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Poor Start Puts Eagles In A Hole

ARLINGTON, TX --It was exactly the way *not *to start a game. Dallas wins the toss, drives 80 yards, tears open a couple of huge holes for running back Marion Barber on the left side of the Eagles defense .... All of a sudden the Eagles are trailing at Cowboys Stadium and Tony Romo and Co. are doing what they want on offense.

The Eagles opened with Akeem Jordan. The early returns are not positive. Barber gained 58 yards on the opening drive. Felix Jones had good runs on Dallas' second drive.

And with the running game going, Romo is having all the time in the world in the pocket.

Meanwhile, the Eagles opened the game with a handoff to DeSean Jackson for 6 yards, a Brian Westbrook run that gained nothing and a sack of quarterback Donovan McNabb.

And a punt.

For the Eagles to win, they have to climb out of a deep hole in a loud and rowdy Cowboys Stadium.

Maybe the combination of Asante Samuel and Joselio Hanson could provide that spark. On a third-and-goal play from the 7-yard line, Romo threw a pass for Patrick Crayton over the middle, toward the right hash mark. Samuel stepped in and tipped the pass and Hanson made the interception, returning it to the 14-yard line to end the Cowboys' second drive.

The drive didn't result in points, but at least it changed field position and gave the Eagles' offense a chance to gain some momentum. A couple of completions to Brent Celek moved the ball to the Dallas 41-yard line. The drive stalled after a 2-yard run by Leonard Weaver, an incomplete pass to Jeremy Maclin on a slant route and a throw that Maclin should have caught when he was wide, wide open for a first down.

Sav Rocca punted and Dallas had the football on its 10-yard line early in the second quarter.

But the defense couldn't take advantage. Once again, Dallas moved at will down the field, mixing the run and the pass, attacking the middle of the poor zone coverage and then hitting Austin for a jump-ball completion to the Eagles 18-yard line. Dallas controlled the Eagles at the line of scrimmage, Romo had all day to set up and throw the football and the Eagles did a poor job in coverage.

At this point, the Eagles trail 14-0. Dallas has an 80-yard touchdown drive, a 62-yard drive that ended with Hanson's interception and a 90-yard touchdown drive. The defense has been unable to stop Dallas on third down -- the Cowboys are 3 of 4 on third downs -- and, well, it is an embarrassing first half thus far.

And just when the Eagles had the ball deep in Dallas territory thanks to a big completion to Maclin and to DeSean Jackson, Nick Cole's snap from center was a touch low, too low for Donovan McNabb to handle. Nose tackle Jay Ratliff pounced on the loose ball and the turnover killed the Eagles' drive.

And Dallas went right back on the march offensively, moving into field goal position and converting. The Eagles, quite literally, couldn't do anything right.

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