PHI-DAL Grades: Eagles deliver Cowboys a sixth consecutive loss
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Eagles’ 33-27 overtime victory over the Cowboys:
– There can be no doubt that Darren McFadden (+1.8 rushing) has taken control of the Cowboys’ backfield and is producing some of the best running of his entire career at this point. McFadden has played more snaps in the last three weeks (171) than he played in the Cowboys’ first five games (93) and he took advantage of his best blocker (Tyron Smith) gaining 50 yards on five carries either side of Smith off left tackle and left end.
– But for a solitary, dreadful throw Matt Cassel (-0.5) did enough in this game to walk away a winner and stop a slide that started for the Cowboys after their win in Philadelphia seven weeks ago when Cassel was still a Buffalo Bill. Outside the left numbers last night Cassel completed eight of his 12 targets for 121 yards and Dez Bryant’s jump ball touchdown, but he only threw outside the right numbers three times, one of which was the fateful pick-six to Jordan Hicks which kept the Cowboys on the back foot for the rest of the game.
– An unheralded contributor for the Cowboys since he entered the defensive line rotation in Week 4 has been undrafted free agent David Irving (+3.5) who earned his highest grade of the season so far. That was his third single-game grade above +2.0 in five appearances, hitting that mark every time he sees at least ten snaps. Irving racked up a season high five pressures (2 Ht, 3 Hu) and three stops, tying for the team lead in pressures with Tyrone Crawford (+1.2) and Greg Hardy (-0.1).
LT Tyron Smith (+3.6)
DT David Irving (+3.5)
WR Dez Bryant (+2.4)
RT Doug Free (+1.6)
CB Brandon Carr (+1.4)
– After coming up with only two yards on 13 carries in his first encounter with the Cowboys back in September, DeMarco Murray’s (+0.2) return to Dallas was a more productive one as he topped 160 all purpose yards. On the ground and through the air he had his greatest success on the left side of the Dallas defense gaining 63 yards on 10 carries off right guard and wider, adding to that with a 44-yard gain on a wheel route outside the right numbers.
– Another player making his return to Texas was former Longhorn Jordan Hicks (+3.5) who made his pro debut in the Lone Star state a memorable one. Targeted seven times in coverage, Hicks gave up a reception six times for 57 yards but his one incompletion was a pick-six, baiting Matt Cassel into an ill-advised throw on an out to Darren McFadden, undercutting the route to put the Eagles up by seven early in the fourth quarter. This marks the fifth time this season Hicks has earned a positive grade.
– Performances and results have not yet matched expectations in Philadelphia, but an overtime road win over the Cowboys should help ingratiate Sam Bradford (+2.2) with Eagles’ fans. This was a reversal in some of the characteristics of Bradford’s performances to this point in the season with his usually metronomic accuracy on short passes a little off (12 of 19), while his troublesome intermediate passing was on point as he collected completions on all four of his targets for 127 yards and the game-winning score to the rejuvenated Jordan Matthews.
WR Jordan Matthews (+4.0)
ILB Jordan Hicks (+3.5)
DE Fletcher Cox (+3.4)
RG Matt Tobin (+2.3)
QB Sam Bradford (+2.2)