The Dallas Cowboys start the season 2-0, but are 0-2 when it comes to star players they have lost to injury. It was an ugly game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but at least Dallas came out victorious. Here are five observations from the game.
1. Cowboys win the run battle
It's not a contest between DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle, but if it was - Murray would be losing. After a horrible grand-opening game with his new team, DeMarco followed it with an even worse game.
DeMarco Murray rushed 13 times for 2 yards.
But this isn't about DeMarco Murray. This is about the Cowboys and the Eagles.
The Philadelphia Eagles, behind their amazing offensive lineman (just ask them if you don't believe me), rushed for only seven yards. Not seven yards per carry. Seven yards per whole game.
The Cowboys rushed for 113 yards, but again - it's not a contest.
In fairness to Murray, it wasn't his fault. He didn't have anywhere to run. The Eagles interior line were just rolling out the red carpet for the Cowboys defenders. Maybe they were getting ready for the Emmys. It seemed like any time Murray touched the ball, he was getting hit in the backfield.
It was a frustrating game for the Eagles running attack. You could see it. DeMarco was overcome with emotion that he even took it out on poor Dan Bailey. After a great run in which he hurdled over a defender, Murray ran out-of-bounds and gave Bailey a little shove. Bailey reacted by grabbing Murray's hand, in which DeMarco took offense to and tossed the ball out him. But it was the poor hapless kicker who got called for the unsportsmanlike penalty.
Bailey learned his lesson though, because the next time an Eagles defender ran out of bounds toward him, he made sure to get out of the way.
2. The defense was spectacular
In a game that was full of frustration, it was offset by watching this defensive unit, who has been so bad in recent years, totally dominate. That's right. Dominate. Rod Marinelli had his group ready. Ready to attack DeMarco Murray, ready to chase after Darren Sproles, and ready to get after Sam Bradford.
The Cowboys defense allowed 226 total yards. That is remarkable.
As great as they were against the run, they did a great job against the pass as well. The Eagles only had 219 yards through the air. If you thought the Giants 190 yards passing last week was a fluke, you might want to think again. The Cowboys are shutting everyone down. And these aren't chump offenses. Both the Eagles and Giants were in the top 10 in offensive yards last season. It's just two weeks, but the Cowboys are averaging 205 passing yards. And it's only going to get better when Greg Hardy, Rolando McClain, and Randy Gregory return.
It was a collective effort, but man is it nice to have a familiar face roaming around.
3. Sean Lee was phenomenal
Sean Lee had 14 tackles and a back-breaking interception in the end zone. With the Cowboys star linebacker having such a knack for picking off passes, it is only fitting that he got the team's first interception of the year. Lee was everywhere. It was like he was in the huddle with the Eagles. The Cowboys defensive line totally dominated the Eagles interior line and it left wide open holes for Lee to burst through and tackle anything he wanted.
So much is made about this improved of the pass rush when it comes to the defensive line, but taking on these blockers and allowing the Cowboys linebackers to do their job is crucial.
4. What was the deal with the penalties?
Every time I got a moment to feel good about something, there would be a stupid penalty that would set the team back. I don't want to mention any names because that would take forever. Everyone got in on it. A delay of game penalty (would've been two of them if they didn't get bailed out by a timeout), holding on this guy, holding on that guy, false start on him, or this guy didn't line up far enough to the line. Considering the Pro Bowl talent that was committing these penalties, it was just nauseating. Jason Garrett has to be irate.
The Cowboys better clean that up, because when it came to penalties - they looked like a team that usually gets a high draft pick each year.
5. Brandon Weeden did a good job
Let's talk about the elephant in the room. We all know that losing Tony Romo is the worst thing that could happen to this team. His value is indescribable. But the team has lost him so they got to suck it up. Rolling with Weeden is a scary thought and you know as well as I do - when he came in to take over, we all felt a collapse looming. We all thought the Cowboys would fail to do anything offensively and the Eagles would surge back in the game. But that didn't happen. Instead, he did exactly what was expected of him. Weeden completed all seven of his passes for 73 yards and the game-clinching touchdown.
If you are like me, then you don't understand what the coaches see in this guy to have him as the team's backup. But if you are like me, then you also understand that the coaches clearly see something in him. What's he going to be like with a great offensive line and a strong defense helping him out?
Well, we're about to find out.
|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.|