Live Blog: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Cowboys vs. Eagles, Week 2

Cowboys vs. Eagles, Week 2

The Cowboys are in Philadelphia to face the Eagles. Dallas is 1-0 after the win over the Giants in week 1, while the Eagles are 0-1 after falling to Atlanta.

Here’s the live blog:

Then (1971) and Now (2015): Cowboys vs. Eagles in Week 2

The Cowboys have faced the Philadelphia Eagles on the road during week 2 on two previous occasions. One took place in 1974 in a Monday Night Football game where Dallas lost on a late field goal.

We’ll forget that one.

Philadelphia's Leroy Keyes tackles Mike Ditka in a week 2 game played on September 26, 1971.

Philadelphia’s Leroy Keyes tackles Mike Ditka in a week 2 game played on September 26, 1971.

The other took place three years earlier during the Cowboys’ first Super Bowl championship season. This week’s then-and-now feature focuses on that 1971 game.


 

Then (1971)—The Cowboys had overcome years of frustration by reaching the Super Bowl after the 1970 season. The Cowboys then added even more frustration by losing to the Colts in SB V.

Now (2015)—The Cowboys had overcome years of frustration by reaching the playoffs after the 2014 season. The Cowboys and their fans suffered more frustration, though, when Dallas lost the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs.


 

Then—The 1970 Eagles had a miserable 0-7 start and finished with a 3-10-1 record.

Now—The 2014 Eagles appeared to be in a position to repeat as division champions, but three straight losses in December killed the Eagles’ chances.


 

Then—Philadelphia’s third-year head coach Jerry Williams was on the bubble in 1971, given that Philadelphia won only seven games in 1969 and 1970 combined. Williams’ team opened at 0-3 in 1971, and he was fired.

Now—Philadelphia’s third-year head coach Chip Kelly is not on the bubble, but he made some head-scratching roster movies during the 2015 offseason. The Eagles lost their 2015 season-opener to the Atlanta Falcons.


 

Then—The Eagles featured running backs that only the most dedicated trivia buff would remember. Ronnie Bull? Lee Bouggess? Tom Woodeshick?

Now—The Eagles traded their former all-pro back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo, but Philadelphia added well-known backs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to join Darren Sproles in 2015.


 

Then—The Cowboys opened their season on the road at Buffalo with a 49-37 shootout win. Craig Morton began the season as the starter, but a quarterback controversy developed. By the end of the season, Roger Staubach was the team’s leader.

Now—The Cowboys pulled off an improbable win against the New York Giants. Tony Romo has been the starter since 2006, and no other quarterback on this team will challenge him.


 

Then—Dallas jumped out to a 21-0 lead in a 42-7 win over the Eagles.

Now—Sunday at 3 p.m.

When the Cowboys Have Faced Former 1,000-Yard Rushers

As the Dallas Cowboys prepare to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, most eyes have been on how Dallas will handle former Cowboy DeMarco Murray. He, of course, led the NFL in rushing last season with 1,845 yards and set a franchise record in doing so.

A Dallas running back has gained at least 1,000 yards 25 times during the past, including the 2014 season with Murray. A total of six running backs have accomplished this, including Murray, Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, Herschel Walker, Calvin Hill, and Julius Jones.

Emmitt Smith (shown here as a Cardinal) is one of four 1,000-yard running backs to face the Cowboys later in his career.

Emmitt Smith (shown here as a Cardinal) is one of four 1,000-yard running backs to face the Cowboys later in his career.

Among these players, the Cowboys later had to face Smith, Walker, Hill, and Jones when those backs played for other teams. Like Murray, two of these players joined division rivals. Here is a short review of how those backs fared against the Cowboys.

Calvin Hill

Hill played with the Cowboys from 1969 to 1974 before joining the World Football League. He returned to the NFL in 1976 and joined the Washington Redskins. He played there until 1978, when he joined the Cleveland Browns.

In five games against Dallas, Hill was never a factor. He never rushed for more than 44 yards, and in five games only gained a total of 108 yards on 20 carries (for an average of 21.6 yards and 4 carries per game).

Herschel Walker

The Cowboys were able to build a dynasty thanks in part to their trade of Walker to the Minnesota Vikings in 1989. He gained 1,514 rushing yards in Dallas in 1988.

