As noisy and raucous as Lincoln Financial Field was when the Eagles stormed out to a 20-0 lead over the Cowboys, the stadium’s noise level dissipated when the scoreboard changed.
It was so quiet you could almost hear Jerry Jones chortling up in the owner’s box.
Dallas had stormed back, cutting the formidable lead to 20-17. Momentum had taken up residence on the cocky Cowboys’ sideline. A minute into the fourth quarter and this grand Philly sports weekend was about to implode.
The Eagles took the field at their 25-yard line with 14:39 to play. You wondered if they could get a single first down against the now-rampaging Dallas defense that had shut them down in the third quarter.
- “Circumstances in the game changed,” quarterback Jalen Hurts said. “We had momentum change in the game.
- “We had a lot of different things going in the game but we didn’t waver from what we wanted to accomplish. We trusted in each other.
- “You get in a situation like that you kinda started off really hot, and OK … it’s 20-17. Don’t flinch … keep going … It was a big-time drive for this win.”
The Eagles drove 75 yards in 13 plays, 10 of them on the ground, with DeVonta Smith catching a 7-yard touchdown pass for a 26-17 lead, which also was the final score. Nine of the 10 running plays gained yardage and the other was for no gain. Two Hurts runs on third down gave the Eagles crucial first downs — one a nifty cutback on a third-and-4 that gained 5 yards.
The drive, the most important of the season so far, took seven minutes and 58 seconds — more than half of the fourth quarter. It happened as the game was teetering on the edge of disaster. Imagine the undefeated Eagles blowing a 20-0 lead at home to *Dallas*.
Coach Nick Sirianni said the Eagles depended on the offensive line in that situation and also the quarterback.
- “Big-time leadership,” Sirianni said about Hurts. “This guy’s not fazed by things. He’s got a great demeanor that you see in great quarterbacks.
- “There’s so many big games in the NFL. This was a huge game, Sunday Night Football, division rival, both at the top of the division. And he’s unfazed by things.
- “That’s what I love about him is that he just goes and plays the next play. He made a great play on third-and-4 when we didn’t have anybody open. He made a play with his legs.
- “He controlled the offense. He used the clock. He was in complete control and communicating with what our message was to our offensive line or the running backs in that scenario. It was Quarterback 101 right there by Jalen.”
The previous week at Arizona, the Eagles drove the ball with the score tied at 17 late in the game. They didn’t score a touchdown but kicked what turned out to be the winning field goal. The Cardinals had enough time on the clock to tie or win the game.
Hurts was disappointed that he hadn’t led his team to a touchdown and he wasn’t shy about saying so after the game. Hurts is quiet and measured when talking to the media but you could see beneath the surface that he was frustrated.
He got a chance at redemption against Dallas and drove the team for a touchdown that put the game away.
- “My mentality in those types of situations is kinda like last week,” Hurts said. “I know I expressed my frustration given the situation we were in, not taking advantage of a situation we controlled.
- “And I felt like, again, today, that kinda came up. We just want to continue to grow from that. Given the opportunities to make plays and keep the ball in our hands at the end of the game, we want to take advantage of that.
- “And I put that on me. Just want to kinda impose your will on them at the end of the game like that. I don’t think we did that the way we wanted to. We found a way and it was enough, but there’s a lot to learn from.”
The humble gene is an attractive trait from these Eagles. They say they are never satisfied, always striving for a more-perfect performance.
Some quarterbacks would take a chest-thumping victory lap after beating the dreaded Cowboys. Hurts did not.
- “I think we have a long way to go as a football team in terms of our growth, our development, and everything,” Hurts said.
- “But I think the beautiful part about this football team is regardless of the circumstance, regardless of how it looks, we stick together.
- “It’s not going to be easy. It’s a climb and the higher you get in that climb it gets more treacherous. A lot to take away from this game — good and bad.”
Sirianni heads into the bye week looking for more, just like his team. For now, he’ll enjoy coaching the NFL’s only undefeated team.
- “We know we got to play a complete game,” Sirianni said. “What’s exciting about being 6-0 and not having played a complete game yet, in my opinion — and the players will tell you the same — is there’s only room to get better. And that’s our goal.”
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