PHILADELPHIA – The staff writers of DallasCowboys.com shared their initial feelings of the Cowboys' 17-3 win here at Lincoln Financial Field.
Chalk this up as my most inaccurate prediction of the season -- though I doubt anyone is complaining. Simply put, I just did not see that defensive performance coming. The Cowboys completely stifled one of the league's best offenses and the league's most dynamic player in LeSean McCoy in a sometimes ugly but ultimately satisfying win. The Dallas offense wasn't always pretty, but their receivers stepped up to make enough good plays to seal the win. Even more important -- this team is undefeated through half of the division slate.
For the second straight week, it was not at all the shootout everyone expected. I thought Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy would be much more infallible than they were Sunday, but credit that to heavy pressure from Jason Hatcher and George Selvie, as well as tremendous coverage on the back end. I was on track with Terrance Williams scoring a touchdown for the third straight game and Dez Bryant going off, but was off on the Joseph Randle prediction. Phillip Tanner got it instead. Williams and Cole Beasley continue to offer more than anyone could have imagined, but the way the Cowboys' defense was playing, Tony Romo and his offensive threats didn't need to do too much. In addition, Dan Bailey wasn't needed for any late heroics I thought the Cowboys would have to have.
I was about as wrong as one person could be on this one. It wasn't high-scoring, the defense did play, they did stop LeSean McCoy and Miles Austin was no factor. It doesn't matter what the opposition did, this is a big win for Dallas. To get to 3-0 in the NFC East having beaten every team in the division now, is a big confidence boost for a team that figured out how to win without their best defensive player and starting tailback. Nothing was pretty but yet they still found a way to beat Philly on the road.
Bryan Broaddus: [embedded_ad]
The stats will not say that he had a monster game but for having to fill the shoes of a monster player in DeMarcus ware, Kyle Wilber did all right. Wilber battled Jason Peters all game long which I had a feeling he would do. Where Wilber was giving up size and weight! he was able to hang in there against this dynamic rushing attack of the Eagles but get some pressure off the edge against Nick Foles and later Matt Barkley. Wilber and his defensive line mates, were outstanding in getting off blocks and rallying to the ball but more importantly, they were able to tackle and prevent the Eagles from pulling off any huge plays and that was the difference in the game today.
Here we're the gut feelings for staff writers Nick Eatman, Bryan Broaddus, David Helman and Rowan Kavner, posted Saturday afternoon.
I keep predicting the Cowboys are going to take advantage of bad secondaries. I said it before the Chargers game, I said it before the Redskins game, and neither prediction came to fruition. But I don't think they're going to have a choice this week. We haven't seen the Cowboys get behind the eight ball too much this season – they've had the lead at halftime in five of their six games. But similar to the Denver game, I don't see Dallas having a lot of success stopping LeSean McCoy and the Philly offense. I think the Eagles take a four-point lead into the break, and I think whoever has the ball last will win a high-scoring second half. My head tells me Dallas is the better team, but my gut feeling is that the Eagles find a way to win.
Gut Feeling: So here we are, back at .500, against an Eagles team that hasn't won at home this year or in their last eight home contests. These are actually two very evenly matched teams. Philadelphia boasts the best running back in the league this year, a guy that will give the Cowboys problems on the ground and through the air. The latter area is where he will be really dangerous. I think this is more of a shootout than last week. Dez Bryant's had some words exchanged before with Cary Williams, and I think this is going to be a huge week for the Cowboys' top wide out. I also think the Cowboys' Williams, Terrance, makes it three straight games with a touchdown, and Joseph Randle finds the end zone again. In the end, Dan Bailey comes up huge late to put the Cowboys in first place.
Like most of these games, I go back and forth on this one because I see scenarios where the Cowboys will get out to a nice lead because the Eagles will have a hard time stopping this offense. I also think the Cowboys will have a very hard time with LeSean McCoy and Philly's attack, especially if DeMarcus Ware doesn't play. I know it's been a full calendar year since Philly won at home, but something about playing up there is still scary for this Cowboys team, even though they've proven they can win there. I don't see it happening this time. I see Philly outscoring the Cowboys in a game where 31 points won't be enough to win. For the Cowboys, I see a big game for Miles Austin – over 100 yards with a touchdown. But I see Riley Cooper continuing his hot streak against the Cowboys, too.
There were a couple of different ways I wanted to go here because I feel strongly about Joseph Randle playing well, but I will take the path of Kyle Wilber making his first NFL start against Jason Peters. This Cowboys front is going to need a pressure player in this matchup without DeMarcus Ware in the lineup. Jason Hatcher will see his share of double teams so someone will need to win a battle or two one-on-one. My sources told me that Wilber had a nice week of practice and looked very quick off the ball. My gut tells me, he does provide that pressure and at the end of this game, we are talking about how well he played.