Walker never played against Dallas as a Viking. He later joined the Eagles, though, and also played for the Giants. In nine games against Dallas (including a playoff game), he ran the ball 79 times for 314 yards. He was most effective against the Cowboys in 1992, when he scored three touchdowns in two regular-season games.

Emmitt Smith

Smith’s return to Dallas in 2003 was as anticipated as the game this Sunday. He did not last long at Texas Stadium. He carried the ball 6 times for -1 yard, and a hit by Roy Williams put Emmitt out of the game.

Julius Jones

Jones is probably the forgotten one of this group of backs. He gained 1,084 yards in 2005, but Marion Barber had become the dominant back in Dallas by the end of 2007.

Jones played in Seattle in 2008 and 2009 before joining the Saints in 2010. He faced Dallas twice as a Seahawk and once as a Saint. In those three games, he gained 138 yards on 36 carries.


 

Below is a table of the 1,000-yard rushing performances in team history:

Dallas 27, N.Y. Giants 26: This Is Not 2010

In 2010, the Dallas Cowboys opened their season against the Washington Redskins. Dallas had won the NFC East the year before, and some were talking Super Bowl.

Dallas made far too many mistakes that night. A fumble late in the first half by running back Tashard Choice was returned for a touchdown, giving the Redskins a 10-0 lead.

Despite the miserable game, the Cowboys trailed by only 6 points with less than two minutes remaining. The Cowboys drove from their own 19 to the Washington 13. Three seconds remained. Tony Romo threw the ball to the corner of the end zone, and Roy Williams appeared to catch the game winner.

But tackle Alex Barron was called for a penalty, and Dallas lost. Nothing went the Cowboys’ way that year, as Dallas finished the season with a 6-10 record.

Jason Witten was one of the heroes in an improbable win by the Cowboys over the New York Giants.

Jason Witten was one of the heroes in an improbable win by the Cowboys over the New York Giants.

Five years later, the Cowboys hosted another division rival, the New York Giants. Dallas won the NFC East last year, and some have talked about the Super Bowl for the Cowobys.

Dallas made far too many mistakes tonight. A fumble by Cole Beasley late in the first half resulted in a Giant touchdown, giving the Giants a 10-6 lead. Another interception before halftime led to a Giant field goal.

Despite the miserable game, the Cowboys trailed the Giants by 6 with less than two minutes remaining. The Cowboys needed to drive from their own 28 and score a touchdown with 1:34 remaining and no time outs.

Tony Romo went to work, hitting four passes to move to the New York 11. With 13 seconds remaining, Romo picked up a bad snap, threw the ball over the middle, and hit Jason Witten with the game-winning touchdown in the end zone.

No penalty this time. The Cowboys pulled off an improbable comeback, downing the Giants 27-26.

A Good Win After a Bad Game

These are the types of wins that good teams pull out. Dallas probably should have lost this one because of the many mistakes, but the Cowboys had enough left in the tank to get the win. It turns out that this was the latest (7 seconds remaining) game-winning touchdown pass in the history of the Cowboys.

Dallas outgained the Giants 436 to 267, but the Cowboys had three turnovers yet caused none.

Running Back Committee Worked Just Fine

The Dallas running backs were not an issue at all. Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, and Darren McFadden combined for 79 rushing yards and 131 receiving yards.

Dunbar came up huge on the final drive, catching two passes for 40 yards.

Randle looks like a legitimate starter. He had strong runs throughout the game and finished with 65 yards on 16 carries.

Giants Made Their Own Mistakes

This one cannot be easy for Giants fans.

Even Dallas fans ought to admit a pass-interference call on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on Terrance Williams was pretty bad. That play set up Tony Romo’s first touchdown pass to Gavin Escobar.

Later in the game, it looked as if the Cowboys had just made a massive mistake. With the Giants leading 23-20, the Giants had moved the ball to the Dallas 33. Rashad Jennings ran the ball for two yards on a 2nd-and-2, but Jeremy Mincey was called for unnecessary roughness. That gave the Giants a first down at the Dallas 16.

