The Cowboys withstood prime-time pressure, a fierce division rival and another clock mismanagement gaffe by their head coach to blow the Eagles out of Arlington ...
10. MONDAY NIGHT MISCELLANEOUS - Cowboys won their fifth consecutive home opener, with an average margin of victory of 12.4 points ... Cowboys-Eagles played for the 27th time on Monday Night Football, the most common matchup ... Dallas improved to 49-34 all-time on MNF ... On a gorgeous late September eve, both the roof and doors were open at AT&T Stadium. Cowboys are now 11-11 with that open-air configuration.
9. CREATIVE COWBOYS - First it was moving Micah Parsons from linebacker to defensive end. And last night it was shifting offensive lineman Connor McGovern to fullback. Whether compensating for injuries to the defensive line or a lead-blocker void on the roster, give this Cowboys' coaching staff for creativity with its personnel.
8. DIGGIN' IT - Trevon Diggs might have the best ball skills for a Cowboys' cornerback since Everson Walls. Maybe Deion Sanders, who was decent as well. Diggs' 59-yard Pick Six blew this game open just after halftime. Diggs has an interception in each of Dallas' first three games, the first player to do that since Walls in 1985. Call it an Alabama slamma. Diggs picked off a pass thrown by Jalen Hurts and intended for DeVonta Smith. All three played for the Crimson Tide.
7. TERRIBLE TURNOVER - The Cowboys were poised to take control early, having scored on their opening possession and then creating a turnover on Philly's first drive. But then ... an inexcusable mistake. Yes, center Tyler Biadasz got pushed back into Dak Prescott's lap by Eagles' defensive lineman Javon Hargrave. Pressure's gonna happen in an NFL game. But - especially in his own end zone - Prescott has to have urgency to get rid of the ball. Instead, with the pocket collapsing, he tried to slide and buy time before attempting a pass that got knocked out of his hand for a fumble and a gift recovery touchdown by defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. This one's on Prescott. That's gotta be an incompletion, not a touchdown turnover.
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6. FEED ZEKE, POUND POLLARD - In their previous 61 seasons, the Cowboys have never produced two 1,000-yard running backs in the same season. Closest they came was 1972 with Calvin Hill (1,036) and Walt Garrison (784). With the pass-happy trend of the current NFL it may never happen. Or … will it? With Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard productive and, so far, seemingly content to share duties, could they both reach the milestone that is more attainable in 2021 with a 17th regular-season game? To reach 1,000, a running back only needs to average 59 yards per game. Against the Eagles they again shared a run-heavy workload, combining for 28 carries and 155 yards. Through three weeks Elliott is averaging 66; Pollard 61.
5. HELLO, FIRST PLACE - This game wasn't as close as the final score, which obviously wasn't tight. The Cowboys dominated despite giving the Eagles a gift touchdown and having two touchdowns negated by consecutive instant replays. Dallas hung 41 on a Philly defense that allowed only six and 17 points in its first two games. The prize for pulverizing a division foe? The 2-1 Cowboys are in sole possession of first place in the NFC East for the first time since starting the season 3-0 in 2019. They also broke a seven-game losing streak in prime-time games.
4. THE MIGHTY QUINN - Give a game ball to Cowboys' defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Maybe even the team's early-season MVP. With pressure up front, aggressive tackling by its linebackers and ball-hawking in the secondary, Dallas looks nothing like the historically horrible unit from a year ago. The Cowboys produced two sacks and two interceptions against the Eagles. And to think, they are missing key contributors DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Donovan Wilson and Keanu Neal. Dallas' eight takeaways lead the NFL. They didn't No. 8 last year until Week 11.
3. MCCARTHY'S CLOCK MISMANAGEMENT, AGAIN - Last week Cowboys' head coach Mike McCarthy said he didn't call a late timeout to run another play or two before the game-winning field goal because he lost vision of the stadium's clock in Los Angeles. Can't wait to hear his excuse this week. Because there's no logical explanation for what McCarthy did - or didn't do - at the end of the first half. It cost his team plays, and possibly points. With two timeouts and the Eagles facing a second-and-31 at the two-minute warning, the situation was prime for another Dallas possession at the very least. But inexplicably, the Eagles completed a pass and were tackled with 1:51 remaining ... without a Dallas timeout. Content to wiggle out of their horrible field position, the Eagles gladly let the clock dwindle before running a play on third-and-24. Stopped short with 1:02 still left, McCarthy still didn't call a timeout. We saw what the Packers' Aaron Rodgers can do with :37 and no timeouts on Sunday night, why not give Prescott - who was shredded Philly's secondary - another chance? By the time the Cowboys finally took possession after the Eagles' punt, they merely kneeled and went to the locker room with a 20-7 lead. To make it more confounding, McCarthy knew Philadelphia was getting the second-half kickoff. Take that back, maybe he didn't know. At this point we have to question his every decision. And for what it's worth, why did McCarthy go for fourth-and-goal up 27-14 early in the fourth quarter? Sure Prescott hit Cedric Wilson for a touchdown, but the correct call was to kick the chip-shot field goal and go up 16 points. The coach's gambling still feels like it's more gut than analytics.
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2. FAMILIAR RING TO IT - Former coach Jimmy Johnson (along with Drew Pearson and Cliff Harris) was at AT&T Stadium to get his Hall of Fame ring from owner Jerry Jones. After sharing a hug with Jones, he bellowed his trademark: “How ‘bout them Cowboys?!" In all, there were 14 gold-jacket Hall-of-Fame members at the game including Johnson, Pearson, Harris, Jones, Bob Lilly, Tony Dorsett, Randy White, Mel Renfro, Troy Aikman, Rayfield Wright, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, Charles Haley and Gil Brandt.
1. PRESCOTT PRECISION - Once upon a time we all groused about Prescott's lack of accuracy. His inconsistent Dak-uracy. Not anymore. The Cowboys' quarterback continued an almost flawless couple of weeks by completing 13 of his first 14 passes. That came on the heels of last week in Los Angeles where he threw only four incompletions in 27 throws in the win over the Chargers. We're no math geniuses, but a stretch completing 36 of 41 (88 percent) seems pretty salty. And to think, it was 50 weeks ago on the same field that he suffered a gruesome ankle injury that ended his 2020 season and - some feared - could've altered his career. The Cowboys improved to 28-1 during Dak's career when leading by 13+ points.