Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. the Cowboys


NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ defense against the Cowboys, after having re-watched.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Fletcher Cox – Monster game. In front of a national audience, Cox showed how disruptive he can be. He blew up a run play that was stopped after a 2-yard gain on the first drive, then did the same thing on another play later in the quarter. Cox stood DeMarco Murray up after a 3-yard run in the third. He blew up a Murray run that gained 1 in the third. Great play in the third, shedding his block and tackling Lance Dunbar after a 1-yard run on 3rd-and-3. Big play on the next series, shooting into the backfield and dropping Murray for a loss on 2nd-and-1 from the Eagles’ 4. Cox pressured Tony Romo in the third, forcing him to step up. He beat left guard Ronald Leary cleanly in the third for a sack. Cox drove Travis Frederick to the ground with a bull-rush late in the fourth. Just a great all-around game for Cox, who should be generating some Pro Bowl buzz.

Cedric Thornton – He had a big game as well. Thornton was a force, especially early. He helped bring Murray down after a 4-yard run in the first. Thornton shed his block and tackled Murray after a 3-yard run in the first. He helped blow up a 2-yard run near the end of the quarter. Refs incorrectly identified him for encroachment in the second. It should have been on Trent Cole. Thornton tackled Murray after a 4-yard run in the second. He played with an edge, tossing the right guard to the ground on Cox’s sack in the third. Thornton shows up every week.

Bennie Logan – He had some words for the Cowboys’ offensive line during the week and then backed them up. Logan tackled Murray after a 2-yard run in the first. He combined with Cox to drop Murray for a loss on 2nd-and-1 from the Eagles’ 4 in the third. His presence in the middle of the defense has been key all season long.

Vinny Curry – The Cowboys screwed up the timing of their snap, and he picked up a sack on third down in the third. Curry has seven sacks and three forced fumbles on the season.

Beau Allen – Only played seven snaps. Did not have a tackle.

Brandon Bair – He helped bring Joseph Randle down after a 3-yard run in the first. Bair played 11 snaps.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Connor Barwin – Another productive game; he seemed to really get going in the second half. Barwin tackled Murray after a 2-yard run in the first. Good edge pressure in the third, forcing Romo out of the pocket (Dallas was called for a penalty on the play). On the next play, Barwin walked Doug Free right back into Romo’s face, forcing him to scramble and throw it away. He pressured Romo to his left on the interception in the third. Barwin read the screen and dropped Murray for a 3-yard loss in the fourth.

Trent Cole – He played with great energy, as usual. Cole hustled downfield to tackle Murray after a 10-yard gain on a screen in the first. Good rush in the second; it looked like Dallas got away with a blatant hold. He tackled Murray after a 1-yard run in the third. Only miscue: It looked like he lost the edge on Murray’s 9-yard run in the third.

Brandon Graham – He played 24 snaps and was very productive. Graham did a great job setting the edge and making the tackle on Murray after a 2-yard run in the first. He tackled Murray after a 4-yard run in the second. Graham tossed Leary aside and sacked Romo in the third. He hit Romo later in the series, leading to an INT, but Cary Williams was called for holding on the play. Graham rushed from LOLB and hit Romo in the fourth.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

Mychal Kendricks – Very active throughout. Kendricks tackled Murray after a 4-yard run in the first. He flew in and tackled Randle after a 3-yard run later in the quarter and brought Murray down after a 2-yard run. Good hustle, chasing down Cole Beasley after a WR screen in the first. Nice one-on-one tackle in the second, bringing Murray down after a 3-yard gain. Kendricks dropped Murray for a 6-yard loss on 3rd-and-1 in the fourth.

Casey Matthews – He’s not DeMeco Ryans, but he has not been a liability either. Matthews assisted on a tackle of Murray after a 5-yard gain in the first. He brought Murray down after a 3-yard run in the red zone in the first. Matthews got blown up on Murray’s TD run in the first. And he got blocked on Murray’s 9-yard run in the third. Matthews tackled Murray after a 6-yard run. He got credit for the sack in the third as Romo crumpled to the ground on third down in the red zone.

CORNERBACKS

Cary Williams – Strong showing. Williams made a great play on the ball, breaking up a pass near the sideline in the first. He supported the run and tackled Murray after a 5-yard run in the first. Called for holding in the third, negating a Nate Allen INT. Williams intercepted Romo on a terrible pass intended for Terrance Williams in the third. He shoved Williams to the ground on an incompletion in the fourth. He gave up a couple completions late, but really played well.

Bradley Fletcher – He got the job done as well. Fletcher gave up a 3rd-and-6 completion to Beasley in the first. He got away with a penalty and broke up a pass intended for Dez Bryant down the sideline on third down on the first series. Fletcher was beaten by Bryant on a 38-yard completion down the sideline in the first. He broke up a pass down the sideline for Bryant in the fourth. I was surprised the Cowboys didn’t attack him more downfield.

Brandon Boykin – Might have been his best game of the season. Boykin had the big strip of Beasley late in the second quarter where he did a great job of punching the ball out. He was all over Beasley on an incompletion in the third. Boykin tackled Beasley short of the sticks on third down in the fourth. He tackled Murray in space short of the sticks on third down in the fourth and forced an incompletion late in the fourth. Boykin played 56 percent of the snaps.

Nolan Carroll II – Productive game out of Carroll. He drew Bryant in man coverage and tackled him after a 1-yard gain in the third. He lined up outside and allowed an 11-yard completion to Bryant on third down in the third. On special teams, Carroll downed a punt at the 4 in the fourth. He played 43 percent of the snaps and has given Billy Davis some flexibility in his personnel packages.

Malcolm Jenkins – Good game from Jenkins. He tackled Randle for a loss after a swing pass in the flat in the first. Jason Witten had just one catch all game, and the Eagles limited the Cowboys’ plays downfield. Jenkins has had a very good season.

Nate Allen – Good game from Allen. He did a nice job of staying in bounds on the fumble recovery late in the second quarter. Good hustle to force Murray out of bounds at the 4 in the third quarter. The Cowboys ended up settling for a field goal on the drive. Allen had one INT called back because of a holding call on Williams. But he ended the game with a pick late in the fourth.