Eagles fend off the Cowboys to take commanding 3-game lead in NFC East

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) looks to throw during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Eagles hosted the Cowboys in South Philly on Sunday afternoon and it was everything you expected it to be. Both offenses came out firing while both defenses struggled throughout. Ultimately, it was the Eagles who were victorious in a 28-23 win.

A typical first half

The Cowboys went three and out on the first drive while the Eagles looked like they were ready to make a statement. After the teams traded blows it looked like the Eagles’ secondary would be the headline of the game. They were unable to stop CeeDee Lamb at times and couldn’t get off of the field on third down and fourth down. 

The division rivals went into the half with question marks surrounding both defenses and a huge question mark floating around the injured knee of Jalen Hurts. Eagles fans had to hold their breath when they saw Hurts give up on a play due to a blow to his left knee by DeMarcus Lawrence.

The Eagles heat up offensively

The Eagles would go into the half down 17-14 but they were focused on getting back on track in the third quarter. Hurts and the offense came out and did what they do best by controlling the tempo and driving down the field to take a 21-17 lead due to a big DeVonta Smith touchdown.

Shortly after the defense found a way to stop the Cowboys and gave the offense another chance to extend the lead. Hurts and company marched down the field and continued to control the tempo. This time it was a trick pass that led to an A.J. Brown touchdown. Brown also passed 1,000 receiving yards in this game as he continues his historical season.

The game didn’t end there though. The Cowboys refused to go down without a fight with a divisional advantage on the line. They marched down the field after a big 4th down penalty that brought them into the red zone. Prescott and company fought back with 10 minutes left in the game but came up short at the one-yard line after rookie TE Luke Schoonmaker failed to score due to having his knee down before the endzone.

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Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) scoring a touchdown against Washington Commanders safety Jartavius Martin (20) and cornerback Emmanuel Forbes (13) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Eagles failed to find a way to extend the lead after going three and out in their own endzone. Dallas got another shot to close the gap with 8 minutes left on the clock and made the most of it as they scored but unfortunately did not convert the two-point conversion.

A late surge…

With only 6:23 left in the game, the Eagles offense failed to convert or even take much time off of the clock. Questionable playcalling led to a three-and-out for the offense.

The Cowboys responded by attacking the Eagles defense with ease on the next drive. The secondary let up a big pass to CeeDee Lamb early. 

Unfortunately, that theme continued into the dying embers of the game. The Eagles’ pass-rush would come up with some big stops only for a crucial play to be yielded by the secondary just moments later. But after a game of being battered and bruised, Desai’s DB’s finally had their moment in the Sun with the game on the line.

Dak Prescott may have had 330 yards and 3 touchdowns, but on a 4th and 8 attempt to keep the game alive, it was DB James Bradberry who ensured the ball fell to the ground, putting a bow on what was a much-needed win before the Eagles headed into the bye.

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 22: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) looks to pass in the second half during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on December 22, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

What next for the Eagles?

Philly now has a 3 game lead at the top of the NFC East which should give them some much-needed breathing room to handle a tough gauntlet of opponents when they come back from the Bye. Kansas City, Buffalo, and San Francisco all lie ahead, but the Eagles are unquestionably a premier outfit in the NFC and now quite clearly the best the NFC East has to offer.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke