TE Dalton Schultz has his first career multi-touchdown game.— Dallas Cowboys Public Relations (@DallasCowboysPR) September 28, 2021
The last Cowboys tight end with multiple touchdowns in a game was Blake Jarwin at the N.Y. Giants (12/30/18).
It was a wild, wild slate of games for the NFL in Week 3, and that roller coaster was punctuated on Monday night, even though the final score might not indicate it. it was the Dallas Cowboys walking away with the 41-21 victory over the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3. It was a contest headlined as much by who's absent as by who's playing, but the tale of the first half has been the inability of the Eagles defense to do anything against Dak Prescott and the Dallas running game -- with both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard again having their way, much like they did in the Week 2 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.
And with the ground attack in full force, Prescott is finding it easier to operate in the air, using tight end Dalton Schultz to punish the Eagles secondary. Prescott and Co. marched down the field on their first offensive possession of the game with surgical ease, punctuating it with at touchdown that was followed by the Dallas defense matching serve, with much-maligned cornerback Anthony Brown intercepting Jalen Hurts -- Brown's first of the season -- to give the Cowboys the ball on their own 1-yard line.
Things got a bit wild from there, but not enough to overpower what Prescott and the Cowboys offense brought to the cookout at AT&T Stadium, and it was again their often maligned defensive counterparts matching serve in a massive way -- led by former second-round pick Trevon Diggs and rookie third-round pick Osa Odighizuwa.
It was all too much for the Eagles to contend with, and Nick Sirianni's "Beat Dallas" shirt couldn't save them.
Why the Cowboys won
Let's keep this simple, shall we?
The Cowboys were the better team, beginning to end, and they played like it, and in a major way. From the first offensive possession, it felt like the Eagles would have their work cut out for them, and the fabric would be much closer to burlap than chinchilla. As noted above, Prescott moved the ball with ease and the Eagles had no answer for Elliott. That theme continued throughout the evening, with Elliott delivering 116 yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns, and Pollard would add 60 of his own to the effort. And with the Eagles desperately trying to contain the run, it was time for the Cowboys tight ends to stir the gumbo, with Schultz having his first breakout game of 2021 and Blake Jarwin making timely catches as well. By the time receiver Cedrick Wilson delivered his best "Smooth Criminal" impression with a coffin-sealing touchdown catch on a pivotal fourth down in the red zone late in the game, it was all the Eagles could do to not lay down and ask for their favorite quilt.
Prescott missed on only five of his 26 throws and tossed three touchdowns on the night, and there wasn't a phase of the game in which Dallas didn't have its way. It was a message game for the Cowboys, and the entire NFC East now knows they're serious about retaking the division.
Why the Eagles lost
It was a "next man up" mantra for both teams in this game, but Philly couldn't answer the bell.
When their phone rang at AT&T Stadium, with a chance to avoid a 1-2 start to the year with a two-game losing streak, they basically sent all hope to voicemail. Hurts was out of sorts for most of the night -- a credit to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and the execution of a defense absent DeMarcus Lawrence -- and the Eagles defense couldn't have their way with an offensive line that featured backup swing tackle Terence Steele in place of La'el Collins and a clearly struggling Connor Williams at left guard. Despite those offensive soft spots, Elliott and Pollard gashed the Eagles time and again, wearing them down over time and opening up the seams for Schultz and Jarwin to operate. The Cowboys offense had 19 first downs in the first half alone (tying the NFL record for 13 first downs in the first quarter for the second consecutive week) and 27 on the evening, while the Eagles finished the entire game with only 12; several of those landing with the game well out of grasp.
Dallas won in every single category that mattered, including the most important: the final score. A late-game touchdown by Philly doesn't change the fact they were throttled to the point backup quarterback Cooper Rush entered the game to finish it out.
There was still some belief in the heart of the Eagles, but Diggs dug it out with a sharpened spoon on this play. It not only marks his third interception in as many games this season, but also ties him for the most during that stretch of time with Hall of Fame defensive back Everson Walls, and it ultimately was the point at which this game got out of hand for Philly.
Play of the game
Up by 13 points and with the Eagles gaining momentum, it was a gut check moment for the Cowboys. Their answer was to go for it on fourth-and-2 in the red zone, a gutsy call that turned into Prescott making a play with his feet before making it with his arm to Wilson -- who is now the front runner for this week's king of "toe drag swag".
And with this, the Eagles were buried, with no feathers or beak.
Welcome to the rivalry, Mr. Sirianni
The Cowboys will get ready to face the unbeaten Carolina Panthers in Week 4, while the Eagles face a much more daunting task when they go up against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs -- a team looking to end a rare two-game slide.