DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys put themselves back on the right track with a convincing 37-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night at AT&T Stadium. The third win of the season over an NFC East rival snaps a three-game losing streak that had fans questioning the direction of the team, but now the healing powers of victory has dissipated those symptoms.
For the Cowboys, the win is their fourth consecutive over the Eagles, marking the longest stretch in recent series history since Dallas won six straight from Nov. 1, 1992 to Nov. 6, 1995. Of course, if you want to count playoffs, it's actually a seven-game streak as the Cowboys bested the Eagles in the 1992 NFC divisional playoffs during that stretch.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the NFC East, the Cowboys seem to be able to handle their business within the division. Here's some thoughts on how they got it done on Sunday:
All in favor of execution — Finally, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore must have been calling the correct plays, or coach Jason Garrett finally let his hands go of the game plan. That's why Dallas had success. Actually, the execution, which the top brass from Garrett to the Joneses cited as the common theme in the three-game losing streak, was on point.
First and foremost, the defense procured an elusive takeaway. The fumble was the first time since Dec. 30, 2018 that Dallas turned their opponent over on the game's opening drive. Secondly, the offense was much more productive on first and second downs, generating manageable third-and-1, third-and-2. Finally, there were no holding calls, sacks, red zone dysfunction to mitigate Dallas' first possession.
The Cowboys put seven points on the board and then put seven more up following another takeaway. The 14-0 lead was the first time since Oct, 22, 2017 in a 40-10 win at the San Francisco 49ers that Dallas started the game with consecutive touchdowns on their first two possessions. The Cowboys put Philadelphia in trail position the entire game, which made all of Dallas' problems from the past three weeks go away.
Dre fought D-Law, D-Law won — Jason Peters was out for the Eagles at left tackle, which meant Philadelphia had to lean on first-round rookie Andre Dillard, a situation former Dallas Cowboy edge rusher DeMarcus Ware said defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence had to take advantage of. "You have to make sure you capitalize on that," Ware told the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network pregame show. Lawrence did exactly that with 1.0 sack, a forced fumble, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit, and four combined tackles.
Overall, Lawrence played at his Pro Bowl level generating enough pressure to keep quarterback Carson Wentz off-balance and less looking like an MVP candidate. With Lawrence looming, Wentz completed 16 of his 26 passes for 191 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Wentz also absorbed three sacks and lost the fumble that led to Dallas’ second score.
Lawrence, who got a war daddy contract in the offseason, played like one in a big division game with first place on the line.
Hangin' with Amari Cooper — What can a healthy Cooper do for your offense? Try five catches for 106 yards. In just 16 games with the Cowboys, Cooper has seven games of 100-plus receiving yards. In his last 29 games with the Raiders, he managed to produce seven such games total.
Cooper opens things up for the offense and gives quarterback Dak Prescott a downfield threat, and also helps open up the run game for running back Ezekiel Elliott by being a receiver that defenses have to account for.
The two-time NFL rushing champion notched 111 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, and a big part of it was due to the attention Cooper commanded. If Cooper can get healthier over the bye week, the Cowboys should see equal production from their No. 1 wideout.
It ain't over — Even though the Cowboys are 3-0 in the division, the NFC East is far from wrapped up, even with how incapable Washington and New York seem to be in the pursuit of victories. In the history of the division, formed in 1970, 9 of 48 teams that were 3-4 made the playoffs with five of those teams having won the division.
The situation in 2019 is the same similar to how it was in 1988, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2018. No one is running away with the division. Even though Dallas is halfway towards sweeping the division, they are 4-3 overall. If they fail to stack winning streaks, and the Eagles keep within a game of Dallas, Philadelphia could overtake the Cowboys in Week 16.
For the Eagles, and also the Cowboys, the secret ingredient to being a 3-4 or 4-3 team that wins the NFC East is keeping the divisional winning percentage between .625 and .833 — or, not incurring more than two division losses.
If the Eagles are still a one-loss team in the division as they meet the Cowboys, who could also be one-loss or undefeated in the NFC East, it will raise the stakes for the Week 16 rematch even higher than what they were in Week 7.
Do you think the Cowboys have turned things around following an emphatic win over the division rival Eagles or are you more wait and see how they play following the bye week? Share your thoughts on how the season is going so far with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.