Monthly Archives: October, 2011

THINK PINK: Dallas Cowboys’ Laurent Robinson spiked football against Eagles for boy battling cancer

Dallas Cowboys Laurent Robinson - Spike for cancer victim - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys Laurent Robinson - Spike for cancer victim, Tyler - The Boys Are Back blog

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At first glance, many wondered Sunday night why in the world Cowboys wide receiver Laurent Robinson was so animated in spiking the football after his touchdown cut Philadelphia’s lead to 34-7.

Laurent Robinson beat the Eagles’ coverage and worked his way behind the secondary, catching a pass down the right sideline from Tony Romo. Laurent Robinson raced 70 yards for his first touchdown as a Cowboys player that broke the shutout with 12:53 to play in the fourth quarter.

After the score, Robinson jumped in the air and emphatically spiked the football into the end zone with his right hand.

The celebration seemed over the top considering the score, but there’s a back story that explains Robinson’s spike.

During the Cowboys’ bye in early October, Laurent Robinson met a young boy from Dallas named Tyler who was fighting brain cancer. One of Tyler’s wishes was to meet a player from his favorite team, and Laurent Robinson obliged.

During the visit, Tyler told Laurent Robinson that during one of his youth football games he scored a touchdown and spiked the football, receiving a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Robinson promised Tyler that when he scored his first touchdown as a Cowboys player that he would spike the football in honor of him.

Laurent Robinson, who led Dallas with five catches for 103 yards against Philadelphia, held true to his word. Cancer battles are close to Robinson’s heart. His mother, Linda Brown, is a 12-year survivor of breast cancer.

After spiking the ball, Eagles fans booed him and threw a few items in his direction near the back of the end zone. Robinson quickly retrieved the bounding ball and carried it to the sideline.

He won’t keep the ball that represents his first touchdown as a Cowboys player. Instead, he plans to give it to Tyler.

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NFL Cancer Awareness - Dallas Cowboys

HOPE

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About a Crucial Catch

The NFL, its teams, players and the NFL Players Association are proud to support the fight against breast cancer. Our campaign, “A Crucial Catch”, in partnership with the American Cancer Society. Throughout October, NFL games will feature players, coaches and referees wearing pink game apparel, on-field pink ribbon stencils, special game balls and pink coins – all to help raise awareness for this important campaign. All apparel worn at games by players and coaches, along with special game balls and pink coins will be auctioned off at NFL Auction (www.NFL.com/auction), with proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society and team charities. This is an issue that has directly touched the lives of so many in the NFL family, and we are committed to helping make a difference in breast cancer prevention.

To learn more, click HERE

RIVAL: Philadelphia paper uses Tony Romo to have some Halloween fun

Tony Romo vs Eagle Cole Halloween cartoon

Philadelphia Inquirer Halloween cartoon - Tony Romo

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Philadelphia Inquirer cartoonist Rob Tornoe, who draws a weekly cartoon for the paper’s sports section, came up with this sketch, which obviously referred to the success the Philadelphia Eagles defensive line had against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

I’m not sure what will make Dallas Cowboys fans more upset, the fact that Romo is running scared from a rival or that he is wearing his hat backwards.

RIVAL CHOICE: Dallas Cowboys rival Washington Redskins claim Tashard Choice off waivers

IRVING, Texas — The Washington Redskins claimed former Dallas Cowboys running back Tashard Choice off waivers on Monday, according to a source close to the team, possibly setting up an interesting reunion on Nov. 20 at FedEx Field.

The Cowboys cut Choice on Saturday to make room for rookie linebacker Bruce Carter. Had Choice not been claimed by Washington, he would have reverted to the Cowboys’ injured reserve list because of a hamstring injury.

The Dallas Cowboys would have reached an injury settlement with Choice if he ended up on IR.

The Redskins had a need after losing leading rusher Tim Hightower to a torn anterior cruciate ligament against Carolina. He had 321 yards on 84 carries. The Redskins also have Ryan Torain and Roy Helu as their tailbacks.

Choice had 75 yards on 28 carries this season and also caught 11 passes for 71 yards. In his career with the Cowboys, he finished with 1,139 yards on 250 carries and eight touchdowns. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent following the season.

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DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY: DeMarcus Ware’s big day overshadowed by tough loss in Philly

Dallas Cowboy DeMarcus Ware - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboy DeMarcus Ware - The Boys Are Back blog

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In the minutes after his four-sack performance against Michael Vick and the Eagles, DeMarcus Ware gave the impression of a man who felt his career game had been wasted.

The Cowboys outside linebacker took down Philadelphia’s scrambling dynamo for a two-yard loss on the first play from scrimmage, and from there things quickly spiraled out of control for the Cowboys. The Eagles would score touchdowns on their first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead, and added field goals on their next two, the outcome of the tame barely in doubt for five minutes at the beginning.

DeMarcus Ware would eventually post a sack in each quarter, dropping Vick and the Eagles for a total loss of 23 yards. It wasn’t enough to matter, though, as they compiled 495 yards of total offense.

“I think it really doesn’t even matter, to think about that,” DeMarcus Ware said of his big game. “We were able to get some pressure on him, but we’ve just got to go back this week and watch the film, and correct the things we need to correct and get better for the next game. You can’t sort of harp on how things went this week. You’ve got to get better and, you know, it’s just one game.”

Through just seven games, DeMarcus Ware already has 12.0 sacks on the year, only a half-sack behind league-leader Jared Allen of Minnesota, who has played one more game.

DeMarcus Ware surpassed his previous career high of three sacks in a game, which he has had seven times, and tied Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Charles Haley for second in the team record books for most sacks in a game, behind Bob Lilly and Jim Jeffcoat, who each had five.

The big night allowed DeMarcus Ware to reach double-digit sacks for a sixth consecutive season, however, getting the Cowboys back on the winning track is a more primary focus for him now.

“It has to be,” Ware said. “Because we have a long season and we’re just getting started.”

So long, the season is, that Ware is on pace for more than 27.0 sacks, which would smash the league record.

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POSTGAME INJURY UPDATE: Sean Lee MRI | Jenkins | McBriar | Ratliff OK | Bruce Carter may start

Dallas Cowboys Sean Lee
Dallas Cowboys Sean Lee

PHILADELPHIA — Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee will have an MRI on Monday morning to determine the extent of an injury to his left wrist.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the initial diagnosis was a dislocation. Lee, the Cowboys’ leading tackler, suffered the injury on the final play of the first quarter of Sunday night’s loss 34-7 loss in Philadelphia when his wrist was bent backward while attempting to tackle Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.

Lee went to the locker room for further evaluation and did not return to the sideline. He was replaced by Keith Brooking and Bradie James.

“I’m hoping I could play next week,” said Lee, who had his wrist in a brace after the game. “I couldn’t return tonight. The doctors would not let me out there. Hopefully I can get it re-evaluated and it’ll be all right.”

Any absence from Lee would hurt the defense. Entering Sunday’s game the coaches had credited Lee with 72 tackles, 41 more than any other defender. He also has a team-leading three interceptions and recovered two fumbles.

Before his injury, the Cowboys’ defense struggled but it got worse in Lee’s absence. Brooking and James struggled in containing Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and were beat in coverage too.

Depth would be an issue, too. Rookie second-round pick Bruce Carter made his season debut against the Eagles, but the plan was to ease him into the lineup on special teams. Without Lee, Carter could be called on more quickly than anticipated to help in pass coverage.

The Cowboys lost another defensive starter for the night after cornerback Mike Jenkins suffered a hamstring injury in the third quarter. Jenkins had been bothered earlier in the year with a stinger injury suffered in training camp and a shoulder injury suffered in the season opener, but he had not missed a game. He was replaced by Orlando Scandrick.

Meanwhile, punter Mat McBriar left the game with a left foot injury. Mat McBriar has some nerve issues in his left foot (non-kicking) which prevents him from planting. Dan Bailey replaced him and Chris Jones was signed to the practice roster on Friday as a precaution.

Jay Ratliff left the game late in the fourth quarter but is Ok. He went to the sidelines and was looked at by the trainers. He played numerous snaps on Sunday night with the Cowboys keeping Josh Brent inactive and with Sean Lissemore being used in his place it meant a heavy load for Ratliff.

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POSTGAME: Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan says, “Andy Reid kicked my ass … it’s all on me.”

Rob Ryan postgame - Andy Reid kicked my ass - It's all on me

Rob Ryan postgame - Andy Reid kicked my ass - It's all on me

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PHILADELPHIA — Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan takes all the blame for the Dallas Cowboys‘ failure to back up his big mouth.

Ryan mockingly referred to the Philadelphia Eagles as the “all-hype team” during training camp and vowed that the Cowboys would “kick their ass” when the NFC East rivals met. The opposite happened Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field, when the Eagles scored on their first six possessions while rolling to a 34-7 rout.

“The whole thing is I got outcoached by [Andy] Reid and their staff,” Ryan said. “I mean, it’s ridiculous. I never gave our guys a chance. The whole [expletive] thing was on me. If I gave them any extra motivation, hell, I certainly never backed it up. I gave our guys a lousy plan. We had no chance, and it’s all on me.”

A Dallas defense that entered the night as the NFL’s fifth-ranked total defense was absolutely dominated by the star-studded Eagles.

Philadelphia finished with 495 total yards, 324 of which came while racing to a 24-0 halftime lead. The Eagles rushed for 239 yards, more than three times the league-low average allowed by the Cowboys in the first six games of the season.

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy carried 30 times for 185 yards and two touchdowns, racking up the most yardage the Dallas defense has allowed in 11 seasons.

Quarterback Michael Vick completed 21 of 28 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 50 yards on seven carries.

The Eagles’ first three possessions were touchdown drives of 79, 90 and 67 yards. The first score of the game was a glaring example of Reid winning the X’s and O’s battle. A quick screen to Jeremy Maclin, which resulted in an easy 12-yard touchdown, was a perfect counter to a safety blitz that Ryan called for the third time that series.

“Andy Reid was reading my mail,” Ryan said. “He kicked my ass. I’ve just got to go back and work harder. I’ve got to be smarter than this. That’s all it comes down to.”

However, Ryan said this humiliating loss wouldn’t make him watch his mouth in the future. That’s simply not the style of the son of brash ex-Eagles coach Buddy Ryan and twin brother of Super Bowl-guaranteeing New York Jets coach Rex Ryan.

“Hell, if I don’t say anything, then I don’t really believe,” Ryan said. “Hopefully, it will be the last time it ever happens. But whatever happened, it was all my fault.”

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STANDINGS: Dallas Cowboys fall into tie for second place in NFC East

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo sacked by Philadelphia Eagles defensive end's Jason Babin and Trent Cole

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo sacked by Philadelphia Eagles defensive end's Jason Babin and Trent Cole

Michael Ainsworth/Staff Photographer
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PHILADELPHIA — The “All-Hype” team finally played up to their super expectations.

Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes, LeSean McCoy had a career-best 185 yards rushing and two scores and the Philadelphia Eagles routed the Dallas Cowboys 34-7 Sunday night.

Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan fired up the Eagles with some trash-talking during the summer after they added several big-name players.

Ryan, the son of beloved former Philadelphia coach Buddy Ryan, called the Eagles the “all-hype” team and predicted the Cowboys would “beat their (butt).”

He was way off.

The Eagles (3-4) dominated right from the start, improved to 13-0 after a bye under coach Andy Reid and snapped a five-game losing streak at Lincoln Financial Field that dated to last season.

The long-haired Ryan paced the sideline and desperately tried to figure out how to stop Vick and Co. It didn’t happen until the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.

The Eagles racked up 495 total yards and held the ball for 42:09. They thoroughly outplayed a defense that came in ranked seventh in the NFL.

DeMarcus Ware was one of the few players who played well for Dallas (3-4). He had four sacks, and has 12 this season.

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REALITY CHECK: Dallas Cowboys not competitive for first time under head coach Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett

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Jason Garrett has lost seven games since taking over as the Cowboys head coach in the middle of last season. None of those losses were by more than four points.

