Eagles @ Cowboys
Final Score: Cowboys 41, Eagles 21
Writer: Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, /u/Lights_Kamara_Action on Reddit)
The Dallas Cowboys gave the Philadelphia Eagles the beating of a lifetime on Monday night, but penalties led to plenty of self-inflicted beating for the Eagles as well. Philadelphia ended up with 13 penalties in total, so many of which killed their momentum on both sides of the ball. Dallas came out and ran the ball at will in the first half and kept Philly’s defense on the field for long stretches at a time. The time of possession in the first half was dominated by the Cowboys (20:21-9:39) and as a result, Dallas ended up with more first downs in the first half than Philadephia ran total plays. All of that being said, the Eagles actually finished the game with only 13 fewer yards than Dallas had. The Eagles’ offense moved the ball with chunk plays for a good portion of the night, they were just unable to sustain many scoring drives and they committed too many boneheaded penalties.
Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott made his triumphant return to AT&T Stadium in Arlington after suffering his horrific season-ending ankle injury on his home field last season in Week 5 against the Giants. Prescott’s passing yardage totals weren’t out-of-this-world due to how well they ran the ball, but his 3 passing TDs helped salvage a decent fantasy output. Did your Cowboys’ pass-catchers fail to deliver on your Monday night miracle, or did you start TE Dalton Schultz? Did you need a big night from Eagles’ RB Miles Sanders? I sure hope not. Let’s dive into what we saw:
Jalen Hurts: 25/39, 326 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT | 9 carries, 35 yards
Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts had the toughest outing of his young season against Dallas on Monday night, but he still managed to produce yet another strong fantasy performance in the process. Hurts threw two ugly interceptions, but he also managed two scores through the air and a modest rushing output as well. Hurts and the Eagles’ offense managed to hit on several big chunk plays, but their penalties and inability to sustain drives hurt them in the long run. Hurts’ first TD strike went to TE Zach Ertz on a 3rd and 2 from the Cowboys’ 3-yard line:
📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/jDDQGlDjo6
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 28, 2021
Hurts’ 2nd and final TD was actually a really impressive throw on a broken play where he managed to escape pressure and throw a strike across his body on the run:
Insane touchdown throw by Jalen Hurts in garbage time.
Greg Ward Jr. anytime TD +800 👀
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 28, 2021
Considering Hurts was under constant pressure all night, he still managed to give his managers a chance at a win in Week 3.
Miles Sanders: 2 carries, 27 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 28 yards
Kenneth Gainwell: 1 carry, 2 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 32 yards
On the other hand, if you had to start either of Philly’s RBs on Monday night, they did not give you a chance to win. RBs Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell combined for just 3 carries and fewer than 30 yards on the ground against the Cowboys, although both were able to grab 3 out of their 4 respective targets for similar yardage totals. This game got out of hand early for the Eagles, and their offense completely abandoned the run. Sanders’ first carry ripped into the Cowboys’ secondary for 24 yards but didn’t come until midway through the 2nd quarter. Both backs had a handful of targets in the second half, but neither got particularly close to the end zone. Things may not get much better for this duo if the Eagles fall behind early next week against Kansas City.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Dallas Goedert: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 66 yards
Zach Ertz: 7 targets, 4 reception, 53 yards, TD
Jalen Reagor: 8 targets, 5 receptions, 53 yards
Quez Watkins: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 46 yards
DeVonta Smith: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 28 yards
If you were forced to start Eagles’ TEs Zach Ertz on Monday night, congratulations – you got the best scorer of the night among Philly’s skill positions. Just like everyone would have guessed, Ertz was the first Eagles’ pass-catcher to score a TD on the night, and he paced the TE group in targets and receptions. Rookie WR DeVonta Smith had his second consecutive quiet outing after a strong showing in Week 1 against Atlanta. Smith frequently failed to beat press coverage from former Alabama teammate CB Trevon Diggs. In fact, it was Smith who fell on this route, leading to Diggs’ pick-six of Hurts early in the 3rd:
Only NFL player with an INT in every game this season:
Trevon Diggs 😤pic.twitter.com/MZkd6AXKd7
— PFF (@PFF) September 28, 2021
Eagles’ TE Dallas Goedert had a somewhat disappointing night with only two catches, but at least both of them picked up good chunks of yardage. WR Greg Ward, Jr. scored a TD late in the game on his lone target.
