Sunday Night wrap-up: Bryant and Murray make statements

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The Cowboys might have had some reservations about paying their free-agent offensive stars at some point.

But with performances like Sunday’s, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray are reminding them just how valuable they truly are.

The pending free agents put on a show, with Bryant catching three touchdowns and Murray running for a pair in their 38-27 win over the Eagles.

The win gave the Cowboys the lead in the NFC East at 10-4, and could help push the Eagles out of the playoff picture.

Murray has been the backbeat of their offense all season, leading the league in rushing, and getting a ton of work.

The Cowboys have rebranded themselves as an old school running team, but having a player like Bryant who can win one-on-one matchups on the edges helps make that run game more dangerous.

Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher simply couldn’t check Bryant, and the pre-game jawing by Malcolm Jenkins seemed to just set the Cowboys wideout on edge.

He tied his career-high 13 touchdowns on the season, giving him the perfect platform to lobby for a big raise. And with the Cowboys finally playing to their potential and breaking out of their 8-8 rut, it’s money worth spending.

Murray might not have the same kind of leverage Bryant does based on the position he plays, but he’s proven he can carry the load this year, and it should prove valuable to him somewhere.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. It was just one play, but it turned out to be much bigger than it first appeared.

Leading 21-0 and faced with a third-and-1 in the second quarter, the Cowboys wanted to take a shot downfield. But Tony Romo took a sack instead, forcing them out of field goal range.

A short punt was followed by the Eagles beginning to roll on offense for a bit.

The problem wasn’t the throwing, rather the getting away from the personality they’ve worked so hard to build.

Sometimes coaches out-think themselves, and this was one of those times. The Eagles quickly got themselves into gear, and came back to score 24 unanswered points.

That’s not to say a power run and a conversion would have guaranteed the win, but the Cowboys did open the door for the Eagles comeback.

2. It’s one thing to lose, but the Eagles looked undisciplined Sunday night.

From turnovers to penalties that extended Dallas drives, the Eagles made mistakes that you don’t expect from a playoff contender.

Part of it was individual brain-locks (like rookie returner Josh Huff not getting to the openinng kickoff), but for a team that prides itself on creating a new culture, it was uncharacteristic.

3. Romo’s tough-guy credentials are well established.

But any benefit he derived from an extra weekend of rest might be gone tomorrow.

The Eagles were able to get several shots on him as the game wore on, which will leave him sore.

He took a few by holding the ball too long, but the Eagles did a decent job of moving him off his spot with pressure in the middle of the game.

Not blowing a 21-point lead will help ease some of the pain, however.

4. The Cowboys had to be holding their breath when cornerback Orlando Scandrick was injured in the first half.

Actually, they could have, for the time he was out.

Scandrick came up with a dubious hand/wrist/something injury just as the Eagles began to pick up the pace in the second quarter. Miraculously, he returned a few plays later.

Perhaps something was actually wrong with him. Or maybe it was the worst fake injury in recent memory. That was the opinion of the Eagles fans, who booed him with extra vigor because of it.

5. The Cowboys struggling on defense is not necessarily new.

But the guys on that side of the ball they are paying have to play better.

Cornerback Brandon Carr blew his coverage badly on Jeremy Maclin, giving up an inexplicable 72-yard gain. He had no safety help over the top but gambled anyway, and wasn’t close to making a play on the ball.

For a guy working on a $50 million contract, it’s the kind of mistake that can’t be made.

68 responses to “Sunday Night wrap-up: Bryant and Murray make statements

  1. Our pass defense is horrible. As an Eagles fan, I’m very surprised we’re a 9-5 team despite leading the league in turnovers and having one of worst pass coverage in the league. Unreal to the extreme lol

  2. Not sure how huge a statement Murray made. He was tackled for no gain or a loss 12 times tonight. His two TDs covered a total of 3 yards. For the night, he averaged 2.6 YPC.

    Not saying he isn’t having a great year, but I hardly think he made a “statement” in this particular game.

  3. This is why the eagles are ringless and always will be.trash franchise and the redskins will surge back to the NFC east title with rg3 next year.BTW,cowgirls are overrated and will choke very soon.HTTR

  4. Wait, let me guess…refs?

    We didn’t fold when the Eagles came back and fought back. Murray didn’t get his 100, but they kept running and fighting. They forced Romo to beat them when they took Murray away. Guess what: He did.

