ARLINGTON - Tradition. Trends. Talent.
The Dallas Cowboys had all three going for them on "Monday Night Football'' against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles, and rode them to a 41-21 victory
Tradition. Trends. Talent.
"Tradition'' came in the form of the presence of newly-minted Hall-of-Famers Jimmy Johnson, Drew Pearson and Cliff Harris, who received their Canton rings at halftime here at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys had been 10-11 with the stadium configuration featuring the roof and doors open, as was the case here.
But the Cowboys’ record with owner Jerry Jones and the legendary coach Johnson embracing on The Star?
"How 'bout them Cowboys?!'' barked Johnson to the cheers of 93,267 or so.
"Talent'' arrived in the form of the leadership of Dak Prescott, back in this building for a real game first the first time since Week 5 of 2020, when his gruesome ankle injury ruined his season - and ruined Dallas'.
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"I’ll take that moment, I’ll be thankful for it,” Prescott said on the eve of this NFC East showdown. "But then (I’ll) flip the mind right back again to the Eagles’ defense and what I have to do to win the game.”
He "flipped,'' alright - to the tune of three TD passes, powering Dallas to a 2-1 record and first place in the division.
And then came "trends.''
On offense? Entering Monday, in his seven career games against the Eagles, Cooper had caught 33 passes for 614 yards and four touchdowns - making Philly his most victimized foe. Here, playing with a cracked rib, the four-time Pro Bowler was one of eight Cowboys who caught passes.
Amari as a decoy? Maybe. A new Philly killer in backup tight end Dalton Schultz, who caught six balls and two TD passes? Maybe.
On defense? Entering Monday, in his last five meetings against Philadelphia, Randy Gregory had 19 tackles, 10 quarterback hurries, 4.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Here, Gregory was part of a Dallas defense that largely controlled QB Jalen Hurts and the Eagles, as the Cowboys recorded a pair of sacks plus a pair of interceptions, one of them a pick-six TD by Trevon Diggs.
Tradition. Trends. Talent. Dallas had all of it. Philly had ... no response.
Said Dak to the TV network after the game: “It’s something we go to build off of. I feel great. I’ve got a great supporting cast and a great defense that’s making plays and giving me the ball back. So, we just got to continue to build.”