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After further review: The Cowboys defense showed up against the Eagles

That’s the defense Cowboys fans have been waiting for!

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys get two weeks to enjoy their 27-point blowout over the Philadelphia Eagles before they have to get back on the field again. It was a beautiful thing to see the offense get back to that same explosiveness they had during the first three games of the season. The 37 points was their highest scoring game of the season, and with another 400+ yards performance, the Cowboys offense now leads the NFL with 3,065 yards gained on the year. That’s quite a turn of events from last season when this team finished 22nd in that same category.

It wasn’t just the offense that was getting it done on Sunday night. The defense played a great game as well. Led by four takeaways, the Cowboys defense set the table early as they helped gift-wrap starting field position for the offense. Entering the game, the Cowboys were the only team in the league that never started a drive in their opponents territory. Against Philadelphia, they had a total four possessions that started in Eagles’ territory thanks to takeaways. That’s way different.

The defense did a great job taking the ball away on Sunday, but another reason they had success is that they were able to get off the field. The Cowboys defense is tops in the NFC in opponents third-down percentage. And when their opponents are facing a third-and-ten or more... forget about it!

On Wednesday in our After Further Review piece, we pointed out that some brilliant play-calling and hard-nosed running paved the way on offense for their big win against the Eagles. But since this is a bye week, we get a bonus edition as we’ll examine some plays on the defensive side that helped the Cowboys shut down Philly.

It starts in the trenches

DeMarcus Lawrence finally got his first sack against Carson Wentz, and it came in stylish fashion as his strip/sack led to a quick seven points for the Cowboys. Tank came to play, but he wasn’t the only edge rusher out there causing problems. His partner in crime on the right side, Robert Quinn, is having a strong season, and it was on full display against the Eagles.

All he does is make plays, and we’re seeing that snake celebration quite a bit as of late.

If he keeps balling like this, he can do any celebration he wants.

Quinn exited the game early with a rib injury, but the Cowboys pass rush didn’t suffer a setback thanks to quality depth in the form of Kerry Hyder. The team signed him to a one-year, $1 million deal this offseason, and he’s proving to be a pretty good bargain.

Linebackers showed a lot of improvement

The Cowboys linebackers have received their fair share of criticism lately as some poor reads, bad angles, and weak arm-tackles have allowed their opponents to run with ease against them. They still have problems defending the inside runs when the offensive line gets their blockers to the second level, but they did a good job bringing down the Eagles’ pass-catching running backs in space.

And they made a couple nice plays in pass coverage as well.

A secondary with toughness

One way to keep teams from scoring is to just not allow big chunk plays, and the Cowboys secondary did a great job not surrendering big splash plays against the Eagles. In fact, here’s the Eagles biggest play of the game.

Many fans are baffled as to why Jourdan Lewis hasn’t gotten more playing time. He’s been a good player, but for whatever reasons, he can’t crack the starting lineup when all the other cornerbacks are healthy.

But on Sunday, the Cowboys didn’t have a clean bill of health as Anthony Brown was out with a hamstring injury. That meant Lewis’ number would be called and he didn’t disappoint.

It was great to see the defense play so well. The Cowboys played their most balance game of the season, and if this is a sign of what’s to come - it’s going to be a good finish to the 2019 season.

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