  5. Philly is just not that good. Kelly is a joke. Good chance they don’t make the playoffs. But dallas could easily lose to the colts next week. The eagles still won’t do anything in the playoffs, if they make it, against real teams. Look for kelly to explore going back to school in 2015. You cannot disregard time of possession and what it takes to win a real hardnosed football game. Kelly doesn’t get it. His system is fatally flawed. Maybe if they wore the black uniforms while drinking smoothies and wearing sleep monitors they would have won.

  6. Cheer up Chip! You have two games against losing teams coming up. That’s your specialty.

    4-7 against teams with winning records. 3-8 if you account for the Indy game that even Eagles fans admit was a gift.

  7. Great win by the Boys. The defense will have to play better but with this offense and a little bit of resolve they can win out this year.

  8. lukestupidscienceproject so under your theory the eiggles won the super bowl last year because of all the points they scored

  9. Eagles didn’t deserve this. Even after the comeback it was evident that they couldn’t sustain the momentum. Too many high throws to wide open receivers by Sanchez. Too many defensive breakdowns. There’s still a good chance of Eagles winning the division of Cowboys lose to Colts and Eagles win out; but if Eagles are in, they’re one and done. I have zero expectations the rest of the way for this team.

    Let Sanchez walk in FA. Cut Fletcher and Williams. They can’t cover anything. Draft defense heavy. Give Foles another year. See what happens. I can’t stand other Eagles fans saying this wouldn’t have happened if we still had Desean. Last time I checked hes not a DB. A lot still can happen this season. But it’s the same old story with the Eagles. Ugh

  10. Congrats to the Cowboy backers.
    They came to play . . did what the needed to do.

    We had too many mistakes . . Sanchize came-up small.

    Dallas the better team . . . tonight.

  11. Well outside of tonight being the Dez bryant show .
    To the Eagles Brass its not too late to give the jets a call and get MIKE VICK back , Heaven knows that offense is not only up his alley but he owned dallas in head to head match up as a QB, Plus Vick has the best winning percentage within that DIVISION of any QB.

    Btw.. want to bet Sanchez don’t dare show up at one of those Philly cheesesteak shops tonight.

  12. Yo elmer,

    I’m not an Eagles fan. I’m just trying to understand why fans of team that got blown out by a team two weeks ago is now crowing about beating the same team by less points two weeks later.

    It’s just math and common sense.

  13. I really wish the media/commentators would stop bringing up the fact that just because Mark Sanchez went to two straight AFC Championship games nearly five years ago, it automatically makes him a good QB.

  14. The Cowboys escaped winning against our back-up quarterback, and they barely won, they are sub par, we still have the better team as we have the last few years, if you wanna be proud of that have at it, your team is a gimmick, and its all smoke and mirrors. Eagles dont have half the talent on the team as the cowboys, we just play with more heart. Americas team, hmmm i think not.

  15. “Cumulative score of the two games: Eagles 60, Cowboys, 48.

    Don’t go crazy.”

    Cowboys just win the division & go to the playoffs. The Eagles & their 60 will be home on the sofa.

  16. Well, duh!

    New Rule: Division splits are the new home field advantage.

    One division rival wins one game and then the loser has revenge for the next game.

    Bye bye home field advantage. Hello divisional revenge advantage.

  17. Chip Kelly thinks he bringing something “new” to the league……….Football is football….Hat on hat…thats it plain n simple…hopefully he gets it before its too late!

  18. I read this article and all I see is poor analysis. I’m an eagles fan so maybe I’m just upset about the game but dude come on..
    1. You really nailed it with the headline: “Bryant and Murray make statements.” Murray had what, 2.6 yards per carry? Does that qualify as a ‘statement?’ No. Sure he scored twice but so did Chris Polk. Maybe you should include Polk in the headline. And now to Bryant. He had a fantastic game. But my grandmother could score three times on bradley fletcher. It’s bradley fletcher. He did not ‘make a statement.’
    2. Josh huff does not deserve the blame for that opening kickoff. The ball landed 30 yards from where huff was when the play started and roughly 3 feet from brad smith. Watch closely and criticize the right person next time. Good try though.
    3. Scandrick and the Cowgirls are punks for faking injuries like that. Doesn’t belong in the game. He was booed because he earned it, not because the Philly fans are brutal.
    4. Malcom Jenkins’ “pregame jawing” had absolutely nothing to do with Dez Bryant’s performance. Have you ever seen Dez bryant? He whines like TO. Even if he needed something to “set him on edge” he could’ve made something up. It’s like you only mentioned that because it happened and you wanted to add drama to the article.
    5. I can’t sleep. That’s why I just wasted all that time writing this. Anyways, that’s what I got out of this article. That will be all.