Until this one.

“We’ve been playing so well and doing the things we needed to get done,” linebacker Anthony Spencer said. “For us to come out and play like this, to have the things that happened to us in this game, I mean, it’s pretty much unacceptable.”

A team that was outscored by a total of 18 points in its first six losses under Garrett lost this one by 27 points. The Cowboys were hopelessly behind with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.

The Cowboys are now 3-4 to fall under .500 for the third time this season.

“You never think something like this is going to happen,” cornerback Mike Jenkins said. “This is one of those games that just got out of hand and you felt like you couldn’t do anything about it. “We got beat. We flat out got beat.”

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HISTORY: Dallas Cowboy notes

Here are the notes compiled by the Dallas Cowboys‘ after  the game:

Bruce Carter made his NFL debut tonight playing on special  teams.

Last week DeMarco Murray established a club  record with 253 rushing yards. He became the ninth Dallas Cowboy to pass the 175  rushing yard mark. His 74 yards tonight represent the sixth-most following a  175-plus yard performance in club history:

                                        175-plus                                Next Week

         Player                         Yds       Opp      Date                Yds       Opp      Date

Tony  Dorsett                183        @NYG  11/9/80          122         STL      11/16/80

Emmitt  Smith              237        @Phi    10/31/93        117         NYG      11/7/93

Tony  Dorsett                175        @Bal    12/6/81          101          PHI      12/13/81

Tony  Dorsett                206        PHI       12/4/77            92         @SF     12/12/77

Julius  Jones                198        @Sea   12/6/04            88          NO       12/12/04

DeMarco  Murray        253        STL       10/23/11          74         @Phi     10/30/11

Emmitt  Smith              182        @Pho   9/22/91            67         NYG      9/29/91

Troy  Hambrick             189        @Was   12/14/03          36         NYG      12/21/03

Julius  Jones                194        @Car    12/24/05          35         STL      1/1/06

Laurent Robinson led all Cowboys with 103 receiving yards.  It was his second 100-yard effort of the season and the third of his career. He  also had his first touchdown as a Dallas Cowboy on a 70-yard reception. It was  the second-longest catch of his career behind a74-yard touchdown catch while  with Atlanta (at Arizona, 12/23/07).

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VIDEOS: Postgame press conferences with Jason Garrett | Tony Romo | Jerry Jones | Rob Ryan

Video - Dallas Cowboys Postgame Press Conference - Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys Postgame Press Conference - Jason Garrett - Press Play

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Garrett and Romo: Postgame

Jason Garrett and Tony Romo speak following the teams loss to the Eagles.

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Video - Jerry Jones - Postgame interview

Video - Jerry Jones - Postgame interview

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Jerry Jones: Not A Cause For Concern

Jerry Jones speaks to the media following the Cowboys loss to the Eagles.

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Video - Rob Ryan postgame interview - Press Play

Video - Rob Ryan postgame interview - Press Play

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Rob Ryan: I Never Gave Our Guys A Chance

Defensive Coordinator, Rob Ryan, takes the blame for the Cowboys loss to the Eagles.

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Instant Analysis: Philadelphia Eagles embarrass Dallas Cowboys, make Rob Ryan eat his words

The top run defense in the NFL was dominated by Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy, who ran for 185 yards and two touchdowns Sunday night.

Here are my five thoughts on the Cowboys’ embarrassing 34-7 loss to the Eagles.

1.) What a debacle. That’s one of those high school games that you hope your parents and friends forgot to attend. However, for the Cowboys, that game was not only on television but prime time national television. The Cowboys were absolutely embarrassed against their hated-rival and every NFL fan near a TV got to view it. Philadelphia dominated almost the entire way and in every facet of the game, handing the Cowboys their worst loss of the Jason Garrett head-coaching era. No one outside of the Philadelphia locker room was expecting a beat down like this. I mean, it was so bad that the Cowboys didn’t force a punt until the fourth quarter.

2.) Are Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Tony Romo on the same page or was the all-world Philly secondary simply too good? Romo didn’t complete one pass to Bryant or Austin the first half. Sure, there wasn’t much time for Romo to throw and the Cowboys only had four first-half possessions, but you would think he could get a couple of short tosses to his top two receivers. Bryant’s first catch didn’t come until there was 6:42 left in the game, and that was after the Oklahoma State product was showed complaining on the sidelines. The Cowboys’ top receiver was Laurent Robinson on Sunday. Does Romo feel most comfortable with a receiver that didn’t make his Cowboys debut until Week 3? It sure looked that way.

3.) For anyone who wasn’t sure who the best quarterback in the division was, you received your answer Sunday night. Michael Vick did whatever he wanted against a group that was supposed to be one of the best units in the league. His offensive line allowed him plenty of time to operate, which gave him the opportunity to be nearly flawless in his decision-making. Vick rushed only when he needed to, finishing with 50 yards on seven carries, and completed 21-of-28 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns. If Philly gets that type of production from Vick every week, the Eagles will be playing the Packers for the NFC championship.

4.) It’s not going to happen, but Rob Ryan should probably chill out on the bulletin board material. Ryan’s “we’re going to beat their [expletive] when we play them” sure made the Cowboys defensive coordinator look silly. I love his enthusiasm but like Bradie James said on Wednesday, coach, can you save those comments for when the Cowboys play the Rams? Ryan wanted to make a bold statement and he did. But the Eagles certainly made him eat his words.

5.) Positive spin: DeMarcus Ware, DeMarco Murray and Robinson all played well despite the Cowboys’ horrible showing. Those three all kept fighting to the end and it showed in their stats. Ware finished with four sacks and 11 tackles, Murray rushed for 74 yards in the first half and Robinson caught five passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. Also, despite a horrible blowout loss, the Cowboys have a favorable schedule over the next five weeks. If Jerry Jones’ group can do their best impression of Nolan Ryan’s bunch, and quickly put this one behind them, a month from now this game could be looked at as something that brought the team together.

