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!
In 2019, 31 NFL teams have allowed at least one conversion on 3rd down with 10+ yards to go.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 25, 2019
The one team that hasn't - the Dallas Cowboys.
Opponents are 0-for-25 against the Cowboys defense on 3rd-and-10+ this season. pic.twitter.com/YMKVbJuduV
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.
Despite missing the first two games, Robert Quinn has been this team's defensive MVP through the first seven games of the season. pic.twitter.com/lmd3Vv0FPh— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 25, 2019
All he does is make plays, and we’re seeing that snake celebration quite a bit as of late.
I'm not going to lie...that Cobra strike sack celebration creeps me out a bit, but in all fairness - that's the only thing about Robert Quinn that I don't like. pic.twitter.com/t5onWOfLBl— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 21, 2019
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.
Kerry Hyder has been been disruptive off the bench. Not too shabby for a bargain free agency signing. pic.twitter.com/KeBCicdDD1— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 25, 2019
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.
The Cowboys linebackers have been shaky at times this year, but they did a great job tackling in the open field against the Eagles. pic.twitter.com/QYEvekjwM4— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 25, 2019
And they made a couple nice plays in pass coverage as well.
The Cowboys linebackers also played well in coverage. pic.twitter.com/UISpIRLkiH— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 25, 2019
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.
I don't know what I like more...the fact that the Eagles only touchdown drive came with the assist of two 15-yard penalties or that their biggest offensive play (30 yards) came when half the players on the field stopped moving because they thought it was a false start. pic.twitter.com/ebPGT1OqOZ— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 21, 2019
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.
I have a feeling we're going to see a lot more of Jourdan Lewis in the second half of the season. pic.twitter.com/kKkPHp7TgG— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 25, 2019
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.