Advanced Team Grades
Passing Offense (Overall)
Game Notes on Offense
Coming into this game, the Cowboys knew that they would have to lean on their running game. As a result, OC Kellen Moore ran the ball by any means necessary, including an underwhelming wildcat formation. Surprisingly, this running game played well, considering the injuries sustained to the OL. However, this team was unable to move the chains due to QB Ben Dinucci. His poor passing and decision making ruined drives and prevented the Cowboys receivers from making big plays.
Dallas' offense was severely limited by the poor play of their quarterback and offensive line. Throughout the game, QB Ben Dinucci was inaccurate and rattled by pressure. Miraculously, Dinucci did not have any interceptions despite forcing numerous TO-worthy throws that should have been picked off. Nobody expected Ben to excel, but he repeatedly overthrew passes, and his ball placement was horrible.
To his credit, any third-string QB would struggle when the Cowboys OL gives up five sacks and 17 QB hurries. Besides Connor Williams and Zach Martin, this OL let Dinucci get walloped on a play that led to a fumble recovery TD. Fortunately for Kellen Moore, his team's run blocking was not as porous. Nevertheless, Zeke Elliot and Tony Pollard had to make yardage on their own since their OL failed to open up holes up the middle.
Despite the lack of rushing lanes, Zeke and Pollard were productive rushers. Elliot was able to maximize yardage by being a patient back who knew when to put his head down and barrel through for yards after contact. Likewise, Pollard was able to wiggle through the Eagles defense, including a sneaky end-around where he fooled the Eagles front seven. As a result, Elliot and Pollard were able to slither through the defense and combine for 103 yards.
CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup played well in this game. Lamb was a versatile wideout used on screens and end-around plays while Gallup hauled in seven catches for 61 yards. Noah Brown and Amari Cooper were not as productive, but that was more so due to poor passing from Ben Dinucci.
Controlling the Line of Scrimmage
Game Notes on Defense
After being trashed for seven straight games, Dallas' defense was determined to prove the doubters wrong. Despite the loss, this defense made life hell for Eagles QB Carson Wentz, who lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions to the Cowboys D. Furthermore, this team had a chance to pick off Wentz three more times on pass breakups and striped RB Boston Scott in the run game. Overall, this team didn't make many mistakes, but their only issue was their inability to contain Philly's rushing yards or WR Travis Fulgham.
As a whole, the Cowboys' defense played well at every position. DL Demarcus Lawrence dispelled any notion of laziness after he shredded the Eagles OL and generated six run stops and three pressures. Leighton Vander Esch also proved that he was worth all the hype after he smashed Carson Wentz to ruin the Eagles' fourth-down play and forced a fumble.
However, no group was more disrespected than the Cowboys secondary. Trevon Diggs looked pissed off this whole game and played like a man who was determined to show his skillset. As a result, he played blanket coverage that led to two PBUs and two INTs. While he struggled against Travis Fulgham, Diggs was step-for-step with every receiver. Similarly, Cowboys DB's Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown played excellent coverage and limited the other Eagles wideouts while Donovan Wilson curb-stomped Wentz to force another fumble.
Special Teams Comments
Greg Zuerlein kept the Cowboys in this game by converting three FGs. Zuerlein lived up to live nickname 'Legatron' by converting a 59 yard FG. Conversely, Chris Jones failed to help out Dallas due to his short punts.
Play of the Game
Leighton Vander-Esch forced fumble against Carson Wentz on fourth down.
Comments on Coaching
After receiving massive flack from the media, the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff came through with a solid game plan. With quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton injured, the Cowboys were forced to rely on QB Ben Dinucci and a hobbled OL. As a result, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore got creative with his playcalling to keep the ball out of his QB's hands. While the end-around plays and screens were deceptive, the Cowboys wildcat formation failed miserably.
Defensively, Mike Nolan's group was active and aggressive against Carson Wentz. For instance, DL Demarcus Lawrence, CB Trevon Diggs, and LB Leighton Vander-Esch excelled with pressures, run stops, forced fumbles, and interceptions. Despite the loss, this was the best execution the Cowboys' defense had shown all season. Furthermore, Mike McCarthy's decision to kick field goals and lean on the run game was wise.