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Cowboys @ Eagles Game Drive by Drive: Dallas Defense Stacks Up

A quick look at how dominating the Dallas defense was - and will need to be going forward.

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys came away with a hard-fought win over the Eagles on Sunday, but the injuries are stacking up. There's no question that Dallas is severely hampered right now on offense, missing both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.

Even so, hope lingers on because the revamped defense is better than anticipated. While the sacks are not as numerous as might be hoped, there was solid penetration all day against the Eagles, and multiple turnovers. There were bright spots all over, and perhaps none brighter than Sean Lee, who seemed to be simultaneously in the Philadelphia Eagles' backfield, covering their RBs on swing passes, and defending footballs downfield.

But the while the individual stats look nice, the tale of the drives is truly stunning. The Eagles had 12 drives.

Exactly one of them lasted longer than three minutes. Seven lasted less than two minutes apiece.

Only four crossed midfield. Only two entered the red zone.

The first eight ended with zero points.

Say that again. Eight drives without a score.

Then a field goal, a fumble, an interception, and, on the twelfth and final Eagles drive, a TD.

That is an amazing display of fortitude by a defense which had little to no offensive help on the day. They didn't quite pitch a shut out, but they never stopped coming, never stopped fighting, never let their opponent into the game. Coverage, tackling, pressure, run stops... all were there in abundance.

With Tony Romo and Dez Bryant both sidelined for a significant time, the assumption would normally be that Dallas would likely go 0 - fer waiting for its two best offensive players to get back. But with the defense playing like this -- and likely to get better with the additions of Hardy and McClain as well as the return of Randy Gregory -- there is actually hope that the team can hang in and maybe even maintain its lead over the rest of the division.

It's going to be an interesting ride.


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