Eagles Pound Dallas, Keep Playoff Hopes Alive
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)— Rob Ryan spouted during the week how he’d love to have an opportunity to get on the field and roll over Eagles’ receiver DeSean Jackson. Ryan was certainly on the field Sunday night. Frustration and confusion pushed the bombastic Cowboys’ defensive coordinator so far on the field that it seemed he was practically in the huddle shuttling players in and out, wondering what to do against the Eagles. Thoroughly befuddled, Ryan’s gray wig hair flopped everywhere under his headset. He had no answers. Everything he tried to do to stop the Eagles’ offense failed.
The Eagles scored on their first six possessions in their best performance this season, utterly dominating the hated Cowboys, 34-7, at Lincoln Financial Field.
The victory pulls the Eagles up to 3-4, giving them second place in the NFC East over Washington and Dallas, which are also both 3-4, courtesy of the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Eagles’ victory helped them keep pace with the NFC East leader, the New York Giants, who stand at 5-2 and meet the Eagles November 20 after away games at New England and San Francisco.
Eagles’ coach Andy Reid keeps his record pristine in regular-season games played after the bye week, moving to 13-0. The fans rocked the stadium, and there was a twinge of euphoria throughout the Eagles’ locker room However, it was Reid that provided the reality damper of where the Eagles are.
“As good as this game was, we still have a losing record,” Reid pointed out. “We have plenty of room to improve, and what you do is still keep teaching. We have players who are willing to work, so we’ll continue to work on the little things. What you’re seeing across the league is that every team is a work in progress, and we have to continue getting better week after week.”
The game, which was over by halftime, featured a number of contrary tendencies by the Eagles. They scored in the Red Zone, while stopping Dallas in the Red Zone. They won not one, but two challenges, which stirred a derisive cheer from the packed Linc.
By intermission, the numbers were staggering: The Eagles had outgained Dallas, 324 yards of total offense to 94. Against the best rushing defense in the NFL, LeSean McCoy shredded Dallas. He had 95 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown, with runs of 21 and 34 yards by intermission. It wound up being a career performance for “Shady,” whose career-best 185 yards against Dallas was the sixth-best rushing performance in Eagles’ history. McCoy reached that on 30 carries and scored two touchdowns—totaling 200 all-purpose yards.
In their six previous games, the Cowboys were surrendering less than 70 yards rushing a game to opponents. McCoy had 80 yards on eight carries after the first quarter.
“Coach Ryan got everyone hyped up a little bit, and the offensive line took that personal-it felt like it,” McCoy said. “They had a lot of intensity in the huddle and it showed. I think [this is] our best game this year. We handily dominated this game, I thought, on both sides of the field. We moved the ball on offense pretty much at will. The defense, I don’t know if they had 200 yards in anything. And also on special teams, they did a great job. So with all of them together, that pretty much sealed the deal.”
In the first half, Michael Vick was a very efficient 13 of 17 passing for 187 yards and two touchdown passes, with a quarterback rating of 150.9. His final numbers were 21 of 28 for 279 yards and two touchdowns.
Brent Celek even got into the flow. The Eagles’ tight end posted better numbers in the first half than in any one game this season, with five catches for 73 yards and a touchdown (his previous season bests were four catches each against Atlanta and Washington, and his previous season-best yardage was 43 against the Falcons).
“We’re back in the race,” Celek said. “We’re playing more as a team and we followed the game plan and executed it. We have a lot of talent on this team, weapons all over the place. Teams can’t just key on one guy.”
After three-quarters, the Eagles had pummeled Dallas, outgaining the Cowboys by over 300 yards, amassing 432 yards of offense against Rob Ryan’s defense to a mere 114 for the Cowboys.
The Eagles went three-quarters without punting the balls. That finally came with 9:12 left in the game. By then, the Eagles were comfortably ahead, 34-7.
The Eagles took the opening kickoff 79 yards on eight plays, the key was a McCoy draw that carried the ball from the Eagles’ 46 to the Dallas 33. Four plays later, Vick connected with Jeremy Maclin for a 12-yard touchdown pass.
On their next possession, the Eagles drove 90 yards on seven plays. A large chunk of that series came on a McCoy 34-yard run, his second-longest run this season, which brought the ball to the Cowboys’ two-yard line. McCoy then plowed through the Dallas front—with a good push from the offensive line— for a touchdown (marking the seventh-straight game McCoy has scored a touchdown this season, which is second behind the eight-straight games by Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren in 1947). McCoy’s scoring run gave the Eagles a 14-0 lead and the route was on.
The elusive McCoy is gradually becoming a superstar. He’s arguably the best back in the NFL, along with Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson. McCoy’s also making the added effort to take a more cerebral approach. He popped into the Tuesday morning offensive line meeting that focused on reading blitzes. That’s something the gifted tailback out of Pittsburgh didn’t do in the past. It’s another area of his game that’s translating into mega-performances like the one he laid on Dallas.
