In the aftermath of Saturday’s Dallas Cowboys win over the Philadelphia Eagles, there are a lot of fans of the birds noting how insignificant the game was due to Jalen Hurts missing it with an injury. It sort of feels like Gardner Minshew’s performance is not getting enough love, but it is worth saying that things are definitely very different if Hurts plays. Of course, it is possible that the Cowboys still come away with the win.
While the Eagles offense was not the same version of themselves on Saturday without Hurts that they have been for most of this season, their defense had no such excuse. Dak Prescott took down that defense, but his performance was accomplished along with Kellen Moore. Over the past few weeks there have been criticisms of Moore, but it is time to perhaps acknowledge that he is sort of good at his job.
Kellen Moore led an offense that was mostly unstoppable against the Eagles
All told, the Dallas Cowboys possessed the ball 12 times on Christmas Eve. Two of those possessions came at the end of each half and were just the team running out the clock, so we can discard them as far as being tried and true possessions. One of them was the unfortunate interception that Philadelphia returned for a defensive touchdown.
This gives us nine possessions that the Cowboys ultimately had to really work with. They scored on eight of them. That is, generally speaking, a winning formula. Think about that. The Eagles boast one of the better defenses in the NFL, and far more often than not the Cowboys came away with points against them, and did so at times in some pretty extreme circumstances (3rd and 30 for one).
There is enough credit to go around for Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, the offensive line, and yes, even for Kellen Moore to get some. The way that Dallas lost to Jacksonville last week spooked a lot of people, but even in that losing effort the Cowboys offense showed up which was a point we talked about in the days that followed. Nothing they do is quiet because of the star on their helmet, but the Cowboys are somehow quietly one of the better, and more efficient, offenses in the NFL.
Moments like Moore calling a weird trick play involving KaVontae Turpin can become a bit exhausting and certainly feel bigger than what they really are in the moment, but it’s time to give him the benefit of the doubt. Nobody is perfect, but for the most part Moore’s offenses with Dak under center have been among the very best in the NFL. This isn’t any sort of cherry-picked reality. We are about to finish season number four with this group, half of which took place under a different head coach than it began.
Something lost in the fold of Saturday’s win has been that the Eagles defense in question showed all the way up against the Cowboys in the run game. Consider that Tony Pollard had 19 yards on 9 carries that Ezekiel Elliott had 55 on 16. Philadelphia clogged things up on the ground and forced Dallas to go to the air. Moore did not blink.
Against one of the better defenses in the NFL, with one of his main tools taken away from him, Kellen Moore called an offense that scored and scored and scored and scored. Give him his credit.