The Giants moved the ball all the way to the Dallas 1. With 1:43 remaining and the Giants facing a 3rd-and-1, Eli Manning rolled right. Although Dallas had no time outs, Manning threw the ball away. The Giants kicked the field goal to take a six-point lead, but the Cowboys had life.

Costly Win

Immediately after the game, reports said Dez Bryant broke a bone in his foot and will be out four to six weeks.

Dallas also lost rookie defensive end Randy Gregory with a high ankle sprain.

Week 1 Live Blog: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

Follow us...er, me...live as the Cowboys host the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football.

Follow us…er, me…live as the Cowboys host the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football.

The Dallas Cowboys host the New York Giants in the season opener on Sunday Night Football.

The only other NFC East team to play today was Washington. The Redskins lost the Miami Dolphins, 17-10. The Eagles will travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Monday.

Preview, Week 1: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

Cowboys Giants Preview

The Dallas Cowboys will face the New York Giants for the 108th time on Sunday night.

The Dallas Cowboys open their season on Sunday night when they host the New York Giants. The Cowboys swept the series last season, and Dallas now has a four-game winning streak over New York.

This will mark the 107th meeting between the teams (including one playoff game) dating back to 1960. Dallas leads the overall series 61-43-2.

The Giants are coming off a 6-10 season in 2014 and are 6.5-point underdogs. Most simulations have predicted a Dallas win.

FiveThirtyEight: Dallas has a win probability of 73%.

WhatIfSports: Dallas has a win probability of 59.9%, with the Cowboys winning by an average score of 25-22 in simulations.

AccuScore: Dallas has a win probability of 54%. Here is the summary:

“Expect a close game with the New York Giants winning 45% of simulations, and the Dallas Cowboys 54% of simulations. In close games, turnover margin is especially important. The New York Giants commit fewer turnovers in 32% of simulations and they go on to win 56% when they take care of the ball. The Dallas Cowboys wins 60% of the simulations in which they commit fewer turnovers. Eli Manning is averaging 276 passing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average passing yards and at least a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio (34% chance) then he helps his team win 63%. Tony Romo is averaging 269 passing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average passing yards and at least a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio (41% chance) then he helps his team win 68%.”

Thursday’s Then-and-Now: Opening the Season vs. N.Y. Giants

How the Giants handled the Cowboys' all-out blitz was a concern in the season opening in 1986.

How the Giants handled the Cowboys’ all-out blitz was a concern in the season opening in 1986.

Sunday night’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will be the sixth time the teams have faced one another during the opening week of the season. Dallas has a 5-0 record in the previous games.

One of those five games appeared on Monday Night Football on September 8, 1986. Here is a look at that game (then) and the Sunday night game this year (now).

Then

The Cowboys rebounded after missing the playoffs in 1984 to capture the NFC East title. Two wins over the Giants, including a 28-21 win in week 15, were critical, as the Cowboys returned the postseason for the last time under Tom Landry.

Now

The Cowboys broke a string of three straight 8-8 seasons to go 12-4 and capture the NFC East for the first time since 2009. Two wins over the Giants helped the team, as the Cowboys reached the postseason for the first time under Jason Garrett.

Then

Dallas entered the 1986 season with veteran Danny White and unproven backup Steve Pelluer. White had started 14 games in 1985 and led Dallas to a 10-4 record in those games.

White started strong in 1986, as the team jumped out the gate with a 6-2 record. In six games, White threw 12 touchdown passes. However, Carl Banks of the Giants sacked White early in a week 9 game, and White’s wrist broke. Without White, Dallas struggled and finished with the team’s first losing record since 1964.

Now

Tony Romo enters the season more healthy than he was in 2014. He had a strong season in 2014 despite his back problems, throwing for 3705 yards and 34 touchdowns.

An injury to Romo, however, would be as devastating to the Cowboys in 2015 as the injury to White was in 1986. Backup Brandon Weeden has not shown he can produce wins, so the Cowboys need to hope Romo stays on the field.

Then

The Cowboys already had a former Heisman Trophy winner and future Hall-of-Famer at running back in Tony Dorsett. In 1986, the team added a second Heisman winner when Herschel Walker joined the team after a short career in the USFL. Walker eventually replaced Dorsett in the Dallas backfield.

