By Zach Walker
Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys
Sunday – December 29 – 7:30 PM
AT&T Stadium – Arlington
Excellent job of pulling the victory out of the fire of an inferior team. The Cowboys played a very close first half, and then as usual, had the formula to pull away from the Redskins, by running the ball, and they continued to resist the urge to apply pressure, and allowed the Redskins back into the game. Tony Romo was excellent on the final drive for the Cowboys, finding Terrance Williams twice early for huge gains and a quick flare to Dez Bryant, who activated Dez-Mode and turned a small gain into a 17-yard gain down to the four yard line. Then a 3-yard run by DeMarco Murray on 1st down, a no gain run on 2nd down, and then a 9-yard loss on 3rd and goal, which should have featured an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a Redskins’ defender taking his helmet off in celebration for a great play made, bringing up a season teetering 4th and goal from the 10 yard line. A drop back by Romo, and Murray sliding into the flat, then Romo stepped through the pocket as Murray backpedaled towards the front corner of the endzone. Romo bulleted the pass to Murray and he 180-ed into the endzone for the go ahead touchdown with 1:09 left in the game, leading to a huge mash-up between the players on the field. It really was classic Romo, and a showing of great field awareness by Murray. After a nail-biting four and out by the Redskins, the Cowboys earned the right to fight for their playoff lives, against the soaring Eagles on Sunday night.
The Eagles absolutely massacred the Chicago Bears, both teams needing victories to either stay alive, or in the Bears case, clinch the NFC North with a win. The game was pretty much over, half way through the first quarter, when the Eagles scored on a LeSean McCoy 1-yard run. The Bears wouldn’t put up a tally until three seconds left in the first half. The Eagles scored every point combo possible, a field goal, five offensive touchdowns, a defensive touchdown (pick-6), and even a safety. The stats for the Eagles are unreal, Nick Foles threw 25 passes, missing only four passes, LeSean McCoy ran the ball 18 times for 133 yards, scored twice, and even his backup Bryce Brown got into the mix, rushing nine times for 115 yards and a touchdown. It was a total beat down, and not something you’d want rolling in to your stadium when you don’t have your starting quarterback.
Holding out hope for a miracle Romo hero moment was ruined by season ending back surgery, and enter Kyle Orton. I won’t lie, my confidence level has been at a season low this week, but I’m feeling like there might be a ray of shine peeking through. This is the reason why Orton is here, for exactly this type of moment, albeit, probably with less riding on the game than this, but this is what was thought of him, if need be, he can carry the team for a game. Orton has game experience, but this Eagles team is as explosive as there is in the league, and may not be able to pace the Eagles. It has to be the DeMarco Murray show, if the Cowboys are going to be in this game. As far as the Cowboys defense, this is the game, no holding back, go for the interception if you’re feeling froggy. It’s all men to your battle positions, this is the last offensive, hold nothing back, because it’s going to take a hell of a game by a team that hasn’t played a good team game since possibly the opener.
Matchup of the Game
Eagles Left Tackle Jason Peters vs Cowboys Defensive End DeMarcus Ware
Ware really hasn’t really ‘brought the noise’ in a long while, that must change if the Cowboys are going to get off the field on defense.
Three more Matchups to watch
PHI WR DeSean Jackson vs DAL CB Morris Claiborne
PHI LB DeMeco Ryans vs DAL RB DeMarco Murray
PHI RB LeSean McCoy vs the depleted Cowboys linebacking corps
Prediction: Expect the loss, savor the upset. Philadelphia 35 – Dallas 38. I realize this is a dumb prediction, but I got nothing but my heart in this one.