The final score matters, but what really counts is that Tony Romo was hurt. He fractured his left clavicle in the third quarter of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. If he is out for an appreciable amount of time, which seems all but certain, the Dallas Cowboys will have a tough task hanging in the playoff race. Sadly, the vaunted offensive line did not protect him well, with the Eagles getting three sacks on Romo total.
The disastrous moment of the game came in the third quarter. Romo was sacked and lost the ball for the only Dallas turnover of the game, and he was hurt, grabbing his left shoulder. He left the field and went to the locker room, and came back out without his pads. It was now Brandon Weeden's offense, putting even more stress on a defense that had carried the team so far. But Weeden was not the horror story of the Arizona Cardinals game last year. It was a fumble by Gavin Escobar that would breath new life into Philadelphia only down by ten points in the fourth quarter. However, one of the most disrespected players on the defense, Nick Hayden, would recover a fumbled snap by Sam Bradford the next play. Penalties continued to plague the Cowboys, and they would be forced to punt the ball away.
The Eagles has their own injury losses, with both Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks both leaving the game, but those are not comparable to the loss of Romo. Neither team had a lot to feel good about after this game.
You don't see a half of football sloppier and more flawed than the initial one in this game. Dallas had 10 penalites for 66 yards, killing drives and momentum. (They finished the game with a staggering 18 flags for 142 yards.) The Eagles tossed in six for 45 (and would finish with 8 for 60), keeping the drive that led to the second field goal alive repeatedly. But as they did against the New York Giants, the Cowboys dominated the stat line despite only managing a 6-0 lead at the intermission. The best chance for a touchdown came on a reception by Gavin Escobar that looked like it may have been a score, but he was ruled down just outside the end line. Dallas sputtered on three plays and had to settle for a Dan Bailey field goal.
The Cowboys amassed 193 yards on offense before halftime while Philly managed a truly paltry 21, and only had one first down courtesy of a penalty early in the game. Dallas held the ball for a remarkable 23:09 as the Eagles had nothing going offensively. Once again the high-priced running back stable was completely impotent, largely due to poor offensive line play. They were held to -3 yards, with Sean Lee repeatedly dropping players for a loss. DeMarco Murray was visibly upset on the sidelines, feeling that the coaches were giving up on the run far too easily. But given how the defense was penetrating and wrapping backs up behind the line, they may have had a point. The trend continued in the first Philadelphia possession of the second half, as the Cowboys snuffed out the first series with two tackles deep in the backfield.
And then the special teams made their first really big play of the season, Danny McCray blocking a punt that Kyle Wilber scooped up and ran in for a touchdown. Suddenly Dallas had a two score lead at 13-0. The Eagles had to find some kind of offense to have a chance to get into this game.
They finally seemed to get something going after the Romo injury, getting Murray involved in the screen game. A defensive holding penalty gave them another first down. But on the next play, a three man welcoming committee corralled Murray in the backfield and forced a loss of five yards. Then a holding call gave the Eagles new life. This was the first time Chip Kelly's offense got a chance to operate, and they began to hit some passes, They got to the Cowboys' three yard line - and then Sean Lee happened again, picking off Bradford in the end zone.
The defense had big plays all day, with Tyler Patmon breaking up multiple passes. Lee was just on a seek and destroy mission, and although the rush was not getting sacks, Bradford looked to be feeling the pressure and after Romo went out, he was unable to give his team a lift, missing open receivers repeatedly. Inside five minutes, after the Cowboys had stalled due to the all too frequent penalties, J.J Wilcox intercepted a ball that bounced Zack Ertz's hands.
And Weeden may have offered a glimmer of hope. He sealed the game with a 42 yard strike to Terrance Williams with 4:13, scoring the only Dallas offensive touchdown of the game to put the score at 20-3. The Eagles would drive down to the goal line in their only effective drive of the game, but the Cowboys forced them to run three plays, with a hold wiping out a Murray touchdown. Precious time bled off the clock before the Eagles got a touchdown with only 1:21 left. Lee recovered an onside kick that did not travel the requisite ten yards, and Dallas ran the time off the clock to win it 20-10.
Weeden completed his first seven passes. For some period of time, he is the hope for Dallas. With the way the defense and special teams were playing, this Cowboys team is not going to lie down and quit. They may not be able to overcome the huge hill ahead of them, but they made the Eagles look completely impotent for most of the game with only seven yards rushing. This team overcame the biggest blow they could take this time. We will see how much they can do.
|Don’t forget to resister for our Blogging the Boys meet-up!
Oct 24-25, 2015
Cowboys-Giants in the beautiful Poconos
|Three awesome Cowboys-centric events!
|Saturday, October 24
(8:00-10:00 PM): Dinner the night before the game
|Sunday, October 25
(9:00 AM - 1:00 PM): Pre-game brunch
|Sunday, October 25
(4:30-8:30 PM) Cowboys-Giants game, with free buffet
|Click Here to RSVP
|Click here for more information on pricing, lodging, etc.