It got a little dicey in the second half, but the Eagles rode another giant second quarter to remain unbeaten as they knocked out the Cowboys 26-17. Hurts made some timely plays, and the defense rose to the occasion and forced Cooper Rush into multiple mistakes, and their running game put the game to bed after the Cowboys climbed back into it.
Here’s what I saw in their win as they head into their bye week:
Dominant Second Half
Once again the Eagles exploded in the second quarter on the heels of their defense forcing two turnovers and a turnover on downs. Set up with excellent field position, especially on the turnover on downs, the Eagles’ run game diced up the Cowboys’ defense as they got the ball into the red zone and cashed in with two touchdowns and pair of field goals to put the visitors in a 20-point hole.
The Eagles just seem to get into a groove in the second quarter for whatever reason. They just seem to click on both sides of the ball once they get through the first quarter and get the running game going with Hurts playing off the run game with quick passes and just moving the chains.
For the defense, even though they ended with no sacks, they were able to pressure Rush just enough to force him into some bad throws and made him pay almost every time.
I’m not sure what gets into this team in the second quarter, but hopefully, they can figure out how to roll it over into the second half.
Lane Johnson’s Concussion Changed Momentum
The Eagles were humming along with Lane Johnson holding Micah Parsons in check for much of the first half, but his concussion and subsequent removal from the game really changed the Eagles’ game plan and allowed for Parsons and the Cowboys’ defense to gain some momentum.
Though replacement Jack Driscoll held up okay in the matchup, the Eagles weren’t able to drop back as much as they’d like and attack the Cowboys downfield. Instead, they had to either run away from Parsons or target the linebacker with the RPO to put him into coverage and away from Jalen Hurts. Ultimately, the plan worked out but you could tell the Eagles’ offense was struggling to unleash their full gameplan without their All-Pro right tackle.
Another Slow Third Quarter
The only frustrating thing about the Eagles’ 6-0 start has been their inability to put teams away in the second half and allow teams to get back into the game as their offense and defense usually sputter out of the locker room.
Tonight was no different as they allowed the Cowboys to score 17 straight points and climb to within 3 points early in the fourth quarter. It’s been a concerning trend thus far and it’s a bit of a mystery why they look so slow to start the second half. It usually takes the other team climbing back into the game before realizing they can run the ball all over them and run down the clock while controlling the game.
Luckily, the Eagles were able to stem the tide and go on a 13-play drive that ate up over 7 minutes to score a touchdown to put them up nine points but coming hot out of the gates to start the second half needs to be something they work on moving forward.
The C.J. Gardner-Johnson Game
Fighting through what looked like a nasty hand injury, Gardner-Johnson was a game-changer on defense as he held down the back end and made Cooper Rush pay twice when putting a ball in a place for the Eagles’ safety to make a play.
Gardner-Johnson has been a great upgrade at safety over Anthony Harris as a ball-hawking safety who can also line up man-to-man when he has to. He just has a great nose for the football and has great speed to make a play on the ball when the quarterback thinks he’s out of the play.
Great trade for Howie Roseman and hopefully his injury heals up over the bye week.
A Lack of Jordan Davis
Once the Cowboys got some traction offensively, Ezekiel Elliott seemed to be falling forward for seven or eight yards on runs right up the middle against the Eagles’ defensive line. I haven’t seen the snap counts just yet, but I did not notice a lot of Jordan Davis even while Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave were not having their best games.
Though Davis is not the end-all answer to stop the run, it’s so hard to move him on runs up the middle and his lane-clogging presence seemed to be missed tonight with the veterans putting together a lackluster performance stopping the run.
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