Week 5 Game Recap: Philadelphia Eagles 10, Dallas Cowboys 33
What you need to know
The Eagles fell down quickly to Dallas, giving up an early score and falling behind 17-0 for the second week in a row. However, there was no comeback this time, as the Eagles’ offense sputtered and gasped for just 129 yards and six first downs.
QB Donovan McNabb was under constant pressure and was forced to run for his life on numerous occasions. McNabb completed just 50% of his attempts and no touchdowns after three weeks of 300 yard passing games. Later in the game, he looked to be limping after some of the scrambles. Surprisingly, he stayed in the game for almost all of the fourth quarter.
The limited production was everywhere for the struggling Eagles. WR Terrell Owens had five catches for 50 yards, and RB Brian Westbrook was limited to just 36 total yards. The only touchdown was scored by the defense on a fumble return by DB Sheldon Brown.
TE LJ Smith left the game after his first catch after rolling his left ankle, but returned to the game in the second half.
Dallas had not scored in the first quarter all season, but all that changed in Week 5. Dallas started fast and kept the furious pace for the first half, scoring on five of their six first half possessions. Dallas was ahead 17-0 before the Eagles even had a first down.
QB Drew Bledsoe was nearly perfect to start the game, throwing out of the gate and connecting on two touchdown passes in the first quarter. The beneficiary of those touchdown tosses was WR Terry Glenn, who tied for the most targets among receivers along with fellow WR Keyshawn Johnson. Glenn’s caught five balls for 94 yards and two touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the game.
RB Julius Jones rushed for 72 yards, all in the first half. He tweaked his ankle at the end of the second quarter, but it appeared that he could have returned to the game. However, Jones was held out as a precaution, a luxury that was afforded by Dallas’ big lead.
What you ought to know
|QB Donovan McNabb, Pass: 13 - 26 - 131 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0|
McNabb never looked comfortable, partly due to his injuries and in part due to consistent pressure from the Cowboys’ defense. McNabb struggled all afternoon, completing only half of his passes for a season low 131 yards and no touchdowns.
McNabb was unable to take advantage of the few opportunities that he did have, missing both RB Brian Westbrook and WR Terrell Owens on passes that would have been for scores. Westbrook was targeted on a crossing route against a Dallas blitz, but Westbrook could not hold onto the catchable pass. Westbrook had clear sailing for a 75 yard touchdown. Owens’ chance was a 35 yard high arching pass that landed just past his outstretched arms at the goal line.
McNabb played until the final series despite backup QB Koy Detmer warming up and the game clearly out of hand. McNabb looked like he was laboring to play in the second half after scrambling a few times to avoid the persistent Dallas rush.
Detmer played the final series for the Eagles, entering the game with just 1:07 to play. He threw four short passes and gained just 14 yards on four consecutive passes.
Westbrook never really got rolling, only touching the ball nine times against Dallas. He had just two carries in the first half, six for the entire game, and his longest gain was just three yards. He added just three catches for 24 yards, his lowest production this season.
All of Westbrook’s receptions came in the second quarter, as did his biggest opportunity. Westbrook ran a crossing route from the slot as Dallas blitzed, and McNabb just missed hitting him in stride as he entered the middle of the field with no one between him and the goal line. The pass was catchable though. If McNabb and Westbrook had connected, it would have been an easy 75 yard touchdown.
Westbrook finished the game with a very quiet second half. He carried four times for 11 yards, and let his lone second half target slip through his hands on a short pass.
Gordon carried once for five yards in the first quarter, and was also targeted twice in the second quarter. QB McNabb threw towards Gordon in the end zone but the ball was deflected away by the defense. He also dropped a short pass in the left flat.
Owens was once again the most targeted receiver, but despite Philadelphia trailing most of the game, he was not looked to on many deep passes. Rather, almost all of his passes were short outs or crossing routes. Owens had two receptions for over ten yards (18, 23), but his longest was lengthened by 12 yards after the catch.
QB McNabb did throw a long pass towards Owens in the second quarter, just overthrowing him on a red zone target. The ball struck the goal line pylon as it hit the ground, so had Owens caught the pass it would have been a 35 yard touchdown reception. The long toss was Owens’ only end zone target.
Lewis was targeted early by McNabb, getting a chance on a deep ball that sailed just past him that would have been a 60 yard reception. The catch was not easy as he was both closely defended and the ball came out of the shadows and into the bright sunlight. Lewis grabbed three of the next four targets in the first half, with the one incompletion resulting in a 12 yard gain on pass interference. All of Lewis’ catches came before halftime. He was targeted three times in the second half, but none were catchable.
Brown entered the game late and caught one pass for three yards on the final series of the game.
Smith caught one pass for 21 yards on the final play of the first quarter, but turned his left ankle cutting on the turf. Smith stumbled and went out of bounds, then gingerly walked over to the bench. Shortly thereafter, Smith and a trainer were seen walking into the locker room.
Despite announcer Joe Buck stating that the Eagles would be without Smith, he returned in the second half. Smith played until late in the fourth quarter even with the game out of reach. He caught his only other opportunity, a short pass for one yard in the fourth quarter.
Spach played in the final series, catching two passes for 10 yards. He was stopped one yard short on fourth down on the Eagles’ last offensive play.
