Instant analysis: Eagles explode in second half onslaught that demoralized Dallas


Well, nobody quite expected that. The Eagles went into halftime down 9-7 to the Dallas Cowboys. They left AT&T stadium with a stunning 39-9 win. The Birds simply exploded in the second half, burying the Cowboys with a flurry of explosive plays. Here’s everything you need to know:


Making a statement:
After putting up just 7 points in the first half, the Eagles smashed through the gates in the second half. With 16 points in the opening ten minutes of the quarter, the Eagles went on to score 30+ points in what became their sixth game this season. Accompanied by 215 yards of rushing, Philadelphia laid a beating on Dallas. A game that may have been circled ever since the schedules were released after the heartbreaking overtime defeat last year, the Eagles decimated a Cowboys team that were sent careering back to the ground every time they tried to stand up. It wasn’t pretty, but the Eagles hammered home points of authority on Sunday night.


Jake Elliott’s concussion may have sparked the entire thing:
The Eagles kicker took a helmet-to-helmet hit early on in the proceedings and after missing a 34-yard field goal, was examined for a concussion. The rookie was later ruled out for the rest of the game. With just Kamu Grugier-Hill in the lineup as an emergency kicker, the Birds decided to go for 2-PT conversions were possible and go for it on fourth down. The result was a complete dismantling of the Dallas Defense. While Elliott’s concussion may not be directly responsible, it certainly played a part in how aggressive the play-calling became.


Derek Barnett is a beast:
With 4.5 sacks in his last 5 games, Barnett has simply become a monster. The Tennessee product amassed 2 sacks tonight as well as forcing a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Not to mention being a consistent force in the backfield. I don’t think anybody came close to having the impact that Barnett did, hustling on each and every play and turning to sprint after running backs when his part of the play had come to an end. Barnett was simply sensational on Sunday Night and the future may be even brighter under the primetime lights.


A new balance:
Surprisingly, Jay Ajayi didn’t see the Lion’s share of backfield carries just yet. However, he did lead the team in rushing once again, exploding for a huge 71 yard run to add to what became a 91 yard day. LeGarrette Blount still saw the Lion’s share of carries, while it was Corey Clement making the most of every opportunity he was granted. The Eagles committed to running the ball early and often in the second half, something they flat-out refused to do in the first half. The Eagles now have a nine game streak in which they’ve amassed more than 100 rushing yards.


The Secondary is not to be taken lightly:
Ronald Darby’s return was even more exciting than we first imagined. The former Buffalo Bill was making plays all over the field in the first half, while Patrick Robinson and Jalen Mills both did an incredible job of keeping a lid on things. With a flurry of interceptions, the Eagles secondary has done way more than just turn heads as the talk of pro bowl nominations begin to surface.


KGH is a hero:
Kamu Grugier-Hill filled in valiantly for Jake Elliott. He may not have kicked a field goal, but his first career touchback and some special teams flashes were more than enough from the Eagles linebacker. Grugier-Hill leads the Eagles in special teams tackles this season, but showing some serious mustard on his leg highlighted everything that the Eagles stand for when it comes to their “next man up” mentality. KGH was an integral part of the Eagles team today, in more ways than one.


Alshon is a number one receiver:
Not that it needs saying, but Alshon Jeffery led the Eagles in receiving yards AGAIN tonight. To top it off, the former Chicago Bear has caught a touchdown pass in each of his last three games, the first time he has done so since 2014. He did so in emphatic fashion, clinging on to an absolute dart from Carson Wentz that very few could hang onto and forcing it into the end zone. Number one receiver? It’s not even a debate.


Offensive reset:
Drops, poor reads, poor decisions, a complete lack of rushing attempts. That was the first half. In the second half, the Eagles receivers looked like a completely different group. Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery both caught TD passes (while Nelson Agholor’s effort to get up after a hit and take it to the house was revoked) and with contributions from Hollins too, the unit once again looked as complete as it could.


Wentz rebounds:
After a strong first drive in which Wentz completed 5/5 passes, the rest of the first half was nearly shambolic. However, the Eagles quarterback rescued the evening with some beautiful passes that very few quarterbacks could make. Darts to Alshon Jeffery included, Wentz ended his night completing 14/27 passes for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns. It wasn’t perfect, but the rebound in the second half showed everything that a franchise quarterback should resemble.




Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports