For a Dallas Cowboys team that was looking to overtake their rivals for a lead in the NFC East, mission accomplished! This Dallas Cowboys team has been criticized all year for their schedule, and for failing against bad teams in the past. On Sunday Night Football, with all of the pressure, and weight of expectations on them, both sides of the ball dominated their matchups. Additionally, in the too often overlooked special teams unit, the Dallas Cowboys put on a show!
Dallas Cowboys Offense
Dak Prescott out dueled his counterpart tonight. From “Here We Go” all night, he just made the right plays all night while protecting the football. He ended with a solid stat line of 24 for 39 on 271 yards, and two touchdowns. His pocket presence, and ability to go through progressions tonight showed his maturity and growth over the years, and will for at least one night silence his doubters.
The offensive line was solid all night . They only allowed three sacks against an impressive defensive front, and gave Prescott the time he needed for his receivers’ routes to develop. With Dak being asked to hang on to the ball for a long time, a lot of pressure was put on this unit tonight. Four players had over ten yards of yards per completion, and numerous downfield attempts were afforded thanks to the blocking up front.
In the run game, Tony Pollard, and Rico Dowdle benefited from the good line play as well. They ended up combining for 28 rushes, and 105 yards, and a score. When needed, this line got the push, or gave the time needed for this offense to make plays.
Dallas Cowboys Defense
For a team that had bullied past opponents, this Dallas Cowboys defense never allowed it to get to that point. They handled business tonight.
The run defense only just allowed over 100 yards on the ground. While the defenders were able to come up with three turnovers, to take away scoring opportunities for the Eagles.
The secondary was very impressive tonight, shutting down a dynamic star receiving corps. Stephon Gilmore stuck to AJ Brown for most of the night and won the war. While Brown was able to come up with 94 yards on 9 catches, Gilmore really limited him and frustrated him. He made the receiver earn his receptions off of 13 targets, wrapping up on contact, as his longest catch was for 24 yards on the evening.
On a fourth down play, while the game was still within reach, with enough time left for a possible comeback, Brown had a short underneath crossing route that Philly was hoping would break off for a big gain. Gilmore, equal to the challenge, stopped him in his tracks, for only a one yard reception.
Gilmore finished the night with 9 total tackles.
Dallas Cowboys Special Teams
Kicker Brandon Aubrey put up a performance that not many were expecting to be talking about coming into this game. The rookie kicker, college soccer player, from Notre Dame made four loooooong field goals that averaged a distance of 54 yards per attempt.
Combined with his three extra points, he outscored the Eagles by himself.
His first attempt, from 60 yards, honestly looked like it could have been good from 70 plus. He would go on to hit from 59, 45, and 50 respectively, ensuring that the Dallas Cowboys only had to punt once the entire game. While the latter attempts seem unimpressive by comparison, all of the tries were right down the middle, and never in doubt.
Kidding aside, the leg of Aubrey brings up an element of what the Dallas Cowboys can possibly do in late game situations. If trailing by 10 or less in a two possession game, will they look to take the points early, and then pin their opponents back off of the kick off? Will the knowledge that the Cowboys can always get points play into the mentality of the coaching staff for opposing teams? #ForTheBrand
Who knows, but at this point the Dallas Cowboys are looking like the only legitimate threat to an equally impressive 49ers team. The difference being that the Cowboys may actually have more dynamic playmakers on all facets of the game. Either way, an NFC championship showdown between the Cowboys and the 49ers would be a fun one to watch.