Cowboys Unhappily Carved Up By Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles executed as if they'd been allowed extra days, weeks, months, to prepare. The Dallas Cowboys executed as if they were hung over on L-tryptophan.
“We played like some shits today,’’ Orlando Scandrick told CowboysHQ.com, evaluating the 33-10 loss, later adding, ’’They kicked our ass. Offense. Defense. Kicking game. They did whatever they wanted to against us.''
The Eagles executed as if they'd been allowed extra days, weeks, months, to prepare. The Cowboys executed as if they were hung over on L-tryptophan.
It showed after the Eagles' opening drive. After being stopped at the Philadelphia 45, the Cowboys pinned them at their own 12. In seven plays, Sanchez, whose last endearing Thanksgiving memory to the NFL community was 2012's "Butt Fumble," hit rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews on a 27-yard touchdown to take a 14-0 lead.
Dallas responded with its own seven-play drive, capped off with a one-yard DeMarco Murray touchdown. The lead was cut to 7-3. The Cowboys had more than a puncher's chance.
One problem was the Cowboys defense. After Tyrone Crawford earned his first career sack by stripping Sanchez, the Eagles recovered and had a second-and-19 from their own 22. That should be a winning Cowboys situation. But Sanchez hit Jeremy Maclin deep right for 58 yards against a lost Dallas secondary. Philadelphia would settle for a 31-yard Cody Parkey field goal to take a 17-7 lead.
The Cowboys offense couldn't get any traction in the second quarter, but neither could the high-flying Eagles, settling for a 22-yard Parkey field goal with 1:39 left in the first half.
Dallas didn't have their timeouts, but did have Tony Romo, who led the Cowboys to his 27th game-winning drive Sunday night over the Giants. ... a big reason for the "Happy.'' On his first play of the possession, Romo hit Cole Beasley for a nice nine-yard gain, but cornerback Brandon Boykin stripped Beasley from behind to jar the ball free. Safety Nate Allen recovered, and gave the Eagles a chance to pad their lead going into halftime. They were only able to do so with a 26-yard Parkey field goal, but the 23-7 deficit loomed large at the half.
The Cowboys were unable to take the second-half kickoff into Eagles territory, but restricted Philadelphia to inside their own 15-yard line, where defensive end Jeremy Mincey forced a LeSean McCoy fumble, recovered it, and gave the offense possession at Philadelphia's 13. Unable to cash in with the league's dominant running back and formidable offensive line, Dallas had to settle for three points to cut Philadelphia's lead to 23-10.
The Eagles scored a touchdown on their next possession with a 38-yard McCoy scamper. Now, the Cowboys were down 30-10 with just over 26 minutes to play.
When the chips are down, as they were against the Eagles on Thanksgiving, Romo gunslings, and his third-and-15 heave for Terrance Williams went straight into the arms of cornerback Cary Williams. The Eagles, known for their short drives, grinded out a 15-play drive and kicked a 25-yard field goal to extend their lead to 33-10, the game's final score as Dallas continued the offensive ineptitude throughout the fourth quarter.
Part of this embarrassment is Eagles system, and part is talent. Shady McCoy is the centerpiece of the Eagles offense -- especially of the Read-Option, against which you simply must key on him. But when you do that, you lessen the pressure on the QB, thus freeing somebody like Sanchez to proceed largely un-harrassed through a game. The Cowboys needed to bottle up McCoy. And then harass Sanchez. Or, heck, do at least one of those.
In slipping to 8-4, and a game behind the 9-3 Eagles, Dallas did neither.
McCoy rolled up huge numbers in huge chunks (25 carries for 159 yards, part of Philly’s 256 rushing yards), rightfully drawing the defense to him ... and then Sanchez badly out-dueled Romo.