  19. Romo CHOKED……… whatever little life the Philly D had. It wasn’t much of a contest. How you liking it, Philly fans?

    Romo DOMINATED Philly’s secondary, and Dez DOMINATED Fletcher. Jenkins, how does that jawing you did early on in the game sitting right now?

    The season isn’t over yet, but redemption is sweet, and I, as a Cowboy fan, will enjoy this one. Romo and Witten both had their redemption, and Dez downright dominated. A very nice team win.

    Next week Indy will be tough, but is a winnable game, and then the revenge game against the 4ksins is next. 12-4 would be great to end the regular season. May not need to win it depending

    Lastly, can the media get ANY MORE ridiculous? WHY do they show Jerry Jones every time the Cowboys scored, yet do they not show Jeffrey Lurie even once when the Eagles scored? A pathetic example of their disgusting obsession with Jones.

  20. The Cowboys are 7-0 on the road now, aren’t they? I never realized this stat until they beat my Seahawks in their own backyard this year.

    Therefore I hope they win their division and get a home game in the playoffs this year. Last team I’d want the Hawks to face in the clink.

  21. luckdunphyssciencproject – sorry Math has nothing to do with it… The year the Giants won the Super bowl the Cowboys destroyed the Giants twice in the regular season then lost by one score in the playoffs. No one cares How much the Cowboys beat the Giants by at that point.

  22. hey we where’s as ll those eagles fans that said they were going to kill us in this game? a lot if us cowboys fans said we would beat Chicago and the eagles would lose to Seattle and we would go in this game with the same record and the division on the line and we would win well all u guys had tobsay was we would get beat by u guys, well how do u feel now

  23. So you think Scandrick was out for multiple plays for a fake injury? Is this your first year covering the NFL?

  24. Math and common sense says…let the Cowboy fans have their time…all the gloating and ” in Chip we trust” us NFC East fans have had to hear from Eagles fans for a coach who was 1 and done in the playoffs and won no championships at any level gets old. I dislike both teams but have to give it to Dallas everyone ruled them out this year and they have proved all of us wrong. Maybe my Redskins can take a lesson from Dallas and realize…build the O line!

  25. Luke,
    Because the Cowboys beat the Eagles at HOME, on Prime Time TV, and with the DIV title on the line. Different scenario this time around, take the beating and move on son. Don’t embarrass yourself with childish stats, people might actually take you serious. If you’re not an Eagle fan, than what’s your problem??

  26. I love the people on here saying its Chip and that his scheme doesn’t work against good teams… it does work we just don’t have good enough players at this time.

    Does his system put more pressure on the defense, yes it does, but it also allows a team to turn a 21 pt deficit into a 3 pt advantage in 2 quarters.

    Last I checked Chip isnt the one not fielding kickoffs, chip isn’t the one over-throwing wide open receivers, chip isn’t getting beat twice on a simple go route

  27. I am noting all these posts from Cowboys fans. I hope you guys come back next week after Andrew Luck and the Colts beat down the Boys. Everyone knows the Cowboys cannot win in Jerry’s world. It is not the way I wanted it, but the Eagles will still back in to a division title with the Cowboys losing next week and the Eagles winning their last 2 at Wash and NY. I want to hear Cowboys fans chirping after that happens.

  28. TOP Dallas 41:50 Philly 18:10
    Dallas had 79 plays

    Two major reasons for the Dallas win

    As Goose Goslin said earlier this season, if the Dallas Defense doesn’t play longer than 25 minutes, Dallas can win.
    Go Cowboys

  29. “It’s about timing: Dallas excelling in December”

    Unlike years past, these Cowboys are dominating on the road and playing their best at an important time.

    Eric Adelson

  30. New York Giants fan here.

    I can probably speak for most when I say I was hoping that the game would be competitive and hope that the referees didn’t decide the game.

    I was thoroughly surprised that the Dallas Cowboys continued to run with DeMarco Murray despite the pressure and clogging the Philadelphia Eagles front seven were achieving. I say surprised in a positive way towards the Cowboys because in the past they would have abandoned the run and threw it every time.

    The Eagles need promise behind center and currently there’s not a player on their roster they can rely on. Chip Kelly’s offense is in its almost second full year which means while the offense should be gelling, opposing defenses are also in better understanding.

    I think this loss prevents the Eagles from playing in the postseason because I think they will lose one of their remaining games, possibly two.

