Carson Wentz, Eagles Score 30 2nd-Half Points to Crush Dak Prescott, Cowboys

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2017

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) evades pressure from Dallas Cowboys' David Irving (95) before throwing a pass for a two-point conversion to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

The NFC East race is essentially over on Nov. 19.

Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles marched into AT&T Stadium on Sunday and handled the division-rival Dallas Cowboys 37-9 to extend their winning streak to eight and NFC East lead to four with six remaining. Philadelphia is 9-1 and comfortably ahead of the 5-5 Cowboys, who have dropped two in a row without suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Dallas actually led at the half, but Philadelphia scored touchdowns on its first three possessions after intermission to seize a commanding advantage and never looked back.  

The absence of Elliott wasn't Dallas' only issue as the game wore on and the Eagles took control. Linebacker Sean Lee couldn't help counter Wentz and was sidelined with a hamstring injury, while left tackle Tyron Smith couldn't protect Dak Prescott with back and groin injuries.

Smith's presence was especially missed when Derek Barnett sacked Prescott and forced a fumble, which Nigel Bradham recovered and returned for a touchdown to add insult to injury in the fourth.

It was the highlight of a dominant performance for the Eagles defense, which held Prescott to 145 passing yards, zero touchdowns and interceptions by Rodney McLeod, Ronald Darby and Malcolm Jenkins. ESPN Stats & Info noted it was the first time in Prescott's career he threw two interceptions in an opening half.

It was more of the same for the Dallas offense, which scored just seven points last time out against the Atlanta Falcons. Elliott wasn't there to force additional defenders into the box and free up passing lanes for Prescott, and Alfred Morris doesn't represent the same home-run threat as the NFL's reigning rushing champion, despite 91 rushing yards Sunday.

Philadelphia's defense missed the memo that the game was billed as a showdown between Wentz and Prescott, and Dallas' defense appeared to as well in the early going. Kenjon Barner scored a touchdown on Philadelphia's opening possession, but the Cowboys forced five punts and a missed field goal the next six times Wentz had the ball.

Jake Elliott's miss was explainable, considering the Eagles later announced he was out with a head injury.

Dallas' early momentum didn't last when Wentz found his touch in the second half. He didn't light up the stat sheet with just 168 passing yards, but he protected the ball while Prescott turned it over four times and threw for two scores and zero interceptions.

Former NFL coach Tony Dungy was impressed with Wentz's ability to turn around a lackluster start:

Philadelphia is not accustomed to trailing this season, and Wentz made quick work of the deficit by marching the visitors down the field for touchdown drives of 75, 90 and 85 yards to open the second half.

The first score came on a Corey Clement run after completions to Alshon Jeffery and Brent Celek, the second came on a connection between Wentz and Torrey Smith and the third came on a brilliant catch from Jeffery while draped with coverage.

The same Cowboys defense that flew around throughout the first half wilted with the game hanging in the balance and couldn't stop three of the four two-point conversions with Philadelphia missing its kicker.

It also couldn't slow the run when Philadelphia turned to the ground attack with the lead. The Eagles finished with 215 yards on 33 carries, led by Jay Ajayi's 91 and LeGarrette Blount's 57.

Dallas won't have much time to recover from Sunday's loss with a Thanksgiving showdown against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday. The Eagles figure to keep things rolling in their next contest against the 3-7 Chicago Bears.

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