December 2, 2023

It is never easy — 5 observations from Cowboys-Eagles a day later


Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles attempted about every way possible to lose Sunday’s game.

But with the Dallas Cowboys falling six yards short of the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds, the Eagles came out victorious in front of 69,876 at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Eagles finally beat Dak Prescott and the Cowboys, 28-23, in Week 9 and are an NFL-best 8-1 heading into the bye. And it could not have come at a better time.

Here are my five observations a day after the win:

Huge on so many levels

After losing 14 of their last 22 games and nine of their last 14 home games to Dallas, including losing seven of their last eight to Prescott, this is a win the Eagles had to have.

If the Eagles wanted to consider themselves legitimate Super Bowl contenders, they had to take down the one other up-to-standards team in the division, their biggest rival, and a team they have struggled against for most of the last decade.

That is why this was so huge. This was no Ben DiNucci or Cooper Rush or a rotten team led by Jason Garrett. This was Dak Prescott and a 5-2 Cowboys unit in a game the Eagles had to win before their inhumane stretch after the bye.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni has had so many great moments since the Eagles hired him in 2021. But defeating a good Cowboys team with their starting quarterback at the Linc, something the Eagles have not been able to conquer since 2006, was yet to be done.

And he did it.

The Eagles go into the bye in complete power of the No. 1 seed in the NFC and with a 2.5-game lead over the Cowboys.

There will be other challenges, other big games. The Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers, Cowboys in Dallas, and Seattle Seahawks till loom. But there is not much better than a win over Dak and Dallas at the Linc.

A warrior

Jalen Hurts took a shot to his bad knee at the end of the second quarter, hobbling off the field in obvious pain. Seeing all of that go down, only one thought crossed my mind. He is fine. He is a warrior.

And he was.

Hurts jogged out of the tunnel onto the field after halftime, then came out for the second half and dominated.

It all just put it in perspective how focused Hurts is to be able to function like how he did when physically he was not close to 100%.

Hurts put together another fantastic passing game throwing 17-for-23, 74%, for 207 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Making it work

I am not totally sure how the Eagles have been able to get through their secondary problems so far this season. They have had different secondary lineups almost every game with all the injuries which has forced practice squad calls ups and signing some random players. But they are making it work.

Prescott had his usual excellent game against the Eagles, with 375 passing yards and three touchdowns and CeeDee Lamb got 192 yards, but this defense just comes up huge in big moments.

Brandon Graham‘s late-game sacks, Josh Sweat’s late-game sack, Reed Blankenship‘s goal-line stop on Luke Schoonmaker to keep him inches out of the endzone, and Darius Slay, Nicholas Morrow, and Sydney Brown on the final play getting Lamb shore of the goal-line to win it.

The Eagles gave up a ton of yards, big plays, left a lot wide-open, and made many stupid penalties. But a win is a win, and the Eagles are 8-1. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.

Bad running game, again

The Eagles did not run the ball well Sunday, again.

However, offensive coordinator Brian Johnson did not abandon the run after a slow start, as he has been doing.

As the game proceeded, they finally picked up some steam and started picking up yards on the ground. When the running game does not generate huge numbers, keeping defenses guessing by calling runs is key. That is what the Eagles did vs. Dallas.

The running game still is not where it needs to be or where it was the first few weeks, but getting Cam Jurgens and a healthier Jalen Hurts will help.

They just keep winning

This Eagles team has the ability to win football games no matter what goes wrong. Whether it is injuries, penalties, or almost collapsing in the final minutes.

They are now 13-2 in their last 15 one-possession games, and one of the two losses was with Gardner Minshew at quarterback in Dallas last season.

A team that finds ways to win no matter what adversity it faces comes directly from the head coach.

That is Sirianni, who has all the confidence in the world in the people around him and has so much strength when things start falling apart all over the place.

This team has talent, of course. But a lot of teams do. What makes the Eagles stick out is that they just keep winning, and they are still yet to play their best football with a completely healthy roster. Let that sink in.

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