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JERRY JONES: Disappointed but says its not a cause for concern

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones labeled Sunday’s game against the Eagles as a potential foundation builder, one in which his team can use as a stepping stone for a possible second half run.

He looked at the Cowboys upcoming schedule and saw a few patsies.

There are games against Seahawks (2-5), Redskins (3-4), Dolphins (0-7) and Cardinals (1-6) up over the next five weeks along with a matchup against the Bills (5-2).

It’s was certainly an opportunity for a Cowboys team hopefully riding off to a victory against the Eagles to fatten up.

But that was before the Cowboys stepped into a 34-7 butt whipping Sunday night against the Eagles _ sending them back under .500 at 3-4 and looking like  the same mediocre team they have been for more than a decade.

Yet a disappointed Jones was not ready to panic

“I am disappointed,” Jones said. “There’s no alarm. I want to be real clear:  There is absolutely no alarm in me. We had a lot to gain. If we could come up here and win this ball game, we had a lot to gain. We understand that. They played outstanding. We did not play good at all. But they played outstanding. I give them their credit. They did what they had to do to be what we had in mind [that they were capable of]. But we’re going to step right back out. I’m going to say one more time: Not a cause for concern.”

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DALLAS HEADLINE: Eagles put a hurt on the Dallas Cowboys

Eagles put a hurt on the Dallas Cowboys
Eagles put a hurt on the Dallas Cowboys

PHILADELPHIA — The “All-Hype” team finally  played up to their super expectations.

Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes, LeSean McCoy had a career-best 185  yards rushing and two scores and the Philadelphia Eagles routed the Dallas  Cowboys 34-7 Sunday night.

Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan fired up the Eagles with some  trash-talking during the summer after they added several big-name players.

Ryan, the son of beloved former Philadelphia coach Buddy Ryan, called the  Eagles the “all-hype” team and predicted the Cowboys would “beat their (butt).”

He was way off.

The Eagles (3-4) dominated right from the start, improved to 13-0 after a bye  under coach Andy Reid and snapped a five-game losing streak at Lincoln Financial  Field that dated to last season.

The long-haired Ryan paced the sideline and desperately tried to figure out  how to stop Vick and Co. It didn’t happen until the fourth quarter when the game  was out of reach.

The Eagles racked up 495 total yards and held the ball for 42:09. They  thoroughly outplayed a defense that came in ranked seventh in the NFL.

DeMarcus Ware was one of the few players who played well for Dallas (3-4). He  had four sacks, and has 12 this season.

Coming off a 253-yard rushing performance in a win over St. Louis, Cowboys  rookie DeMarco Murray was held to 74 yards on only eight carries.

The defending NFC East champion Eagles entered the season with a Super  Bowl-or-bust mentality after adding six former Pro Bowl players in free agency  and trades.

But a 1-4 start had people wondering if the self-proclaimed “Dream Team” – backup quarterback Vince Young gave the Eagles that label after signing a  one-year deal – was overhyped as Ryan boldly declared in August.

After two straight wins, the Eagles are in a three-way tie with Dallas and  Washington for second place behind the New York Giants (5-2).

Vick completed 21 of 28 passes for 279 yards and led the Eagles to points on  their first six possessions. He also ran for 50 yards.

A swarming defense harassed Tony Romo throughout the game. Romo got sacked  four times and threw an interception to Nnamdi Asomugha.

McCoy had 80 of Philadelphia’s 115 yards rushing in the first quarter. That  was more than Dallas allowed in any game this season. The Eagles entered with  the No. 1-ranked rushing offense and the Cowboys had the top-ranked run defense.

The Eagles took the kickoff and drove 79 yards for their first opening-drive  TD this season. Vick was sacked by Ware on the first play, but he connected with  Jeremy Maclin for 24 yards on the next one. McCoy had a 21-yard run and Vick  scrambled 15 yards to the Cowboys 13.

On third-and-9 from the 12, Vick tossed a screen pass to Maclin, who followed  a lead block by Jason Peters into the end zone.

Vick led the Eagles 90 yards with McCoy running in from the 2 for a 14-0  lead. McCoy had runs of 11 and 34 yards before scoring for the seventh straight  game. He’s one short of Steve Van Buren’s team record set in 1947.

Asomugha set up Philadelphia’s third scoring drive by picking off Romo’s pass  at the Eagles 33 after the ball bounced off Martellus Bennett’s hands.

Vick kept the drive going with a 9-yard run on third-and-8, and made a  perfect pass to Jason Avant for a 20-yard gain on another third-and-8. He threw  a strike to Brent Celek in the back of the end zone on the next play for a  9-yard TD and a 21-0 lead.

The Eagles had a first down at the Cowboys 6 on their fourth possession, but  settled for a 23-yard field goal by Alex Henery that made it 24-0.

Henery kicked a 26-yarder to make it 27-0 in the third quarter. McCoy’s  13-yard run put Philadelphia up 34-0 in the fourth.

But the Cowboys spoiled the shutout bid on the ensuing possession when Romo  threw a 70-yard TD pass to Laurent Robinson.

ROB MAADDI | Ft Worth Star Telegram | AP

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PHILLY HEADLINE: The real Eagles finally show up

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick scrambles in the first half against the Cowboys. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick scrambles against Dallas Cowboys.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Philadelphia Eagles.

The team that was praised too early and also buried too early — just  impossible to figure in another confounding NFL season — arrived Sunday night  against the Dallas Cowboys lugging a 2-4 record and all of the imperatives such  numbers suggest. They showed up for a game in a stadium filled with people who  were wondering if they would ever see the team that they  expected/anticipated/salivated over with each new free-agent signing in  August.

Then, this:

Eagles 34, Cowboys 7.

It was a night when Chas Henry did not punt until the middle of the fourth  quarter. It was a night when the Cowboys’ vaunted run defense was mutilated by  Shady McCoy. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was the coach who got all of  the ink during the week, but it was Eagles offensive coordinator Marty  Mornhinweg who ended up being the evening’s unquestioned master. And Michael  Vick was a sharp as we have seen him.

