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Cleaning Out The Beat-Dallas Notebook

The focus at the NovaCare Complex shifted quickly to the Miami Dolphins when coaches arrived at 5:30 a.m. after the return from the stirring victory at Dallas, but there are some significant things from that victory that the Eagles need to carry over into Sunday's game at Lincoln Financial Field.

  • Tempo still works, and the only way it has a chance to work is if the offense strings together first downs and sustains drives. The running game was devastating on Sunday night, the perfect blend of production from DeMarco Murray (18 carries, 83 yards, touchdown), Ryan Mathews (11-67-1) and Darren Sproles (5-23). The Dallas defense was exhausted from the second quarter on. The Eagles certainly need to find a way to start more quickly and establish the offense from the first series on, so there is a lot to improve, but it was encouraging to see the offensive design and execution on the same page as the Eagles scored points on each of their final seven offensive possessions (not including the kneel-down at the end of regulation).
  • The Eagles haven't drafted an offensive lineman since using the first pick in 2013 on Lane Johnson. They didn't sign any veteran free agents after releasing both Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans in the offseason. And they banked on players like Matt Tobin, Allen Barbre and Dennis Kelly to play well and provide depth and versatility. Well, the Eagles needed all that depth on Sunday night and the offensive line delivered on the faith. Good job by Kelly and Tobin and Barbre, along with Johnson at left tackle and Jason Kelce at center. The Eagles dominated Dallas at the line of scrimmage, and that's a good Cowboys front against whom the Eagles worked.
  • Jordan Matthews has 48 receptions, 531 yards and a pair of touchdowns at the season's halfway point. He had a breakout game on Sunday night, a great sign as he points toward the final eight games of the regular season. Matthews has had his inconsistencies catching the football this season, but he's such a dogged competitor and has such a drive that every teammate and coach knows Matthews will improve in that department. He's the go-to receiver in this passing game, make no mistake about it.
  • Buffalo ran for 266 yards on Sunday in its win over Miami. Do we see the Eagles loading up the run game on Sunday?
  • The defense has largely been more effective this season than in 2014, but there have been some troubles in the past two games. Carolina ran for more than 200 yards a couple of weeks ago to beat the Eagles, and then Dallas had good balance on Sunday night to gain a total of 411 total net yards. The breakdowns? The third-down defense hasn't been good enough -- Dallas converted 8-of-16 third downs -- and there are just a few too many missed tackles, some plays that would be significant losses that instead are short gains for opposing offenses. And it's clear that inside linebackers Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso have some rust to knock off.
  • The Eagles had the nearly perfect overtime offensive possession. They ran nine plays and gained 90 total yards (including the make-up yardage for two false-start penalties). Bradford completed all five of his passes for 56 yards and had a passer rating of 152.9. There were four rushing attempts that gained 34 yards. They gained four first downs and converted a fourth-and-short play. And, of course, it was a total team effort on the Bradford-to-Matthews game-winning touchdown pass, catch and run. Good protection up front. Bradford delivered a strike. Matthews caught the pass as the defender slipped. Tight end Brent Celek had a particularly helpful block and wide receiver Josh Huff kept working down the field to lock down his man.
  • No official updates from head coach Chip Kelly on Monday regarding injury status of linebacker Jordan Hicks, who left Sunday's game with a pectoral injury, linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who did not play against Dallas, wide receiver Nelson Agholor or tackle Jason Peters. The players are on the field again for training on Tuesday.
  • Really good job of blocking in the run game and in pass protection by tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz on Sunday night. Ertz also contributed five catches for 44 yards.
  • Brandon Graham has been a force in the last few weeks. On Sunday night, he had a pair of forced fumbles on two quarterback sacks and seven total tackles. He's been physical against the run all season. It's good to see he's on the come getting to the quarterback, too. Graham has four quarterback sacks this season.
  • E.J. Biggers helped in pass coverage late in the game against Cole Beasley, continuing his contribution to the defense. Biggers has been an underrated addition from free agency.
  • You have to give credit to the coaching staff and to Caleb Sturgis for his improvement after a shaky start. The Eagles stuck with Sturgis after his tough game at Washington and he has rewarded the decision with some big kicks, none larger than the 53-yarder late in the fourth quarter on Sunday night.
  • Still too many penalties for the Eagles, who committed 10 for 70 lost yards at Dallas.
  • Finally, this: The Eagles ran the ball so well in the red zone on Sunday, a good sign for the future. The red zone has been an up-and-down area for the offense this year, so to have Murray and Mathews each scoring a touchdown inside the 10-yard line was huge. The Eagles were successful on both of their goal-to-go situations to beat Dallas.

The Eagles came away with the overtime victory over the Cowboys Sunday night. Take a look at the players of the game ...

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