The Dallas Cowboys dropped fast in their loss Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys defense played like a sieve. LeSean McCoy ran all about the Cowboys, totalling more yards rushing than the Cowboys had allowed in the first three games combined. Cowboys defensive backs hardly covered Eagles receivers.
Tony Romo might not have been on his game, but the blame can hardly be pinned on him. Romo's interception wasn't his fault.
Romo hardly had a chance in the first half as the Cowboys defense let the Eagles roll past them in the first half.
Following are the five first half plays that felled the Cowboys.
With 3:37 left in the first quarter, LeSean McCoy broke away for a 34-yard run. McCoy bounced to the outside. With no Cowboys in the vicinity, McCoy was off for the races.
Where was Abram Elam?
Fortunately, the Cowboys stopped him short of the most embarrassing touchdown run of the season to this point. Nevertheless, McCoy dropped in for a two-yard score to put the Eagles ahead 14-0.
The Cowboys entered the game with the No. 1 rushing defense in the NFL. After the touchdown, McCoy had 78 yards rushing. In the first six games, the Cowboys hadn’t allowed any rusher to gain 78 yards in a game, let alone the first quarter.
To that point, the Cowboys had fallen asleep against the run.
After McCoy's touchdown, the Cowboys seemed to answer readily. DeMarco Murray rang up a 26-yard run. Romo drilled one right at Marcellus Bennett that looked to put the Cowboys in Eagles territory.
Wait a moment.
Bennett couldn’t get a handle on the ball. As the ball neared Bennett, he seemed to have similar magnets in his gloves, rendering him unable to bring his hands together to catch the ball.
One would have hoped he’d have batted the ball down instead of lofting it in the air. Bennett softly swatted the ball in the direction of Nnamdi Asomugha.
Asomugha simply picked up the garbage.
Bennett quickly erased whatever momentum the Cowboys had gained to start the drive.
The Eagles thanked Bennett for his bobble hands with a touchdown drive.
The Cowboys had a chance to stop the Eagles outside of the red zone on their next drive.
However, the Cowboys went soft in coverage. Elam and others on the left side went into umbrella coverage. Thus, the Cowboys allowed Jason Avant to haul in a 20-yard catch, bringing the Eagles to the 9-yard line.
One good play in coverage could have slowed the Eagles, but the Cowboys let Avant have an easy catch.
One play later, the Eagles took a three-touchdown lead.
In the first of two laser pass completions by Michael Vick, Brent Celek easily broke away from Elam on his route. Celek found himself in a wide open underneath zone. Bradie James had drifted in his zone. Gerald Sensabaugh played deep on the play.
Celek took the zing and Sensabaugh had to make up for the lagging Elam.
To Vick’s credit, he did make a terrific bootleg to open the passing lane.
Playing zone coverage three plays later, Keith Brooking had Avant in his zone.
Then, Avant blew past Brooking.
Avant ran a post route directly around Brooking. Brooking took a few steps in Avant’s general direction, but made no effort to defend him.
Brooking couldn’t possibly have been waiting for another receiver to approach his zone. At any rate, he left Avant wide open to take the pass and notch a 24-yard gain. Shortly thereafter, the Eagles upped their lead to 24-0 with a field goal.