Now

DeMarco Murray rushed for more yards in one season in 2014 than Dorsett, Walker, or Emmitt Smith. However, instead of adding to the backfield in 2015, the Cowboys let Murray walk via free agency. The 2015 team will have committee at the running-back position.

Then

Most of the rest of the 1986 team featured aging stars (Randy White, Too Tall Jones, Tony Hill) and rather mediocre role players. White’s injury marked the beginning of the end, as Dallas won only 11 games between 1987 and 1989.

Now

Dallas freed itself of most of its fading stars, who included the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, and Miles Austin. The team replaced those players with a young and talented group, including three of the best young offensive linemen in the NFL.

Unlike the 1986 team, the arrow for the 2015 Cowboys is pointing up. But it will take a full season from Tony Romo and good performances from several new players on defense for this team to reach heights the franchise has not reached in two decades.

Jersey Numbers for New Dallas Cowboys

Someone tell the new guy he can't wear #74.

Someone tell the new guy he can’t wear #74.

The Cowboys showed they are not finished building their roster, as the team added Christine Michael on Sunday. His addition means that the Cowboys currently have 15 players on the 53-man roster who were not on the team last year. Three others are on reserve rosters for a variety of reasons.

Here are the new players and their jersey numbers (as of Monday):

#13: WR Lucky Whitehead.

Last worn by WR Anthony Armstrong, who played in one game in 2012.

#17: QB Kellen Moore

Last worn by Dwayne Harris, who played for the Cowboys from 2011 to 2014 before signing with the Giants.

#20: RB Darren McFadden

Last worn by Tyler Patmon, who will now wear #26.

#23: CB Corey White

Last worn by Jakar Hamilton, who played in Dallas in 2013 and 2014.

#30: RB Christine Michael

Last worn by Sterling Moore in 2012. He later changed to #26.

#31: DB Byron Jones

Last worn by Micah Pellerin, who was on the roster from 2012 to 2014.

#52: LB Andrew Gachkar

Last worn by Justin Durant, who now plays in Atlanta.

#54: LB Jasper Brinkely

Last worn by Bruce Carter, who signed with Tampa Bay.

#56: LB Keith Smith

Last worn by Troy Davis, who was on the roster in 2014.

#57: LB Damien Wilson

Last worn by DeVonte Holloman, who had to retire after suffering a neck injury.

#71: OL La’el Collins

Last worn by Donald Hawkins, who played in one game in 2014.

 

#87: TE Geoff Swaim

Last worn by Jordan Najvar in 2014.

#93: DT Ken Bishop

Last worn by Anthony Spencer, who signed with New Orleans before being placed on injured reserve.

#94: DE Randy Gregory

Last worn by Josh Brent, who retired.

#99: DE Ryan Russell

Last worn by George Selvie, who signed with the New York Giants.

 

Dallas 21, Houston 14: Cowboys Retain Governor’s Cup…and Preseason Is Finally Over!

This is not the actual Texas Governor's Cup.

(This is not the actual Texas Governor’s Cup.)

[Do not take any apparent melancholy below over the Governor’s Cup seriously. Really.]

The Dallas Cowboys trailed the Houston Texans 7-0 at halftime after barely moving the ball all game. It looked as if this was the same team that had not won a preseason game since 2013. It looked like the team that had held a lead in only one of the previous three preseason games. It appeared to be the same team that had only scored 27 points in the previous three games combined.

But less than five minutes into the second half, Dallas came to life. A cornerback named Corey White stepped in front of a Tom Savage pass and ran it all the way (three yards) for a touchdown. The game was tied, and the Cowboys might live.

Just two plays later, Savage was sacked, and the Texans appeared to lose a fumble. Although referees called the play dead, the Cowboys challenged and won. Dallas had the ball at the Houston 21.

It took just one play for the Cowboys to take the lead. A 21-yard touchdown run by Gus Johnson put the Cowboys ahead 14-7.

Head coach Jason Garrett showed his faith in quarterback Dustin Vaughan, because the coach left the probable third-stringer in for the entire game.

But Dallas didn’t need a great game from Vaughan because the Cowboys had Johnson and Ben Malena. Johnson had a good game with 68 yards on 16 carries, but it was Malena who stole the show with 88 yards on 15 attempts.

