Week 10 Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys 21, Philadelphia Eagles 20
What you need to know
Coming off of their bye week, the Cowboys looked flat for three and a half quarters in this pivotal game against their division rival. The Dallas defense allowed the Eagles to march 72 yards down the field for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, then went three and out on their first offensive possession. The Cowboys scored a touchdown on their next drive, set up by a long pass to Peerless Price, but then played uninspired football until late in the game. A touchdown by Terry Glenn at the 3:04 mark of the fourth quarter, followed by a Roy Williams interception return for a touchdown, sparked an improbable Dallas comeback.
Drew Bledsoe was harassed by a relentless Philadelphia pass rush most of the night. He had little time to set up in the pocket and struggled to help his offense move the chains. However, Bledsoe was able to make the big plays when they counted most, including a perfect 20-yard touchdown throw to Terry Glenn to bring Dallas within striking distance late in the game. Bledsoe finished with 196 yards passing, one touchdown, and one interception. His passes were distributed among eight different receivers.
The Cowboys went with a committee approach on the ground, with Marion Barber III getting 13 carries and Julius Jones getting eight. Neither running back enjoyed much success, as they finished with a combined 62 yards on the ground. Barber found the end zone in the first quarter on a one yard run.
The Philadelphia Eagles played on the Monday night stage following another week of swirling controversy in the wake of Coach Andy Reid’s suspension of Terrell Owens. Without their best wide receiver on the field, presumably for the rest of the season, the Eagles put together a methodical 11 play 72 yard touchdown drive to begin the game. The drive featured a surprising seven running pays and just four pass plays, and culminated in a Brian Westbrook 15 yard touchdown run. They continued to mix the run and pass effectively throughout the game.
Operating without long-time center Hank Fraley, Donovan McNabb overcame a multitude of false start penalties and botched snaps to lead an efficient offensive performance. McNabb made do without a legitimate vertical passing threat, throwing primarily short passes to his backs and tight ends. He was assisted by solid protection and bolstered by a surprisingly effective run game. However, McNabb made a critical error late in the game, throwing a game turning interception to Roy Williams that was returned for a touchdown. To make matters worse, McNabb was injured on the play when he was blocked while trying to tackle Williams. McNabb returned to the game but was ineffective. Mike McMahon came off the bench to lead the final Eagles’ drive. McNabb scored his lone touchdown of the day on the ground – his first rushing touchdown of the season.
The Philadelphia run game was impressive. Brian Westbrook and Lamar Gordon shared the running load, with 16 and 13 carries respectively. They combined for 143 total yards on the ground. Westbrook scored a touchdown on a 15 yard run on the Eagles’ first possession. Both backs were used in the red zone. Only Westbrook was targeted in the passing game, where he finished with an additional 32 yards on five receptions.
What you ought to know
|QB Drew Bledsoe, Pass: 17 - 24 - 196 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 6 - 0|
After hitting Peerless Price with a perfectly thrown deep pass on the Cowboys’ second possession, Bledsoe struggled to find receivers for most of the game. He was faced with a relentless Philadelphia pass rush, and was never really able to set up in the pocket. However, when it counted the most, Bledsoe made the big throws that allowed his team to claw their way back into the game. His lone touchdown pass was a 20 yard throw to Terry Glenn that hit the receiver in stride. Bledsoe’s interception was one of the uglier ones you’ll ever see. With a blitzing Jeremiah Trotter bearing down on him, Bledsoe lobbed the ball right into the arms of a Philadelphia defensive back, who was also blitzing.
Despite Julius Jones being pronounced healthy for the game, Barber started at running back for the Cowboys. He struggled throughout the game to find running room against the Eagles, who dominated the line of scrimmage. On the Cowboys’ second series, Barber was given three consecutive carries inside the Eagles’ five yard line. He found the end zone on his third attempt. His long run of the game was 26 yards and came on a draw play late in the game with the Eagles sitting back playing the pass. Barber fumbled with the Cowboys trying to run out the clock late in the game, but Dallas recovered.
|RB Julius Jones, Rush: 8 - 16 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets)|
Jones did not get a carry until the Cowboys’ third series, despite having recovered from his high ankle sprain. He showed no ill effects on his first carry, running left for eight yards. After that, however, Jones found scarce running room against the Eagles’ defense, rushing for just 16 yards on eight attempts.
Thompson was not given any opportunities in the run game, but did return kicks for the Cowboys.
Johnson was targeted primarily on short underneath and out routes. He had a big catch over the middle late in the fourth quarter on which he was absolutely drilled by Eagles’ safety Michael Lewis. Keyshawn held onto the ball and Lewis had to be helped off of the field. He finished the game with five catches for 56 yards.
|WR Terry Glenn, Rush: 1 - -10 - 0, Rec: 2 - 31 - 1 (5 targets)|
Glenn’s first touch of the game was on an end around that resulted in a ten yard loss. On the next play he was targeted on a deep sideline route against double coverage, but the ball was thrown well short. He was targeted on a deep post in the fourth quarter, but the ball was overthrown. Glenn did not have a catch until the late in the fourth quarter with Dallas attempting to pull off a miracle comeback. At the 3:01 mark, Glenn caught a 20 yard touchdown pass on a hitch and go to bring the Cowboys within striking distance of the Eagles.
Price made the most of the one pass thrown his way, catching a 58 yard pass on a deep post pattern to convert a third and ten. Price fumbled at the end of the play, but the ball bounced harmlessly out of bounds. The play set up the Cowboys’ first touchdown.
