Quarterback Dak Prescott’s four touchdown first-half led the Dallas Cowboys to a 51-26 win over the shorthanded Philadelphia Eagles. Philly had 12 players on the COVID list and rested several other starters including quarterback Jalen Hurts. On the flip side, Dallas was without starting cornerbacks Trevon Diggs and Anthony Brown along with star rookie Micah Parsons. Finding themselves down 7-0 early in the first quarter but responded with a Prescott touchdown pass to receiver Cedrick Wilson. That kickstarted a run of 30 straight points for the Cowboys as their first punt came in the third quarter.
Despite this, the Eagles’ offense kept them in the game cutting the Dallas lead to six late in the first half. A shanked Eagles punt gave Dallas the ball at the Eagles at their 43-yard line resulting in Prescott’s fourth touchdown pass of the half. The offensive fireworks continued in the second half for Dallas adding 21 points. Below are the four biggest takeaways from tonight’s win.
Dak’s Record Night
In the win, Prescott set a career-high with five touchdown passes and broke Tony Romo’s franchise record for single-season touchdown passes with 37. On the night he missed only six passes throwing for 295 yards and five touchdowns. He spread the ball around as seven receivers had a catch and did a good job of not forcing balls while playing within the offense. While it was against the Eagles’ backups, it’s still a good performance heading into next week’s playoff matchup.
Defense Struggles Early
The first half was not a good one for the Dallas defense. You expected the secondary to have its struggles down both starting corners and safety Jayron Kearse, but the defensive line had no excuse. Philly ran at will early and quarterback Gardner Minshew had all day in the pocket. The pass rush improved late in the first half and was much better in the second but the slow start is concerning and shows just how much Parsons means to this group. On the night the unit notched three sacks. In the secondary, rookie second-round pick Kelvin Joseph showed flashes nearly intercepting a pass on the opening drive. While he gave up some plays you saw what made him such a highly regarded prospect out of Kentucky. All in all, the shorthanded group did enough to get the win.
Zeke, Ground Game Eat
Running back Ezekiel Elliott’s 18 carry, 87 yard day was enough to put him over 1,000 yards rushing for the fourth time in his career. With backup Tony Pollard out, third-string Corey Clement returned to Philly where he won a Super Bowl and ran for 58 yards on 7 carries. Fresh off the practice squad Ito Smith took his first carry for a touchdown while fellow practice squader JaQuan Hardy found paydirt as well. Most impressive was the job the offensive line did blocking for all three backs as Dallas ran for 172 yards at over five yards a carry. The ground game has been sporadic this year so a strong outing heading into the postseason is a good sign.
When the dust settled Precott’s night put him over 4,000 yards passing on the season, and along with Elliott’s 1,000-yard season made history. Dallas became the first team in league history to have a 4,000-yard passer, two 1,000 yard receivers, a single player with 10 or more sacks, and a single-player with 10 or more interceptions. The 51 points scored are the second-most ever against the Eagles and the most points Dallas has scored in Lincoln Financial Field. This marks the first 51-26 game in NFL history and finally, with Hardy’s touchdown run, he became the 22nd player to score a touchdown for Dallas a new NFL record.