Every week, we'll grade the Cowboys on the three phases of the weekend's game.
The biggest glaring deficiency in the Eagles' rout of the Cowboys on Thanksgiving was the subpar play of arguably the best part of Dallas' team — its young offensive line. On Sunday night, the unit turned it around in a big way. The Eagles sacked Tony Romo three times, but there were also several times when he had seemingly all day to throw the ball. DeMarco Murray was held to just 2.6 yards per carry on 31 carries, but he found the end zone twice, and Dez Bryant was simply phenomenal. The dominant receiver hauled in six grabs for 114 yards and had his first three-touchdown game of his career. He was dominant.
The general thought was that if the Cowboys could hold the Eagles under 30 points, they'd have a shot. And the Cowboys' defense did just that. Did they give up some big plays? Sure. But they did their job, and along the way they exposed Mark Sanchez for what he is, which is a below-average NFL quarterback. The Cowboys' defense forced three turnovers, including two Sanchez interceptions and held serve early while the offense was able to build a 21-0 lead. When things got really hairy and the Eagles roared back, the defense didn't fold up shop but instead fought back and kept the Cowboys in the game. One of the more surprising stats: The Cowboys had four sacks — two each by Jeremy Mincey and Tyrone Crawford.
Special teams: A
Against one of the best special teams units in football, the Cowboys were the ones who made the big play on the opening kickoff in what amounted to a really long, accidental onside kick. And Dan Bailey? Man, Dan Bailey. The field goal kicking cyborg drilled a 49-yarder to give the Cowboys a two-score advantage with under five minutes to play — essentially the dagger.