All of that, combined with a pass rush that set an early, terroristic tone,  turned an expected drama into a farce. It also undoubtedly caught the attention  of skeptics who have tut-tutted for weeks now about how the Eagles assembled  talent in the off-season but did not assemble a team, and about how there was no  way so much roster turnover, combined with so much turnover on the coaching  staff, could ever have resulted in the kind of expectations that the Eagles  carried into Opening Day.

All of it, as we now know, is just conversation — the Dream Team stuff, the  snap-back against the Dream Team stuff, all of it. What we are left with is a  team struggling to make up an early deficit, yes, but also a team with a lot of  ability that is continuing to blossom. They have been good all year on offense,  really. They started coming together defensively 2 1/2 games ago, during the  loss at Buffalo.

This is the result.

The question: how much of it can they sustain?

A lot of us spent the bye week doing the math. There was no way around the notion that the Eagles were going to have to beat the Cowboys in this game, no realistic way to make the numbers work with a loss.

That was pretty much accepted by everyone. What follows is conjecture: that  the Eagles probably have to win seven of their remaining nine games. Is it  doable? Yes. A guesstimate on the Las Vegas odds is that they could very well be  favored in just that many games, seven of nine. But it is all about showing up  every week. It is the NFL’s biggest challenge and it is the thing Andy Reid  teams are best at, especially in the second half of the season.

So, we’ll see. The NFC East has been reduced to this: the Giants are 5-2 and  the Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins are all 3-4. Watching the events of the day — the Giants surviving at home against the winless Dolphins, the Redskins getting  shut out by the Bills, the Cowboys getting obliterated by the Eagles — it is  not hard to envision this: four teams, with four knives, locked in a room with a  hearty “good luck” and the expectation that only one of them will emerge.

But which?

The Eagles, for the first time in a while, looked like a team with a chance  to do just that. If this did not get the attention of the rest of the league,  nothing will. What the Eagles did in this game, more than anything, is  demonstrate to the world how good they can be.

The next few weeks will tell us if they showed up in time.

Courtesy: Rich Hofmann | Philadelphia Daily News

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DALLAS COWBOYS RADIO NETWORK: Watch on TV, listen to Brad Sham, ‘the voice of the Dallas Cowboys’ and Babe Laufenberg

Now, from within The Boys Are Back (A blog for TRUE BLUE fans of the Dallas Cowboys) … you can LISTEN LIVE to Dallas area sports broadcasts while you read, browse, or work around the house.

You can also catch Dallas Cowboys talk shows, commentary, pregame/postgame interviews, analysis, and daily/weekly shows with some of the key players and coaches of America’s Team.

Listen Live to: The Fan 105.3 Dallas (KRLD) …

Flagship of The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network!

Listen to ‘the voice of the Dallas Cowboys’ Brad Sham, with Babe Laufenberg!

After the game:

Listen to live analysis and interviews from players, coaches, and Jerry Jones.

DALLAS COWBOYS RADIO NETWORK - Watch on TV, listen to Brad Sham, 'the voice of the Dallas Cowboys' and Babe Laufenberg

NOTE:

If you live in or around Dallas/Ft. Worth broadcast area, tune to

The Fan 105.3 KRLD-FM on your radio.

If you live anywhere else in America,

click HERE to see if you have a local station teamed up with

The Dallas Cowboy Radio Network.

After the game:

The-Dallas-Cowboys-Radio-Network-105_3-The-Fan-KRLD

Everyone can click on the 105.3 The FAN button above to listen online to the postgame show!

Note: By NFL rule, National Football League games cannot be broadcast live online without exclusive rights agreements.

HEADS UP: Al Michaels chats with Rob Ryan tonight on NBC’s Sunday Night Football pre-game show

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan 2011
Dallas Cowboys DC Rob Ryan

Here’s a heads-up for The Boys Are Back blog readers. NBC’s Al Michaels will chat with Dallas Cowboy defensive coordinator Rob Ryan tonight on the SNF pre-game show.  

Here’s an advance look:

MICHAELS on Ryan’s father, Buddy, having been the head coach in Philadelphia and Arizona, both Cowboys rivals: What was his initial reaction when you got the job in Dallas?
ROB RYAN: Disbelief. He was a little shocked by it. He’s like, ‘you’ve got all these other things going. Why here?’ I’m like, ‘Dad, it’s the best opportunity for me.’ It really has worked out great.

MICHAELS: What’s made the difference this year?
ROB RYAN: Well, me. [joking; laughter]. Honestly, starting over with some Pro Bowl football players. All these guys have been in the Pro Bowl and deservedly so. We got all together and have been working hard ever since. We’re not all the way there yet but we’re playing good ball and we’re going to keep doing it.

MICHAELS: You’ve been an assistant coach for 25 years, 10 different places, but no head coaching opportunity yet. Does that eat at you?
ROB RYAN: I don’t think it’s going to eat much further. My chance will come. It only took my dad 25 years and, hell, he’s better than me and Rex put together. Those things happen. I’m not sure how it will go but eventually I’ll get my chance to be a head coach.

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ROB RYAN on his war of words with Eagles WR Desean Jackson earlier this year:

That was kind of annoying because we signed three great players the day before, so I’m bragging about those guys and all I’m hearing about is all these great players that Philadelphia had signed. It bothered me because I thought it was disrespecting the players that I coach and that I knew would be great for us.

ROB RYAN on Jackson saying, ‘Maybe I can run on the sideline and tackle the coach’ and Ryan responding that he’ll fall on him:

There’s no question. Is he a good enough athlete to get it done? Absolutely. Am I a bad enough athlete to get tackled by a small guy? Sure. But I am going to fall on him. So I welcome the challenge. [joking] If he wants to come hit me … beautiful. A little guy like that not’s going to hit that hard anyway. It would be fun to beat these guys. There’s no question. They have a ton of talent over there. They’re the fastest team I’ve ever seen on offense but I always believe in hitting them in the mouth. We’ll see what happens.”

