The Philadelphia Eagles took down the Dallas Cowboys, 33-10, on Thursday. It was a dominant win for Mark Sanchez and the Eagles, and they now have sole possession of first place in the NFC East with a 9-3 record. Sanchez had a solid day for the Eagles, not throwing for a ton of yards but making very few mistakes. He threw for 217 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
Running back LeSean McCoy carried the load for the Eagles with his best game of the season. He carried the ball 25 times for 159 yards and a touchdown, good for a per-carry average of 6.4 yards. Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray was held to under 100 yards for just the second time this year, with 73 yards and a touchdown.
It was all Philadelphia in the first half. It took the Eagles just three minutes to run nine plays and go 80 yards before Sanchez ran in a touchdown from 2 yards out. Dallas looked unprepared on that opening drive, and then again on their first possession, which ended in a punt. The Eagles then went 88 yards in seven plays and just two minutes before Sanchez hit Jordan Matthews for a 27-yard touchdown.
Dallas eventually got on the board when DeMarco Murray ran in a 1-yard touchdown, but the Eagles went on to kick field goals on three of their next four possessions to take a 23-7 lead into halftime.
It was mostly more of the same in the second half. Dallas managed a field goal after they forced a Philadelphia fumble deep in their own territory, which was good but also bad given that they failed to score a touchdown from the 13-yard line. Philadelphia then took over and drove 80 yards — again — in just five plays, capped off with a 38-yard touchdown run from McCoy.
Tony Romo then threw an interception on the following drive, nine plays into their next drive and in Philadelphia territory. Philadelphia took that interception and turned into yet another field goal, this one from 25 yards out, making it a 33-10 game. At that point, the game was essentially over.
Three things we learned:
1) Teams are really keying in on Murray in the red zone
Running back DeMarco Murray is obviously having a huge year for the Cowboys. He came into this game with over 1,300 yards and seven touchdowns on the year, but he hadn't scored a touchdown in four games. He did break that skid, but he had plenty of opportunities to put up multiple scores in the red zone that were snuffed out by Philadelphia. There were a couple plays where Murray was even brought down from behind by the Eagles, who had to be aware that the Cowboys were going to give Murray plenty of opportunities to find the end zone.
2) Thursday games are still bad for stamina
Both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles had short weeks thanks to this Thursday game, but one of them was noticeably more tired than the other. Dallas, who took on the New York Giants in Week 12, looked noticeably gassed on the defensive side of the ball as early as the beginning of the second quarter. That could have something to do with the fact that the Giants ran over 70 plays on offense on Sunday. Teams rarely look fresh for Thursday games, especially late in the season, and it certainly affected the Cowboys in a big way this time.
3) There's nothing to worry about with LeSean McCoy
There was buzz about McCoy potentially having a down year this season, thanks to a couple bad games earlier in the year. But McCoy came into this game after putting up 130 yards and a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in Week 12, and with three 100-yard rushing games this year. McCoy wound up putting up his best game of the year, with over 150 yards rushing and a touchdown. He may not lead the NFL in rushing, but his yardage total put him over 1,000 on the season with plenty of time to go. He's just as good as advertised.