France was effective on the rare occasions he had to score in the game against the Cowboys. France made his one field goal of 23 yards in the second quarter and also connected on his only extra point try.
Dallas ran for 84 yards on just 18 carries in the first half, and then they started to emphasize the run. Philadelphia allowed the Cowboys to dominate the second half time of possession as they ran the ball another 28 times to shorten the game and preserve their lead. Dallas finished with 167 yards rushing and ten first downs on the ground.
The Eagles defense failed to both put pressure on QB Drew Bledsoe and also to cover the Dallas receivers effectively. Dallas passed the ball seemingly at will, scoring all three Dallas touchdowns through the air. Bledsoe threw for three touchdowns in the first half, the first time he had done so since 2000. The only thing that held back the Dallas attack was Dallas, as they emphasized the run game to dominate the clock and hold the lead after halftime.
The Eagles defense had no sacks or interceptions. The only bright spot was a forced fumble and ensuing touchdown return by DB Sheldon Brown after a short catch by WR Keyshawn Johnson.
|QB Drew Bledsoe, Pass: 24 - 35 - 289 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 14 - 0|
Bledsoe had a fantastic game, completing nearly 70% of his attempts and throwing three touchdowns. In fact, nearly all of his production was in the first half, as Bledsoe was 19-26-241-3-0 before intermission. It was the first time since October 1st, 2000 that Bledsoe had thrown three touchdown passes in the first half.
Bledsoe had all day to pass and took advantage of the pocket protection that he was given. Bledsoe threw the ball early and often, hitting WR Terry Glenn three times on the first four plays, collecting 49 yards and a touchdown in the first two minutes. He hit Glenn again on another quick strike for a 38 yard one play drive on a picturesque deep ball to the end zone just two possessions later.
Romo took a knee twice to end the game.
Thompson was the feature running back in the second half. He entered the game after RB Julius Jones was kept out both due to his injuring his ankle and also because Dallas was way ahead.
Thompson ran the ball effectively, gaining 75 yards on 20 carries. Thompson broke three runs for over ten yards to help boost his average, as most of his carries were for less than four yards. Thompson was nearly replaced permanently by RB Anthony Thomas as he nearly fumbled the ball away to the Eagles twice. One of the fumbles was reversed on replay, and the other was well after his knee hit the ground, but given how HC Parcells feels about ball security, Thompson’s performance had to be a bit of a concern.
Jones played just the first half of the game, as he turned an ankle in the last minute of the second quarter as he was tackled. It was reported that the injury was not serious and that he could have returned to the game, but since Dallas was well ahead in the game and that this was an opportunity for the Cowboys to get a look at their other running backs; he was not re-entered into the game after halftime.
Jones was used exclusively as a ball carrier, getting 16 touches all on running plays. He received no opportunities in the passing game.
Thomas was used in the second half to spell RB Tyson Thompson, getting five yards on four carries. Thomas was also targeted on a screen in the second quarter, but he dropped the ball as it passed from the shadows into the bright sun at Texas Stadium.
Polite had just one chance and he made the most of it. Polite lined up on fourth and one and caught a pass for a 12 yard touchdown on his only touch of the game.
Johnson caught six balls for short yardage, as all of his catches were between six and 11 yards. He was targeted twice near the end zone, as one was defended and he was pushed out of bounds at the one yard line on the other.
In the second half, Johnson caught just one short pass for four yards, but then was stripped of the ball by DB Sheldon Brown who ran the ball back for the only Eagles’ touchdown. In one interesting sideline bit, Drew Bledsoe said something to Johnson after Johnson fumbled. The receiver took exception to Bledsoe saying something and had to be physically restrained as he shouted at Bledsoe. The two downplayed the incident after the game but it was heated there for a few minutes.
Glenn along with Keyshawn Johnson was targeted ten times, and he got off to a very fast start. Glenn caught the first three passes from QB Drew Bledsoe, gaining 49 yards and finishing in the end zone for his first touchdown of the game. Glenn continued his production with another catch on the next drive, then reeling in a deep pass from Bledsoe for a 38 yard touchdown to start and finish Dallas’ third possession. Glenn finished the quarter with statistics any receiver would be happy with for a game, catching five passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
Glenn added to his performance with two 12 yard catches, one in the second quarter and one in the third. He also was the intended receiver on a ten yard pass interference call.
Crayton caught an 11 yard pass in the second quarter and added a 19 yarder in the third. His final target in the fourth quarter was uncatchable.
Witten was heavily involved in the game, catching seven passes for 80 total yards. Witten caught six passes in the first half, ranging from five to 19 yards in length. Witten finished his contributions by adding an 11 yard catch in the final quarter.
Cortez was perfect for the game, making three extra points and four field goals. Each three pointer got progressively longer, as he hit from 28, 33, 37 and finally 45 yards.
The Eagles did next to nothing on the ground, finishing with no rushing first downs and just 19 yards on nine attempts. Philadelphia called a pass on nearly every play, both because of the lack of production but more due to the attempt to mount a comeback.
Dallas was relentless in the pursuit of QB Donovan McNabb. They sacked him four times and forced him to throw before he was ready on numerous occasions. Philadelphia was limited to 110 passing yards, their lowest output of the season.