Ezekiel Elliott: We don’t care what Doug Pederson says

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The Cowboys never formally addressed Doug Pederson’s guarantee that wasn’t a guarantee, according to a source. They didn’t need to.

The Cowboys were fully aware that the Eagles coach said on the radio last Monday 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.”

The Cowboys won 37-10, moving their record to 5-2 against Pederson.

“Tell them to shut up. So what do you think they’re doing now?” said Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who last week advised Peterson to remain on the sideline.

The Cowboys insisted they got no extra motivation from Pederson’s comment, though, with first place in the division enough. Dallas regained sole possession of the top spot in the NFC East on Sunday night.

The Cowboys are 3-0 in the division, outscoring the Giants, Washington and Philadelphia 103-48.

“We don’t need inspiration from him to go out there and play hard,” Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “This rivalry is enough. Honestly, we don’t give a f— what Doug Pederson says.”

Xavier Woods explains dispute with Eagles athletic trainer

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Cowboys safety Xavier Woods downplayed a run-in with an Eagles athletic trainer in the first half of Sunday’s game.

“It was really nothing. It was nothing,” Woods said.

Woods was penalized for a hit on Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery on the Eagles’ only touchdown drive. Officials gave Woods an unnecessary roughness penalty for a hit on a defenseless receiver.

The play happened along the Eagles sideline, and an athletic trainer, identified as Joe O’Pella by Zach Berman of TheAthletic.com, went onto the field to check on Jeffery.

Woods and O’Pella were seen exchanging words, with Woods obviously angry at whatever transpired.

“He put his hands on me, and that’s enough,” Woods said. “You don’t do that to me.”

Woods said he didn’t know if an official broke it up or what happened after that. Neither team was penalized for the disagreement, which ended quickly.

“I don’t really know,” Woods said. “I was caught up in the moment. Just something you don’t do.”

Sunday night wrapup: Cowboys take over first place as Eagles are all talk

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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.

Steelers’ Anthony Chickillo arrested

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While the team was on its bye, Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo was arrested this weekend.

Chickillo was charged with simple assault, criminal mischief and harassment in an incident involving his girlfriend, according to WTAE.

That the incident involves his girlfriend makes it possible the NFL will put Chickillo on the commissioner’s exempt list, as is often the case for players involved in domestic violence cases.

The Steelers have confirmed they are aware of the arrest.

“We are aware of an incident involving Anthony Chickillo last night and are still gathering information. Until we have further details we will not provide any further comments,” the team said in a statement.

Chickillo joined the Steelers as a sixth-round rookie out of Miami in 2015. This year he signed a two-year, $8 million contract to remain in Pittsburgh.

A backup role player, Chickillo has played only 10 percent of the Steelers’ defensive snaps this season, as well as 33 percent of special teams snaps. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Steelers decide to cut him this week.

Cowboys kick around Eagles in the first half, to take 27-7 halftime lead

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The Cowboys did almost everything right in the first half, and the Eagles are lucky they are not trailing by more in a first-place NFC East showdown.

As it stands, Dallas owns a 27-7 lead at halftime with the final play of the second quarter a 63-yard field goal by Brett Maher.

Maher became the first kicker in NFL history with three field goals of 60 or more yards. He was 1 yard from tying the NFL record for the longest field goal in history.

He had a 62-yarder last season and a 62-yarder against the Jets last week.

The Cowboys dominated the first half. They gained 266 yards. The Eagles have only 95 yards and might not have scored if not for 30 yards in Cowboys’ penalties on the seven-play, 87-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard pass from Carson Wentz to Dallas Goedert.

The Cowboys forced two Eagles fumbles, converting them into touchdowns and an early 14-0 lead. Dallas needed to go only 45 yards after Goedert fumbled and 14 yards after Wentz fumbled.

Tavon Austin scored the first touchdown on a 20-yard run, and Ezekiel Elliott covered 1 yard on the second.

Their third touchdown came on a 12-play, 71-yard drive with Dak Prescott finding Blake Jarwin for a 1-yard score.

The Cowboys threatened to make it even more with 1:31 left but stalled in the red zone. Maher kicked a 26-yard field goal for a 24-7 lead.

The Eagles had a quick possession, leaving the Cowboys enough time to add another field goal on the last play of the half.

Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch left the game with a neck injury in the second quarter. His return is questionable.

Eagles defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway (knee) also is questionable to return. His absence leaves only Fletcher Cox and Akeem Spence at the position, with Tim Jernigan already out.

Pat Shurmur makes another curious fourth-down decision


Last week, Giants coach Pat Shurmur made a head-scracthing fourth-down decision in the fourth quarter from his own 33. This week, he made another one from the same spot on the field.

Down only three points with 2:35 to play and two timeouts remaining, Shurmur opted to go for it on fourth and 15 in lieu of punting the ball. It didn’t go well; quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked, he lost the ball, and the Cardinals recovered.

Three plays later, the Cardinals kicked a field goal that made the score 27-21. The Giants fielded the ensuing kickoff in the end zone, returned it to their own 12, gained 11 on the first play from scrimmage, and then ended up going 19 yards the other way before losing the ball on downs.

Against the Patriots, Shurmur received intense criticism in some circles for choosing to punt from his own 33 on fourth and two with 7:08 to play and down 14 points.

Shurmur also wasted a first-half timeout by challenging a ruling on the field of defensive pass interference, even though a call like that is only going to be overturned if the visual evidence shows that there was no contact whatsoever between defender and receiver. It was the second straight week he wasted a timeout on pass interference replay review; those calls and non-calls simply won’t be overturned.

With the Giants now 2-5 and entering a tough stretch of games, the scrutiny that previously enveloped guys like Eli Manning, Dave Gettleman, and John Mara could soon be hovering directly over Shurmur.

Drew Brees planning to practice this week

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The Saints moved to 6-1 with Sunday’s 36-25 win in Chicago and they have gotten the last five of those wins without quarterback Drew Brees in the lineup.

That record is a testament to how well Bridgewater has done in Brees’s absence. That absence appears to be nearing its end, however.

Brees’s recovery from a right thumb injury progressed to working with a regulation-sized football this week and he told Mike Triplett of ESPN.com that he plans to practice this week. He added that he hopes to be able to play against the Cardinals next weekend, but “we’ll see” if that’s in the cards.

Given how smoothly things have been running with Bridgewater piloting the offense, the Saints won’t feel a need to rush Brees back if there’s any doubt he’s ready. Having a bye in Week Nine could also factor into the decision about who will be at quarterback against Arizona, but No. 9’s return to action isn’t far off under any circumstances.

Cowboys’ defensive penalties aid Eagles’ touchdown drive


The Cowboys had the Eagles stopped deep in their own end.

Carson Wentz threw an incompletion on third down, and the Cowboys would have forced Philadelphia to punt from its 13. But Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, who forced a Dallas Goedert fumble on the Eagles’ first possession, hit Wentz in the head.

The 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer gave the Eagles’ new life.

The Cowboys weren’t done getting Philadelphia back in the game.

Two plays after Smith’s penalty, Cowboys safety Xavier Woods hit Alshon Jeffery, drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty for a hit on a defenseless receiver.

The play happened along the Eagles sideline, and Woods appeared to get into a disagreement with Eagles athletic trainer Joe O’Pella after that penalty. O’Pella, identified by Zach Berman of TheAthletic.com, came on the field to check on Jeffery.

Four plays after that, Wentz found Goedert for a 28-yard touchdown.

The Eagles, who lost fumbles on their first two series, have drawn within 14-7 with 4:38 left in the first quarter.

Christian Wilkins: I was extremely selfish

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The Dolphins brought a lead into the fourth quarter against the Bills on Sunday, but 22 points in the final quarter made the Bills 31-21 winners.

Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins wasn’t there to try to help the Dolphins hold onto their lead. Wilkins was ejected from the game with less than a minute off the clock in the first quarter for throwing a punch at Bills tackle Cody Ford. The first-round pick shared his regrets about that decision after the game.

“I was extremely selfish,” Wilkins said, via the Palm Beach Post. “This is the ultimate team sport. It’s not just about me. I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in myself about something, especially something that was in my control. Really, really shouldn’t have happened. There’s no place for it in this game and that’s not the standard I hold myself to because I just love this game, I try to respect this game as much as possible, play it as competitively as possible. This game was meant to be competitive, not combative. I really let myself down and my teammates down in just a selfish moment so early in the game.”

Wilkins earned head coach Brian Flores’s anger for an unnecessary roughness penalty against the Chargers earlier this season. Getting ejected after two plays won’t lead to a much more positive response.

Vikings fear Adam Thielen is week-to-week with hamstring injury


After Sunday’s win over the Lions in Detroit, Vikings receiver Adam Thielen expressed optimism that he’ll be ready to play on Thursday night. The Vikings do not share that optimism.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the team fears that Thielen’s status is more week-to-week than day-to-day.

Monday’s MRI will provide much more clarity regarding Thielen’s situation. Given the quality of the opponent coming to Minnesota on Thursday night (Washington), it could be best to keep Thielen on ice for two weeks, especially with key road games coming up in Week Nine and Week 10 against the Chiefs and Cowboys, respectively.

Thielen suffered his injury while catching the first touchdown pass of the game, a 25-yarder at the back of the end zone to knot the game at 7-7. Without Thielen, the Vikings scored another 35 points for 42, the biggest output of Kirk Cousins‘ 23 games with the team.

Two Eagles fumbles, two Cowboys touchdowns and it’s 14-0 early


Eagles coach Doug Pederson wanted to address the slow starts by the Eagles by taking ball if he won toss.

For only the second time in 33 wins of the coin toss under Pederson, the Eagles elected to receive the kickoff to start the game, according to Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press.

It appeared to be working.

The Eagles were moving the ball against the Cowboys until, on the fifth play from scrimmage, Dallas Goedert fumbled. Jaylon Smith forced it and Maliek Collins recovered it at the Philadelphia 45.

Six plays later, the Cowboys were in the end zone.

Receiver Tavon Austin ran the last 20 yards to the end zone, turning former Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick inside out at the 12-yard line.

It gave Dallas a 7-0 lead with 10:08 remaining in the first quarter.

The Eagles lost another fumble on their second series, with DeMarcus Lawrence getting the strip-sack of Carson Wentz. Antwaun Woods recovered.

Two Ezekiel Elliott runs later, the Cowboys were in the end zone. He went 13 yards on the first run and 1 yard on the touchdown run.

Dallas leads 14-0 with 8:56 remaining in the first quarter.

Lamar Jackson earns his fourth “double triple”

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The triple-double is one of the most talked-about stats in basketball, but football has its own version, the double-triple. And Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson appears well on his way to having more double-triples than any player in NFL history.

A double-triple comes when a player has at least 100 yards in two different statistical categories in the same game. Jackson did that today, with 143 passing yards and 116 rushing yards in a win over the Seahawks. And he’s now done it four times in his career.

That’s an incredible accomplishment for a player in his second NFL season. The double-triple is far less common than the triple-double, and Jackson is already tied for second most double-triples in NFL history. Only Michael Vick, who did it eight times, has more.

Jackson is one of five players tied for second place in NFL history with four career double-triples. Here’s the list of the players with the most double-triples in their careers:

8-Michael Vick
4-Lamar Jackson
4-Russell Wilson
4-Walter Payton
4-Dante Hall
4-Gary Ballman

Vick’s presence at the top of the list should surprise no one. Vick was the prototypical run-pass threat a generation ago, and Jackson is the first quarterback to come along since Vick who could equal his pure speed with the ball in his hands.

