Half-Assessment: Eagles at Cowboys

Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Philadelphia Eagles

Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Philadelphia Eagles

Yoooooo, that is what I’m talking about! The Eagles came back from the bye week with one of those thrillers that makes you sick with fear before causing you to vomit with joy. The Birds finished off the Dallas Cowboys in overtime by a final score of 33-27.

Offense

He didn’t light the world on fire, for the offense or the defense, but that actually made this one of Sam Bradford’s better outings as an Eagle. He went 25-36 for 295 yards and 1 touchdown. Most importantly, he didn’t throw any interceptions. Sometimes, all you need is a game manager (although game managers tend to throw for at least 100 less yards than that). Bradford was largely efficient throughout the night, leading the Eagles to the red zone and not turning it over. He even had a couple of beautiful throws, including a really nice wheel route and a great strike to Jordan Matthews for the game winner.

Most of the actual touchdowns came from the ground game, who had a pretty nice night. DeMarco Murray rushed 18 times for 83 yards and a touchdown in his return to Big D. Ryan Mathews got the rock 11 times for 67 yards and a touchdown in another highly efficient game. Darren Sproles even chipped in a little, going 5 times for 23 yards and falling just short of a touchdown.

Through the air, it was the Jordan Matthews show. People have been waiting for this game from Matthews with two T’s all year. Matthews was battling with something going into the bye week causing some downright turrible drops. Whether it was a hand issue or a mental issue is anybody’s guess. Matthews was back to his exciting rookie self on Sunday night, reeling in 9 balls for 133 yards and the game winning TD. Sam Bradford only used two other receivers a decent amount for the rest of the night, throwing 6 passes to DeMarco Murray for 78 yards and 5 passes to Zach Ertz for 44 yards. It’s not exactly spreading the ball around, but it sure worked. Welcome back to the Jordan Matthews that everyone knows and loves.

Hey, Caleb Sturgis is actually kicking ass now, going 2 for 2 including a late game 53 yarder that gave the Eagles the lead at the time.

Update 1:45pm: I forgot to mention how great the Eagles offensive line was all night, especially against noted scumbag Greg Hardy. Bradford had time nearly the entire night. The running game actually got to make a big difference. All of this with Lane Johnson playing a different position. Heckuva job boys.

Defense

It was a tough night for the Birds’ defense. With most of their efforts being (justifiably) poured into Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley feasted, reeling in 9 catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s Beasley’s production for the entire year put out there in one night. Human Scrappy Doo just couldn’t be contained by Malcolm Jenkins for whatever reason.

Dez Bryant still managed to produce despite the Eagles’ best containment efforts, catching 5 passes for 104 yards and a ridiculous touchdown. Most of that came on the Cowboys’ 2nd play, in which Dez, coming off of a recent injury, surprised everyone and went for 70 yards. Bryant’s touchdown came on an absurd Hail Mary from Matt Cassel that even Dez had no business catching. When he wasn’t making ridiculous or unexpected plays, Dez Bryant was getting the superstar benefit of the doubt from the refs, drawing some of the worst pass interference penalties that anyone has ever seen.

Even the run defense had another poor week. After allowing their first 100-yard rusher in the form of Jonathan Stewart, the Eagles had their hands full with glass man Darren McFadden. Somehow, the injury-prone McFadden has resurrected his career in Dallas, taking the starting job from Joseph Randle. McFadden ran 27 times for 117 yards on Sunday night. He actually has a spark in him that hasn’t been seen in years. Perhaps he was faking those injuries just to get out of Oakland. No one in the universe could blame him if that was the case.

Still, the Birds’ D did some good things. Jordan Hicks took a Matt Cassel pass to the house on a tremendous pick 6. Hicks has been such an amazing find for the Eagles, it was awful to hear the news that he tore his pectoral muscle and is going to miss the rest of the season. Naturally it was in the process of tackling Cole Beasley. That guy is a damn walking Iggles curse.

Along with that pick 6, the Eagles managed to sack Cassel 4 times. Two of those sacks came from a fired up Brandon Graham. Sure, he got a silly penalty for taunting, but Graham had a great night overall with 7 tackles, the 2 aforementioned sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. The other sacks came from Connor Barwin and Mychal Kendricks.

Next Week

The Eagles come home to host the Miami Dolphins in a regular old 1:00 game. The Dolphins got off to such a bad start that they fired Joe Philbin after 4 games.They’ve bounced back a little since then, with their defense actually producing a few sacks and Lamar Miller being used as much as he should be.

The Dolphins offense has the potential to be a major thorn in the Eagles’ side. When Miller gets going, he’s quite good. Ryan Tannehill is as inconsistent as they come, but he has some weapons in Jarvis Landry and Rishard Matthews. This is a standard game that the Birds should win and will probably screw up coming off of a big win in Big D. Optimistic, I know.

 

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