Was it everything you hoped it would be? Damn skippy, it was!
The Dallas Cowboys have played their biggest game of the season, and boy was it a good one. Not only did the Cowboys beat their toughest division opponent, they beat them badly, 37-10. Right from the get-go this team was bringing the heat. After head coach Jason Garrett
guaranteed a victory calmly went about his business this week, the team was prepared to play and had their most complete game of the season. The offense was great. The defense was great. Even the special teams was out there doing special stuff.
There were a lot of great stuff to talk about, so let’s get to it. Here are ten thoughts on the Cowboys big win against the Eagles on Sunday night.
1. Finally, a short field!
Entering the game, this was true...
31 teams have started a drive inside their opponents territory. The one team that hasn't - Dallas Cowboys— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 19, 2019
When you offer next to nothing in the return game or fail to take the ball away, this is the type of results you're going to get.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS need to step it up!
Well, that is no more as the Cowboys finally joined the club. On the Eagles first possession of the game, linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith squeezed Dallas Goerdert, causing him to fumble the ball. Maliek Collins was there to jump on it. The Cowboys took full advantage and marched 45 yards on six plays to take a 7-0 lead.
They wasted no time doing it again as DeMarcus Lawrence had a sack/strip fumble on Carson Wentz on the Eagles next possession.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was writing checks that Lane Johnson couldn't cash.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 21, 2019
Insufficient Funds: Please try again later.... pic.twitter.com/nIPjnrR5lG
And just like before, they turned it into points. The game couldn’t have started any better.
2. New Life?
After quickly going up 14-0, the Cowboys had a great chance to pile on the agony as it appeared the Eagles were going to go three-and-out on their ensuring possession. Unfortunately, they got a fresh set of downs when Jaylon Smith was called for unnecessary roughness on Carson Wentz. Two plays later, Xavier Woods was called for a personal foul after laying a hit on Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffrey.
The end result was a seven-play, 87-yard drive, capped off with a Goedert touchdown. And just like that, we had a game again. Since we’ve grown accustomed to watching this team shoot itself in the foot recently, we couldn’t help wonder if the tide was going to turn.
3. Foot on the gas
Despite the Eagles gaining some momentum after cutting it to 14-7 in the first quarter, the Cowboys didn’t throttle back. On defense, they kept the pressure on the Eagles offense, forcing a three-and-out on their next possession. And on offense, the Cowboys stayed aggressive, taking some nice shots up the field. Jason Garrett even went for it on fourth down early to keep a drive going.
The Cowboys offense kept pushing and was able to get right back in the end zone, once again going up by 14 points, and taking a 20-point lead into halftime. When the dust had finally settled, the Cowboys racked up 37 points - their highest point total of the year. It was also their biggest margin of victory of the season with a 27-point differential. Man, they sure picked a good game for that to happen.
4. Amari continues to dominate the East
I love Amari Cooper. You love Amari Cooper. We all love Amari Cooper. He’s just such a big spark to the Cowboys passing game as he continues to make big catch after big catch.
What’s especially enjoyable about Cooper’s presence in a Cowboys uniform is the fact that Dallas has never lost a divisional game since no. 19 has joined the squad. He’s faced each NFC East at least twice, and every time - the Cowboys have emerged victorious. I like those ratios.
5. Running game
Entering the game, the Eagles were second in the NFL in run defense, allowing just 73 yards per game. The Cowboy more than doubled that performance as they totaled 180 yards on the ground against the Eagles on Sunday night. And it wasn’t just a volume stat ballooned by a heavy dose of the running game. The Cowboys earned their rushing yards with some tough running and opening things up in the passing game. The Cowboys offensive line wore down the Eagles front.
And it wasn’t just Ezekiel Elliott doing the work. The Cowboys mixed up their rushing attack as four different players had at least 20 yards rushing. Zeke lead the way with 111 yards, but they also got contribution from Tony Pollard, Dak Prescott, and a nice designed play for Tavon Austin that resulted in their first touchdown of the game.
The stars were shining on Sunday, both in the passing game and running game. It was nice to see multiple players getting into the action.
Cowboys WR Amari Cooper: “Man, if I can ball out in the same game that Zeke balls out in, we’ll never lose.”— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) October 21, 2019
6. Another 60+ from Maher
It’s always a box of chocolates whenever Brett Maher lines up to attempt a field goal, but make no mistake about it - he’s got a big leg. For the second straight game, Maher connected for a field goal greater than 60 yards after knocking down a 63-yarder at the end of the first half. He became the only kicker in NFL history to make three kicks of 60+ yards.
NBC had their distance tracker on it, showing that this kick would’ve been good from 66 yards. It seems more and more likely that Brett Maher will break the record for longest FG in NFL history. It’s just a matter of when.
BRETT MAHER HAS UNLIMITED RANGE— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) October 21, 2019
(via @thecheckdown) pic.twitter.com/y1GnBUPc4X
Side note: this is the second straight season that Maher has ended the half at AT&T Stadium with a 62+ yard field goal... against the Eagles.
7. Four Takeaways!
Coming into the game, the Cowboys defense had only taken the ball away five times this season, ranking them in the bottom five of the league for the year. Against the Eagles on Sunday night, the Cowboys took the ball away four times. With two forced fumbles, a interception by Xavier Woods, and a mishandled snap by Wentz, the Cowboys defense was always in the right place at the right time.
It feels like such a luxury to be on the right side of the turnover differential, and you can see how much of a difference it makes. The Cowboys had 21 points off those turnovers.
The offense has been playing well for most of the season, but the defense has been shaky at times. One of the things hurting them is their inability to create takeaways, so it was great to see them finally get some on Sunday night.
8. Tyron is hurting
It was great to have the starting tackles back and you could see it pay dividends as Dak Prescott had more time in the pocket. But it was far from a clean game. Tyron Smith, who made his return after missing the last two games with an ankle injury, struggled throughout the night. Smith just didn’t have his normal mobility and had all kinds of fits with Eagles edge rusher Derek Barnett. Between giving up sacks and getting flagged for holding, it wasn’t a good game for the Cowboys veteran left tackle.
If his ankle is still a little sore hindering his performance, then hopefully getting these next two weeks to rest will help him heal up.
Speaking of resting up, we’ll have to wait and see how Leighton Vander Esch (neck) and Robert Quinn (ribs) are doing after exiting the game with injuries.
9. It’s not you, it’s me
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been listening to this team tell us that they love the group they have and what we’ve seen is just the result of them getting in their own way. While that sounds nice, it didn’t make us feel any easier about what we’ve been subjected to recently.
On Sunday night, this team showed that maybe their problems were self-inflicted and that this team can be one of the better teams in the league. We saw what happens when they don’t dig themselves into a big hole. Their offense put up yet another 400+ yard performance. They are now the no. 1 ranked team in the NFL in terms of offense. This speaks to what they’re capable of if they stop beating themselves.
Sure, it’s just one game, but it was a big one and they showed up.
10. The big advantage
The Cowboys now have a one-game lead over the Eagles as well holding an early lead in the tie-breaker category. Just how big is this? Well, these teams won’t see each each other until Week 16. That means that over the next seven games, the Cowboys could essentially lose ground to the Eagles by two games and still control their own destiny when Week 16 rolls around. Not that we expect that to happen, but it definitely provides a little cushion in case adversity strikes again.