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November 05, 2023

Final observations: Eagles 28, Cowboys 23

The Eagles took down their NFC East rival, improving to an NFL-best 8-1 after beating the Dallas Cowboys.

In a tight NFC East affair, the Eagles beat the Cowboys 28-23 as the continue to hold down the best record in the entire sport. Here are my final observations from the Birds' gigantic division win. You can check out my first half observations too

Let's get after it...

The Highs

• Jalen Hurts came up wobbly at the end of the first half, sending Eagles fans into a panic. Hurts has no doubt been dealing with a knee injury as of late, looking a tad slower than his usual self and less mobile, but that's coinciding with him getting better and better as a pocket passer. After destroying Washington's defense last week, Hurts uncorked his best throw of the night on a 29-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith on the opening drive of the third quarter:

The Eagles set that up with some timely runs from D'Andre Swift, Rashaad Penny and even Hurts himself, who moved the chains on a third and two. After a sour first half that sent them into the locker trailing by three, the Birds came out and kicked some ass to start the third quarter.

• Zach Cunningham had a great sequence early in the third quarter. He had a crushing blow on Jake Ferguson on an incomplete pass from Dak Prescott. On second down, he shut down a KaVontae Turpin end around for no gain. On third down and 15, Cunningham helped slow down Ferguson, prevent a first down and force a punt. The Eagles are never going to have a legitimately good linebacker group, but Cunningham, a late-summer signing, has played better than anyone could've hoped this season. 

It happened again in the fourth quarter. On first and goal, Cunningham had an end zone deflection when covering Ferguson. On second down, he stopped Tony Pollard short on a hand off. On third down, he trucked Prescott, sending him airborne as Lincoln Financial Field started rocking for real. Dallas couldn't convert on fourth down after all of that. What a game from Cunningham.

• DeVonta Smith always does the little things, which speaks to his winning background. Look at him as a blocker:

He's tough as anything. 

• The Eagles dominated the time of possession to start the half. They methodically drove down the field on their second drive of the third quarter before Hurts found Brown for a three-yard TD:

In the third quarter alone, the Birds had the ball for nearly 10 minutes (9:55). 

Even when it feels like the Eagles' offense isn't playing its best, they're still rolling defenses. 

• With the Cowboys trailing by less than a touchdown and making some noise, the Birds' defensive line came up clutch. On first down, Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat brought down Prescott for a seven-yard loss. On third down, it was Graham yet again, the longest tenured Eagle, combining with Jalen Carter, the team's star rookie, to sack Prescott for a four-yard loss. Time is a flat circle. 

The Lows

• Throwing a deep ball to A.J. Brown? Great. Throwing it into triple coverage while they have a four-point lead and they're moving the ball down the field and killing the clock? I'm not sure what Hurts was thinking with that throw with a little over three minutes remaining in the third quarter. 

• Dallas Goedert had a ferocious 28-yard pickup down the Dallas sideline in the third quarter, but went into the locker room after the play following a questionable hit from Cowboys linebacker Markquese Bell. It was a forearm injury and it did not look great. Nakobe Dean was also ruled out on Sunday with a foot injury. The bye week is coming at a much-needed time. 

• CeeDee Lamb ate the Eagles' secondary alive. It didn't matter if it's an undrafted rookie like Eli Ricks or an All-Pro like James Bradberry. The Prescott-Lamb connection in the second half prevented this from being a comfortable Eagles win. It made it an unnerving win, really. Time and time again it happened!

• The Eagles' defense bent and broke in every direction on Dallas' first TD drive of the second half midway through the fourth quarter. Prescott threw for 60 yards alone on that drive before firing a touchdown strike to Jalen Tolbert. 

• This game went down to the wire. With under a minute remaining, James Bradberry was called for a DPI and set up Dallas with field position at the 50. A roughing the passer call on the very next play on Haason Reddick sucked the air out of the Linc. Two plays later, Carter jumped for an encroachment penalty. Every bad thing that could happen happened. Josh Sweat, however, destroyed Prescott for a sack and a massive 11-yard loss with the clock ticking away. A delay of game penalty amidst all this chaos with more plot twists than an M. Night Shyamalan movie brought a third and 26 that Dallas, honestly, could've converted. Prescott found, of course, Lamb, but the wideout came up short of the goal line. 

That was a lot. Sheesh.

The Whoas

• After Jake Ferguson's fourth quarter touchdown was overturned and Dallas turned the ball over on downs, the Linc started playing "Shout" by the Isley Brothers and, I swear on anything, you could feel the press box shaking from people losing their minds dancing.

• What a picture:

• With both teams heading to the bye, the 8-1 Eagles will meet the 7-2 Chiefs in Kansas City on Nov. 20 on Monday Night Football. It will be the first time ever that the Eagles have a Super Bowl rematch in their ensuing season. It may double as a Super Bowl LVIII preview, too.

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