In a close NFC East duel, the Eagles defeated the Cowboys 28:23 and continue to hold the best record in the entire sport. Here are my final observations on the Birds’ gigantic division win. You can also check out my observations from the first half.
Let’s get it over with…
• Jalen Hurts was unsteady at the end of the first half, sending Eagles fans into a panic. There’s no doubt that Hurts has been dealing with a knee injury lately and has seemed a little slower than usual and less agile, but that’s also because he’s getting better as a pocket passer. After destroying Washington’s defense last week, Hurts hit his best throw of the night with a 29-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith on the first drive of the third quarter:
The Eagles laid the foundation for this with some timely runs from D’Andre Swift, Rashaad Penny and even Hurts himself, who moved the chains on third-and-two. After a poor first half that sent them down three to the locker, the Birds came out and kicked some serious ass early in the third quarter.
• Zach Cunningham had a great sequence early in the third quarter. After an incomplete pass from Dak Prescott, he delivered a devastating blow to Jake Ferguson. On second down, he stopped a KaVontae Turpin end-around for no gain. On third-and-15 down, Cunningham helped slow Ferguson down, preventing a first down and forcing a punt. The Eagles will never have a truly good linebacker group, but Cunningham, a late summer addition, has played better than anyone could have hoped this season.
It happened again in the fourth quarter. As Cunningham was covering Ferguson, it was deflected into the end zone. On second down, he intercepted Tony Pollard with a handoff. On third down, he lofted Prescott and sent him flying as Lincoln Financial Field began to really rock. After all of that, Dallas couldn’t convert on fourth down. What a game from Cunningham.
• DeVonta Smith always does the little things, which speaks to his successful background. Consider him a blocker:
• The Eagles dominated possession early in the half. On their second drive of the third quarter, they methodically drove down the field before Hurts hit Brown for a three-yard touchdown:
The Birds had the ball for almost 10 minutes in the third quarter alone (9:55).
Even though it seems like the Eagles’ offense isn’t playing at its best, they’re still safe.
• With the Cowboys trailing by less than a touchdown and making some noise, the Birds defensive line got going. On first down, Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat brought down Prescott for a loss of seven yards. On third down, it was again Graham, the longest-tenured Eagle, who joined Jalen Carter, the team’s star rookie, in sacking Prescott for a four-yard loss. Time is a flat circle.
• Throw a deep ball to AJ Brown? Great. Throw the ball into triple coverage while they have a four point lead, move the ball up the field and kill time? I’m not sure what Hurts was thinking when he made that throw with just over three minutes left in the third quarter.
• Dallas Goedert had a big 28-yard pickup down the Dallas sideline in the third quarter, but went to the locker room after the play after a questionable hit by Cowboys linebacker Markquese Bell. It was a forearm injury and it didn’t look good. Nakobe Dean also had to miss Sunday’s game due to a foot injury. The bye week comes at a much-needed time.
• CeeDee Lamb ate the Eagles’ secondary alive. It didn’t matter if it was an undrafted rookie like Eli Ricks or an All-Pro like James Bradberry. The Prescott-Lamb connection in the second half kept this from being a comfortable Eagles win. It was truly a disturbing victory. It happened over and over again!
• The Eagles’ defense bent and collapsed in all directions on Dallas’ first TD drive of the second half midway through the fourth quarter. Prescott threw 60 yards alone on that drive before firing a touchdown strike to Jalen Tolbert.
• This game went all the way to the end. With less than a minute left, James Bradberry was called for a DPI, setting up Dallas with field position at the 50. A violent attack by the passer on the next play against Haason Reddick sucked the air out of the Linc. Two plays later, Carter jumped for an encroachment penalty. Everything bad that could have happened happened. However, Josh Sweat destroyed Prescott with a sack and a massive 11-yard loss with the clock ticking. A delay of game penalty in the midst of all this chaos with more twists and turns than an M. Night Shyamalan movie produced a third-and-26 that, frankly, Dallas could have converted. Prescott, of course, found Lamb, but the wideout missed the goal line.
That was a lot. My goodness.
• After Jake Ferguson’s touchdown was overturned in the fourth quarter and Dallas turned the ball over on downs, the Linc “Shout” by the Isley Brothers started playing and, I swear to everything, you could feel the press box shaking with people, who lost their minds and danced.
• What a picture:
• With both teams nearing a bye, the 8-1 Eagles will face the 7-2 Chiefs on Monday Night Football in Kansas City on Nov. 20. It will be the first time ever that the Eagles play a Super Bowl rematch the following season. It could also serve as a preview of Super Bowl LVIII.
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