The Eagles finally put together a mistake free, complete game of football Sunday night, and the result was a much needed 34-7 thrashing of their most hated rivals. While LeSean McCoy was at the forefront of the attack with 185 rushing yards and two touchdowns, it was Michael Vick’s accuracy and efficiency in the red zone that allowed the Eagles to cruise to their third win of the season. Vick finished the night 21-28 for 279 yards and two scores while adding another 50 yards on the ground. His stat line was blemish free as he didn’t commit a single turnover the entire night.
At the end of the first half I was surprised to see he was 13-17 passing because I couldn’t believe he actually threw four incompletions. Vick was throwing crisp laser beams to anyone he could find. He took advantage of the Cowboys game plan to take away the deep ball and utilized Brent Celek and Jason Avant over the middle for a combined 168 yards and a touchdown. He made all the right decisions and ended up with his best overall performance since the Monday Night game in Washington last year.
On the other side of the ball, the Eagles defense pressured Tony Romo and never gave the Dallas offense the opportunity to put anything together. Romo had his worst game of the season as he finished the night 18-35 for 203 yards that mostly came in garbage time. Take away one 70 yard pass to Laurent Robinson that resulted in the Cowboys only score, and Romo was totally shut down by the Eagles defense.
Perhaps he would have been more successful if he spent as much time and energy in figuring out the Eagles defense as he did arguing with the refs over a missed pass interference call against Nnamdi Asomugha that occurred during a point in the game when it didn’t matter anyway.
Where Vick was efficient in making plays (especially on third down), Romo looked out of sync most of the night. The Cowboys have just as many weapons as the Eagles on offense, but they never got anything going. Miles Austin and Dez Bryant were invisible until the meaningless fourth quarter, and the Eagles even exorcised their inability to stop tight ends by holding Jason Witten to a measly 28 yards.
Maybe this is more of a testament to the game plan Juan Castillo and company prepped for this game and less of what Tony Romo didn’t do. Maybe the Eagles defense is finally coming together and we are about to witness great things from a group that has been much maligned the entire season. Romo is still one of the better passers in the National Football League, but last night he looked rather pedestrian and when the scoreboard showed all zeros at the end of the fourth quarter it was Vick who had played the role of an elite quarterback.
Going forward, both these teams will have their work cut out for them if they want to make the playoffs. 3-4 is not an enviable record to have, but the Eagles played this game like they are ready to bury their horrid start. It all begins with the play of the quarterback, and Vick brought his “A” game to Dallas week. He was locked in from the first drive and by the time halftime was over, so was this game. If Vick can continue to build on this solid outing the Eagles should continue to soar.
Whereas Philly looks to keep moving up, the Cowboys will go home questioning their season, and even their quarterback. While Romo was hardly the biggest reason why Dallas was embarrassed on national television, he didn’t help matters either. And as it starts with the quarterback when things are going good, most of the time (albeit sometimes unfairly) it starts with the quarterback when things are going bad. Will the Cowboys rebound from this romp and salvage their season?
A home game against the lowly Seahawks is sure to be quick fix for all that ails them, but at some point they are going to have to show they can win a big game. On Football Night in America, Vick showed he could come through in a must win game. Tony Romo didn’t. As a result, the Cowboys will yet again go back to the drawing board, while the Eagles suddenly have some promise in what was once thought to be a lost season.