Eagles vs Cowboys Sunday Night Football Recap
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has always been bold. He certainly proved that on the biggest stage in Super Bowl 52, giving the go-ahead for his offense to run a trick play, The Philly Special, in the most tense of moments. That was boldness in action. And boldness in words? Pederson can do that too, the latest example being his guarantee of an Eagles victory before a crucial matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.
A primetime matchup where not just the division, but pivotal momentum going forward, was on the line. He later clarified that his declaration was intended less as a slight at the Cowboys squad and more as a firm belief in his team. Yet his boldness appeared to serve as surplus motivation for a Dallas team searching for answers after three straight losses.
On the heels of Pederson’s guarantee of victory, the Cowboys dismantled the Eagles 37-10. Dallas defensive end Demarcus Lawrence said it best, noting that Doug Pederson made a statement during the week leading up to the game but the Cowboys made a statement during the actual game, when it counted.
Eagles Slow Starts Continues vs Cowboys
A major problem for the Birds this entire season has been an inability to score points early. Even in Eagles’ victories this season, their play in the first quarter has been near the bottom of the league. Pederson attempted to counter this issue by electing to receive the opening kickoff after winning the coin toss.
Unfortunately, this plan totally backfired. Tight end Dallas Goedert fumbled a reception on just the fifth play of the game. After recovering the football, it only took the Cowboys six plays to put points of their own on the board.
The early mistakes didn’t end there as Demarcus Lawrence beat the Eagles offensive line for a strip sack on their very next possession. While the Eagles are no stranger to playing from behind, it’s never an optimal position to be in. This game was one that got away from them early.
Eagles Run Defense Fails to Contain Elliot, Cowboys
The in-game battle between the Eagles elite rush defense and star Ezekiel Elliot was an important determinant of this game’s outcome. The Eagles definitively lost this one as they allowed the Cowboy’s star back to gain 111 yards on 22 carries. He was also a force in the receiving game, totaling 36 yards and some pivotal third down conversions.
The defense’s failure to stop the Dallas rushing attack left no opportunity for comeback potential Sunday night. The drives orchestrated by Dak Prescott consistently killed a large chunk of clock through a sustained commitment to the run game. The Cowboy’s dominance on the ground also translated into favorable isolation coverage for Amari Cooper. Cooper took advantage of one-on-one matchups to the tune of 5 catches for 106 yards. Ezekiel Elliot and Amari Cooper are the kind of offensive weapons that thrive off the other’s success. The Eagles learned that lesson the hard way in week 7.
A Look Ahead
The Eagles have no time to dwell on this poor performance as next week’s contest gets no easier. The Birds travel to Buffalo and will face one of the stingiest defenses in the league. The good news is that, although the Bills have posted a stellar 5-1 record so far this season, they played quite sloppy against the abysmal Dolphins in their week 7 game. While this game isn’t yet in the category of “must-win”, it’s getting close. Hopefully the embarrassment of playing so poorly in primetime and losing the division lead will inspire Pederson and his players to dig deeper in week 8.