Well, who saw that coming? Hey, this is NFC East football and you can never take any game lightly. Great day by the defense, horrible day from Tony Romo, and one of the most heads up plays you will ever see from Brian Westbrook all come together for a.... let's savor the fact that I get to write this... Eagles win over the Cowboys!
Onto the headlines!
No need to be witty here. The guy is flat out the most valuabe player on this team and maybe on any team in the NFL. If there's a player more singularly responsible for everything good that has happened to any team this year let me know who it is. Not only does Westbrook dominate the Cowboys all day to the tune of 81 yards on the ground at 4.5 a pop, 9 catches for 643 yards, but he makes possibly the most heads up play in the NFL this year by forgoing his personal stats and kneeling on the one yard line rather than score so he could ice the game. Remember back to the Washington game when the Skins let him score and Westbrook said that if he had it to do over again he would have downed the ball on the one? Well, he did get that chance and he did what he said. Just a great play from a great player.
Romo does the Lito shuffle again
You could easily say that Lito Sheppard is having the worst year of his NFL career. Injuries have been partly to blame, but he's been inconsistent at best all year... yet somehow he's been able to make plays against the Cowboys his whole career and this year was no different. A pick today and a pick earlier in the year gives him 8 career INTs vs Dallas. To be honest, I think TO was getting the better of him but thanks to some comically bad throws from Romo and one comically bad drop from TO, "the player" was held to just two catches for 37 yards. Also, Tony Romo is going to have to think twice before he opens his mouth about the Eagles D again. Anyone else hear when Aikman said Romo told him that the Eagles don't do a good job disguising what they're going to do and how he basically always knows what's coming? Romo has now had 2 awful performances vs 1 good one in his career against the Eagles. Suffice to say, I don't think he has Jim Johnson figured out quite as well as he thought he did.
By the way, I think Cowboy management needs to tell Tony Romo to leave his girlfriend at home. Because last year when the Eagles went down to Dallas on Xmas day and spanked them it was while Carrie Underwood was sitting in the seat Jessica Simpson occupied today. Seems like he tends to get his mind on things other than football because he was flat out awful today and he was awful on Xmas last year. Oh and if Fox sets another football highlight package to a Jessica Simpson song I'm going to vomit into a bag and mail to Joe Buck with a note saying "Please pass this on to your boss."
The real "Big D" was wearing green today
That's the defensive performance we've been waiting for all year. For the most part the Eagles defense has been consistently solid. They've done well against the run they've kept teams out of the end zone... but they haven't made those killer game changing plays. Today they did just that with 3 picks, a couple forced fumbles(although none recovered), and 4 big sacks. Time after time the defense gave the offense the ball with great field position only for the offense to do nothing. Yet time after time the D went out and made plays. Make no mistake about it, the defense won this game.
It was interesting watching what happened today and how Dallas really played right into the Eagles hands. I've said this several times this year that Dallas looks like they lack a "plan B." When things get even the slightest bit iffy for them they just start chucking it every play. They stand back in the shotgun and abandon the run totally. Now, most of the time the fact that they have so many playmakers and a good offensive line the throw ends up working for them. However today, when it only a 3 point or at best one score game they kep throwing and it never worked. Time after time Jim Johnson defenses have feasted on teams that are forced to throw. While Dallas wasn't really forced to throw by the clock or the score, they made it clear they had given up on the run and it allowed Jim Johnson to tee off on Romo. That's why the Eagles D was able to ratchet up the pressure in the second half which led to sacks and mistakes for the Cowboys.
Credit to McNabb
His final numbers were okay at best. Not poor, but not much to cheer about either. However, we saw McNabb manage the game in a way he hasn't all year. He didn't take bad sacks, he threw balls away when nothing was there, and he did a fine job using his legs to avoid pressue and even make one big play. He still checked down a ton, he still threw a ton of incompletions, he was off target at times... but the fact is when you play smart and manage the game well you can still win despite those things. I really liked his mentality today.