The Dallas Cowboys squandered perhaps their best defensive effort of the season failing to find the end zone in a 23-9 road loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas forced more turnovers (four) than they had entering the game (three) along with notching 4 sacks but mustered just 265 yards of offense.
Rookie seventh-round pick Ben DiNucci made his first career start for the injured Andy Dalton and had a tough outing going 21-of-40 for 180 yards and sacked 4 times. To offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s credit they tried to be creative going wildcat with both running back Ezekiel Elliott and receiver Cedrick Wilson along with multiple reverses and jet sweeps. The result was five players getting at least a carry led by Elliott who had 19 carries for 63 yards. Michael Gallup led in receiving with 7 catches for 61 yards.
Looks from the Dallas Cowboys:
Defensively the unit entered fresh off a month in which they allowed 216 yards per game rushing the most for a single month in team history. On top of that, they allowed 243 points through the first seven games of the season the most since the Houston Oilers allowed 250 back in 1973 and are the first team in NFL history to allow 20 plus first-half points in six straight games. However, the unit received a boost as linebacker Sean Lee made his season debut and along with end Randy Gregory who saw more snaps. As a result, the unit registered four sacks, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions. Rookie corner Trevon Diggs had the best game of his young career picking off Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz twice and tied for the team lead alongside Jaylon Smith with seven tackles. Demarcus Lawrence, Donovan Wilson, Aldon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch each had a sack.
The defense allowed just 222 yards with 119 coming on the ground.
Greg Zuerlein’s 49-yard field goal gave the Cowboys an early 3-0 lead before both teams traded turnovers. Wilson strip-sacked Wentz at the 25-yard line only for Eagles end Brandon Graham got a strip-sack of his own against rookie tackle Terrance Steele resulting in a touchdown making it 7-3 after one. Zuerlein hit two field goals from 49 and 59-yards for the only scores in the second quarter giving Dallas a 9-7 half time lead.
The second-half belonged to Philly as Wentz found receiver Travis Fulgham for a 9-yard touchdown and a successful two-point conversion got things started in the third. The lone fourth-quarter touchdown came on another stip sack of DiNucci returned 53-yards by Rodney McLeod for a touchdown making it 21-9 after a failed two-point conversion. The final score came when Dallas took a safety rather than risk a punt in their end zone with four minutes left.
Dallas, 2-6, returns home hosting the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.