Philadelphia Eagles News

5 Things: The Win That Had Everything

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Oh, boy. Jordan Matthews' 41-yard walk-off touchdown in overtime happened just before midnight on the east coast. For those of you who did not stay up to watch the theatrics, we've got you covered. No, there's no get-out-of-work excuse note or anything like that. It's just the 5 Things to Know Today after the Eagles improved to 4-4 on the season, while the Cowboys dropped to 2-6. According to NFL Network, 95 teams have started out 2-6 dating back to the 1990 season. None of them made the playoffs.

There's still a lot of football to be played as the Eagles officially hit the midway point of the 2015 season. Before we get into what made Sunday's prime-time affair one to remember, head coach Chip Kelly reviews the win in his live press conference at 1 PM. You can watch online or on our app. Dave Spadaro will be joined by Brian Westbrook for an in-depth look at the win on Eagles 360 starting at 5 PM. Until then, savor this Victory Monday over the Dallas Cowboys.

1. Spadaro: This Win Means So Much

When all is said and done, Sunday night's win will be one of how ever many the team finishes the season with. Head coach Chip Kelly preaches the 24-hour rule, no matter what the result is you can celebrate or stew for a day then it's time to move on. There's another opponent waiting who doesn't care what you did the week before.

But Sunday night, as Dave Spadaro described in his On the Inside column, "was a marvelous victory that had it all." For the players, the emotion that swept the team after Matthews' touchdown showed just what it meant to persevere against a desperate Dallas team for the win.

"It's a huge win, the fashion in which we won, it puts us at 4-4. We needed this week," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "It was good to see the offense rolling the way they were and win the game for us. Those are the kinds of win that build the character of your team."

As Kelly said, this was truly a team victory. All three phases made big contributions.

"When you win a game like this, it's everybody," running back Ryan Mathews said. "We needed it and went out and got it."

2. Hard Work Pays Off For Matthews

As Max Rappaport explained, the season-opening loss in Atlanta might feel like a lifetime ago, but one of the lasting images was wide receiver Jordan Matthews on the ground after allowing a ball to glance off his hands into the air that was intercepted to seal the game.

All season long, Matthews' hands have come into question, but on Sunday night he was brilliant. After making himself work with the scout team to get extra reps after dropping a pass in the red zone during training this week, Matthews had nine catches for 133 yards and the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Quarterback Sam Bradford told Matthews that he was going to him on the play, and the receiver delivered the win.

"'Hey, get open, I'm coming to you,'" Matthews remembers Bradford telling him in the huddle before the final play of the game from the Dallas 41-yard line. "It kind of felt like, 'Oh, I've done this before. This is college, go up and make a play.' He trusted me, he gave me a chance to catch and run, and it was game over."

It was a simple crossing route, but the perfectly placed ball by Bradford allowed Matthews to take advantage of his yards-after-the-catch ability. Hard work helped Matthews deliver. He's not letting up now.

"When games like this happen, it's not like it's the greatest thing in the world," Matthews said. "It's, 'Okay, I did my job ... I did what I was supposed to do,'" he said. "Hopefully 20 years down the road, I'll look back be like, 'Okay, that was a good catch,' but right now I have to flip the page and go back to work."

3. Pick Hicks: The Rookie Shines Again

In just half of a season, rookie linebacker Jordan Hicks might be one of the most despised players in the eyes of Cowboys fans in the series history of Eagles-Cowboys.

In Week 2, Hicks' takedown of quarterback Tony Romo knocked out the signal-caller and opened up the NFC East. On Sunday night, Hicks picked off quarterback Matt Cassel and returned it 67 yards for the touchdown. Hicks said the film study during the week with veterans like DeMeco Ryans, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury, aided the big play.

"I was just doing my job," Hicks said after the game. "I jumped the route and did my job and the ball ended up in my hands. ... Usually when they do a little stack route, someone is either coming in quick or going out quick. I saw the guy going out quick and I just tried to go."

The touchdown broke a 14-14 tie early in the fourth quarter. The play was at least a 10-point swing as the Cowboys were driving. The third-round pick was supposed to be a special teams ace, at best, as a rookie, but he's in the conversation for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

"I couldn't have done it with all of these guys around me," Hicks said. "We've got a team full of vets, leaders, guys who understand the game and are good at it, and they've helped me a ton."

Hicks did exit the game in the fourth quarter with what he called a pectoral injury. We have to wait and see what the extent of it is.

The Eagles and Cowboys met for the second time this season in Dallas during Week 9. View the full gallery here...

4. Murray Shows Dallas What It's Missing

Running back DeMarco Murray might have treated Sunday night like "any other game," but the All-Pro sparked the rushing attack and powered the Eagles' offense in overtime.

Murray had 161 yards from scrimmage and scored on a fourth-and-goal run in the second quarter. In overtime, Murray caught a pass in the flat for 14 yards and then converted a second-and-1 with a 3-yard gain. He gained 20 yards on a second-and-14 to get near midfield. Murray's 9-yard run on second-and-12 put the ball in Dallas territory.

"I thought it was a great team win for us," Murray said. "Obviously we needed this game and they needed this game. I thought we made some good adjustments in the second half and coaches put us in great positions to make plays. I thought offensively we continued to play, and play, and play and play and battle. They have a good defense, but our defense made a lot of plays for us as well."

Since his Week 2 outing against Dallas that netted just 2 yards rushing, Murray has 379 yards rushing in five games at an average of 4.46 yards per carry. On Sunday, Murray led the Eagles with 83 yards rushing and was second with 78 receiving yards. 

5. O-Line Comes Together; Stands Tall

No Jason Peters. Dallas featured a defensive line with pass rusher Greg Hardy. This was a battle to watch on Sunday, but the Eagles came out on top.

Lane Johnson, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, made his first career start at left tackle. Dennis Kelly had to step in at right tackle. The Cowboys moved Hardy around the formation to get looks over both tackles.

Hardy made minimal impact. In fact, he had to tap out on the Eagles' touchdown drive in the second quarter. The Eagles rushed for 172 yards on the ground. Quarterback Sam Bradford was sacked only once and threw for 295 yards.

Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland should be proud.

"It was a short week's notice and I'm not sure I was comfortable at all, but I went through it," Johnson said. "It was awkward, but it was funny: My last college football game was here and we lost. So it's good to get out of here tonight with a win."

For Kelly, it was his first start at right tackle since his rookie season of 2012.

"Matt (Tobin, right guard) and I felt like we were getting in a good rhythm and we were getting good push and it was one of those things where you're kind of hoping they're going to keep calling these run plays because we felt like we were doing our technique really well and getting a good push and we could open up a lane for the running back," said Kelly. "It was kind of what we expected with the rotation they used. We were prepared."

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