HomeDa Birds NewsNotebook: Eagles vs. Cowboys - Offense Depleted, Defense in Shambles

Notebook: Eagles vs. Cowboys – Offense Depleted, Defense in Shambles

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The Philadelphia Eagles and Jalen Hurts had a chance to restore order, clinch a playoff berth, and send a message to the Dallas Cowboys in North Texas on Sunday night. Unfortunately, none of that was accomplished in an ugly, wire-to-wire 33-13 loss, the Eagles’ second straight against their perceived top competition in the NFC.

Rewind to last week’s 42-19 rout at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers and coach Nick Sirianni’s team has been sent a message in the form of a combined 75-32 confidence-shaker. For the moment, the 10-3 Eagles dropped from the No. 1 seed in the conference to No. 5 and are behind Dallas (10-3) in the NFC East and the 49ers (10-3) for the No. 1 seed in the conference. The Philadelphia Eagles still control their own destiny in the division if they win out over the next four games but do not when it comes to the Niners in the conference.


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The Dallas Cowboys scored on their first four possessions of the night. Dating back to last week, Sean Desai’s defense allowed points on 10 consecutive possessions save for a San Francisco kneel-down at the end of the game. The loss to Dallas was the third straight game and the fourth time in the last six games that the Eagles defense has given up 30 or more points. Philadelphia allowed 394 total yards and again was a disaster in third downs where the Cowboys converted 9-of-16 attempts.


This was the first time in the Nick Sirianni-Jalen Hurts era that the Eagles failed to score an offensive touchdown, fumbling three times in Dallas territory, one by Hurts on the Philadelphia Eagles’ first possession and others by A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) fumbles the ball after being tackled by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Stephon Gilmore (21) in the second half at AT&T Stadium.© Tim Heitman, USA TODAY


It took 12-year veteran Fletcher Cox to jolt the moribund defense back to life in the third quarter. Cox, a potential Hall of Fame player, put a certain Canton-bound star in Zack Martin on skates and into Dak Prescott’s lap, forcing a fumble that rookie Jalen Carter scooped and scored from 42 yards out to put the Eagles back in the game, at least momentarily.

HurtsAdelphia – Great Jalen Hurts and Da Birds gear

It was almost as if Cox, one of the great defensive tackles in franchise history, was handing the baton to Carter, one of the most impressive rookie defensive tackles in years.


Veteran Dallas cornerback Stephon Gilmore had an excellent game and was clearly in Brown’s head at times. The Eagles’ star receiver was visibly frustrated on more than one occasion and seemed to be pressing at times. He had his moments like a back-shoulder fade on Gilmore but the cornerback parried all night, forcing a fumble after a Brown catch and also stopping Smith on a big fourth down late in the third quarter.

Related: Eagles Exposed in Loss to Cowboys – Still a Good Team?


With Reed Blankenship being ruled out with a concussion, rookie Sydney Brown got extensive work on the back end and showed off his athleticism and closing speed. He’s still raw but you can sort of see what the Eagles first noticed at the Senior Bowl when projecting Brown as a post safety despite playing near the line of scrimmage almost exclusively at Illinois.


After a disastrous game against the San Francisco 49ers, Mike linebacker Nick Morrow was back to what he had been for most of the season, a solid player on the second level. New acquisition Shaq Leonard was on a pitch count and saw limited snaps, leaving most of the work for Morrow and a returning Zach Cunningham, who missed last week with a hamstring injury.


All the Cowboys kicker Brandon Aubrey, a former soccer player at Notre Dame, did was bang through 60-, 59- and 50-yard field goals, along with a 46-yarder for Dallas (he’s a perfect 30-for-30 on the season) while Jake Elliott had a 52-yarder for the Eagles, his franchise-record seventh 50-plus on the season, and a 44-yarder.


Rookie Kelee Ringo, who has been a great special teams player, finally got his first work on defense since one snap in Week 2 at Minnesota, tagging in for Darius Slay, who tried to fight through a knee injury. It didn’t go well for Ringo, who managed to get called for pass interference and a face mask on one play and allowed a 39-yard gain to Michael Gallup. Perhaps, the start-up costs will pay dividends down the line.

Dom DiSandro not allowed on sidelines for Eagles vs. Cowboys game


Maybe the highlight of the night was punter Braden Mann delivering a perfect pass to Olamide Zaccheaus to convert on a fourth down. It’s not often Cowboys special teams coordinator John Fassel gets got but Michael Clay is having a really good season for Philadelphia.

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