  31. I don’t understand the Kelly bashing. The guy came in and completely turned around a 4-12 team. They might miss the playoffs in his second year, but they might miss the playoffs with an 11-5 record. I have never seen a team miss the playoffs with a record of 11-5. The team is in a much better place now, then when Chip took over the team. Their defensive line is strong, especially against the run, their linebackers are ok, even with Casey Matthews. They do need to replace at least 2 guys in their secondary, maybe 3. With the defensive upgrades, I think Foles, although not mobile, is good enough to win a super bowl next year, if he plays like the Foles in 2013, not the Foles that we’ve seen so far in 2014.

  32. Lol. College offense doesn’t work, I’ve said it from day one. Once they weren’t allowed to game the system anymore by calling plays before the defense was even allowed to set up, his career ended right there.

    I heard there a few campus openings Chip!

  33. Kastout11:

    Chip Kelly came in and was handed a last place schedule. He has since only beaten 4 winning teams in 2 seasons. (Really only 3). His up tempo offense kills his defense. Sure they scored 21 points fast, but then his defense was gassed at the end and lost them the game. I’m glad he thinks TOP doesn’t matter. That’s why all of the bashing. He thinks he knows everything, yet he can’t beat the good teams. Arrogant much?

    And you think Foles can just magically revert back to 2013 form? Not unless he magically gets handed a schedule where he faces by far the easiest pass defenses in the league like he got in 2013.

    It’s time to face reality, Kelly and Foles’ success is largely a result of their cream puff schedule and being in a division with the awful skins and cowboys.

  34. So, I guess we’re now officially done with the storyline of how great Sanchez is and how lucky the Eagles are to have him? At least in New York they made a couple AFC title games before the hype died.

  35. The Kelly and Eagles haters are really out in force today. Typical. No excuses from this fan. Dez smoked our secondary, and Sanchez blows. That’s what it really comes down to. Every other part of the team is solid to great. But you can’t give up three man coverage TD’s like that. You can’t get called for 3 PI’s in a game, Williams. You can’t overthrow open receivers all over the map.

    But the Kelly bashing? I don’t agree with that. Last night had nothing to do with a “college offense” or Kelly being anything less than a great coach. He doesn’t yet have the talent he wants and has had to fight through really team-crushing injuries to his OL, starting QB and star linebacker.

  36. Youknowimright says:
    Dec 14, 2014 11:50 PM
    Philly is just not that good. Kelly is a joke. Good chance they don’t make the playoffs. But dallas could easily lose to the colts next week. The eagles still won’t do anything in the playoffs, if they make it, against real teams. Look for kelly to explore going back to school in 2015. You cannot disregard time of possession and what it takes to win a real hardnosed football game. Kelly doesn’t get it. His system is fatally flawed. Maybe if they wore the black uniforms while drinking smoothies and wearing sleep monitors they would have one.
    ———————————–

    Last night’s loss had nothing to do with Kelly’s system or philosophy. It had to do with execution, or the lack thereof. Sanchez was bad, and the secondary was God awful. Throw in some bad calls and bad luck and you have last night. If Nick Foles was in that game and we had one more decent CB, we win going away. No excuses..the Cowboys really dominated this one, but my faith in Kelly is not shaken in the least.

  37. Statements were actually made by D. Murray, and D. Bryant.Combined for 5 touchdowns for the when it mattered, against a division rival, at their house.. Yes statements were made. #wedemboyz

  38. Sorry but the Chip Kelly philosophy is exactly why they lost. TIme of Possession is everything. Look at every game Dallas has won or lost, then look at ToP. We win when we play more offense than defense and lose when it switches. Our defense is meh, at best. But Phillys defense is just as bad when tired. Yeah you scored 24 points in a flash, but you put that tired defense back on the field. Dallas then drives the ball down the field and we get back on top 28 to 24 on a fading defense. Then Sanchez throw a pick putting that d back on the field.

    Chip has no concept of time, has no rhythm in a game and does nothing to stop momentum shifts. He doesn’t eat clock, hates 9 minute drives and does nothing to preserve his defense. Look you can think he’s great, but he is just an over promoted OC. Remember his Philosophy on football is win shootouts, not control the game flow just score fast a plenty. Then, like in college, he finds himself against a team that can control ToP with a running attack, get a few stops and turnovers and his system falls apart.

  39. llcamino says:

    4-7 against teams with winning records. 3-8 if you account for the Indy game that even Eagles fans admit was a gift.

    ——-

    So now the Colt game is a loss, too?

    Please…last time I checked, they baited Andrew Luck into throwing a pick, and then mounted a clock consuming drive to kick the winning field goal. What changed about that?

    No, the Eagles aren’t an elite team, but their fans aren’t pretending they are either.

    Their secondary needs an upgrade, but these guys are an improvement over Nnamdi and DRC, who presided over an even leakier secondary for a 4-12 team.

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