Skip to content
Our Archives
Link copied to clipboard

Under the Microscope ...'

After a review of the game tape, here is a look at three key Eagles in Sunday's 44-6 blowout of Dallas.

Sheldon Brown breaks up a pass for Terrell Owens in the fourth quarter. Brown had an interception in the first half.
Sheldon Brown breaks up a pass for Terrell Owens in the fourth quarter. Brown had an interception in the first half.Read moreRON CORTES / Staff Photographer

After a review of the game tape, here is a look at three key Eagles in Sunday's 44-6 blowout of Dallas.

Jon Runyan

At the end of the game, the Eagles' veteran right tackle admitted that another week in the trainer's room didn't sound all that attractive, but it was certainly better than the alternative.

Watch Runyan on tape and you'd never know he was playing in pain, but he has been nursing a sprained knee for the entire month of December.

Going against Dallas' defense is one of the toughest assignments for Runyan and the Eagles' whole offensive line. The Cowboys went into the game with a league-leading 58 sacks, but they added only one to that total. Linebacker Bradie James flattened the quarterback in the second quarter when the Cowboys sent seven pass rushers and the Eagles had only six people protecting.

The rest of the day, Donovan McNabb was rarely even touched or pressured.

Runyan had to pass-block against defensive end Marcus Spears and outside linebackers DeMarcus Ware, Greg Ellis and Anthony Spencer. He won most of the battles and certainly the war against that trio.

Making his 192d straight start, Runyan also was a force in the running game, dominating Spears in that department. He made a terrific block on Spears on the 5-yard run that got the Eagles to the 1-yard line after Correll Buckhalter's 59-yard reception early in the second quarter.

Chris Clemons

Coach Andy Reid called it a career day for the defensive end, and it's hard to imagine he's ever played a bigger or better game. He finished with two sacks and returned a fumble 73 yards for a touchdown.

The play Clemons will remember most is his third-quarter touchdown, and that was a simple case of being in the right place at the right time. Dallas right tackle Marc Colombo did a good job of protecting Tony Romo on the play, pushing the Eagles' defensive end way outside as the quarterback went into his drop.

But when Romo couldn't find anybody open, safety Brian Dawkins broke through on a blitz and did a great job of stripping the football. The ball couldn't have taken a more serendipitous bounce for Clemons, who scooped it up at the 27 and went the distance to put the Eagles up by 34-3.

The most skillful part of Clemons' score was his stiff-arm of Cowboys rookie back Tashard Choice at the 15. It was textbook running-back work by Clemons, who had the ball protected in his right arm when he extended his left arm.

Clemons was responsible for three more points midway through the third quarter when he registered his third sack of the season by running down Romo from behind. In the process, he forced another fumble by the Dallas quarterback, and the Eagles were already in field goal range when defensive tackle Trevor Laws recovered it.

Sheldon Brown

Watch the television replay of the Eagles' rout and here's what you'll notice about the veteran cornerback: You barely notice him.

When you're playing cornerback in the NFL, that's a good thing because it means the ball is not being thrown your way. Brown spent the majority of the game matched with Roy Williams, the wide receiver so many fans thought the Eagles had to have. Williams finished with two catches for 4 yards.

The first time Brown shows up on screen, it's because he's making his first interception in 20 games. It was an easy one, too. All he had to do was look back and wait for an errant throw by Romo. Brown's 23-yard return put the Eagles in position to score a third TD before halftime.

Darren Howard, playing defensive tackle, deserved a good portion of the credit for Brown's pick. Howard abused Cory Procter at the snap and, despite being pulled down from behind by the Dallas guard, he managed to get pressure on Romo as the quarterback was throwing the football. That pressure forced Romo to make an atrocious throw off his back foot, and Brown was the beneficiary.