The list of excuses the Dallas Cowboys had for losing to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving night was both long and for the most part valid, but in the end all it was is just that, a list of excuses. Sure they were facing a short week in which they had to play a Sunday night game that didn’t allow them to get back to Dallas until 6 a.m. the following morning.Yes, Tony Romo had only three days to get his back ready to play in a game in which the division was on the line, and yes, as you would expect it naturally didn’t respond that well to the short rest and therefore limited how effective he was on that day.
But it’s not as if the schedule changed at the last minute and caught the Cowboys off guard; they knew back at the beginning of the year what they were in store for both in regards to the shot rest and Romo’s back situation, so the coaches should have prepared accordingly.
But sadly they didn’t prepare and the result was a 33-10 embarrassment in front of a national audience. But thanks to their dominant performance over the Chicago Bears this past Thursday night and the Seattle Seahawks going into Lincoln Financial Field and manhandling the Eagles on Sunday, the Cowboys find themselves with yet another opportunity to win the division. This time both the team and Romo will have 10 days to rest and prepare for the high-flying Eagles and in doing so they should take a page or two out of the Seahawks’ game plan.
They should go in with the plan to ride DeMarco Murray until he drops; there is absolutely no reason why he should have fewer than 30 carries in this game. This will allow them to control the clock, keep their defense rested and more importantly keep Chip Kelly’s offense off the field. The Seahawks held the ball for over 41 minutes Sunday, leaving only 18 minutes for the Eagles’ offense to be on the field and as a result they were held to 14 points.
So if the Cowboys try and replicate this approach, you will see the Eagles begin to creep up to stop the run. This means Dez Bryant and the forgotten Terrance Williams will need to win their one-on-one matchups on the outside and punish the Eagles deep with the play-action pass.
Defensively the Cowboys will need either Brandon Carr or more likely Orlando Scandrick to step up and lock down Jeremy Maclin like Richard Sherman did. If you take away their big plays and make Mark Sanchez methodically march down the field, he is likely to turn the ball over at some point which will give the offense a short field. Also, Tyrone Crawford and Josh Brent will need to do their part and contain LeSean McCoy to keep him from busting a long run down the field.
I know all of this sounds easier said than done, but the Cowboys have the talent to do so; heck, they were able to do it with far less talent last year when they held the Eagles to three points in their own backyard.
So here’s your chance at redemption Cowboys — time to step up!
Kelly Anderson is a blogger for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bgipp01 or add him to your network on Google.