redskins. The three cornerbacks are getting the job done with Brandon Carr looking exceptional, including an interception. Even the Cowboys safeties are now chipping in instead of being a liability. Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox were integral in shutting down the running game with Sean Lee, and both had big plays in pass defense. Church had an interception and Wilcox made a spectacular breakup of a sure-fire Desean Jackson touchdown.
The Cowboys were sure tacklers all day on defense, a key to containing McCoy who is an extremely shifty runner. Some key stats include Philly going 4 of 18 on third downs and they only averaged 3.7 yards per play. Of course the big stat is only giving up three points.
Even though the Cowboys offense struggled in the game, they show all the signs of being a potent offense throughout the season. If the Cowboys defense starts playing like they have the past two games this could become a very dangerous team. Next week, they have a big challenge in Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush in Detroit, if they can manage another great performance then we have a trend. And just maybe, we'll have DeMarcus Ware back for that one.