Wake-Up Call: What the Cowboys Win Means for the Eagles
The Cowboys took care of business against a free-falling Bears squad Thursday night, leaving Soldier Field with a 41-28 victory.
Dallas led 35-7 going into the fourth quarter, but Chicago rallied. The Bears had a chance to make it a one-possession game with just under two minutes left, but Jay Cutler was intercepted in the end zone by Orlando Scandrick.
Dallas did whatever it wanted on offense. A week after the Eagles kept him in check, DeMarco Murray went off for 179 rushing yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. He also caught nine balls for 49 yards.
Tony Romo told NFL Network afterwards that he made “poor decisions” in preparing for the game against the Eagles, noting that he did not take a shot for his back for the first time all season.
“I’ll definitely appreciate this week more than the one last time where we had three days really to get ready,” said Romo. “That was a really short week because we played on a Sunday night, which I felt like [was] real extreme with coming back and getting home at 6 a.m. That’s a tough week for you, just to grind out mentally for all the guys, and we didn’t put our best foot forward. There’s no excuses. We needed to play better, and we didn’t. We’re excited about the challenge to go back and hopefully be better.
“Don’t get me wrong. The Eagles are good. They’re very good. That’s a well-coached football team who does things aggressive and fast. They put a lot of pressure on you to perform at a high level, play in and play out. Saying that, we didn’t play our best last time, and I’m excited about our team’s chances to go in there and put a better foot forward.”
Romo completed 21 of 26 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears. He found Cole Beasley for a pair of scores and connected with tight end Gavin Escobar for another TD.
Asked about whether the short week might have affected the Cowboys, Chip Kelly said this week: “Could be a reason. I think it’s a tough deal, you know, when someone makes you play on the road on a Sunday night and makes you come back and you don’t get back until 5 a.m. and you’ve got to play a game the next Thursday. That’s part of it, yes.”
The Eagles played at home Sunday against the Titans before traveling to Dallas for the Thanksgiving Day matchup. This time around, the Eagles will be on normal rest, and the Cowboys will get some extra time off.
If you’re wondering where things stand in the NFC East, here are some notes to keep in mind:
* The three most clear-cut ways for the Eagles to clinch the division:
1. Go 4-0.
2. Go 3-1 (doesn’t matter which game they lose).
3. Go 2-2, but beat Dallas.
If any of those three things happens, the Eagles are NFC East champs. There are other scenarios where they could win the division also. But those probably aren’t worth detailing until after Sunday’s game.
* If the Eagles lose to the Seahawks, next week’s game against the Cowboys becomes enormous. The two teams would go into that matchup with identical 9-4 records. The winner would have a one-game lead going into the final two games.
* If the Eagles win two of their final three games, they will own the tiebreak. The Cowboys close out the regular season at home against the Colts and at Washington. The Eagles are at Washington and at the Giants.
* The Eagles can clinch the NFC East as early as Week 15. If they beat the Seahawks and then beat the Cowboys, the division is theirs. They would be 11-3, and Dallas would be 9-5. The Eagles would own the tiebreak on account of sweeping the head-to-head matchups.
WHAT YOU MISSED
“We understand in those situations, they have to deal with us as much as we have to deal with them.” The Seahawks believe they have an answer for the Eagles’ tempo.
Connor Barwin is the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November.
Three Eagles numbers that matter: Using the right stats to evaluate the Birds’ defense and a look at the most likely playoff scenarios.
T-Mac takes a look at what they’re saying in Seattle.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Bob Brookover of the Inquirer writes about the Eagles’ special teams:
“Fipp is the best coach I’ve ever had, and I remember thinking: ‘Holy cow, with the leaders we have upstairs and the players they are going to bring in, this is going to be a good deal,’ ” Dorenbos said.
Carroll had played for Fipp in Miami and said his old coach was one of the reasons he signed with the Eagles.
“Every week has been consistent,” Carroll said. “I think Fipp has done a good job of staying on top of everybody and holding everybody accountable for doing their job on special teams. We know we can change the outcome of a game. He’s instilled that power into our minds.”
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz on Barwin:
Forget stats and use the eye test. Watch run plays to Barwin’s side. He does not get beaten wide very often. Barwin does a terrific job of setting the edge and forcing the ball back to the inside (where the pursuit is). Watch him in coverage. Barwin can cover TEs. He can cover RBs. He can also help on WRs. Remember when the Panthers tried to throw downfield on 4th down and Barwin was all over the WR? In 2013 the coaches had him line up over Larry Fitzgerald and jam him at the snap. That kept Fitz from getting a clean release and helped the pass rush get pressure on Carson Palmer.
We’ll have The Matchup and game predictions later today.