Grading the Eagles on their clutch 17-9 NFC East win over the Cowboys | Paul Domowitch
The Eagles' passing offense was sharp, and their rushing defense even sharper. The rest was just enough to get the win.
They finally managed to neutralize Ezekiel Elliott. They made a big play at the end to salvage the win. In between, they did some good things and some bad things.
The Eagles’ report card in the wake of their 17-9 win over the Cowboys:
Take out Miles Sanders’ 38-yard run at the end and the Eagles rushed for just 80 yards on 29 carries. But they managed to keep the Cowboys honest with it, and Sanders got terrific blocks from Jason Kelce and Isaac Seumalo on his 1-yard third-quarter touchdown run.
Carson Wentz completed 31 of 40 passes, including nine for 91 yards and a touchdown to tight end Dallas Goedert. He didn’t throw an interception for the third straight game and the sixth time in the last eight games. Sanders had a 29-yard catch-and-run to set up Goedert’s TD, and Greg Ward had another big game that included a 38-yard reception on an out-and-up route that set up Sanders’ touchdown run.
Stopping Ezekiel Elliott was Job One and the Eagles got it done. Elliott, who had averaged 114 rushing yards per game in five previous games against the Eagles, finished with just 47 yards on 13 carries. Eight of his 13 carries gained 1 yard or less.
Jim Schwartz’s defense can thank its lucky stars that Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was playing with an injured shoulder. He missed open receivers a number of times, including twice on deep balls on the Cowboys’ final drive. But Sidney Jones came off the bench to break up a pass to Michael Gallup in the end zone on fourth-and-8 with 1:15 left and the Eagles are a win away from making the playoffs.
Jake Elliott missed a 53-yard field-goal attempt late in the first half that would have given the Eagles a 13-3 lead, and later missed a 55-yarder that would have given the Eagles a 14-point lead. Yeah, neither was a gimme. But they made him one of the highest-paid kickers in the league last month to make those.
Nobody watched Sunday’s game and came away thinking, “Gee, the Eagles might just be able to make a deep playoff run.” They won ugly, but they did win. And if they beat the Giants next week, they’re going to the playoffs. Which is something 20 NFL teams won’t be able to say. They had to work their butts off for every yard and point on offense. On defense, they did a nice job on Ezekiel Elliott, but their pass rush was inconsistent and the coverage was shaky.