Instant analysis: Cowboys come away with heroic win against….Eagles backups

NFL: SEP 19 49ers at Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 19: Philadelphia Eagles WR Quez Watkins (16) carries the ball in the first half during the game between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles on September 19, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Well, who saw that coming? The Dallas Cowboys were somehow able to find a way past the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night. It’s shocking, I know. It was a closely fought affair in the end, with Dallas winning 51-26The Cowboys fielded their starters and the Eagles ran with their backups for the majority of the game. Here’s what we learned in the enthralling contest.

DeVonta enters the record books

It may have an asterisk due to the fact that there’s now an extra regular season game, but DeVonta Smith officially eclipsed DeSean Jackson’s all-time franchise rookie receiving record. It’s not just the fact he did it, but how he did it:

Smith did what he does best: Break ankles and make it look easy. It’s so scary to think that he’s still a rookie.

Tyree Jackson joins elite company

With both Dallas Goedert and Jack Stoll sidelined, Tyree Jackson was given the TE1 reins for the day. It paid dividends as he caught a shovel pass down in the red zone and took it to the house. His first reception in the NFL was a touchdown, and he temporarily joined the elite 1/1 club along with Jason Croom, before adding two more receptions to his resume.

It was nice to see Jackson out there making plays after such an explosive summer was cut short due to an injury. Here’s to hoping for bigger things in 2022.

Um…guys

The Cowboys clearly didn’t get the memo that the Eagles were resting players. After the opening few drives, it was very apparent that the Cowboys were running out a fully fledged assault while the Eagles starters were playing scrabble on the sidelines.

The refs were too at one point. On the first Dallas touchdown, there was the most blatant case of OPI the world has ever seen and it was somehow completely overlooked.

This led to a deceivingly dominant 5TD performance from Dak Prescott, a 175-yard team rushing effort, and a 110-yard outing for Cedric Wilson. Not ideal.

Also, Corey Clement now has big Jalen Mills energy and you just hate to see it.

However, this did all come against a defense consisting of second and third string players. While it was brilliant to see a handful of flashes from guys like Milton Williams, it’s a bit unfair to expect…*checks notes* Josiah Scott to hang with the best that Dallas has to offer.

It was a weird game to watch. More than anything, it was a chance to watch the young underdogs in a game against a playoff caliber team and there are definitely positives to take. Seeing guys like (massive) Marvin Williams make some splash plays, while the makeshift offensive line wreaked havoc for Jason Huntley and Kenny Gainwell against a premier pass-rush was very positive. Buttttt then there were some massive JJAW whiffs, an Andre Dillard quibble, and and a stark reminder that without the vets in place, Gannon’s scheme isn’t exactly water-tight.

Minshew-mania

This felt like a glorified preseason game for Gardner Minshew and he didn’t look awful…he just didn’t look great. With that said, he still found a way to make some ridiculous passes. Some involved luck and others I still have no explanation as to why it ended up being caught, but he does seem to have this Nick Foles energy about him.

I can’t quite explain it. Minshew isn’t a top quarterback, but will make some frankly unbelievable passes like it’s nothing in a way that only Foles could. The two both seem to have these ora’s around them that quarterbacking magic just seems to be attracted to.

Overall

It’s what we expected. Eagles backups were never going to be able to hang with the Cowboys first-stringers, but they put up a damn good fight and forced Prescott to be at his best in order to really extend the lead beyond reach.

The gameplans didn’t change and it was nice to see Nick Sirianni animated on the sideline. His running backs did a brilliant job, his offensive line was solid, and there were some nice flurries of creativity. It wasn’t enough in the end, but it doesn’t really matter. The Eagles come away mostly healthy and ready for whatever the postseason may hold.

(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

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