The Dallas Cowboys Fight Through Penalties and Injury to Beat the Eagles
In a 20-10 win against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, September 20, the Dallas Cowboys set a franchise record with 18 penalties. They also saw their quarterback, Tony Romo, go down with a broken collarbone.
After a first half that included the Eagles being shut out and the Cowboys only getting two field goals, the second half was more of the same.
The Cowboys got a blocked punt and returned it for a touchdown, the only points of the 3rd quarter.
Through three quarters, the Cowboys had a shut out going against a division rival and it still felt like a terrible game. Weeden took over and in the 4th quarter and threw a touchdown to make it 20-3. Philly scored a late touchdown to make the final 20-10.
A 10-point division win has never felt so ugly.
There is no silver lining in the Romo injury, especially with Dez Bryant already out for an extended period of time. There is not a great replacement for either on the roster. There were, however, a few silver linings amid the Eagles game.
The first silver lining was La'el Collins getting time at left guard. He was much better than starter Mackenzie Bernadeau, and it's only a matter of time before Collins is the starter if Ronald Leary can't return soon. Bernadeau was the most penalized member of the team (with three), but his offensive line unit wasn't far behind. Zach Martin had two penalties, twice as many as he had all of last season, and the rest of the online had at least one each.
The offensive line had 10 combined. The rest of the team had eight, making the grand total 18.
The second silver lining is Sean Lee and the defense. With 14 tackles and an interception in the end zone, everyone witnessed the incredible player the Cowboys were missing last season. He was all over the field and was a huge part of Demarco Murray getting 2 yards. Lee is an X factor that this Dallas defense desperately needed. A severely underrated defense that is only going to get better with the addition of Greg Hardy after his suspension and Randy Gregory improving with playing time.
The defensive line and linebackers wouldn't even let Murray and the running game out of the backfield. At one point in the second half, the 2014 NFL rushing champ had -15 yards. I counted 26 quarterbacks who had more rushing yards than Murray this weekend.
The third silver lining was...Brandon Weeden? Weeden came in for the injured Romo and went 7-7 while being effective enough. He even caught Terrance Williams in stride for a 42-yard touchdown.
Weeden will not be the reason the Dallas Cowboys win this season, but he can be the reason they stay alive. After starting 2-0, all the Cowboys need to do is be .500 for the next 8-10 weeks to stay in the playoff hunt.
The Cowboys will not make a trade. They will not pick up Tim Tebow. They will pull up Kellen Moore or Jameil Showers from the practice squad and they will start Weeden until Romo is healthy.
This Dallas defense is the best it's been in several years. The offensive line is the best it's been since the 90s. Brandon Weeden can survive. The Dallas Cowboys can survive.