Courtesy: NBC Sports | DMN | The Boys Are Back blog

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SPORT SCIENCE: Dallas Cowboys DeMarcus Ware speed is examined

VIDEO - Dallas Cowboys DeMarcus Ware speed - The Boys Are Back blog

VIDEO - Dallas Cowboys DeMarcus Ware speed - The Boys Are Back blog

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 ESPN Sport Science examines DeMarcus Ware’s speed – Click to play video

ESPN has removed this video from their archives! Our apologies, from The Boys Are Back blog. To watch an alternative video (from ESPN) click HERE. Notice: ESPN is notorious for deleting videos after a few days.

 

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Video Courtesy: ESPN

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GAMEPLAN: Impact of the Tashard Choice release from the Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray
Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray

The Dallas Cowboys decision to release Tashard Choice on Saturday will have several repercussions in tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Dallas Cowboys have two healthy running backs on the roster and both are rookies  in third round pick DeMarco Murray and free agent Phillip Tanner.

Look for DeMarco Murray to get the start and also handle third downs. Phillip Tanner will supplant Murray on first and second downs but he is not ready for the third down  package, a source said.

If both go down to injury, Cowboy fullback Tony Fiammetta will be the emergency  running back.

Clearly, the Dallas Cowboys made the move with Tashard Choice for short-term and long-term  reasons.

No matter how much they were disappointed with his fumbles, his attitude and his poor special teams play, he would have likely still been on the roster he  hadn’t suffered a hamstring injury in Thursday’s practice at Cowboys Stadium.

He couldn’t practice Friday and was likely not going to be a factor against the Philadelphia Eagles.

With the team needing a roster spot to activate rookie linebacker Bruce Carter from the physically unable to perform list, sacrificing Choice made the  most sense rather someone who could possibly help them in the game against the Eagles or in the near future.

The move also means that the Dallas Cowboys believe that Felix Jones will be back in  the line u real soon, possibly as early as next week’s game against the  Seahawks.

Felix Jones missed the Rams game and will miss the Philadelphia Eagles game with a high ankle sprain. He got out of the walking boot last week.

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RIVAL INJURY UPDATE: Philadelphia Eagles DE Graham will not play against Dallas Cowboys

 

NFL Injury Update - The Boys Are Back blog
NFL Injury Update – The Boys Are Back blog

The Philadelphia Eagles did not activate defensive end Brandon Graham on Saturday, so he  won’t play against the Dallas Cowboys.

The team had until 4 p.m. if it wanted to put Graham on the 53-man roster and  make him eligible for Sunday’s game. Graham remains on the  physically-unable-to-perform list. This week, he went through his first practices with the team this season but still needs to work to get into football  shape.

The Eagles have two more weeks to evaluate Graham and decide whether to  activate him or put him on injured reserve. If the Philadelphia Eagles activate Graham, they  will have to release someone to make room on the roster.

Graham tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in December and had  microfracture surgery to help repair the injury.

Courtesy: Philadelphia Inquirer

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PHILLY NEWSPAPER: Predictions, matchups and Jerry Jones

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones congratulates DeMarcus Ware

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones congratulates DeMarcus Ware

Here is our weekly look at the Daily News staff predictions for the Eagles  game against the Cowboys, plus the key matchups:

LES BOWEN

Everybody knows about Andy Reid and the 12-0 record the week after the  bye. Across the league, teams coming out of the bye haven’t fared very well this  year, maybe because the new CBA put limits on the amount of work teams can do  during the week off. But Reid never has his team do anything during the bye  week, so I don’t see any effect there.

I do, however, try to keep in mind one basic fact about streaks: the longer  they go on, the closer they are to being over. Nothing lasts forever. There was  a time when Reid was absolutely unbeaten with an extra week to prepare, in any  situation. Then came Super Bowl XXXIX.

I think the Eagles have to win this game to remain viable for the playoffs.  Not technically, of course, but at a feel-it-in-your-gut level. Lose this,  you’re 2-5, and you need to go 7-2 the rest of the way just to get to 9-7, 8-1  to get to 10-6. That probably doesn’t add up.

The Cowboys have improved their defense a bunch. The way some pundits talk,  though, you’d think they suddenly became this dominant team by beating up on the  Rams last week. I don’t get that. They’re 3-3. Their foldup against the Lions  was worse than any of the Eagles’ second-half pratfalls this season.

I’m taking the Eagles here, by the skin of their teeth. I think Andy will  have some new wrinkles for Jason Garrett, given the extra week to work. That  might make the difference in a closely matched contest.

Prediction: Eagles 17, Cowboys 16

VEGAS VIC

Here’s what Rob Ryan, brother of Rex and defensive coordinator down in the  Big D offered up when asked about the Birds: “I don’t know if we win the  all-hype team,” Ryan said in August. “I think that might have gone to somebody  else, but we’re going to beat their ass when we play them.” There’s your  motivation.

Now, here’s your history, Part 1: The Eagles have a magnificent 12-0 record  coming off the bye week during the Andy Reid reign.

History, Part 2: Tony Romo has had seven regular-season starts against the  Birds and has thrown 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

And it looks as if the Eagles’ walking wounded are starting to heal with DE  Trent Cole and OT Jason Peters listed as probable. Great news for the Eagles as they look to climb back into contention in the muddled NFC East.

Prediction: Eagles: 28-21

Also,

Paul Domowitch: Eagles, 31-27

Ed Barkowitz: Cowboys, 24-17

Bill Conlin: Eagles, 17-16

Marcus Hayes: Eagles, 21-20

John Smallwood: Eagles, 27-24

DOMO’S KEY MATCHUPS

1. Eagles LT Jason Peters vs. Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware: Both  are perennial Pro Bowlers. Peters is coming off a hamstring injury. Ware will  line up in different spots, but Peters will be matched up vs. him the most.  Advantage: Even

2. Eagles WRs Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant vs.  Cowboys CBs Terence Newman, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick: Maclin  and Jackson both are on 1,200-yard receiving paces. Scandrick shut down Wes  Welker 2 weeks ago. Advantage: Eagles

3. Eagles LB Moise Fokou and CB Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Cowboys TE Jason  Witten. Witten’s unique combination of size, strength and athleticism  makes him tough to stop. He has been targeted 20 times in last three games and  has caught 17 of those passes. Advantage: Cowboys

JERRY JONES ON THE BIRDS

Some interesting comments from Jerry Jones as reported in today’s Forth Worth Star-Telegram about tonight’s matchup with the Eagles and how big it is:

“As I watched them add to their roster [in the off-season], knowing what they  had at the skill positions, I circled this game as arguably the toughest road  game we might have. This is the kind of game you can start a foundation, with a  win that you can build significantly off of. We’ve had that happen in some of  the great seasons that we’ve had.

