By Kevin McGuire
Trailing the undermanned Dallas Cowboys 9-7 at halftime on Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles looked like a team in need of knocking off some rust from the bye week. In the second half, the Eagles looked like the team that had played their way to the NFL’s best record as the Birds scored 30 unanswered points in a 37-9 victory over the Cowboys. It was the kind of win that will continue to gain national respect and raise the bar a little higher. A win over Dallas is always something worth smiling about on Monday in the Delaware Valley. To do so in this fashion should have Eagles fans taking a wide grin to the Thanksgiving table on Thursday.READ MORE: CBS3 SummerFest: 2 St. Joe's Grads Bringing New Tiki Cruise Experience For Adults To Wildwood
Coming out to a slow start on the road against a somewhat desperate Dallas team should have been expected, and that’s exactly what happened. After rolling down the field on the first offensive series of the game for a touchdown, the Eagles offense went into a shell for the rest of the first half. Receivers were not making some plays and Carson Wentz had some throws that could have been more accurate. But the Eagles overcame a rough start on offense and took over in the second half.
Carson Wentz ended the night with 168 passing yards and two scores without an interception, and he was not sacked once. Jay Ajayi broke loose for a 71-yard run and led all players with 91 rushing yards, while Corey Clement scored once with 50 yards and LeGarrette Blount rushed for 57 yards. As a team, the Eagles rushed for 215 yards and two scores. Alshon Jeffery had some big catches as the Eagles scored 30 points in the second half. In the second half, the Eagles had touchdown drives of 75, 90, and 85 yards on three consecutive possessions.
The Eagles defense picked off Dak Prescott three times and sacked him four times, and they never allowed a big play to develop when Dallas was on offense. The defense set the tone early on by holding the Cowboys to a field goal after a terrific return on the game’s opening kickoff. Philadelphia only allowed two more field goals in the first half and pitched a shutout in the second half, holding the Cowboys out of the end zone in their home stadium. It was a phenomenal performance for the Eagles defense. Ronald Darby was back on the field and led the team with eight tackles, and rookie Derek Barnett recorded two sacks.READ MORE: Barnegat High School Student Stabbed During Fight In Bathroom
Special Teams: A-
Eagles kicker Jake Elliott was taken out of the game after being evaluated for a potential head injury that resulted from making a tackle on a kickoff return. The normally reliable Elliott had converted his lone extra point attempt before he was taken out, but he missed a field goal from about extra point distance. That led to a scramble to get backup linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill to warm up for kickoff duty, which actually panned out well. The loss of Elliott meant the Eagles had to go for more fourth down and two-point conversions, and that worked out well too. Other than a 61-yard kick return on the opening kickoff, the Eagles special teams coverage was decent. Punter Donnie Jones proved to be reliable once again, averaging 45.8 yards on six punts, with one landing inside the 20-yard line.
Doug Pederson continues to impress. While a cleaner start off a bye week would have been nice, Pederson and the entire staff were forced to make some decisions in game to address the loss of a kicker, and both the offense and defense took over in the second half. It was simply incredible and commendable.
Up Next: The Eagles return home Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field to host the Chicago Bears. It will be the last game before a critical two-game west coast road trip with games at Seattle and the Rams. The Eagles cannot sleep on the Bears, though. The Bears may be 3-7 with three-straight losses, but they have been competitive the last three weeks and held the New Orleans Saints to 20 points in that stretch.MORE NEWS: CBS3 SummerFest: Clusters Handcrafted Popcorn Adds Unique Twist On Favorite Snack On Wildwood Boardwalk