In an immensely entertaining game, the Dallas Cowboys won their home opener on Monday night, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 41-37 in a barnburner of a game that had just about a little bit of everything.
- Kick-return for a touchdown? Check.
- T.O. big bomb for TD? Check.
- Half-a-dozen lead changes? Check.
- End-zone fumble resulting in TD? Check.
- 50+ yard field-goal? Check.
- Mind-numbingly stupid discarding of the ball before you cross the endzone — but that doesn’t come back to haunt you b/c the refs blew the call? Check.
This game had that and plenty more – and by the “last drop” I mean the mismanaged hand-off between Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook with about eight-and-a-half minutes to go. The Eagles were clinging to a 37-34 lead, with the ball fairly deep in Dallas territory. The two teams had just exchanged long, defense-killing drives for TDs in the 3rd and early 4th quarters, and the Eagles had a chance (with a TD) to get a potentially game sealing two-score lead. However, the Cowboys fell on the mishandled exchange and drove the field to take the lead for good. Each team had a couple of opportunities (for the Eagles to score again, and for Dallas to salt it away), but I really think the game ended there.
Some observations and questions:
- Tony Romo saved himself from being another Eagles-game goat. He fumbled a score away in his own endzone, and threw a bad pick in the first-half that also lead to Eagles points. In the second half, he calmed down (and perhaps more importantly had better protection) and lead a couple of solid scoring drives.
- I’m trying to decide if T.O. had a good night or a so-so one. He had 89 yards, but almost all of it on 1 play. He had 3 catches the whole night, and none in the second half. Winning solves everything, but he’s got to be a little ticked he was upstaged by Jason Whitten.
- Generally, I thought as-good-as-a-loss-can-be for the Eagles. Solid offense, opportunistic defense (though one that was gassed in the 4th quarter), indicates that wipeout of Rams was not a fluke.
- Did it seem like the Cowboys decided to tackle everyone by the facemask in the second half? They really hurt themselves with those penalties, I thought.
- So, are the Cowboys still the presumptive NFC representative in the Super Bowl? They looked pretty damn good, but were certainly beatable. The Giants and Packers also have opened up 2-0 (as have the Cardinals (!) and Panthers) – it could be a wide open year?