ARLINGTON, TEXAS -- This is the way the Eagles had envisioned the running game working. A 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to tie Sunday night's game in the second quarter was driven by a punishing ground attack which accounted for 63 of those 80 yards on nine carries.
And it helped the Eagles offense get on track in a thrilling 33-27 overtime victory against Dallas.
"No doubt that drive was big," center Jason Kelce said. "We got a first down or two, hit them with some tempo and really got into our groove."
It was a combination of DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews at their respective bests, along with a strong effort from the offensive line and some resolve and confidence shown by the coaching staff.
Murray started the drive with a 9-yard gain on first-and-10 from the 20-yard line, and the Eagles went with tempo and precision the rest of the way. A Murray run to the right gained 3 yards and a first down, a completion from quarterback Sam Bradford to Murray picked up 8 yards, and on second-and-2 Murray gained 6 yards up the middle for another first down.
The Eagles and Cowboys met for the second time this season in Dallas during Week 9. View the full gallery here...
Now the Eagles had something going after a first quarter in which they gained only 48 total net yards. On first-and-10 from the Philadelphia 40-yard line, Murray wedged 3 yards out of a run to the left side and then gave way to Mathews, who promptly raced around the left end for a 21-yard gain to the Dallas 30-yard line.
Another Mathews run up the gut gained 3 yards before the passing game contributed with a Bradford connection to Jordan Matthews for 9 yards. On first-and-10 from the Dallas 18, Mathews picked up another 12 yards on a sweep to the left side, giving the Eagles a first-and-goal situation from the 6. After an incomplete pass to Josh Huff, Darren Sproles ran left and gained 5 yards, stopped inches short of the end zone. A third-down throw to Matthews was knocked away, but then Murray bulled his way into the end zone for a touchdown and after Caleb Sturgis added the extra point, the game was tied, 7-7.
On that drive, one that highlighted just how good the running game can be even with an offensive line starting Lane Johnson at left tackle and Dennis Kelly at right tackle, Murray gained 22 yards and a touchdown on five carries, Mathews had three carries for 36 yards and Sproles gained 5 yards on his single attempt.
In all, the Eagles ran for 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 35 carries. Murray gained 83 yards on 18 rushing attempts, Mathews had 67 on 11 and Sproles ran for 23 on five carries. The Eagles were balanced, with Bradford throwing for 295 yards and a touchdown, the game-winning score to Matthews.
"It helped settle us down and get things rolling," Murray said. "Establishing the running game was huge. We stuck with it and had a lot of success."