|QB Tony Romo directed the Cowboys to a big win over the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday. (US Presswire)|
The Dallas Cowboys came into the game as the NFL's second-worst team in takeaways -- the Cowboys had just eight in eight games; only Indianapolis had fewer (three). But the Cowboys stole the ball from the Philadelphia Eagles twice, and that helped them steal a 38-23 victory over the Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
“As a defensive player, that's what the game's about -- take the ball away and give it back to your offense,'' said Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who smiled and added, “Unless you can score with it yourself -- that's even better.''
Both Cowboys' takeaways resulted in touchdowns -- a 47-yard interception return by cornerback Brandon Carr and a fumble recovery in the end zone by defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. Dallas (4-5) also had a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown by Dwayne Harris.
It didn't help the Eagles (3-6) cause that quarterback Michael Vick left the game late in the second half with a concussion and didn't return. Rookie Nick Foles replaced him and played in his first NFL game, with mixed results. He threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to give the Eagles a 17-10 lead in the third quarter, but the Cowboys turned his interception and fumble into 14 points.
Vick's status for next week's game against the Washington Redskins hasn't been determined. He'll go through the NFL's protocol for concussions and a decision will be made later this week.
When the game turned: The Cowboys trailed 17-10 in the third quarter and faced third-and-5 from their own 39 when QB Tony Romo went back to pass and was pressured by the Eagles' rush. He scrambled away and eluded three would-be sackers, then spotted WR Miles Austin open down the sideline for a 25-yard gain and a first down. That led to Romo's 30-yard TD pass to WR Dez Bryant and the Cowboys were off and running.
Highlight moments: Eagles WR Riley Cooper's one-handed snag of a Vick pass in the end zone for Eagles' first TD. … Cowboys' Dez Bryant's 49-yard reception that set up an FG that gave Dallas a 10-7 lead. … Eagles QB Nick Foles' 44-yard TD pass to WR Jeremy Maclin. … Romo eluded three would-be sackers to throw a 25-yard pass to Bryant that set up Bryant's diving catch in the end zone for a 30-yard TD. … Cowboys Dwayne Harris' 78-yard punt return for a TD. … Dallas CB Brandon Carr's interception and 39-yard return for a TD.
- Cowboys WR Dez Bryant caught three passes for 87 yards -- and an average of 29 yards per reception -- and a TD.
- Eagles RB LeSean McCoy rushed for 82 yards on 16 carries, an average of 5.1 yards per attempt.
- Cowboys QB Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes with no interceptions and had a QB rating of 122.1.
- Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin had eight receptions for 93 yards, including a 44-yard TD.
- Cowboys LB Bruce Carter, who had a game-high 10 tackles, two for losses.
What they said about Eagles losing Vick and replacing him with rookie Nick Foles:
- Cowboys CB Brandon Carr: “We didn't really know what to expect. You prepare all week for one guy, so when that changes it can throw you off. That's why it's important to stick to the plan and do what we do best.”
- Eagles tight end Brent Celek: “I'm sure [Foles] thinks he made some rookie mistakes, but overall, with his play and command in the huddle, he did a good job. I'm proud of him.”
- Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan: “Obviously, [Foles] is a different quarterback. We wanted to make it tough on him. We pressured him a lot, but that was our game plan coming into the game. You just want to make it fast for him. I thought our guys did a good job.”
- Eagles quarterback Nick Foles: “It's a faster game than in the preseason, but I felt comfortable. That's no excuse.”
Numbers you should know:
This was the first time since 1962 that the Eagles and Cowboys both had losing records when they played each other. … When QB Nick Foles threw a TD pass in the third quarter it was the first time an Eagles rookie did that since Brian Westbrook -- a running back -- threw one vs. Dallas in 2002. … The Eagles were just 1 for 10 on third-down situations, including 0-4 in second half. … Cowboys won even though they were flagged for 13 penalties for 75 yards. … Cowboys had the advantage in total return yards (not counting kickoffs) of 144 yards to 4.
Injury update: Cowboys – DT Kenyon Coleman left game in third quarter with a triceps injury and did not return. The Cowboys played without running back DeMarco Murray (foot), C Phil Costa (ankle) and LB Dan Conner (neck). Eagles -- Vick left in the second quarter with a concussion and did not return. WR Jason Avant left in the second quarter with hamstring injury and did not return. … Eagles played without RG Danny Watkins (ankle) for the third straight game, and once again he was replaced by rookie Dennis Kelly. WR Mardy Gilyard was also inactive because of a strained hamstring and Brandon Boykin returned punts once again.
Going forward: Cowboys -- Their schedule gets a little easier in the coming weeks, as they play Washington, the Eagles again (at home) and Cincinnati, teams that have a combined record of 9-16. Eagles -- The Eagles travel to Washington next week and get their first look at Redskins rookie QB Robert Griffin III. Then their schedule gets a little easier as they play Carolina, Dallas again, Tampa Bay and Cincinnati, teams that have a combined record of 12-20.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow @CBSEagles.