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5 big reasons the Eagles beat Dallas

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  1. The Eagles ran the ball 42 times and threw 23. This is a championship offense. This is what carried the Steelers in their incredible run last year. The passing offense was efficient (15 for 23) and was balanced evenly with the run. When the team got a lead they pounded the Cowboys into submission with the run and closed the game out to the tune of 204 yards rushing and 426 yards of total offense.
  2. The Eagles held the Cowboys to the 83 yards rushing. If the ability to close out games by pounding the ball was one half of the reason the Steelers made their title run last year, their ability to stop the run was the other half. For the second week in a row the Eagles defense held a good rushing team under 100 yards. The best part is that the resurgence of this run defense has not come at the expense of the pass defense which held the Cowboys impressive pass attack to 118 yards and forced 2 INTs. Where has this resurgence come from though? More than anything it's just a new attitude. I don't know if it was Reid, Johnson, Trotter, or Dawkins, but someone lit a fire under this unit. That said, there are some personnel moves that have made a difference. I think playing Darren Howard at LDE has made him the kind of presence we hoped he'd be when he came here in the offseason. I'm not sure whether it was injuries or what the prevented him from making an impact on the right side, but he has really been a different presence on the left. Omar Gaither at the WILL has clearly been an upgrade over Matt McCoy. McCoy has an incredibly high motor and gave max effort on every play, but he doesn't have the strength to get off blocks and bring down runners at the point of contact like Gaither does. Plus, Brian Dawkins playing out of his mind hasn't hurt... Right now, the defense is breathing fire.
  3. Tony Romo. Basically he was bad all over. First and foremost, he threw bad two picks and really had no one to blame but himself. He clearly was confused by what the Eagles defense threw at him, he clearly had trouble with all the pressure Jim Johnson brought, and he certainly didn't look like the coolest customer in such a big game. Some people are even saying a pattern may be developing with Romo against good teams... The pro bowler now has 6 TDs and 11 INTs against any team not named the Cardinals or the Buccaneers. Seven of Romo's 16 TDs came against those two teams. In December he has 4 TDs and 7 INTs. In what could certainly be described as the biggest game of his career so far, he came up very small.
  4. Pro bowler Lito Sheppard is a Dallas killer. Lito now has 6 INTs in his last 6 games against the Cowboys. After a tough, injury plauged year last year, Lito deserves consideration for the Comeback Player of the Year award. Despite missing 3 games early in the year Lito has made big plays in big spots(first Dallas INT and the Caroina INT) and he's now nabbed the most INTs in the NFC, one behind the Packers Charles Woodson.
  5. Brian Dawkins has been the best defensive player in football the past 4 weeks. That's a bold statement, but I'm not kidding. In the Eagles last games(all wins) #20 has racked up 26 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, and 5 passes defensed. He absolutely has imposed his will on the past 4 games and this defense as a whole. The guy has the heart of a champion and this team's success in this upcoming playoff run is going to be on his back.