The Eagles lost their kicker just before halftime of Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys … and promptly swapped in a linebacker who could kick the ball all the way into the end zone on kickoffs.
That’s pretty much how this season is rolling for Philly, which trashed Dallas Sunday night 37-9 in a battle of NFC East notables that ended up being about as dramatic as folding laundry. Philadelphia owned Dallas across the board, beating the Cowboys from every angle and cementing itself as the lead dog in the race for the NFC championship.
Eagles kicker Jake Elliott left the game with a head injury just before halftime, and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill stepped in for spot kicking duty—kickoffs only, no field goals or extra points. But as it turned out, Grugier-Hill had to do plenty of work, since the Eagles scored four second-half touchdowns to ice the Cowboys, now and perhaps for the rest of 2017.
Dallas’s offensive line woes continued, with the Eagles pressuring Cowboys QB Dak Prescott into a fumble, three interceptions, and four sacks. But the o-line doesn’t play defense, and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz picked apart Dallas with the relentless energy of kid plucking at cotton candy. He only threw for 168 yards, but the defense put him in short-field positions enough that he didn’t have to go far to throw his two touchdowns.
Wentz also had the luxury of a rushing attack that gashed the Dallas defense all night long; tissue paper would have put up a better fight. New acquisition Jay Ajayi ripped off a 71-yard run, LeGarrette Blount stomped for a 30-yarder, but amazingly enough, neither one scored a touchdown; Corey Clement and Kenjon Barner got those honors for the Eagles. Philly’s backs combined for a punishing 215 yards on the ground; at this point, pretty much the only way to avoid getting boat-raced by the Eagles is just not to play them.
So where does Philly, now 9-1, go from here? Over the final six regular-season games, the Eagles’ only real challenges ought to come from Seattle and the Los Angeles Rams; the rest of the slate is winnable, including a rematch with these Cowboys on the season’s final day that might prove anticlimactic. The Eagles have an inside track on a No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Dallas, meanwhile, has a quick turnaround, facing the Rams on Thanksgiving, plus the Seahawks and these same Eagles down the stretch. Dallas is now at least a game and a half out of a playoff slot, pending Monday night’s Falcons-Seahawks game, and hopes for a wild card berth are growing dim indeed. A once-promising season now might be toast before America’s done with its Thanksgiving leftovers.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.