9-1. 37-9. After a slow start last night, the Eagles shook the AT&T Stadium to its core, sending a shattering splinter into the heart of the Cowboys playoff race. After losing Jake Elliott to a concussion early in the game, the Eagles were once again tested. No franchise left tackle. No Darren Sproles. No Jordan Hicks. No kicker. Still, the Eagles came flying out of the gate in the second half to score 16 points in the opening 10 minutes of the third quarter. With Dallas almost mirroring the Eagles injury picture, it was the depth and “next man up” mentality that shined through.
When Jake Elliott was taken back into the locker room to be examined for a concussion the Eagles were at a loss. With no kicker on the roster, the Birds’ turned to Kamu Grugier-Hill as their emergency kicker. The special teams ace had no experience kicking and the Eagles gameplan suddenly turned to one of aggression. Fourth down conversions and 2-point attempts would take center stage as Pederson pushed his troops through yet even more adversity. “KGH” would go on to record his first ever NFL touchback as a potential new career opened up before his very eyes. The special teamer who leads the Eagles in tackles continued to pin Dallas deep inside their own territory to give his Defense a chance…and a chance was all they needed.
Derek Barnett may only be 21-years old and he may also only be a rookie. But with a career high 2 sacks against the Cowboys and a ruthless “superman” tackle to bring Prescott down 12 yards behind the line of scrimmage, Barnett dominated on his 51% of defensive snaps played. Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham are still the entrenched starters, but Barnett’s continued development is absolutely staggering to watch. Barnett now has 4.5 sacks (all of which have been recorded in the last 5 games), which are the most by an Eagles rookie since none other than Fletcher Cox (5.5) in 2012. Barnett was instrumental in the win over Dallas.
In order to play aggressively, the Eagles needed confidence…and once again it was depth across the board that provided just that. Rookie running back Corey Clement gave the Eagles a 15-9 lead in the third quarter when he rushed for an 11-yard TD and followed it up with a 2-point conversion. Clement now has 4 rushing TDs this season and 6 overall, which ties with both Agholor and Ertz. For an undrafted rookie to still be producing at such an incredible rate despite the recent addition of Jay Ajayi, it shows just how important that depth at the position is for Philadelphia.
That wasn’t all the backfield had to offer. Jay Ajayi barreled his way downfield for a 71-yard rush, while earlier in the game it was Kenjon Barner who followed a career-long 22-yard reception with a 4-yard rushing TD on the very next play. His first touchdown of the season, Barner proved that he can still provide a sense of unpredictable explosiveness for the Eagles.
It didn’t matter where you looked. Whether it was Lane Johnson keeping the dominant NFL leader in sacks at bay and silent, or Halapoulivaati Vaitai holding his own on the other side. Whether it was Corey Clement defying expectations, Mack Hollins stepping up for another reception or even Kamu Grugier-Hill starting the kickoffs. The Eagles found a way to win.
It wasn’t easy. A slow start in the first half saw Dallas go into the half with a narrow lead. The Eagles, coming off a bye and hampered by even more setbacks in hostile territory, found a way to win. Sure, Carson Wentz and his surgical ability inside the red zone and on third down shined through as it has each and every week as the leading MVP candidate. Sure, the ruthless pass rush with some of the biggest names in the trenches made life ridiculously tough for Dak Prescott. But the difference between a good team and a great team, is having depth across the board and winning in the face of adversity…and there may be no more complete team in the league than Philadelphia
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports