It’s a good thing Doug Pederson’s guarantee wasn’t a “guarantee” since his Eagles failed to deliver.
Pederson said on the radio Monday morning that the Eagles are “going down to Dallas, and our guys are gonna be ready to play, and we’re gonna win that football game, and when we do, we’re in first place in the NFC East.” Pederson later insisted it wasn’t a guarantee but rather a show of confidence in his team.
His confidence in returning to Philadelphia in first place in the NFC East was misplaced as the Eagles were a no-show Sunday. The Eagles return home in second place with a losing record (3-4).
The Cowboys beat the Eagles in every phase, regaining sole possession of first place in the NFC East and ending their three-game losing streak with a dominating 37-10 win that wasn’t that close.
Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who advised Peterson to stay on the sideline, had four tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
The Cowboys had 402 yards to the Eagles’ 281. They led 14-0 in the first six minutes and 27-7 at halftime, rolling to an easy win.
Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:
1. No NFC East team has repeated as division champion since the Eagles did it in 2003-04, but the Cowboys are on their way.
Despite their 4-3 record, the Cowboys have beaten every team in the division convincingly.
They opened the season with a 35-17 victory over the Giants and had a 31-21 win at Washington in Week Two. That’s a cumulative 103-48 over division opponents.
The Cowboys have a bye in Week Eight before traveling to the Giants.
Dallas won the NFC East last season with a 10-6 record.
2. Brett Maher is money beyond 50 yards.
The Cowboys kicker has seemed shaky at times inside of 50 yards, going 7-of-12 in his career from 40-49 yards and 8-of-11 from 30-39 yards. His 33-yard miss with 1:41 left two weeks in a loss to the Packers ended any hope of a comeback.
But Maher now is 9-of-12 from 50-plus yards in his two seasons.
He kicked a 62-yarder last season and a 62-yarder against the Jets last week. He made a 63-yarder on the final play of the first half Sunday. He was 1 yard from tying the NFL record for the longest field goal in history.
Maher now is the first kicker in NFL history with three field goals of 60 or more yards.
3. The Eagles need more from Carson Wentz.
The Eagles gave the former No. 2 overall pick a four-year, $128 million extension this summer. He has not lived up to the contract yet.
He entered Sunday night with a 94.3 passer rating, which ranked 19th in the league behind the likes of Mason Rudolph, Kyle Allen, Gardner Minshew and Case Keenum.
Wentz lost a fumble in the first quarter, which put the Eagles in a hole, and he threw an interception and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter. He can’t turn it over three times and expect the Eagles to win.
He went 16-of-26 for 191 yards.
For the Eagles to get where they want to go, Wentz has to play better.
4. Jason Garrett’s job is safe, likely for the rest of the season.
The game against the Eagles came at the right time for the Cowboys coach, who now has a 5-2 record against Doug Pederson. (One of Pederson’s victories was a meaningless game for the Cowboys in Week 17 of the 2016 season when most of their best players either didn’t play or didn’t play much ahead of the postseason.)
Garrett, though, was on the hot seat this week no matter how many times Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones said Garrett’s job was safe for this season. The Cowboys have a bye in Week Eight, so a fourth consecutive loss certainly would have given ownership cause to at least consider a change to defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard.
The Cowboys saved Garrett’s job not only for this week but likely for the rest of the year.
Garrett, though, is in the final year of his contract and probably needs playoff success to ensure a return in 2020.
5. The Cowboys will win most games that Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott play like they did Sunday.
Prescott passed for 239 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score. Elliott had 28 touches for 147 yards and a touchdown, including 111 rushing yards. Cooper, who played only three snaps against the Jets because of a quad injury, caught five passes for 106 yards.
The Cowboys’ star players played like star players. The Eagles didn’t.