The Cowboys slayed a few dragons - revenge over the Eagles, beating a team with a winning record, moving to first place in the division - all in one night. They enjoyed a pretty thorough beatdown of the Eagles, winning 33-13 and looking good while doing it.
In a bit of a surprise, the Cowboys controlled this game from the jump. Things were pretty much wrapped up by halftime, and these five plays were a big reason for that.
KaVontae Turpin’s big run on third down
The Cowboys got the ball to start the game, and they wanted to march down the field and draw first blood. But after their first two plays netted nine yards, the Cowboys were faced with their first third down of the night.
On third and inches, Dak Prescott lined up in an empty shotgun formation before motioning KaVontae Turpin to come behind him. That led to a perfectly timed snap and handoff to the speedster, already in stride, and the rest was easy:
Turpin almost immediately picked up the first down, but he had plenty more room to roam. Turpin took off down the sideline, picking up a total of 22 yards before being forced out of bounds. Not only did this play prevent a three-and-out, but it flipped the field and set the Cowboys up for a touchdown just seven plays later.
Jalen Hurts fumbles on the opening drive
For a moment, it looked like the Eagles were ready to turn this game into a shootout. The Eagles offense swiftly moved down the field following the Cowboys’ score, even converting on a third and 16, and were threatening in Dallas territory.
An offensive pass interference penalty backed things up to first and 20 at the Dallas 31, and Jalen Hurts took off for a sizable chunk that nearly erased the penalty yardage. Or, at least, it would have done so if not for Hurts’ fumbling the ball.
Donovan Wilson managed to rip the ball out of Hurts’ clutches as he brought him down and, crucially, Wilson also recovered the ball for the takeaway. This turned out to be the Cowboys first of three fumble recoveries on the night, a karmic coincidence after the Eagles recovered all three of their fumbles in the first matchup. This takeaway in particular killed a promising Eagles drive and allowed the Cowboys to make it a two score lead early on.
Jayron Kearse forces big incompletion on third down
After the Cowboys went up 10-0, the Eagles were in the danger zone. A failure to score points on the next drive would set them up in a very bad spot, and Philadelphia needed to score. That was reflected by a fake punt after going three-and-out, which extended the drive.
However, their next two plays after the fake punt totaled just five yards. On third and five, Hurts decided to take a deep shot to A.J. Brown, who was covered by Jayron Kearse. Due to Kearse’s coverage, though, Hurts had to throw into a tight window down the sideline, and Brown was unable to make the adjustment necessary to haul it in.
Were it not for Kearse’s tight coverage, Brown would’ve caught the ball at the Dallas five and very likely led to a touchdown. But Kearse forced the incompletion, and the Eagles were forced to settle for a field goal. The offense only scored once more in the game, another field goal, which isn’t enough when the Cowboys are scoring touchdowns.
Mike McCarthy challenges the call, gets a touchdown
Speaking of touchdowns, the Cowboys had a golden opportunity to further expand the lead after the Eagles’ field goal. A huge shot down the seam to Jake Ferguson - that play is becoming a weekly staple now - helped flip the field for Dallas. It wasn’t long before they were looking at first and goal.
However, the Cowboys’ first two plays came up short, and they faced third and goal on the goal line. Mike McCarthy opted to hand it off to Rico Dowdle, who was ruled down short after running into a cluster of players. However, McCarthy threw the challenge flag, and after a lengthy review it was determined that Dowdle had, in fact, broken the plane for a touchdown.
This successful challenge was crucial not only for putting points on the scoreboard, but also because the Cowboys went for it on fourth and goal in the last game and came up just short after review. This time, they needed a review to confirm the touchdown, and it helped Dallas extend their lead to 17-3.
Brandin Cooks makes catch, and double penalty hurts Eagles
The Eagles once again followed up the Cowboys’ touchdown with a field goal, but Dallas had the ball back just after the two-minute warning had gone by. After a couple of quick plays, the Cowboys had third and six at their own 40 with just under a minute left in the half.
That’s when Prescott hit Brandin Cooks on a quick out route, picking up eight yards and the first down while going out of bounds. Flags also flew, and rookie cornerback Kelee Ringo was the culprit. In a rare move, he was hit with double penalties for both pass interference and facemask.
Both were enforced, which tacked on a total of 25 yards from the spot of the foul. Just like that, the Cowboys went from their own 40 to the Eagles’ 35-yard line. They’d have been fine without any penalty, but the flags flipped the field and set them up for a big score. Six plays later, Prescott hit Michael Gallup for a touchdown, and Dallas took a dominant 24-6 halftime lead that would not be overcome.