Cowboys Make Eagles Pay for Early Mistakes in Pivotal NFC East Victory

The Cowboys took sole possession of first place in the NFC East after cruising by the Eagles on Sunday Night Football.
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Elliott's 147 total yards helped lead the Cowboys to a lopsided victory over the Eagles. 

Elliott's 147 total yards helped lead the Cowboys to a lopsided victory over the Eagles. 

The Dallas Cowboys were having none of it.

After suffering three straight losses following a 3–0 start to the season, they knew the pressure was mounting. First it was a 12–10 loss to the Saints. Then came the 34–24 beating against the Packers. By the end of last week’s 24–22 defeat against the previously winless Jets––a loss Jerry Jones admitted felt like “a bloody nose”––even an Eagles team coming off of its own dismal loss was confident in its chances of winning Sunday night’s divisional contest.

“We’re going down to Dallas, and our guys are gonna be ready to play. And we’re gonna win that football game, and when we do, we’re in first place in the NFC East,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said.

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys made sure that didn’t happen.

With a balanced offensive approach and a standout defensive showing, Dallas took control of the NFC East with a 37–10 Week 7 win over Philadelphia at home. Prescott finished the game 21-of-27 for 239 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception. Ezekiel Elliott added 111 yards and a score on 22 carries, while Amari Cooper came up big in the receiving game with five catches for 106 yards on the night.

Here are some key takeaways worth noting from the Cowboys’ big win––and the Eagles’ ugly performance––on Sunday.

Dallas is not dead … yet

Things are looking a lot brighter in Dallas.

After spending weeks trying to rediscover the offense that propelled them to an undefeated start to the season, the Cowboys finally found it on Sunday, pouncing on early mistakes by the Eagles to take a 14-0 lead. Even after the Eagles responded to cut the deficit in half, the Cowboys answered right back with two scoring drives of their own, helping them carry a 20-point lead into halftime.

They never looked back after that. Their biggest playmakers all made things happen. The offensive line gave Prescott plenty of time. And while the performance doesn’t necessarily erase the concerns that showed up after their consecutive losses, their beatdown of the Eagles did highlight some good signs. Which Cowboys’ offense we’ll get next week is still up in the air.

For now, at least, they’ve stopped the bleeding.

The Eagles' defense is officially broken

This wasn’t totally unexpected. Through six weeks of the season, Philadelphia’s 29th-ranked pass defense had given up 280.2 yards per game. Any hope of salvaging the unit’s coverage woes disappeared when Kirk Cousins torched the secondary last week.

What wasn’t expected? The Eagles’ run defense going AWOL.

Ranked second in opponent rushing average (3.3 yards per carry) entering the night, Philadelphia’s ability to stop the run seemed to completely vanish on Sunday. Elliott had 65 yards on 13 carries in a first half that saw the Cowboys rush for 111 yards at the break. Dallas averaged 6.8 yards per carry on first down in the first two quarters, and the Cowboys built a 27–7 lead, the largest halftime deficit of Pederson’s career.

The offense didn’t help them any (Carson Wentz went 16-of-26 for 191 yards and turned it over three times) but there’s no question this defense needs to be better if the Eagles are to have any chance at turning things around. It’s up to Pederson to figure out how.

Brett Maher makes history

He may be inconsistent inside of 50 yards, but when it comes to kicks outside of the marker, Brett Maher is money.

On the final play of the first half on Sunday, Maher drilled a 63-yarder to become the first kicker in NFL history with three career field goals of at least 60 yards. The make was a Cowboys franchise record and just one shy of tying the NFL’s longest field goal in history.

Maher made a 62-yarder against the Eagles last season and a 62-yarder last week against the Jets. He’s now 9-of-12 from 50-plus yards in his two seasons.