Both teams had issues holding onto the football, as the Eagles had two interceptions and two lost fumbles while the Cowboys had two lost fumbles themselves. In the end, Philadelphia’s defense proved unconquerable for rookie quarterback Ben DiNucci, who fumbled away his first NFL start, 23-9.
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STORY OF THE GAME
To say DiNucci struggled in his first game would be an understatement. He missed open receivers, held onto the football for too long and was ultimately reckless with the football far too many times. He took four sacks on the night, with two being charged to himself for not getting rid of the football in a timely manner. He also threw a handful of passes that could have been intercepted but weren’t due to defender drops or receivers making a play on the ball. By the end of the game, he finished with just over a 50% completion rate and 4.5 yards per attempt — both the third-lowest marks of Week 8 so far.
The Cowboys averaged 7.7 yards per pass play with Dak Prescott at QB, tied for the third-best in the NFL. Since his injury in Week 5, they have averaged just 3.4 yards per pass play, the lowest in the league.
The offensive line was not giving him any favors, as they allowed pressure on over 30% of his dropbacks, compared to Carson Wentz’s 11%. The running game did not fare much better, as the Cowboys gained 133 yards at a paltry 3.8 yards per carry.
Although no Dallas receivers were able to post remarkable numbers considering their QB’s play, perhaps one of the most surprising outcomes of the contest was Amari Cooper‘s sheet lack of usage. He saw just four targets, catching one for 5 yards. However, only one target was as the quarterback’s first read, highlighting how little Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore called his number this week.
DiNucci was underwhelming, but so was Wentz. The Eagles signal-caller also threw a few errant passes, two of which were picked off by rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs. Both were on passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield, an area where neither QB saw success. Wentz was 1-for-5 for 32 yards and the aforementioned two interceptions, while DiNucci was 0-for-5 on such throws.
Like in weeks before, the saving grace of the offense was receiver Travis Fulgham. He caught six of his seven targets for 78 yards and a score. He has earned Wentz’s trust, and they have created one of the strongest offensive duos this season. On the ground, Boston Scott flashed some wiggle and juice, running for 70 yards on 15 carries, forcing missed tackles all over the field.
It was a rough game to watch for fans of high-octane offenses, but the Eagles leave the matchup with an NFC East division-leading 3-4-1 record on the year.
There were a plethora of rookies on both sides of the ball tonight. Cowboys center Tyler Biadasz and tackle Terrence Steele both struggled across the offensive line. Biadasz allowed three QB pressures up the middle but created running lanes for his backfield to plow through. Steele was a turnstile at right tackle for much of the night, giving up seven pressures and three sacks — both week-highs for offensive tackles.
First-round receiver CeeDee Lamb caught four passes for a mere 27 yards, though he was able to pick up two first downs. Second-round cornerback Diggs was tested early and often, culminating in a game full of positives and negatives. He was targeted 10 times, allowing six to be caught for 76 yards. He did have two interceptions, but he also allowed two touchdowns in the red zone.
For the Eagles, only first-round receiver Jalen Reagor (47) and undrafted cornerback Michael Jacquet III (30) topped 30 snaps. Reagor played in his first game since Week 2 when he suffered the thumb injury that landed on the injured reserve. He only corralled three catches for 16 yards but did punch one into the end zone. He also took an end-around for an additional 6 yards.
Jacquet III saw his first game action of the season and was rather impressive. He allowed just one catch into his coverage for 11 yards and had an interception in his hands that he could not quite reel in.
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