Well, there's a couple of ways to look at Thursday night's Chiefs-Eagles game from the Cowboys' point of view.
Most importantly for Dallas, another division rival had a bad night and the Cowboys now hold sole possession of first place in the NFC East. If they can beat St. Louis on Sunday, the Cowboys have a good chance to grab early command in the division.
It also makes you feel better about the Chiefs loss – at least a little bit. Kansas City is off to a hot 3-0 start. Not many people were expecting Philadelphia to be some sort of juggernaut this year, but any team that can rip off three straight wins in the NFL is doing something right. [embedded_ad]
It's interesting to see the difference in performance between two common opponents, though – particularly on a short week. The Chiefs made the Eagles pay for their mistakes by forcing five turnovers just four days after forcing two against Dallas.
The extra possessions, coupled with Philly's woeful defense, allowed Kansas City to rack up 395 yards of offense – their best output of the season by about 100 yards.
The Chiefs' defense continued its tear during Andy Reid's return to The Linc, as well. Kansas City racked up five sacks in addition to the five turnovers. Justin Houston is off to an almost unbelievable start, with 7.5 sacks through three games of play, and Dontari Poe terrorized the Eagles' offensive line the same way he did the Cowboys.
But the stats seem funky. The Chiefs held a two-possession lead for a large chunk of the game against the Eagles, but it wasn't Michael Vick's arm that burned them. Vick managed a pedestrian 201 yards on 13-of-30 attempts, and he threw two picks.
Instead, the Eagles rode a 260-yard rushing effort to pull within 23-16 in the fourth quarter. LeSean McCoy broke off 158 yards on 20 carries, while Vick added another 95 on five attempts – funnily enough, since Alex Smith just burned the Cowboys for 57 yards on Sunday afternoon.
The Chiefs eventually put the game away in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles were easily able to run the ball against Kansas City in a close game.
It might not be fair to compare the two performances, since the Cowboys don't run Chip Kelly's brand of reap-option offense. Tony Romo can scramble for the occasional first down, but you'd never confuse his ability to run with Vick's 95-yard performance.
But it's a bit disconcerting to see Philadelphia gash through the same Chiefs defense that held DeMarco Murray to 25 yards on 11 carries. Even if it was a short week, 260 yards is a lot of ground to cover against an NFL defense.
I'm not sure what that says about the Chiefs. Kansas City got out of a road environment on a short week with a win, and the good things about its defensive performance far outweigh the bad, in my opinion.
It might say something about the Cowboys, however. Even with the difference in schemes (and they are vast), I can't help but feel that Dallas should have been able to run better against the Chiefs if the Eagles were so clearly capable. Maybe they wouldn't have ripped off 260 yards, but at least 80 or 90?
Of course, the Chiefs also held the Philadelphia receivers well in check, while Dez Bryant ripped them for 141 yards and a touchdown. There are differences to every gameplan, I realize.
But basically, I'm not encouraged by the Cowboys prospects on the ground this year. Thursday night reinforced that feeling just a bit.