“This is, again, that kind of game, even though their record doesn’t reflect  it. They’re that kind of challenge. They’re that kind of threat. And certainly  playing them at home was one that you knew was going to be hard to win. I still  feel that way.”

Courtesy: Philadelphia Daily News staff

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PHILLY NEWSPAPER: Eagles vs Cowboys – What We’re Watching

Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten scores TD vs Philly Eagles - The Boys Are Back

Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten scores TD vs Philly Eagles - The Boys Are Back

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Here are five things we will be watching during the Eagles-Dallas game on  Sunday night:

Taming Witten. Jason Witten has pretty much been able to do  whatever he’s wanted against the Eagles, which really makes him no different  than the rest of the league’s tight ends. In his last nine games against the  Eagles, he’s got 53 receptions for 612 yards and 5 touchdowns. Eagles  linebackers need to disrupt him coming off the line of scrimmage and limit his  yards after the catch.

Will the Real Run Defense Please Stand Up. As Jason Babin  has correctly pointed out, teams aren’t going to stop trying to run the ball on  the Eagles just because they held the Redskins to 42 yards on 14 carries two  weeks ago. Cowboys were averaging just 84 rushing yards per game before rookie  DeMarco Murray went on his 253-yard adventure against the Rams last week.  Cowboys no doubt will try to keep the pressure off Tony Romo by running the  ball.

Handling the Blitz. The Cowboys’ defense is coached by Rex  Ryan’s twin brother, Rob. Like his brother and like his old man, he is a devotee  of the blitz. Likes to do it a lot. From every angle, through every gap. The  Eagles have allowed just nine sacks in six games, but have frequently struggled  against the blitz. Michael Vick’s passing numbers v. blitz aren’t very good.  Both the line and Vick need to be on top of their game Sunday night when Ryan  sends extra rushers.

Squandering Yards. The Eagles are third in the league in  total offense, third in passing and first in rushing. But thanks to their  league-high 17 giveaways and their poor red-zone production (just 12 TDs in 29  trips inside the 20), they are just 13th in scoring and 28th in points per 100  yards (5.47). Only the Browns, Dolphins, Rams and Jaguars are averaging fewer  points per 100 yards.

Good Romo/Bad Romo? There’s been no middle ground with Tony  Romo v. Eagles. He’s either been Hall-of-Fame spectacular or Hall-of-Shame  awful. Cowboys have won five of the last seven games Romo has started v. Eagles.  In those five wins, Romo had a 111.7 passer rating . In the two losses:  39.7.

Courtesy: Paul Domowitch | Philadelphia Daily News

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EXCLUSIVE: The Great Robbini’s BOLD predictions for Week #8

The GREAT Robbini - The Boys Are Back prediction guru!

The GREAT Robbini - The Boys Are Back prediction guru!

Here are the BOLD predictions from Robert A Knight … Our very own self-proclaimed prediction guru. His newish crystal ball (was on the discount rack at Goodwill) overheated about 6:00 pm last Sunday (from all of the red marks on the game summary)! After storing it in the freezer for 72 hours … The GREAT Robbini has gradually thawed it back to room temperature. He’s been steadily rubbing and chanting, to bring out Dallas Cowboy vibe we all count on from week-to-week. Last week, three of The GREAT Robbini predictions came true. Unfortunately, seven didn’t! After reviewing the postgame stats, a little bit of leniency was granted … bringing last weeks predictions to the 50% ish level.  Rest assured, The GREAT Robbini is never discouraged! He’s back this week … fired up … and Jerry Jones’n for some NFC EAST rival football!

Since The Boys Are Back in Philly, we can expect a rowdy Halloween Eve crowd and a determined wannabe Dream Team fighting for a divisional win! It’ll be America’s Team vs All-Hype Team. Last Sunday the Dallas Cowboys took out their vengeance on the lowly St. Louis Rams … Philly rested up on their bye week.  Time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions … I’m sure you’ll agree … most of these are very BOLD. OK, here we go …

“We might not win all-hype team. That title goes to someone else. We’re gonna beat their ass when we play them.” Mark these words, of the always on fire, Dallas DC Rob Ryan.

The Cowboys fly to PHI on a mission and will display Ryan’s patented 24/7 defense. For those unfamiliar, that’s where the other guys feel what we just did for a WEEK. This is an eye opener kinda game and after this match the Cowboys just might be up for that title Ryan dismissed after all.

The GREAT Robbini

  • Dallas Cowboys have at least 2 takeaways
  • Michael Vick sacked at least 3 times
  • Sean Lee leads in tackles
  • DeMarcus Ware 2 sacks
  • PHI punts 6 or more times
  • Tony Romo at least 2 TD’s
  • TD Diamond Dez Bryant
  • TD Jason Witten
  • Jason Witten has 5 + catches
  • Miles Austin doubles his stats from a week ago (had 2 receptions for 16 yards)
  • Dallas Cowboys gain 85 yards + rushing
  • Dallas Cowboys control clock
  • Game ends in regulation
  • Boys bring in replacement, because of a starter’s injury occurring in this game.
  • Eagles bring in replacement, because of a starter’s injury occurring in this game.
  • NBC crew mispronounces at least 1 Dallas Cowboys’ name

 Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for week #8.

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The Boys Are Back POSTGAME SUMMARY: Check back here after the game for the summary.

RIVAL NEWSPAPER: Birds’ top-ranked rushing game vs ‘Boys top-ranked rushing defense

head2head - Dallas Cowboys run defense vs Philadelphia Eagles run game - The Boys Are Back

head2head - Dallas Cowboys run defense vs Philadelphia Eagles run game - The Boys Are Back

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The pass-happy Eagles find themselves in an unusual position: They lead the  NFL in rushing.