Dak Prescott: 21/26, 238 yards, 3 TD, Fumble (Lost) | 9 carries, 6 yards
Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott had a moment of emotion during the national anthem, reflecting back on all of the hard work he’s put in to return from his gruesome ankle injury from nearly a year ago. Prescott was able to lean heavily on the run game in this contest with the Eagles, but he also gave his fantasy managers a worthwhile fantasy output with three scores through the air. Prescott also had a controversial run that appeared to be a TD but was ruled that he was stopped short on the field. Dallas challenged the ruling on the field, and ultimately the ruling was upheld and Dallas turned the ball over on downs. Prescott connected with TE Dalton Schultz six times on the night, including twice for TDs, taking advantage of the space in the intermediate passing game from Philly’s two high-safety sets. His first TD pass was this beautiful dime to Schultz, floating it over the LB with the perfect amount of space:
Dak Prescott to Schultz, TD for the #DallasCowboys 👏
— SportzStew Ⓥ (@sportzstewcom) September 28, 2021
One low spot for Prescott was this fumble in the end zone that was recovered mid-air for a TD by Eagles’ DT Fletcher Cox:
📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/O1pZ2Z6X5B
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 28, 2021
Prescott ended on a high note with this, his third and final TD pass of the night to WR Cedric Wilson on 4th and goal:
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 28, 2021
Ezekiel Elliott: 17 carries, 95 yards, 2 TD | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 21 yards
Tony Pollard: 11 carries, 60 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards
It was a monster night for Cowboys’ RB Ezekiel Elliott against the Eagles on Monday. Elliott finished with over 100+ total yards and had 2 TDs – both for the first time this season. Elliott seems to be warming up after a sluggish start to the ’21 campaign. Zeke was so dominant to start the game, he had 14 touches, 81 yards, and both of his TDs with 7 minutes left to go before halftime. Zeke’s first TD was a tough, second-effort run from one yard out to cap Dallas’ opening drive:
— Garra Sports (@GarraSportsMx) September 28, 2021
Zeke’s 2nd TD run came about midway through the second quarter to put Dallas up by 2 scores:
FEED ZEKE! 😤
Ezekiel Elliott scores his second TD of the game! 🔥 https://t.co/qaqbNGTkDR
— theScore (@theScore) September 28, 2021
Zeke’s strong first half gave way to RB Tony Pollard to receive more touches throughout the rest of the game. Pollard finished with a tidy 65 yards on 12 touches on Monday night. Pollard hasn’t quite carved out enough of a role for himself to garner flex consideration, but it was encouraging for Zeke’s managers to see them coexist so peacefully.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Amari Cooper: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 26 yards
CeeDee Lamb: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 66 yards | 1 carry, -1 yard
Cedric Wilson: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards, TD
Dalton Schultz: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 80 yards, 2 TD
Blake Jarwin: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 14 yards
With the ground game dominating the game plan for Dallas so much of the night, their premier pass-catchers ended up with a pretty quiet night – that is, other than TE Dalton Schultz. Schultz was routinely able to sneak behind LBs in single coverage, and so as a result, Prescott looked to him more frequently than any other pass-catcher. We saw Schultz’s first TD catch above, but check his second one – weaving through defenders to scamper 22 yards for the score:
— Pick 6 (@Pick6NFL) September 28, 2021
WRs Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb both had relatively limited fantasy production – with Lamb’s slightly elevated numbers owed to a 44-yard reception on Dallas’ opening drive to set up Elliott’s one-yard TD run. There will certainly be games where Dak and the Cowboys’ offense has to sling the ball around a bit more (like we saw in Week 1), but as long as the ground game is so dominant, there will be a chance for these Dallas pass-catchers to put up some duds here and there.
— Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)