PHILADELPHIA – There wasn't a game ball or a postgame media crush for Joseph Randle this week.
It was a bit odd, really, because although Sunday was the first start of Randle's career, it felt like just another day at the office.
"It really felt good and I got more comfortable as the game progressed," Randle said. "The first half was a little slow but then we got moving well on offense."
It was common knowledge by kickoff against the Eagles that DeMarco Murray wouldn't be playing and Randle would be starting. There was no late-game entrance of win-clinching touchdown. Instead, Randle pounded away for a workmanlike 65 yards on 19 carries, he added another 28 yards on three catches, he was serviceable in pass protection, and he helped Dallas to its 17-3 win.
"We thought Joseph did a nice job -- didn't seem like the situation was too big for him," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "He stepped in there and ran the football, ran hard and protected the ball. When he had chances to block he did that, so I thought it was a good day for him."
On a team that regained control of the division lead with the win, you weren't likely to hear anyone quibble about stats – let alone a rookie. Randle said in the postgame locker room he didn't even know what his final stat line was.
"Sixty-five yards? Good deal," he said.
Honoring Bum Phillips
Cowboys tight ends coach Wes Phillips and his father, Houston Texans defensive coordinator and former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips, took a heavier heart to this weekend's games.
Wes' grandfather and Wade's father, Bum Phillips, passed away at the age of 90 at his ranch in Texas.
"He's kind of a one-of-kind-type guy, but in the end, for me, he's just Paw Paw, you know? He was my grandpa," Wes Phillips said in the Cowboys' postgame locker room.
Bum Phillips coached at the high school, college and professional levels, most notably as the head coach of the Houston Oilers from 1975-80, compiling a 59-38 record. Phillips was the defensive coordinator for the Oilers the year before taking over as head coach, and the defensive guru also served as a defensive coordinator for the Chargers and head coach of the Saints.
Between all his stops, Phillips spent 16 years coaching in some degree in the NFL. The Texas native began his coaching career at Nedarland High School and eventually worked his way through the college ranks, making stops as an assistant at Texas A&M and a defensive coordinator at Houston.
His legacy will continue to live on through his children and grandchildren in Texas. Wade was the head coach in Dallas from 2007-10 before coaching the defense in Houston in 2011, while Wes is moving up in the Cowboys' organization and now coaches the tight ends after serving as an assistant.
Despite that pedigree, Wes said his grandfather's concern was primarily with family over football.
"It's just all I've known, being in a football family – that's what we do," Wes Phillips said. "He never pressured me to (become a coach). He pressured me more about having a boy than he pressured me about football. He always told me I was the last Phillips, and dad was the last Phillips in our line. He got to meet his great-grandson before he passed, so that's good."
Unprompted, owner/general manager Jerry Jones unprompted made sure to touch on the magnificent impression Bum Phillips left on him and the NFL community in the midst of Jones' postgame interview.
"I do want to mention the fact that I'm sorry that we lost Bum," Jones said. "He's really a personal role model of mine."
- Rowan Kavner
No Hard Feelings
Anyone watching the game Sunday surely noticed Dez Bryant's faceoff with Philadelphia corner Cary Williams – both verbally and physically. Williams matched up often with Bryant, and the two wound up jawing with each other on more than one occasion.
It's not the first time, as the two squared off last season when Williams was with Baltimore.
Bryant said it's all in the game.
"It's the beginning of the game, it's our first drive and their defense's first drive and he's just out there trying to set his mark, set his tempo," he said. "As the game went on, we just both understood, it's just competition. It's just trying to win. I don't have any hard feelings towards him and I know he doesn't have any hard feelings towards me."
The Cowboys made sure to get rookie safety Jeff Heath into the game early, mainly to try and offset the Eagles' up-tempo offense with plenty of substitutions.
While Heath played more defensive snaps than any game this season, he did leave Philadelphia with a minor brace on his right forearm. Heath said he suffered the injury early in the first quarter and played through the discomfort.
Heath said he will likely have an MRI on Monday to test the forearm properly, but added he fully expects to play next week in Detroit.
*- Nick Eatman *
Here are some more notes from Sunday's win at Philadelphia: [embedded_ad]
- Today's win gave Dallas 3-0 record against division opponents in 2013. It is the first time since 2007 the club started a season 3-0 against the division, third time since 2003 and seventh time in the history of the franchise.
- In catching eight passes for 110 yards, Dez Bryant now has 242 career receptions to pass Herschel Walker (232), Terrell Owens (235) and Kelvin Martin (237) for 14th in team history.
- Terrance Williams caught a touchdown pass today for his third straight game with a scoring catch. Williams streak of three straight games ties the longest streak by a club rookie and is the sixth time a Cowboys rookie had a streak of three games with a touchdown catch.