Cowboys run over Eagles, take 1st in NFC East with 37-10 win
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ezekiel Elliott powered into the Philadelphia secondary and simply ran over safety Malcolm Jenkins.
The apparent 14-yard touchdown run by the star Dallas running back was overturned on review because his knee was down at the 1 — but the message had been sent early in a game with the division lead on the line.
The Cowboys (4-3) are back in control of the NFC East after ending a three-game losing streak that clouded the high expectations for the defending division champions following a 3-0 start.
Elliott got his touchdown the play after overpowering Jenkins on his way to 111 yards, Dak Prescott threw an easy scoring pass on a great fake to his backfield mate before a late TD run and the Cowboys rolled to a 37-10 victory over the Eagles on Sunday night.
“That’s how I play every week,” Elliott said. “I like to think of the defense as a shield. In the first quarter, you hit them a couple times, you dent the shield a little bit. You keep on hitting it.”
Prescott’s 8-yard scoring run for the final points broke Roger Staubach’s club record of 20 rushing TDs by a quarterback and sent the Cowboys into their open week feeling good after a week of talk that coach Jason Garrett’s job might be on the line.
Next time out, they’ll be going for a season sweep of the New York Giants and possibly a firmer hold on first in the NFC East.
“No doubt in my mind about how we were going to come out and perform tonight,” Prescott said. “We didn’t panic. We didn’t have to say everything hit the fan, let’s start over. We doubled down on who we are and just got better.”
Carson Wentz threw an interception and had two of Philadelphia’s three lost fumbles. The Eagles (3-4) dropped their second straight game after a two-game winning streak that looked like it might get their season going.
“A little embarrassed,” Wentz said. “We didn’t show up.”
Brett Maher finished the highest-scoring half against Doug Pederson since he became coach of the Eagles in 2016, kicking a 63-yarder on the final play before halftime for a 27-7 lead.
Maher is the first kicker in NFL history with three field goals of at least 60 yards — and all three have been at least 62. He kicked a 62-yarder last week against the New York Jets. Maher’s other from 62 was against the Eagles last season, his first in the league.
Pederson had to clarify during the week that he wasn’t guaranteeing a win after saying on his radio show that his team would go down to Dallas, win the game and fly home in first place.
And the coach tried to reverse Philadelphia’s trend of slow starts by taking the ball after winning the coin flip, just the second time in 33 winning flips that Pederson hasn’t deferred in order to start the second half on offense.
It backfired when the Eagles fumbled on their first two possessions, leading to a pair of touchdowns after the Cowboys got the ball on the opponent’s side of the 50 for the first two times this season.
Before that, Dallas was the only team in the NFL that hadn’t started a drive on the favorable side of midfield.
“I feel like he got a statement today, and so we’re going to let him go sleep on it,” said defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, whose sack of Wentz created the second turnover.
Dallas Goedert fumbled on a hit from Jaylon Smith at the end of an 8-yard catch on the opening possession, and Maliek Collins recovered at the Philadelphia 45. Five plays later, receiver Tavon Austin took an option pitch 20 yards for the score.
After Wentz fumbled on the sack by Lawrence, and Antwaun Woods recovered, Elliott ran over Jenkins on the next play, then scored from the 1 after this initial TD was overturned.
“It starts with me,” Pederson said. “This is one of those games that I take personal from that standpoint. I’ve got to get that fixed.”
The Cowboys answered the only touchdown from Eagles — Wentz’s 28-yard pass to Goedert — when Prescott faked a handoff to Elliott from the 1 and threw to a wide-open Blake Jarwin in the end zone for a 21-7 lead.
Prescott was 21 of 27 for 239 yards with a touchdown and an interception and had another 30 yards rushing. Amari Cooper caught five passes for 106 yards after missing most of a loss to the previously winless Jets with a thigh injury.
Wentz was 16 of 26 for 191 yards and the Cowboys held the Eagles to 283 yards after letting second-year Jets quarterback Sam Darnold have one of his best games as a pro last week.
Dallas finished with 189 yards rushing, 116 more than the average that the league’s No. 2 run defense was allowing.
Elliott, the last back to get 100 yards against the Eagles, did it again on 22 carries. The two-time NFL rushing champion is averaging 115 yards in five games against his division rival. It was his fourth 100-yard game of the season.
Dallas linebacker Leighton Vander Esch didn’t return after injuring his neck in the first half. He walked off the field after staying down for a few minutes. Cowboys defensive end Robert Quinn had a sack in the first half before leaving with a rib injury.
Eagles: At Buffalo next Sunday.
Cowboys: At the Giants on Monday, Nov. 4.