ARLINGTON, Texas – Cornerback Ronald Darby wasted no time finding his game after 10 weeks away from the field. A strong game from Darby – highlighted by a pass breakup in the end zone on a jump ball intended for wide receiver Dez Bryant and an interception in Dallas territory on a Dak Prescott pass intended for Bryant – served notice that Darby will be a major factor in the stretch run for the defense.
Darby, you remember, suffered a fractured ankle in the opening-day win at Washington and then missed eight consecutive games until Sunday night at Dallas. The Eagles eased Darby back into the lineup, increasing his practice reps in the last month.
Sunday night, Darby was ready to go. He started at cornerback along with Jalen Mills while Patrick Robinson played inside against slot receiver Cole Beasley.
"I thought I was going to get eased into everything. Day 1 (of practice leading up to the game), it was like regular," said Darby, who registered eight total tackles, two passes defensed, and the interception. "I was like, darn, I've got to get my endurance up. I threw up a few times. It was hard, the first few days. I just made sure I tried to run to the ball and played fast. I had to get my feet back under me."
Darby, who played the right side after starting Game 1 on the left side of the defense, showed no ill effects from the long layoff. He was aggressive and active and quick on his feet. He tackled well. Darby looked like he hadn't been off at all, in fact.
And he was tested right away. Dallas drove deep into Philadelphia territory on its second possession, and on third-and-7 from the 9-yard line, Prescott threw a jump ball into the left corner of the end zone for Bryant. Darby, giving up about five inches in height, played Bryant physically and gained position and leaped up and knocked the ball to the ground. Dallas settled for a field goal.
Darby passed the test.
"It was my first drive back (actually second) and when I saw it I was like, darn, we're in the red zone. I had the feeling, 'They're about to try me.' I knew it in my head, like the whole stadium probably knew it. When he did it, I stayed disciplined. I looked over my shoulder, made sure the back-shoulder (pass) wasn't coming and attacked the ball.
"I kind of regret it. I probably should have went up for it (to make the interception) but, hey, I'll get it next time."
The Philadelphia Eagles moved to 9-1 on the season after defeating the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Week 11.