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Recap: Cowboys dominate Eagles with big statement win in home opener on Monday Night Football

Photo: Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire

Recap: Cowboys dominate Eagles with big statement win in home opener on Monday Night Football

With first place in the NFC East on the line on Monday night, the Cowboys seized the opportunity in front of them with authority and hammered the rival Philadelphia Eagles 41-21 at AT&T Stadium. Dak Prescott threw three touchdown passes, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combined for 155 yards on the ground and the Dallas defense added two more interceptions to their now league-leading 8 total takeaway through three weeks.

That’s how you make a statement against your division rival.

Defense continues to show plenty of energy and discipline 
With the expectations were very low for this young Dallas defense coming into this season, it’s hard not to be impressed by what the unit has managed to do so far. Even though they gave up plenty of yards through the first two weeks, their ability to “bend but not break” was absolutely key to giving them a chance in Tampa Bay and then allowing the offense to have a game-winning drive last week in Los Angeles. This week, the final total yards allowed (367) isn’t that impressive, but the Eagles managed to move the ball plenty in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided. In addition to garbage time yards, Philadelphia scored 7 of their 21 points thanks to a strip sack of Dak Prescott in the end zone early in the first quarter.

As previously mentioned, Dallas had two takeaways of their own and also had one go all the way back for points as Trevon Diggs had a pick six early in the third quarter.

Another aspect of Dallas’s young defense that was admirable on Monday night was their discipline in all key situations. The Cowboys were only called for four penalties on the night and three of those were against Connor Williams on the offensive line. Philadelphia was just 4-12 on third down and plenty of key stops were put together by the Dallas secondary in those situations.

The game called for some running and the Cowboys obliged 
After so much was made of the offense passing it 58 times in week one, the Cowboys made the run game a bigger part of their game plan against the Chargers in week two and then really got back to their 2016 ways on Monday night. There were 41 rush attempts compared to 26 passes.  Philadelphia’s defensive line offered very little resistance in the first half and Kellen Moore and the Dallas offense weren’t at all afraid to use the run to help them get up the field and extend drives with an occasional long pass mixed in. Ezekiel Elliott was often able to get past the initial crowd and rushed for an average on 5.6 yards per carry. Neither he or Tony Pollard busted free for a rush of longer than 13 yards on the night, but Dallas just kept getting chunks of yards at a time to keep drives going.

Thanks to the running attack, Dallas was able to rack up 27 first downs compared to just 12 for the Eagles. Things were even more lopsided before the game opened up in the second half.

Dallas ultimately got out to a 27-7 lead before the Eagles started to move the ball more efficiently, so their bloated offensive numbers shouldn’t cause too many alarms.

Other notes/thoughts 
Once again, Mike McCarthy gives everyone to question his clock management skills with his handling of the final two minutes of the first half. Dallas could have tried to get the ball back with over a minute left if they used any of their two remaining timeouts when the Eagles had a 3rd and long and the clock running, but McCarthy admitted after the game that Dallas was “content” with their 20-7 lead. Well alright… Jaylon Smith continued his odd celebration series by high-fiving a cheerleader on the sidelines when he held Miles Sanders to no gain on a run play in the third quarter… Dalton Schultz’s two touchdowns receptions gave him his first multi-TD game of his career.

Editor-in-Chief for Dallas Fanatic| Born and raised in Dallas, I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Texas in 2014 after majoring in Radio/TV/Film. I'm a lover of all sports and support every DFW team. For random sports and other thoughts, find me on Twitter: @DylanDuell

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