The injury to Dak Prescott was a kick in the chaps the Cowboys did not need. They scored one touchdown in the two games without their starting quarterback, losing those contests by a combined 50 points. Vegas put their preseason win total at 10. They are 2-5. Hope you had under.
The Eagles, who’d probably come in 45th in the Miss America contest themselves, have a chance to stomp on the Cowboys’ hats Sunday night, especially since they’ll be facing a quarterback greener than the grass at Lincoln Financial Field.
We all know how awful the division is, so the season’s by no means lost for Dallas if it gets bounced here. Still, it was hard to envision the Cowboys being this bad this early. Let us count the ways:
Seven games in and the Cowboys have run 21 plays while they’ve had the lead. Twenty-one! The Eagles have run 96.
Dallas has allowed at least 20 points in six consecutive first halves. Nobody’s ever done that. The Eagles haven’t scored 20 in a half since Week 13 last year in Miami.
After quarterback Andy Dalton nearly had his head taken off on a dirty hit by Washington’s Jon Bostic on Sunday, the rest of the Cowboys mostly shrugged. “It definitely wasn’t the response you’d expect,” muttered coach Mike McCarthy. Dalton will miss Sunday’s game against the Eagles.
“If you would’ve told me a year ago that this is where I would be, I would say no way, You’d have to pinch me. But here we are. It’s 2020. No one really knows what to expect the next day, let alone a week [or year down] the road,” said Dallas’ Ben DiNucci, a rookie who will become the first quarterback from James Madison ever to start an NFL game.
In addition to Prescott, who is out for the year after suffering a gruesome broken ankle, the offensive line has been crippled by injuries. Tackles Tyron Smith (neck) and La’el Collins (hip) also are finished for 2020. Guard Zack Martin (concussion) will return to the lineup this week, but the status of center Joe Looney (knee) is unclear. Lane Johnson’s response: Hold my beer. The Eagles have used six O-line combinations in their seven games. It’s a big reason these teams are a combined 4-9-1, which sounds more like an area code than a football record.
» READ MORE: The Eagles are in as much trouble as the Cowboys
The 142 yards Dallas’ offense managed against Washington was its fewest in 19 years.
DiNucci will be the third Cowboys quarterback to make his first career start against the Eagles, joining Stephen McGee in the 2010 season and Jerry Rhome in 1965. McGee won his game against the Birds, a meaningless Week 17 contest. The two of them had two combined victories as NFL starters. Not a good omen for Mr. DiNucci.
Jack Concannon (1964) is the only Eagles quarterback to make his first career start against the Cowboys. Concannon, a third-stringer like DiNucci, made only three starts in his three seasons with the Eagles before he was traded to Chicago for Mike Ditka.
One of Dallas’ wins came from an epic collapse by Atlanta. The other was against the Giants. The Falcons have since fired their coach. The Giants are 1-6.
The Cowboys’ remaining schedule: at Eagles (2-4-1), Pittsburgh (6-0), Bye, at Minnesota (1-5), Washington (2-5), at Baltimore (5-1), at Cincinnati (1-5-1), San Francisco (4-3), Eagles (2-4-1), at N.Y. Giants (1-6). Opponents' combined record: 22-29-2, .434 win percentage.
The Eagles' remaining schedule: Dallas (2-5), Bye, at N.Y. Giants (1-6), at Cleveland (5-2), Seattle (5-1), at Green Bay (5-1), New Orleans (4-2), at Arizona (5-2), at Dallas (2-5), Washington (2-5). Opponents' combined record: 29-24, .547 win percentage.
Dallas is the only team not to cover a point spread this season (0-7). The Eagles are 2-5 against the number.
The Cowboys give up a league-worst 34.7 points per game, and have had games where they’ve allowed 34, 38 twice, 39, and 49 points. They are on pace to give up 555, which would break the 1981 Colts’ dubious record of 533. The Eagles are 22nd in the league, allowing 28.0 points per game.
The Cowboys lead the league in turnovers (16) and have by far the worst net turnover differential (-13). The Eagles (-5) are 28th worst.
They’ve registered one interception in 221 of their opponents' pass attempts, none in their last six games. The Eagles have only three picks in 238 OPAs.
Rushing yards allowed by the Cowboys defense over the last four games: 307, 89, 261, 208. As a result, Dallas is 31st in the league in time of possession. Unfathomable for a team that has a dominant running back of its own with Ezekiel Elliott.
Elliott has five rushing touchdowns this season. And five fumbles.
Dallas is one of four NFC teams that have not been to the Super Bowl in the 21st century. Detroit, Minnesota, and Washington are the others.
“I look at the culture of this team, and they’re soft. I mean, you see all those linemen — nobody says anything to [Jon] Bostic. How could you allow your quarterback to get his head knocked off and no one comes to his defense? But it speaks to the culture. It speaks to the selfishness of the Cowboys. And the Cowboys flat-out quit today.” — NBC analyst Rodney Harrison on Sunday.
Pro-Football-Reference.com and Inquirer wire services contributed to this report.