What a way to start the holiday week!
The Eagles stormed out to a 10-0 lead and kept the Cowboys' top-ranked offense in check in a 17-9 victory on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. With the win over the despised rivals, the Eagles are 8-7 and now hold a one-game lead in the NFC East over the Cowboys.
The road to the playoffs is a simple one. If the Eagles beat the Giants at MetLife Stadium next Sunday, they are the NFC East Champions and will host a playoff game during Wild Card Weekend. Should the Eagles lose, the Cowboys would have to also lose at home against Washington in order for the Eagles to claim the division crown. If both teams end up with identical records, Dallas wins the NFC East based on tiebreakers.
But it's time to savor another memorable chapter of the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry.
Quarterback Carson Wentz, playing in what was the first "must-win" game of his career, was simply marvelous. Wentz was 31-of-40 for 319 yards with a touchdown, his 18th consecutive game with at least one scoring throw – the NFL's longest active streak – and no turnovers.
Add in the fact that tight end Zach Ertz missed time with injured ribs and wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside exited the game early with a foot injury, and that makes Wentz's performance that much more sensational.
Tight end Dallas Goedert stepped up with Ertz ailing and led the Eagles with nine catches for 91 yards, both career highs, and a touchdown.
Running back Miles Sanders built off his career outing last week in Washington with 79 yards rushing, 77 yards receiving, and a touchdown on the ground. Sanders could have had another touchdown to close out the game, but slid in bounds so that the Eagles could run out the clock.
The Cowboys entered this game with the league's top offense in terms of total yards, second in passing yards, tied for fifth in points, and the best on third down.
Quarterback Dak Prescott, who battled a shoulder injury during the week in practice, was just 25-of-44 for 265 yards with no touchdown and no interceptions for a 74.5 passer rating. He was inaccurate throughout the game, but didn't get help from his receivers who had timely drops.
Michael Gallup led Dallas with 98 receiving yards. Amari Cooper, a thorn in the Eagles' side in the past, was held to just 24 yards on four catches, despite 12 targets.
The real problem for the Eagles' defense in the past was running back Ezekiel Elliott, but he was contained to 47 yards on the ground (3.61 yards) and another 37 yards on seven catches.
Dallas' first first down didn't come until the second quarter. The Cowboys were just 3-of-14 on third down for the entire game.
And the secondary survived as cornerback Ronald Darby exited the game in the second quarter with a hip flexor injury and Jalen Mills missed time with an ankle injury. Cornerback Sidney Jones made the game-sealing pass breakup in the end zone on a Prescott attempt to Gallup with 1:21 remaining on a fourth-and-8. Mills still led the Eagles with eight tackles.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox forced the game's only turnover, as he stripped the ball from running back Tony Pollard in the third quarter and it was recovered by safety Malcolm Jenkins. It was initially not ruled a turnover, but head coach Doug Pederson challenged the call and the Eagles won. Fitting, considering how the Eagles should have had a fumble recovery on the opening kickoff of last year's game in Dallas, only for it to be missed by the referees.
Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat each accounted for a sack with both coming in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles jumped out to a 10-0 lead, gaining 120 yards in the first 18 plays of the game. Jake Elliott's 36-yard field goal with 9:32 remaining in the first quarter provided the game's opening points. The Eagles followed that up with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Wentz to Goedert on a drive that spanned 63 yards in seven plays.
The Cowboys chipped away at the lead with a pair of Kai Forbath field goals to make it 10-6 at halftime.
The Eagles put the game away with a 10-play, 80-yard drive in the third quarter that ended with Sanders' 1-yard touchdown run. Wentz was perfect on the march going 5-for-5 with 62 yards in the air as well as another 7 yards on the ground.