Wilson, who squared off with Jackson today, also has four career double-triples, but he may never have another one. Wilson hasn’t had a 100-yard rushing game since 2014, and although he’s still good at making plays with his legs, he has become more a passer and less a runner as he’s gotten older.

Payton’s presence on the list is no surprise. He’s one of just three running backs to have two different games with 100 yards both running and receiving, and he also twice had 100 yards both running and returning kickoffs.

Hall had two games with 100 yards both receiving and returning kickoffs, and another two games with 100 yards both returning punts and returning kickoffs.

Ballman is now largely forgotten, but he was a good playmaker for the 1960s Steelers and on four occasions he had 100 receiving yards and 100 kickoff return yards in the same game.

A double-triple is a special accomplishment, one that rarely happens in the NFL. Jackson may make it not so rare.

Jalen Ramsey feels he did OK in Rams debut

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Cornerback Jalen Ramsey made his Rams debut in Sunday’s 37-10 win over the Falcons and head coach Sean McVay said after the game that Ramsey provided a “big boost” to the team.

Ramsey had four tackles and forced a Devonta Freeman fumble that the Falcons recovered over the course of the afternoon. Ramsey had not played in several weeks due to a back injury and/or desire to get out of Jacksonville and said he didn’t feel totally into his groove during the game.

“I feel like I played OK,” Ramsey said, via ESPN.com. “I got to get in my groove a little bit more, it’s just maybe one, maybe two plays that I wanted to have back or play a little bit different, but I thought it was good.”

Ramsey said the defense was “a little dumbed down for me” and safety Eric Weddle estimated they had about 30 percent of the overall scheme loaded up for Ramsey. They’ll work on adding to that total before facing the Bengals in London next weekend.

Anthony Lynn: You don’t deserve to win if you can’t get one yard

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The Chargers nearly pulled off a big comeback in Tennessee on Sunday, but they fell one yard short.

Replays showed Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon were stopped short of touchdowns on plays late in the fourth quarter and a second Gordon attempt to get in the end zone ended when he fumbled the ball. Jurrell Casey recovered the ball in the end zone to sew up a 23-20 Titans win.

“You don’t get one yard, you don’t deserve to win the damn game,” Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said at his postgame press conference, via Fernando Ramirez of NBC San Diego. “I told the players that one yard could bring us together or tear us apart.”

The Chargers didn’t score any points in the first halves of their two previous games and saw comeback efforts fall seven points short in both cases. They scored in the first half this time, but still found themselves down 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Avoiding those kinds of deficits would be a good start for an effort to turn things around after a 2-5 start.

Dan Quinn doesn’t think he’s lost the Falcons

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Dan Quinn’s ability to concisely answer a direct question mirrored his team’s ability to play football.

Via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, Quinn offered a lengthy response when asked if he had lost his team during a 1-6 start.

“I understand why the question — it is a fair question, quite honestly, because you spend most of your time trying to connect and get the team to play the way we are capable of — so the answer I would say is, ‘No,’” Quinn began. “But why am I . . . the disbelief at times of not playing like we are capable of, that could be very frustrating. When you don’t do that you want to look and search and find answers, and that’s what I spend most of my time doing: what tweaks, what changes need to be changed — whether that is personnel or scheme, it’s an assistant in play-calling to apply some attention elsewhere, I’m always trying to do something that is best for the team.

“Trust me, my ego is never bigger than the team. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to help get us right.”

Quinn said he allowed some assistants to have more of a hand in defensive play-calling, but it hasn’t helped, as the Falcons have allowed more than 30 points in both games, and they have five sacks in seven games.

“First, my job is to look at the big picture and see if there’s things we can do to change that, and we actually started some of that during Arizona last week,” Quinn said. “I’m always looking to see during the game who can help on the play calling and inside of that. We’ve distributed that some in Arizona and this week as well. I’m always looking to do what’s best for the team in every situation, every time. We’ve already begun some of that. ‘How can I apply myself in other ways?’ We’ve certainly done that, too.”

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he still supports Quinn, but if the results don’t change soon, those personal feelings might not matter.