The Dallas Cowboys came into Sunday Night Football with a 4-1 record and a four-game winning streak. By the end of Sunday night, the team left Philly with a 4-2 record and will have to start a potential brand-new winning streak as the 1-4 Detroit Lions come to town this upcoming Sunday afternoon. Although Dallas was unable to come away with the victory over the Eagles, a 4-2 record through the first six weeks of the season is pretty remarkable considering how Week 1 played out.
Since Week 1, the Cowboys have been without their franchise quarterback, Dak Prescott, and had to turn to his backup, Cooper Rush, to hold down the fort and he did just that. Cooper Rush played well enough in his five starts to keep Dallas very much in the playoff race and in contention to win the NFC East once again. This past game certainly wasn’t pretty and by far Rush’s worst performance, but a 4-2 record with the prospects of having Dak Prescott back in the saddle in Week 7 is something many didn’t expect when the injury bug got Prescott.
Kudos to Cooper Rush for keeping the ship steady while Dak works his way back to the playing field. Although kudos have been thrown out to Cooper Rush, he and the rest of the team suffered a tough loss to the still undefeated Eagles. It’s time to go through each unit and give out grades for this week’s performance.
Cooper Rush turning the ball over via three interceptions proved to be very costly
As we’ve seen through the previous five weeks, Cooper Rush hasn’t been lighting the world on fire with his play. In fact, he’s been very judicious with the ball and playing sound fundamental football. This all changed on Sunday night as Rush threw three costly interceptions, two of which that ended up in the hands of Eagles safety, C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Rush looked out of sorts for the majority of the game, and the stats proved this to be true as he had only completed just over 47% of his passes. That type of performance makes it very tough to compete for wins, especially at the NFL level.
The running game, along with a little help from wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, totaled 134 yards on 26 attempts and one touchdown. At over five yards a tote, the rushing attack was pretty effective against a stout defensive front from Philly that features Fletcher Cox, and this year’s 13th overall pick, Jordan Davis. With how the rushing attack was performing, it was very surprising to see Dallas not utilize it more, given Cooper Rush’s struggles throughout the game.
Not all was bad in the passing game as Lamb caught five balls for 68 yards, Noah Brown was very close to a touchdown catch near the end of the first half that was called back after review, and rookie fourth-rounder by way of Wisconsin, Jake Ferguson, broke out for his first of what we hope to be many touchdown receptions in his Cowboys career. There were some bright spots on offense, but those bright spots were overshadowed by poor play of Cooper Rush. Throwing three picks against an undefeated team typically spells disaster when the clock strikes zero at the end of the fourth quarter, which was the case as the Cowboys were defeated in Week 6.
Regardless of the scoreboard, the Cowboys defense performed extremely well given the hand they were dealt
Per usual, the Cowboys defense did everything that they could in order to give the team its best chance to win. Holding Jalen Hurts to just 155 yards passing given the circumstances was a huge factor in keeping this game close. Hurts didn’t do much damage on the ground as well as he only gained 27 yards in that department.
Speaking of the ground game, Dallas held the Eagles to just 3.5 yards a carry. With Hurts barely breaking 150 in the passing game, you can easily see that the trio of weapons for Philly were held in check for the most part. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith both scored touchdowns, but aside from that they weren’t as explosive as they typically are. Dallas Goedert was mostly a non-factor as well with only two grabs for just 22 yards. Hat tip to the secondary for keeping those three in check for the most part.
The pass rush for America’s Team continued to play at peak performance and were able to sack Hurts four times on the night. With the uphill battle due to the performance of the Cowboys offense putting the Eagles in plus territory on multiple occasions, to only have given up 26 points was a tremendous feat. Obviously having 26 points scored on your defense isn’t ideal, but it would’ve been way worse if this defense wasn’t as elite as it is. This defense once again gave the team it’s best chance to win, and unfortunately that did not happen in Week 6.
The special teams unit continues to perform well and hasn’t been a detriment to the overall team success
John “Bones” Fassel, who leads the special teams unit, has done a tremendous job through six weeks getting this group ready to perform each game. Thus far through six games, there have been blocked field goals and punts. The return game, primarily this past game has looked good. KaVontae Turpin seems to be getting ever so close to breaking one off for six like he did not once, but twice in one game this preseason. Brett Maher, looks like one of best kickers in the game at this very moment, which coming into the season was something most probably didn’t see coming. His two misses thus far in 2022 were from 50+, and everything inside that distance has been money for Maher through six weeks.
Bryan Anger continues to perform a pretty solid rate and has given the Cowboys defense a longer field to work with, which is very important considering how elite they’ve been. Due to the play of the defense, and from the quality play from Anger combined to have given the Cowboys offense a shorter field to work with, which has been crucial due to the absence of Dak Prescott. The one issue with this unit is the penalties from Kelvin Joseph. A penalty from him negated a nice return. Maybe Bones can coach Joseph up more, because if he can’t get Joseph to play well at least on special teams, his days in Dallas could be numbered. Overall, this unit has done a stand up job and it is good to see consistency from this unit.