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Second-Half Fury For Rampaging Eagles

Posted Nov 19, 2017

ARLINGTON, Texas – Style points do not apply in the NFL, so the way the Eagles found a way to win on Sunday night at AT&T Stadium won’t be remembered as an artistic success. It will be remembered for 30 straight second-half points in a 37-9 win over Dallas ...

ARLINGTON, Texas – Style points do not apply in the NFL, so the way the Eagles found a way to win on Sunday night at AT&T Stadium won’t be remembered as an artistic success. It will be remembered for 30 straight second-half points in a 37-9 win over Dallas.

"We know we aren't going to blow out every team from the start of the game. We just stayed positive, stayed calm (trailing 9-7 at the half), and then put it all together in the second half," guard Stefen Wisniewski said. "We went out there and did what we wanted after halftime."

"It was pretty awesome in all three phases of the game," defensive tackle Tim Jernigan said. "It shows what this team is capable of doing. We're not going to panic, we're not going to lose our cool. We're just going to go out and play football."

And, clearly, the Eagles are doing that better than any other team in the NFC.

The Eagles dominated the second half, playing without placekicker Jake Elliott, and won their eighth consecutive game to move to an NFL-best 9-1.

It was, indeed, a tale of two halves for the Eagles.

The halftime numbers for the Eagles’ offense were shockingly bad: They had just 115 total net yards, were 0-for-6 on third down, and gained only seven first downs. Wentz was an uncharacteristic 7-of-18 for 80 yards and the running game gained only 35 yards on 10 carries.

Dallas put some pressure on Wentz, but for the most part the Cowboys played the running game very well and covered in the secondary. Wentz was off his game and the receivers had a couple of key drops.

That was the first half, as the Eagles trailed 9-7, only the second time (also in Kansas City) that the Eagles faced a deficit after two quarters.

And then the Eagles came out in the second half and put together back-to-back touchdown drives, added another one early in the fourth quarter, and tacked on two of three two-point conversions (the third was a completed pass to tight end Zach Ertz that Ertz fumbled just prior to reaching the end zone) and all of a sudden with 12:02 to go the Eagles led 29-9.

Good night, Cowboys.

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"It doesn't get any sweeter than that," running back Corey Clement said after gaining 50 yards on the ground on six carries and scoring a touchdown and adding a two-point conversion. "We just took it to them. Our line dominated. We felt we could do whatever we wanted in the second half."

How did the Eagles win this game? The defense shut down the punchless Dallas offense, allowing only three field goals. And while the Cowboys gained some yardage on the ground, rushing for 112 yards, the Eagles muzzled quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game.

And the offense, after that tough first half, awoke in the third quarter right on cue for the national television audience. Touchdown drives of eight plays and 75 yards and then five plays and 90 yards, plus both two-point conversions, gave the Eagles a 16-0 win in the third quarter. The running game gained 125 yards on 12 carries, including a 71-yard gain by running back Jay Ajayi.

Once again, the Eagles blew out an opponent, scoring 30 unanswered points after Dallas took a 9-7 lead in the second quarter. It was as satisfying as could be against a reeling Cowboys (5-5) team. The Eagles gained 268 total net yards in the final two quarters.

And it really wasn’t surprising, other than the slow first-half performance by the Eagles. Dallas played the game without left tackle Tyron Smith, and the Eagles abused Byron Bell. First-round draft pick Derek Barnett registered a pair of sacks of Prescott, including a strip-sack of Prescott that linebacker Nigel Bradham recovered and returned for a touchdown and after the Eagles tacked on two points, the score was 37-9.

Dallas, of course, was also minus running back Ezekiel Elliott, but the running game wasn’t the problem for the Cowboys. They got nothing going in the passing game until the game was well out of hand in the fourth quarter. The secondary welcomed back cornerback Ronald Darby, starting Darby and Jalen Mills outside and Patrick Robinson in the nickel. Robinson did a brilliant job, mostly against slot receiver Cole Beasley.

Defensively, the Cowboys couldn’t compensate for the absences of linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) and safety Jeff Heath (concussion). The Cowboys held it down for a half, and then it all went kablooey in the final two quarters.

As the Eagles’ lead widened, the front four teed off on Prescott. The Eagles registered three sacks and picked Prescott off three times.

How many ways can you say the Eagles destroyed Dallas?

"It's just the way we are," Mills said. "We're going to keep coming after you. We are always going to put pressure on you. That one, that was sweet. Coming in here, my hometown, and winning like that. I feel great heading back to Philadelphia. We're in a great position. We have to keep it going, keep pushing, and building as a team.

"That's what we are, a team. Everybody contributes. We're going to keep winning that way."

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