Twenty-five years after Dallas kicker Luis Zendejas was pulverized on Thanksgiving Day, the infamous 'Bounty Bowl', the Eagles returned to the Lone Star State and doled out an absolute beating, dropping the Cowboys 33-10 at AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving afternoon.
After Mark Sanchez scored from two yards out on the opening drive, the 7-0 Eagles lead would not be overtaken. Shortly thereafter, a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Matthews, Sanchez's favorite target, extended the lead to 14-0. DeMarco Murray would halve the gap with a one-yard touchdown run to start the second quarter, but the Cowboys would not return to the end zone the rest of the way.
The win brings the Eagles to 9-3 on the season, giving them temporary control of the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Dallas falls to 8-4 with a rough road ahead.
LEGS FOR EVERYONE
LeSean McCoy would be the recipient of FOX's annual Galloping Gobbler Award, a minor honor for for his 159 yards and a touchdown during the win. Every starting offensive lineman except for Jason Kelce appeared behind McCoy while he received the plaque, which he handed to Jason Peters almost immediately after.
The Eagles' 256 rushing yards were the most ever by an opposing team at AT&T Stadium since the Cowboys christened it in 2009. It wasn't merely McCoy doing the damage either. Chris Polk subbed in plenty during the second half as the game got out of hand, adding 49 yards on 11 carries. Sanchez got in on the act with 28 yards to go with his opening touchdown.
As for McCoy, who had himself a slow start to the year, 'Shady' now sits at 1018 yards on the ground, the second back after Murray to top the half-ton mark. His 38-yard touchdown run in the third quarter built to a 30-10 lead, which the Cowboys completely failed to answer.
NO BUTTS ABOUT IT
For only the third time this season, the Eagles did not throw an interception. Sanchez has two pick-less games to his credit to Nick Foles' one, and Sanchez managed to pretty much avoid disaster altogether in the Turkey Day game. Coming two years after the 'Butt Fumble', this is the sort of holiday tradition Sanchez could get behind, pun not intended.
Through the air, Sanchez completed 20 of 29 passes for 217 yards and the touchdown to Matthews, their fifth collaborative effort. Sanchez topped 200 passing yards in the first half with 202, a professional high for the polarizing quarterback. Sanchez was only sacked once, losing the ball, but it was quickly recovered by Andrew Gardner, who ironically allowed Tyrone Crawford to collect the sack.
The beneficiary of Sanchez's solid outing was Jeremy Maclin, catching eight passes for 108 yards, including a full-speed-ahead 58-yard gainer. Maclin now sits at 1088 yards for the season, the first time Maclin's topped 1000 in his career.
SNUFFED OUT STARS
Only once all season prior to Thanksgiving was DeMarco Murray held under 100 yards rushing. Murray's worst yards-per-run average was 3.97 YPA against the Seahawks, which rounds up to four yards a carry. Aside from the touchdown that opened the second quarter, Murray had his worst game of the season.
The Eagles front-seven held Murray to a mere 73 yards on 20 carries, a lukewarm 3.65 yards a run. Both the total and the average are Murray's lows for 2014. On key third and fourth-down plays, Murray was pummeled by the likes of Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks, the latter of which nailed Murray on a fourth-and-one late, dropping the back for a six-yard loss.
Dez Bryant didn't fare much better out of an impressive 38 yard catch; the star receiver caught just three balls for 35 yards the rest of the way. Jason Witten was held to one grab for seven yards, and spent most of the game screaming at the coaches on the sideline.
THE LAST LAUGH
Prior to the game, there was much jawing during the week between the Cowboys' surging offensive line, and some Eagles defensive players who didn't see what all the hubbub was about. When push came to shove, not only was Murray bottled up for much of the game, so too was Tony Romo.
Romo ended up on the ground four times, with Fletcher Cox, Casey Matthews, Vinny Curry, and Brandon Graham each registering a sack. Cox in particular played feisty against rookie tackle Zack Martin, generally thought of as one of the stronger components on the line. As a result, Romo rushed a number of his throws, and often had to defer underneath.
It was in the passing game that the Eagles collected three turnovers; Brandon Boykin stripped Cole Beasley on a crossing route, with Nate Allen picking up the ball. The recovery led to a simple pre-halftime field goal. Allen came up with an interception later, as did Cary Williams, helping Sanchez cast a large shadow over Romo for the day.
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