Eagles

Eagles 37, Cowboys 9: Studs, duds, turning point and more

Eagles 37, Cowboys 9: Studs, duds, turning point and more

BOX SCORE

ARLINGTON, Texas -- For a while, it looked like the Eagles' winning streak might come to an end in North Texas. 

It didn't come close. 

In the first half, Carson Wentz didn't quite look himself, the run defense wasn't playing to form and the kicker went down with a concussion. 

Didn't matter. 

Eventually, Wentz pulled through, the defense tightened up enough and a backup linebacker showed he can actually kick off. 

The Eagles beat the Cowboys, 37-9, Sunday night at AT&T Stadium to remain the top team in the entire NFC (see Roob's observations). They were just the better team.

The Eagles have now won eight straight games. 

With the win, the Eagles improved to 9-1 on the season for the fifth time in team history. The Cowboys fell to 5-5 on the season. The Eagles are now 4-0 in the division. 

This is the fifth time in team history the Eagles are 9-1 after 10 games (2004, 1980, 1960, 1949). They are just the 51st team in the Super Bowl era to start with nine wins in their first 10 games. Of those previous 50, all made the playoffs, 23 went to the Super Bowl and 11 won it. 

The Eagles started off the game with a brilliant first drive after a Cowboys field goal. They cruised down the field to score a touchdown without even facing a third down. But then the offense sputtered the rest of the half. 

The Cowboys took a 9-7 lead into halftime. It was the first halftime deficit the Eagles had faced since Week 2 in Kansas City. 

Turning point 
After a bizarre first half, the Eagles came out on the first drive of the second half and went 75 yards on eight plays to take the lead. The Eagles converted two huge third downs on the drive. The first came on a screen pass to Brent Celek, the next came on a beautiful pass from Wentz to Alshon Jeffery. 

Key stat
This is the first time the Eagles have scored 30-plus points in four consecutive games since the 1953 season. 

Offensive stud
Wentz didn't have his best performance, but when it mattered, the Eagles' franchise quarterback made plays (see report card). Forget the stat line, Wentz did his job and made some tremendous plays in the process. 

The Eagles' running game was also great Sunday. They rushed for a season-high 215 yards. 

Offensive dud
Zach Ertz's first catch didn't come until very late in the first half and it went for just two yards. He wasn’t a very big factor. 

Defensive stud
Ronald Darby had a great return to action. He started at right cornerback, made a few big plays and even grabbed an interception. 

Defensive dud
The Eagles' run defense, which has been the best unit in the NFL, gave up plenty of yards on the ground Sunday. After giving up an average of 66.4 rushing yards per game coming into Sunday, the Cowboys rushed for 112. 

Key plays
• Chris Long got a strip sack in the fourth quarter. Nigel Bradham picked up the ball and ran it into the end zone to put the Eagles up, 35-9. The two-point conversion made it 37-9. 

• Wentz completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jeffery on 4th-and-5 in the fourth quarter to put the Eagles up 29-9. The Eagles didn't convert the two-point conversion. 

• Wentz hit Torrey Smith for an 11-yard touchdown in the third quarter and then hit Jeffery for the two-point conversion to put the Eagles up 23-9. 

• Jay Ajayi broke off a 71-yard run in the third quarter. It was the longest of his career. It was the longest run from an Eagle since Brian Westbrook had a 71-yarder in 2006. 

• Wentz delivered a huge third-down pass to Jeffery on the first drive of the second half. Corey Clement scored a touchdown and then caught a pass for the two-point conversion. The Eagles had to go for two without kicker Jake Elliott (see Rookie Report)

• After starting the game 0 for 5 on third downs, the Cowboys converted three in a row before Mike Nugent hit a 47-yard field goal to give the Cowboys a 9-7 lead with 55 seconds left in the first half. 

• Near the end of the first quarter, Malcolm Jenkins tipped a pass and Darby hit the receiver as the ball got there. That's when Rodney McLeod picked off the pass and took it down to the Dallas 15-yard line. But then Elliott missed a 34-yard field goal. 

A little later, Darby got a pick and the Eagles' drive resulted in a punt. 

• Darby had a big pass breakup against Dez Bryant in the end zone late in the first quarter. It forced the Cowboys to settle with another field goal, cutting into the lead 7-6. 

• Kenjon Barner made a spectacular catch on the sideline for a 22-yard gain and then finished off the 75-yard drive with a touchdown run to put the Eagles up 7-3 in the first quarter. 

• Ryan Switzer returned the opening kick 61 yards, which led to a 48-yard field goal from Nugent to put the Cowboys up 3-0. The Eagles' defense shut down the Cowboys' offense to minimize the damage. 

