Eagles vs. Cowboys: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Dallas

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIDecember 30, 2013

The Dallas Cowboys' season has ended after being unable to defeat the visiting Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys were a bit of a long shot from the beginning, as they were without quarterback Tony Romo and had to rely on the arm of backup Kyle Orton.

Still, the team performed well in the face of adversity, falling one two-point conversion short of tying the game late in the fourth quarter.

It was a bit of a roller-coaster season for Dallas, and changes within the franchise can be expected over the offseason. For now, we will have to wait and see what lies ahead for owner Jerry Jones and this franchise in the coming days.



Philadelphia Eagles - 24

Dallas Cowboys - 22

Dallas Cowboys' Game Grades
Positional UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseBC+
Run OffenseC-D+
Pass DefenseD-C-
Run DefenseCD-
Special TeamsB+B+
vs. Eagles Week 17

Game Analysis for the Dallas Cowboys

Pass Offense: Under the circumstances, Kyle Orton delivered a decent game. He was able to complete 30 of his 46 passing attempts for 358 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for a passer rating of 85.2. He was able to lead the team to within two points of Philadelphia late in the fourth quarter; however, an ill-timed interception doomed the Cowboys.

Run Offense: The biggest flaw for Dallas in a closely contested game was their inability to try to establish the run. DeMarco Murray only carried 17 times for a total of 51 yards on the day. Compared to the 46 passing attempts from their backup quarterback, that was just simply not enough.

Pass Defense: Dallas was able to clamp down nicely on Nick Foles over the second half of play. He was unable to throw with as much ease due to an increased amount of pressure in the backfield. Foles completed 17 of 26 pass attempts for 263 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a passer rating of 124.4 on the contest.

Run Defense: The Cowboys just simply did not have an answer for the NFL's rushing leader LeSean McCoy over the duration of the game. McCoy torched Dallas to the tune of 27 carries for 131 yards. They also allowed a short touchdown scamper to backup running back Bryce Brown.

Special Teams: Dallas' special teams unit did a nice job over the course of the game. Kicker Dan Bailey was able to connect on all three of his field-goal attempts, and Cowboys coverage units were able to keep Philadelphia's speedy kick and punt returners under wraps.

Coaching: Head coach Jason Garrett came in with a very well-thought-out game plan against the Eagles. He was able to ensure that Orton remained successful, and he managed the clock well enough to keep the Cowboys in the game until the end. Dallas could have attempted to maintain a more balanced offense by running the football more often, thus taking pressure off of Orton.


1st-Half Analysis for the Dallas Cowboys

Pass Offense: Backup quarterback Kyle Orton was efficient over the first half of play. Orton completed 15 of his 23 passing attempts for 183 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The interception was unfortunate, as the pass was picked off after the ball bounced off the hands of tight end Jason Witten.

Run Offense: DeMarco Murray did not get off to a hot start on Sunday, as an early fumble led to a go-ahead field goal for the Eagles. Murray remained average throughout the first half. He gained 43 yards on 11 carries, averaging 3.9 yards per rush. Dallas will need more out of him in the second half.

Pass Defense: The Cowboys secondary continues to be a lackluster unit. Dallas has allowed Nick Foles to throw at will, as the quarterback completed 12 of 16 attempts for 197 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a passer rating of 155.5. Second-half adjustments to combat Philadelphia's passing attack are necessary.

Run Defense: Although the Eagles have not rushed much over the first half, running back LeSean McCoy has been effective, as he was able to produce 51 yards on 10 carries. Still, McCoy is the NFL’s leading rusher, and Dallas has done well to contain him thus far.

Special Teams: The Cowboys special teams did not factor into the first half much at all. Dwayne Harris is having a fine day returning, averaging 32.5 yards on two kicks. Coverage on punt returns has been solid as well, as the Cowboys did not allow DeSean Jackson much room on his lone attempt. Kicker Dan Bailey was able to connect on a 44-yard field goal at the end of the half to get the Cowboys within a score.

Coaching: With a backup quarterback at the helm, Dallas' offense has been able to keep pace with the high-octane offense of the Eagles. Head coach Jason Garrett has done a nice job allowing Orton to play to his strengths and keeping the offense balanced. Defensive adjustments will be necessary for the Cowboys to stay in the game over the second half.


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