NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 16 PFF ReFocused: Dallas Cowboys 37, Philadelphia Eagles 17

Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws a touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

With the Philadelphia Eagles decimated by injuries, especially on defense, Andy Dalton and the Dallas Cowboys torched their divisional rivals to win 37-17 in Week 16.

The Eagles are officially eliminated from the postseason with today’s loss. If the Cowboys win at the New York Giants next week and the Washington Football Team loses in Philly, Dallas clinches a playoff spot.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story Of The Game

The Cowboys walked into the locker room at halftime with a three-point lead courtesy of a dominant first-half performance from wide receiver Michael Gallup. The third-year wide receiver ran wild on the Eagles’ defense with six receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns through the first two quarters.

Both offenses finished the game with positive expected points added (EPA) per pass play, but the difference-maker proved to be the Cowboys’ advantage when it came to creating the big play through the air. DeSean Jackson may have caught an 81-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Hurts, but CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Gallup recorded a reception for 50 yards or more. 

Philadelphia will now need to replenish its roster somehow by next Sunday, given the injuries at all three levels of the defense. Most notably, the Cowboys went on a 31-3 scoring run that coincided with Fletcher Cox‘s exit from the game in the second quarter.

Andy Dalton finished the game 22-for-30 for 377 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He picked apart an Eagles secondary relying upon backups inserted into the game as starters, and upon first review, today looks like Dalton’s highest-graded performance (76.6) in a Cowboys uniform. 

The Cowboys’ pass rush may have also played its best game this season, with 26 total pressures. Randy Gregory led the way with two sacks on Hurts, who committed two interceptions and four turnover-worthy-plays. 

Mike McCarthy leaned on Ezekiel Elliott to close out the game, and the Cowboys running back racked up 67 of his 105 rushing yards in the fourth quarter. Elliott has rushed for 100 yards or more in a game only twice this season. 

Rookie Watch

Eagles cornerback Michael Jacquet III got absolutely annihilated in coverage for the second consecutive week. Through two games, the undrafted free agent has surrendered 16 completions for 310 yards and two TDs. 

For the Cowboys, Lamb shined on offense predominantly out of the slot. He has 834 receiving yards from the slot this season, second-best among all slot receivers.

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts, and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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