Miles Sanders, Greg Ward and Carson Wentz shine, and other observations from Eagles’ win over Cowboys | Marcus Hayes
With solid play from young players and their quarterback, the Birds moved one step close to the division crown
Rookie running back Miles Sanders was kept in bubble wrap for most of the season, and the question continues to be: Why?
He finished with 156 yards from scrimmage, extending his team rookie record, on 25 touches. His touchdown at the end of the third quarter gave the Eagles a 17-6 lead. His 38-yard run-and-slide to expire the clock recalled a similar Brian Westbrook goal-line play in 2007 against the Cowboys.
Dallas Goedert, overshadowed by Zach Ertz, caught a career-high and team-high nine passes for a career-high and team-high 91 yards, as well as a first-quarter touchdown. Greg Ward, a practice-squad call-up a month ago, had four catches for 71 yards. Rookie receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, forgotten for much of the season, had two tough catches on the Eagles’ first possession, for 39 yards, which led to their field-goal drive.
Defense steps up
Jim Schwartz’s defense gave up 27 points or more three of the last four times it faced the Cowboys. It gave up (nine) on Sunday evening. It sacked Dak Prescott twice on the Cowboys’ last series. Ezekiel Elliott averaged 163 yards from scrimmage in his first five games against the Eagles, all wins. He finished with 54 yards. Embattled backup corner Sidney Jones came off the bench and played in place of Ronald Darby and knocked away a fourth-quarter touchdown pass intended for Michael Gallup.
Carson vs. Dak
It wasn’t a fair fight, but Carson Wentz was so much better. Prescott, playing with a sprained throwing shoulder, was wildly inconsistent and generally inaccurate. He missed Amari Cooper and Tavon Austin deep, and finished 25-for-44 for 265 yards and a 74.5 passer rating. Wentz, meanwhile, was generally efficient and occasionally dazzling. He finished 30-for-39 for 310 yards and a touchdown, a passer rating of 107.9. So Prescott played with one hand tied behind his back, sort of. So what. He played.
Tight end Zach Ertz and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox both left the game with injuries, but returned and produced.
Ertz took a shot to his ribs from Xavier Woods 4 minutes, 31 seconds into first quarter, then left in 3:03 into the second quarter clutching his left side. Ertz went to the locker room, returned to the field, had his ribs wrapped, and returned to the game with 1:52 to play in the second quarter. He finished with four catches for 28 yards. Cox sprained his right elbow in the third quarter, left the game for just two plays, then forced a fumble on his first play back. Jalen Mills left the game with an ankle injury early in the third quarter but returned early in the fourth.