Lucky Whitehead returned a punt midway through the fourth quarter into Houston territory, and Vaughan and Malena took over from there. In eight plays, Dallas moved the ball 48 yards, and when Malena scored from five yards out, Dallas had control.

The Texans could not move the ball. Dallas ran out the clock. And the Governor’s Cup stayed with the Cowboys.

* * *

So really, I missed the first half thanks to my attendance at a jiu jitsu seminar. I did record the game and tried to catch up by watching the first half. Thank goodness for a fast-forwarding option.

* * *

No live blogging last night. And given that nobody but me read my live blogs, only I was disappointed.

* * *

As for the players on the field last night, just a few thoughts—

  • Looks as if Malena and Johnson could be a practice-squad players.
  • I did not know who Corey White was until the pick-6. I need to learn more of the names, given that he might make the team.
  • Can’t remember the last time a single Dallas QB played an entire preseason game. When I ran a poll a few weeks ago, the majority thought Vaughan should be #2 instead of Brandon Weeden, but Vaughan did not look great in any of the last three games.I would not be surprised if Dallas went with two QBs.
  • Jameill Showers only played on special teams last night. Nice having you.

 

 

Thursday’s Then and Now: The Governor’s Cup

A picture from the first Governor's Cup in 1967.

A picture from the first Governor’s Cup in 1967.

The Dallas Cowboys will face the Houston Texans on Thursday night for the Governor’s Cup. This marks the 12th time the Cowboys have faced the Texans for the Cup, with Dallas holding a 6-5 edge in previous games. The Cowboys beat Houston in overtime last year on October 5.

Of course, the Cowboys used to face the Houston Oilers for the Cup, with Dallas winning 18 of 31 games dating back to 1967.

Notwithstanding the nearly complete lack of interest in tonight’s game, here is a comparison of the first Governor’s Cup game and tonight’s matchup.

Then (1967): The Cowboys traveled to Houston to face the Oilers at Rice Stadium. A total of 53,125 came to watch the teams face one another in an interleague exhibition for the first time.

Now: Both the Cowboys and the Texans play in state-of-the-art facilities. Dallas will host tonight’s game at Cowboys Stadium, which has a capacity of about 80,000.

* * *

Then: The game between the Cowboys and Oilers was unofficially dubbed the Texas Championship. The game was not officially played for the Governor’s Cup until 1969.

Now: As noted above, the Cowboys have won the Governor’s Cup 24 times over the years.

For several years, however, the Governor’s Cup had gone missing. The Cowboys’ former vice president, Joe Bailey, told the press that he had given the Governor’s Cup to a Houston equipment manager, who then lost the Cup. It was found in a cardboard box in a Houston office building in 1987.

* * *

Then: The Cowboys beat the Oilers in 1967 thanks to the passing of Don Meredith and Craig Morton.

Now: Dallas will try to avoid its second consecutive winless preseason with Dustin Vaughan and Jameill Showers leading the way.

* * *

Then: Houston QB Don Trull had all sorts of problems with the Dallas pass rush, and the Oilers only managed 54 yards during the first three quarters. Another QB, Jacky Lee, had better luck, leading Houston to two touchdowns. Dallas, however, still managed the win, 30-17.

Pete Beathard ended up staring nine games for Houston in 1967. Lee started three games but could only manage one win. Trull completed just four passes all year.

Now: The Texans have named Brian Hoyer as the starter after he beat out Ryan Mallett for the job. Chances are pretty good that in 48 years, folks won’t remember the names Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett any better than fans remember the names Don Trull and Jacky Lee.

* * *

Then: The 1967 Houston Oilers were a good team, finishing the season at 9-4-1. They lost to Oakland in the AFL Championship Game. Dallas lost to the Green Bay Packers in the 1967 Ice Bowl for the NFL Championship.

Of course, this means that the Cowboys and Oilers were one win a piece from having a second Texas Championship/Governor’s Cup that year, only the teams would have faced off at the Miami Orange Bowl in Super Bowl II.

Now: Dallas has not been the Super Bowl since the 1995, but the Cowboys won the NFC East in 2014 with a 12-4 mark. The Texans finished the 2014 season at 9-7 after winning just two games in 2013. Nobody expects a Cowboys-Texans Super Bowl, but stranger things have happened.