The Philadelphia Eagles came to Dallas looking to take a half game lead over the Giants in the NFC East and they did just that. The Dallas Cowboys put forth an inspiring effort, but came up just short of upsetting their visiting division rivals. I can’t say very much negatively about the Cowboys’ performance, but I will beat my dead horse about the offensive play calling by interim head coach and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Once again, the Cowboys ran way more passing plays than rushing and it proved to be yet another loss. Many of the short, quick passes could have been runs and that might have made a difference in the game. Even the running plays that were called were predictable and had bad timing. I won’t be all negative, though. The Cowboys did a fairly decent job containing Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, which no other team in the league has been able to do this season. And nobody gives Dallas quarterback Jon Kitna enough credit, so I will. The man played lights out in the Cowboys’ 30-27 loss on Sunday night.
The Cowboys did absolutely nothing to stop the Philadelphia running game as Eagles running back LeSean McCoy exploded for 149 yards on just 16 carries. McCoy ran wild for a majority of the game, which kept the pressure off Vick. However, Dallas linebackers Bradie James and DeMarcus Ware did an excellent job of keeping Vick contained on the ground. Nobody on the Dallas defense came close to containing McCoy, who averaged over nine yards per carry. The killer was on the Eagles’ final drive when they were leading 30-27 with only a few minutes to play. McCoy ran for first down after first down to keep the clock moving and eventually converted a third-and-one at the two-minute warning after the Dallas used its last timeout.
The Cowboys’ secondary did not put on the aerial raid it did against the Colts, but did intercept Vick twice while cornerback Orlando Scandrick added a sack. Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackson recorded 210 receiving yards on just four receptions, including a 91-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. I’ll be honest with you, the Dallas secondary did play well for the most part of the contest, but Jackson was just unstoppable. The guy is simply too fast to cover one-on-one and is great at running after the catch. No other Eagles receiver recorded over 20 yards as Jackson accounted for almost 80% of Vick’s passing yardage. When a guy is hot, he’s hot. Two interceptions in one game doubles the amount any other team has recorded against Vick this season, so there’s your optimistic stat for the game.
The Cowboys’ offense was fluid for the first half as running backs Felix Jones and Tashard Choice grinded it out against the tough Philadelphia run defense. However, the two of them only received 20 carries combined, less the half the amount they got last week in a big win over the Colts. I understand the Eagles’ defense is a bit better, but it’s not like Dallas needed to pass a ton to come back from a huge deficit. Heck, the Cowboys were leading in the third quarter. As mentioned, Kitna played very well despite throwing two interceptions. The 38-year-old ran for a first down on fourth-and-eight on the Cowboys’ final drive to pull within three points of the lead. Both of Kitna’s touchdowns went to tight end Jason Witten, who continues to quietly prove he’s one of the best tight ends in the game. The Cowboys hung with one of the best teams in the league with several key players out due to injury, so I can’t say too many bad things, right?