Injuries 
Jeffery (ankle) was active after being listed as questionable heading into the weekend. 

The Eagles lost Elliott in the first half because of a concussion (see story)

Up next
The Eagles return home for a matchup against the Bears (3-7) next Sunday at 1 p.m. After that, the Eagles head to Seattle for a game on Dec. 3, before staying in California for the week leading into the game against the Rams. 

Eagles rookie CB Sidney Jones cleared to practice

Eagles rookie CB Sidney Jones cleared to practice

On a day that will be remembered most for a player the Eagles lost to an injury (see story), they did learn that they are getting another player back after a long injury rehab.

The Eagles are finally going to get a look this week at rookie second-round pick Sidney Jones at practice. Whether he actually gets into a football game this year is still in doubt.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said that nine months after he blew out his Achilles and eight months after the Eagles drafted him, Jones has finally been medically cleared to practice and will participate to some extent Wednesday when the Eagles get back to work following their win over the Rams Sunday in Los Angeles.

“We're just to the point of just want to see him out there running around, doing football activities outside of the normal workouts that he's been doing,” Pederson said Monday. “Just really changing direction and doing more football work this week.”

Jones tore his left Achilles during his pro day workout on March 11 and has spent the entire season so far on the reserve-non football injury list, which is for players with preexisting conditions dating before the first day of practice.

The Eagles had a window running from Week 7 until this week to activate Jones for practice, and once he practices on Wednesday, they’ll have 21 days to either activate him to the 53-man roster or shut him down for the year.

The Eagles have the luxury of taking their time with Jones, thanks to the play of starting corners Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, slot corner Patrick Robinson and fourth corner Rasul Douglas.

Before his injury, Jones was projected as a first-round draft pick. The Eagles got him with the 43rd pick, but even if he doesn’t play until opening day next year, he will still be only 22 years old and under contract through 2020.

Jones had nine interceptions, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 8½ tackles for loss and 145 tackles in 40 career games for the University of Washington.

It remains to be seen where Jones will fit in next year, but Robinson, although he has played well, is due to become a free agent this offseason and turns 31 in September.

Douglas and Jones are signed through 2020, Mills through 2019 and Darby through 2018.

Doug Pederson adamant Eagles can overcome the ultimate loss

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USA Today Images

Doug Pederson adamant Eagles can overcome the ultimate loss

Remember when the Eagles lost Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks and Darren Sproles and plenty of folks thought the season was over? 

Doug Pederson does. 

Sure, this isn't exactly an apples-to-oranges comparison. Losing a left tackle or a middle linebacker or a running back isn't the same thing as losing an MVP-level quarterback entering his prime. It would be unfair to suggest they're the same. 

But Pederson has seen his team hurdle over every obstacle this year. With the biggest one yet now in front of it, it's his job to convince his team it can do it again. 

On Monday, Pederson tried to convince fans who have prematurely canceled Christmas. 

"To the fans out there, you can't lose faith," Pederson said. "This has been a resilient football team all season long. If there's ever an opportunity for me as a head football coach to rally the troops, now might be the time. 

"We just came off a tremendous victory to win the NFC East. Guys are riding extremely high. It's a little bittersweet. But you know what? We've got the Giants this week and we've got an opportunity to ... if you win Sunday, you get a first-round bye. There's still a lot to play for. That's what's exciting about this season. We're still playing for the opportunity to hopefully be in that game."

Pederson, just after delivering news of a torn ACL, was adamant that his team can overcome the loss of Carson Wentz

"It sure can," he said. "Heck yeah." 

It won't be easy. Before leaving Sunday's game, Wentz threw his 33rd touchdown pass of the 2017 season, breaking the Eagles' franchise record that had stood since 1961. But more than touchdown passes, Wentz made special plays seemingly every week, plays that only a handful of quarterbacks in the world can make. 

Nick Foles is a pretty adequate backup, and he did a nice job when called upon against the Rams. But he ain't Carson Wentz. Everyone, including his teammates, knows that. 

It's just that they don't have time to wallow in the loss of their superstar leader. Next weekend might be huge. 

A win against the Giants would earn the Eagles a first-round bye. A win against the Giants, paired with a Vikings loss, would earn them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. After another obstacle was dropped in front of them on Monday morning, the Eagles can still help themselves. 

Pederson's role in all this is vital. He has to be the guy to hold it all together.  

"It's huge," he said. "I think even the guys felt it after the game yesterday. We just rally and we support the next guy. From my standpoint, you don't waver, man. You don't let people see you sweat, you just put your head down and you go to work. You get everybody ready to play. It was evident yesterday when Carson was out of the game, you saw Nick come in and come back and lead us to victory in that game. That right there is a great step in the right direction."