ARLINGTON, Texas – After a week of practice for the first time in nearly a full calendar year, cornerback Jalen Mills stepped right back into the starting lineup on Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys, part of a shakeup in the secondary.
Mills started with Rasul Douglas, and Orlando Scandrick assumed the duties at nickel cornerback. Sidney Jones, who had started four games before Sunday night, dressed but did not play. Ronald Darby returned from a hamstring injury and was in uniform, but also did not play.
The shakeup didn’t help the pass defense much at all. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott had plenty of time in the pocket and spread the football around, completing 21 of 27 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown on Sunday night. Dallas moved the ball at will and gained 266 total net yards in the first half, mixing the run and pass on the way to a 27-7 halftime lead. After that, it was just a matter of controlling the clock.
Dallas scored on five of its six first-half possessions, including two touchdowns after the Eagles gave the ball away on their first two possessions. Amari Cooper had three catches for 65 yards in the first half alone, including a 44-yard catch-and-run against Douglas when Prescott pump-faked, slowing Douglas, and Cooper got behind Douglas. The easy catch set up a field goal to give Dallas a 24-7 advantage late in the second quarter.
Still missing from the defensive backfield is cornerback Avonte Maddox, who suffered a concussion and neck injury late in the win at Green Bay. There is no timetable for his return.
Dallas’ dominating first half wasn’t all on the defense, of course. The offense turned the ball over twice, allowed three quarterback sacks, and accounted for just 95 total net yards. But Dallas just had it too easy offensively. The Eagles didn’t put much pressure on Prescott, couldn’t stop a running game that accounted for 6.2 yards per carry and 111 yards in the opening two quarters, and gave up way too much room on a five-play, 25-yard drive that gave placekicker Brett Maher a chance to attempt a 63-yard field, which he made, of course.
The Eagles allowed 20 or more points in the first half for the fifth time in seven games and the Cowboys’ first-drive touchdown was the sixth first-drive score the Eagles have allowed in seven games. Philadelphia has trailed by double digits in all but one game this season.
Mills had a leaping end zone interception early in the fourth quarter, but by then it was 30-10 and Prescott was 21-of-27 for 239 yards. Cooper, who was questionable to play with a quad injury, caught five passes for 106 yards, with a long of 44 yards.