Witten had a relatively quiet game, finishing with 27 yards on three catches.
Campbell made the most of his lone target, catching an 18 yard pass in the middle of the field.
Suisham did not attempt a field goal on the night, but converted all three of his extra point attempts.
The Cowboys’ run defense was surprisingly soft against the Eagles’ rushing attack. The Cowboys allowed 181 yards on the ground on 36 attempts and allowed Brian Westbrook to score on a 15 yard touchdown run.
The Cowboys’ pass defense was not heavily tested, with Philadelphia in the lead for most of the game and favoring the ground game. When the Eagles did elect to throw, Dallas effectively took away the vertical passing game. However, they did struggle to pressure McNabb for most of the game. The Dallas pass defense ultimately proved responsible for the most important play of the game – a Roy Williams interception return for a touchdown that propelled the Cowboys to victory.
|QB Donovan McNabb, Pass: 19 - 34 - 169 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 22 - 1|
Without his star receiver and working with a new center, McNabb played very well for 57 minutes in this game. He had time in the pocket, looked mobile, made good decisions, and seemed to be playing with a high degree of confidence. Although the Eagles heavily favored the run, McNabb was able to make the key passes necessary to keep the chains moving. He even ran for a touchdown – his first rushing touchdown of the season. However, everything fell apart when McNabb made an ill-advised pass to Reggie Brown late in the fourth quarter. Roy Williams read the pass perfectly, undercut the route, and returned the ball to the end zone. To add injury to insult, McNabb took a shot while trying get to Roy Williams, and was seen doubled over in pain. He came in for the ensuing Philadelphia series but was badly off the mark on his throws. He was replaced by Mike McMahon on the Eagles’ final series of the game. McNabb finished with 19 completions and 169 total passing yards.
|QB Mike McMahon, Pass: 2 - 5 - 14 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0|
McMahon came into the game to replace the injured McNabb in the final minute of the game. He moved the ball up the field effectively, but simply ran out of time before he could get the team into field goal range.
Westbrook had an impressive game, both as a passer and a runner. He got the Eagles on the board first with a 15 yard touchdown run to the right side of the line on Philadelphia’s first drive. He had 16 carries for 86 yards on the day. Westbrook’s long run of the day, an 18 yard scamper, came in the third quarter when he found no space up the middle, then bounced all the way to the outside before turning it up field. Westbrook was used in short yardage and goal line situations, and was also used as a punt returner in the game.
Gordon had by far his best game yet as an Eagle. He was used as change of pace back, spelling Westbrook often throughout the game. He ran with speed and power, both inside and outside of the tackles. Gordon was given several red zone opportunities, but did not find the end zone. Gordon slipped and fumbled the football on his fourth carry of the game, but the Eagles recovered. He was not used at all in the passing game.
Parry caught the first pass of the game in the flat for a small gain. He had one other short catch, but was not a factor in the game.
Mahe had one carry in the game for seven yards at the end of the first half with the Eagles running out the clock. He also dropped a bullet from McNabb that would have given the Eagles a first down and much more.
Brown started for the second time in his young NFL career, once again filling in for the suspended Terrell Owens. He had a quiet, disappointing game. Brown made his first catch midway through the second quarter on a short hitch to convert a third and eight. He dropped the second pass thrown in his direction when he was hit as the ball arrived. Brown also dropped a short pass on a crossing route in the third quarter. To round out his performance, the rookie dropped a deep pass in the final minute of the fourth quarter that would have set up a David Akers field goal.
Lewis did not make his first catch of the game until the fourth quarter. On the same drive, he was targeted on a deep sideline pass that he was unable to hold onto. However, he drew a late hit on the play which led to a Dallas personal foul penalty. Lewis also had a key reception that extended an Eagles’ drive with time winding down in the fourth quarter. He finished with 42 yards on three receptions.
McMullen made a short catch for a first down in the final minute of the game.
Owens was serving the second game of his four game suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team” and did not play in this game.
Smith started the game at tight end, despite having suffered a concussion in his previous game. He made a great one handed catch over the middle on the Eagles’ first series, and then continued to make plays in the middle of the field. Smith finished as the Eagles’ top receiver on the day, with 56 yards on six catches. He was seen leaving the field for the locker room in the fourth quarter.
Lewis returned to the Eagles’ lineup for the first time since last year’s NFC Championship game, when he suffered a foot injury while catching a Donovan McNabb touchdown pass. The first two passes thrown his way sailed over his head. The third ball thrown his way was a quick pass that he took up field for 17 yards.
Akers handled field goal and extra point duties in his second game back after suffering a severe hamstring injury early in the season. He showed no ill effects when he split the uprights on his first two field goal attempts, from 48 and 20 yards. Akers also attempted a miracle 60 yard field goal attempt with time expiring, but the kick was well short. Akers also hit two extra points.
The Eagles’ rush defense continued its home field dominance, allowing the Cowboys just 58 yards on the ground. The Eagles’ front four won the battle at the line of scrimmage, and their linebackers effectively filled the gaps to take away any and all running room from Dallas rushers. Were it not for a 24 yard run on a draw play by Barber late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles’ rushing statistics would have been even more impressive.
The Philadelphia pass defense played well most of the game, but proved vulnerable to the big play. Eagles’ pass rushers were in the face of Drew Bledsoe often and largely prevented him and the Cowboys’ offense from mounting any sort of sustained offensive attack. However, several big pass plays, including a 58 yard pass to Peerless Price and a 20 yard touchdown throw to Terry Glenn, were key to the Dallas victory. The Eagles recorded two sacks and an interception in the game.