All the talk about Monte Kiffin’s defense not being able to handle a Chip Kelly offensive just got thrown into the garbage. On Sunday, the Cowboys defensive shut down the games most shifty running back, LaShawn McCoy. They were also able to make Nick Foles hesitate.
The defense put together another great effort against their NFC East foe. The defensive line continued their surprising resurgence. Led by Jason Hatcher, the D-Line shut down the run early and often. That task being accomplished it fell on the defensive backs to handle the passing game.
Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne each had solid games again. It seems as if Monte Kiffin’s decision to go man coverage instead of his classic zone coverage has paid off. Coach Kiffin looked at his players strengths and adjusted.
I’m not sure where it started, but somewhere along the line Nick Foles became extremely indecisive. That can’t happen in this league. Now, I’m not laying this all on his feet, his receivers dropped a lot of easy passes, but the Cowboys had just enough pressure early on in this game to make Foles hesitate.
What I really felt was impressive was the Cowboys commitment to the run, even when it wasn’t giving them much. This game was back and forth early on and Coach Callahan showed great restraint in continuing to feed the running game. If nothing else, he didn’t go 1 dimensional too early in a tied game. That’s big for a couple of reason.
- In a game where no one has the momentum, you don’t change your game plan in order to spark a drive. On the road, a draw in this part of the game, that early, is not a bad thing.
- It takes the pressure of Romo to force a play and and give your defense an opportunity to rest.
When I saw the commitment to the running game, I felt that that as long as the Cowboys eventually score, they could keep this game close. That’s the whole key with a game on the road. Romo rewarded his defense with a touchdown drive in the 3rd quarter. These types of low scoring games can get spoiled quickly though.
An untimely pick 6 or a punt return can change the whole flow of the game. When the Eagles quarterback exited the game, I wondered if a new arm and a lucky pass could make this a game. Luckily Matt Barkley was not up to the task. 3 picks in a quarter? Not a great way to make your case to move up the depth charts.
OK, so what I am saying. The Cowboys win another division game, which will be extremely important if and when the Redskins make their run. The entire defense came up big again and Romo did enough to win. Most important to this writer was the commitment to running the ball.
Here are my 5 key players/coaches:
- Joseph Randle-His quickness was apparent. The running game will only get better
- Terrance Williams/Cole Beasley-Again these 2 receivers are earning Romo’s trust and producing
- Coach Callahan-Simple. Commitment to an average running game makes Romo’s job easier
- Sean Lee- His pursuit to the football is just amazing.
- Jason Hatcher-He has taken his game to another level and not a moment too soon
Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Justin on twitter @justinsopinion