The numbers look respectable at first glance: 24 carries for 110 yards. But they’re inflated by Miles Austin’s 26-yard gain on a double-reverse and Jon Kitna’s three scrambles for 27 yards. The running backs rarely had any room to run. Felix Jones and Tashard Choice combined for only 57 yards on 20 carries. The running backs combined for only 11 yards on seven carries in the second half, making the offense one-dimensional.
The Eagles turned Kitna’s two interceptions into 10 points. Kitna completed 24 of 35 passes for 242 yards, but the Cowboys certainly didn’t exploit the absence of CB Asante Samuel. Dallas’ WRs combined for only seven catches for 79 yards. Kevin Ogletree, who has been inactive most of the season, was more productive than multimillionaires Miles Austin and Roy Williams. TE Jason Witten (7-69, two TDs) was the bright spot.
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 134 yards on 10 carries — and that was just in the second half. It took McCoy a couple of quarters to get going, but the Cowboys couldn’t stop him once he did. That ended up costing the Cowboys a chance to tie or win the game at the end. The defense couldn’t get off the field in the final 4:22, when McCoy had runs of 12, 19, 13 and 6 yards.
The Cowboys blitzed more than they have since Wade Phillips was fired. And they blitzed effectively, hitting Michael Vick hard on several occasions and seemingly rattling him mid-game. Pressure contributed to both interceptions, which doubled Vick’s season total. But big plays killed the Cowboys. It’s difficult to beat the Eagles when DeSean Jackson catches four passes for 210 yards, including the go-ahead 91-yard score.
Mat McBriar had a net average of 42.4 yards and pinned the Eagles inside the 20 twice. David Buehler had an outstanding night, making field goals from 50 and 43 yards. But two mistakes in the return game — a Bryan McCann fumble on a punt return and Kevin Ogletree getting tackled at the 8 on a kickoff return — were extremely costly. Those plays led to great field position on two Philadelphia drives that netted 10 points.
The Cowboys fight and don’t crumble in the face of adversity under Jason Garrett, unlike the final few weeks of the Wade Phillips era. That’s just swell, but it’s a minimal expectation for an NFL team. This wasn’t a good game for Garrett, the offensive coordinator. The Cowboys failed to exploit a vulnerable secondary that was missing its best player. They didn’t attack the edge of the defense in the running game after early success.