Behind LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick, the Eagles have rushed for 170 yards  per game and 5.7 per carry, both highs during the Andy Reid era.

Their quality on the ground, though, will be tested Sunday against the  Cowboys’ defense, which ranks first in the league in yards per game (allowing  just 69.7 yards per contest) and second in yards per carry (3.3).

“They’re big, strong, physical guys up front. I include the two outside  linebackers in that. And then the two inside linebackers, when they’re in their  base personnel, run around and make plays,” coach Andy Reid said Friday.  “They’re excellent football players. And when their safeties get involved in the  box, their safeties are good tacklers and physical.”

But the Eagles have an excellent player themselves in McCoy, whose 569 yards  rushing rank seventh in the league.

The bigger test might be Reid’s willingness to stick with the run, especially  if McCoy does not get on track early. Against the 49ers, Reid came in with a  pass-heavy game plan and McCoy got only nine carries, even though the Eagles led  most of the game.

“We’re going to run the football. That’s what we do,” Reid said. “We’re not  going to stop running the ball.”

That hasn’t always been the case, but this year the Eagles’ 180 rushing  attempts are more than the team has had through six games in any other year in  the Reid era.

Last season, sticking with the run worked against the Cowboys. In the first  meeting between the teams, in Dallas, McCoy had six runs for just 15 yards in  the first half. He got 10 carries in the second half, though, and turned them  into 134 yards.

Tight end Clay Harbor was a key part of the second-half blocking effort that  night. He noted that this is a different Dallas defense, but one that he  believes can be attacked on the ground.

“You’ve got to pick your spots, obviously,” he said. “Watching film, there  are some plays where they have been run on. There’s some plays out there for  us.”

Other teams, he said, have just failed to stick with the run.

“We have one of the best running backs in the league, and I don’t see why we  won’t try to fit him the ball,” said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.

McCoy was coy about the game plan.

“Whatever’s rolling for us, we’ll probably stick with that,” he said.

Running, of course, doesn’t always work. McCoy ran 24 times against the  Giants, gaining 128 yards, and the Eagles still lost that game.

And the Eagles have talented wide receivers who also need to be part of the  game plan.

DeSean Jackson memorably burned the Cowboys for 210 receiving yards when the  teams met in Dallas last year. The Eagles starters rested in the second meeting,  the final game of the regular season.

McCoy has had success against Dallas. For his career, he has gained 231 yards  against the Cowboys on 35 carries, a gaudy 6.6 yards-per-carry average.

Will he get a substantial chance to pad those numbers Sunday?

“We’ll find out,” was all he would say.

Courtesy: Jonathan Tamari | Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer | The Boys Are Back blog

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HEAD2HEAD: A look at how the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles match up

Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles head2head - The Boys Are Back

Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles head2head - The Boys Are Back

The Cowboys face the Eagles on Sunday night in Philadelphia. Here is a look at how the two NFC East rivals match up:

When the Cowboys run
As rookie DeMarco Murray ran his way into the record books, rushing for 253 yards against St. Louis last Sunday, he helped revive the Cowboys’ sagging ground game. Murray’s breathtaking performance wowed observers, but made them also wonder if he was capable of repeating it. This week, he will get the chance for an encore against a Philadelphia defense that has surrendered an average of 123.8 rushing yards per game and has allowed 100 or more yards on the ground to three running backs this season. The Eagles’ record in those games? 0-3.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Cowboys pass

Last week, Tony Romo threw only 24 times, accumulating the fewest passing attempts in a game he started and finished since October 2008. But Romo remains the driving force of an offense that ranks fourth in passing yards, averaging 295.8 per game. Expect him to challenge Philadelphia’s star-studded secondary that has underwhelmed so far but has yet to allow a quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in a game.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Eagles run
While Philadelphia has proven to be a flawed team, its rushing offense has been incredibly proficient. Led by tailback LeSean McCoy, the Eagles produce 170 yards per game on the ground, the highest average in the NFL. They also have a knack for the big play, collecting an NFL-best 40 runs of 10 yards or more. But this week they will face their biggest challenge yet. The Cowboys’ have yielded 69.7 rushing yards per game, the lowest average in the league. And they have done so while shutting down accomplished backs such as Frank Gore, Steven Jackson and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Edge: Cowboys


When the Eagles pass

Michael Vick has taken a beating this season and his performance has suffered as a result. His passer rating has dipped to 84.4 and he has thrown eight interceptions, the fifth-highest total in the league. The Eagles’ woeful pass protection has been the offense’s greatest weakness. Yet Vick and Eagles’ offensive line won’t get a reprieve this week. The Cowboys, led by blitz-happy defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, have recorded 17 sacks, the eighth-highest total in the NFL.

Edge: Eagles

Special teams
The Eagles took a gamble when they replaced veteran kicker David Akers with rookie Alex Henery. So far it hasn’t paid dividends. Henery has made only 78.6 percent of his field-goal tries and has missed his lone attempt beyond 40 yards. Even worse, his touchback percentage of 37.5 is 24th-best in the NFL. Henery has disappointed along Chas Henry, whose net punting average is ninth-worst in the NFL. Meanwhile, DeSean Jackson, who is averaging 6.4 yards per punt return, has yet to be a threat this year. The Cowboys, on the other hand, continue to receive positive returns from punter Mat McBriar and kicker Dan Bailey, who has made 16 consecutive field goals. Meanwhile, receiver Dez Bryant, who is handling punts once again, has the potential to make an impact each time he touches the ball.

Edge: Cowboys

Intangibles
Since Jason Garrett rejoined the Cowboys as an assistant in 2007, Dallas has gone 3-1 at Lincoln Financial Field and has averaged 19.5 points per game. The Cowboys will try to improve that record against a Philadelphia team that has had two weeks to prepare for Dallas and is 12-0 after bye weeks since 1999. Both clubs know a lot is riding on this game.

Edge: Eagles

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