“I feel like right now, the whole offense is clicking,” said McCoy, who surpassed his career best for the fourth time this season. “The offensive line is talented. I know they take a lot of heat, but they’re talented. We’re coming together at the right time.”
Entering the game, the Cowboys were looking for definition. The Eagles were looking for life. And October wasn’t over yet. Sepulchral tones were being hummed in certain circles in this city that Reid’s tenure was near an end, as the 2011 Eagles stumbled along. Apparently, it doesn’t seem as if Reid or the Eagles’ playoff hopes are going anywhere just yet.
Andy Reid improved his record to a perfect 13-0 following the bye week, which is the longest such winning streak in NFL history. Following the bye throughout the rest of the season, Reid’s career record is 79-35-1 (.691) … The Eagles are 11-4 in their last 15 prime time games … Reid improved his record to 16-10 against Dallas (8-5 at home) … RB LeSean McCoy set career highs in carries (30) and rushing yards (185), and scored two touchdowns. His 185 yards were the sixth-highest total in team history and the most since Duce Staley’s 201 on 9/3/00 at Dallas … McCoy now has a career high with eight rushing touchdowns on the season, and has scored in all seven games, which is the second-longest streak in team history behind Steve Van Buren’s eight in 1947 … McCoy’s two highest rushing totals have come against the Cowboys (149 yards on 12/12/10 at Dallas). Since 1960, the only other players who have had 140-plus yards twice against the Cowboys were Walter Payton, John Riggins, and Jim Brown … With 2,471 rushing yards and 3,509 scrimmage yards, McCoy now trails only Wilbert Montgomery (2,915 and 3,622) for the most ever by an Eagle in his first three seasons … QB Michael Vick completed 21 of 28 passes for 279 yards and 2 touchdowns for a 129.9 rating, which was the fifth-highest of his career. It was his second time this season with a quarterback rating of 100 or better, and his seventh in the last two seasons. Vick is 17-6 as a starting quarterback when his rating exceeds 100 (5-1 as an Eagle) … Vick has recorded at least 50 rushing yards in four straight games … In Vick’s six career games against Dallas, he has thrown for 894 yards and 10 touchdowns on 58 of 92 attempts for a 117.7 passer rating … The Eagles compiled 239 rushing yards on the night (115 in the first quarter) against a Cowboys defense that came into the game allowing a league-low 69.7 yards per game. It was the highest rushing total against the Cowboys since Baltimore’s 265 on 12/20/08 … Through the first seven games, Eagles have rushed for 1,259 yards on 218 carries (5.8 average), placing them third in franchise history behind the 1949 (1,549) and 1950 (1,497) teams. In addition, the 5.8 yards per carry is the second-highest average in team history behind the 1947 team who averaged 6.5 yards per attempt through the first seven games … The Eagles scored four touchdowns and two field goals on their first six possessions of the game, while converting on their first five third-down opportunities (9 yards, 8, 8, 5, 11). Their 324 scrimmage yards were the third-highest first-half total against the Cowboys since 1960 … Under Andy Reid, the Eagles are 54-14 when scoring points on their opening drive … The Eagles offense held the ball for 42:09, which was their biggest margin since 12/13/92 at Seattle (46:47). They scored points on six of eight possessions, while sustaining six drives of 50-plus yards and three double-digit-play drives … Their 31 first downs tied for the seventh-most in team history and the most since notching 32 on 11/27/08 vs. Arizona … In three wins this season, the Eagles have held their opponents to just 6 of 32 (18.8%) on third down conversions (2 of 12 at St. Louis; 1 of 10 at Washington; 3 of 10 vs. Dallas) … DE Jason Babin recorded his eighth and ninth sacks of the season, marking his third multi-sack game of the season and the ninth of his career … DT Trevor Laws picked up his first sack of the season, becoming the sixth Eagles defensive lineman with a quarterback takedown on the year … DE Trent Cole registered his fourth sack of the season in his return to the lineup after missing two games … WR Jeremy Maclin scored his fourth touchdown of the season and the 18th of his career. It was his 11th-career red zone score and his third of the season … The Eagles engineered a 90-yard touchdown drive, their longest of the season … TE Brent Celek had a team-high seven catches and 94 yards, adding his second touchdown in as many games. It was his third-career touchdown against the Cowboys … The Eagles have outgained their opponent in all seven games this season … The Cowboys netted just 264 yards of total offense, which was their lowest margin against the Eagles since 12/16/07 (240 yards) … CB Nnamdi Asomugha picked up his second interception of the season, which is the second-highest total of his career (eight in 2006) … The Eagles have surrendered only one touchdown in each of the last two games, marking the first time they have given up one touchdown or less in back-to-back games since doing so in three straight games in 2008 (12/15/08 vs. Cle, 12/21/08 at Was, 12/28/08 vs. Dal) … In their last two games, the Eagles have held opposing quarterbacks to 35 of 72 (48.6 %), with 5 interceptions and a 45.1 QB rating.
Reported by: Joseph Santoliquito