Yes, “out-dueled.’’ QB vs. QB. And lest you think that's unfair -- "How can it be QB vs. QB when they don’t play on the same field at the same time?’’ — understand that this was destined to be a high-scoring game (with a Vegas over/under of 56), that Dallas' D was only going to be able to endure at best, and that Romo and Company was the unit that was going to have to pressure, match and overcome.
And why shouldn't Tony Romo beat Sanchez? This is “Romovember.’’ This is Romo’s time. In addition to his MVP-level numbers this year after the Week 1 loss to San Francisco (he entered Thursday with 22 TDs and three picks and an 8-1 record), his all-time mark on Thanksgiving is 6-1, with a 18 TD/6 INT ratio. He also entered Thursday with three straight wins over the NFC East-rival Eagles, and heck, even the “Blue-Jersey Curse’’ is crushed by the QB, as Romo's lifetime record in non-whites is ... er, was ... 10-4.
Meanwhile, Sanchez (despite all the stupid Butt-Fumble-level memes) has a blue-chip pedigree, but … in the NFL, on the road, against good teams … he’s was indeed a joke. Sanchez came in with a 16-17 record on the road. His road QB rating was 75.2 and his completion percentage was 56.1 while throwing for 34 touchdowns and 38 interceptions — oh, and toss 14 lost fumbles atop that junk heap as well.
And on the road against winning teams? Sanchez came in at 4-9.
But Sanchez, freed by Shady's work and then by the score that was 14-0 almost as soon as Lee Ann Womack sang the National Anthem and way before Pitbull did whatever it is he does at halftime, was permitted to operate freely. He carved Dallas up with 20 completions in 29 throws for 217 yards, most of that at halftime.
And Romo? He protectively collapsed to the turf while getting sacked four times and on a 18-of-29/199-yard/two-interception passing day, threw a handful of heaves that had the trajectory of a wet paper airplane.
"It was just dropping back, throwing and blocking,'' said Romo of all the areas Dallas' offense failed. "We when watch tape, we are going to see we didn't block well enough, we did not catch well enough, and we did not throw well enough. Today was a good example of us allowing them to dictate that to us.''
*Romo had the worst Thanksgiving outing of his career. The last Cowboys starting quarterback to throw two or more picks on Thanksgiving was Quincy Carter in 2003 against the Dolphins with three.
*Chip Kelly is now 4-0 against the NFC East on the road. The last NFC East head coach to do that was Chan Gailey in 1998.
*The last time the Eagles played the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, the Eagles demolished them 27-0. At least the Cowboys weren't shut out this time.
*The Cowboys have been 8-4 13 times since 1960. Twelve of those 13 teams made the playoffs.
*The last time the Eagles lost at home to the Eagles but managed to even the series at a split was 2010, Garrett's first year.
*The Cowboys are now 62-64-1 in their road blue jerseys.
*At the start of the game, a source told CowboysHQ.com that Rolando McClain was suffering from a knee problem. He did indeed hobble his way through this game.
*The Cowboys have not won on Thanksgiving on Fox since 2008.
The Cowboys swore they weren’t inspired by disrespectful Philly words from veteran McCoy and Bennie Logan, the rookie who said he saw nothing "special'' about Dallas' offensive line. Owner Jerry Jones was fired up in the pregame, saying Logan was "going to get his you-know-what knocked off today.''
Nobody did much "knocking'' while it counted, outside of Dwayne Harris in the waning minutes ...
Coming into this thing, the Cowboys swore they weren’t inspired by disrespectful Philly words from veteran McCoy and Bennie Logan, the rookie who said he saw nothing "special'' about Dallas' offensive line. Owner Jerry Jones was fired up in the pregame, saying Logan was "going to get his you-know-what knocked off today.''
The Cowboys found it insulting for any one to think the gap between these two programs — in terms of coaching, talent and records — is much of a gap at all. On Thanksgiving, not only are they wrong about that; they are also wrong about not bothering to be inspired by the disrespect.
Maybe going from being "happy'' last week to being "inspired'' this week would've helped here.
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