Good, Bad, Ugly from Cowboys big win: Blowout victory with things to clean up make for coach’s dream

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The Dallas Cowboys finally got to play their home opener and they didn’t disappoint their 90,000 fans who were in attendance, whipping the rival Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 41-21. With first place on the line in the NFC East, the Cowboys proved they are the cream of the crop, dominating on both sides of the ball in the win.

In Dak Prescott’s first game at AT&T Stadium since his ankle injury in 2020, he led an efficient and balanced offensive effort. Prescott completed over 80% of his passes in throwing forfor 238 yards and three scores in the rout.

That of course wasn’t the only noteworthy performance in the putting up of the club’s first 40 burger. It may be hard to fathom, but not everything was perfect either. Here’s a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from the Dallas victory.

The Good: The running game

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For the second straight week, the Cowboys bludgeoned their opponents on the ground. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 95 yards and Tony Pollard chipped in with 60 more as the duo surpassed 150 yards rushing in back-to-back weeks. The Cowboys were particularly effective running the ball in the first half, gaining big chunks of yards and the tandem finished the game averaging 5.5 yards per rush. Elliott looked like he turned back the clock, showing a good burst and great patience on his way to his best game this season, which included two scores.

The Good: Young defenders

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Dallas’ defense had another good showing, forcing two turnovers and picking up two sacks. Dan Quinn’s unit was led by mostly first-and second-year defenders, who held Jalen Hurts and the Eagles in check for most of the game, save for garbage time. Rookie DT Osa Odighizuwa had 1.5 sacks, while top draft pick Micah Parsons chipped in with a half sack, a tackle for a loss and deflected a pass. However, the defensive player of the night was CB Trevon Diggs, who had a pick six and three passes defensed. Diggs’ interception and score felt like it sealed the game early in the third quarter and gave the second-year corner an interception in every game he’s played against the Eagles.

The Bad: Covering the tight ends

The defense had a solid outing, but they struggled to cover Philadelphia’s tight ends all night. On too many occasions, the Cowboys were lost trying to cover Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz. The TE duo ripped off multiple big plays and the Cowboys allowed Goedert and Ertz to amass six catches, for 119 yards and a score. It felt like the Eagles tight ends were running free all night, and it could have been an even bigger performance in quarterback Jalen Hurts had been more accurate. The play before Diggs got his pick six, Hurts missed a wide open Goedert on what could have turned into a touchdown play.

The Good: Special Teams

Yes, Greg Zuerlein missed an extra point, but C.J. Goodwin was a terror on coverage units and punter Bryan Anger had a stellar night. Anger had a 56-yard punt that helped flip the field on one kick and placed two more inside the Eagles’ 15-yard line. The missed kick was an issue, but forcing the Eagles’ offense to go the length of the field most of the game played a role in the win.

The Bad: Connor Williams and Tyler Biadasz

Williams had a rough night, getting flagged for three holding calls (two accepted) and getting beat by Eagles DT Fletcher Cox for most the game. Cox is a tough matchup for any offensive lineman, but Williams had his worst game of the young season. Biadasz struggled as well, failing to handle Cox or fellow DT Javon Hargrave. The play of the two interior lineman was mostly at fault for the Eagles' first score of the game. Buried in the shadow of their own end zone, the duo allowed pressure on Prescott who held the ball too long waiting for an opportunity to develop downfield. Hargrave stripped the ball out while Prescott was winding up and Cox plucked the ball out of the air for the tying score. The Cowboys have a weak spot on the offensive line at center.

The Ugly: End of the first half

The Eagles had a second-and-31 with 1:55 to go in the second quarter, and the Cowboys were armed with two timeouts. Dallas could’ve gotten the stop, got the ball back and tried to add to their lead. After two short throws and coming up short of the first down, Dallas forced a fourth down and a punt situation. Instead of calling timeouts during the final couple of plays and giving the ball back to Prescott and an offense that hadn't been slowed, head coach Mike McCarthy chose to sit on the timeouts. The clock ran down and the Cowboys never had time to try and score more points. Everyone knew the Cowboys should be calling timeouts, except McCarthy. https://twitter.com/SInow/status/1442667533861994500?s=20 It was inexplicable clock management from McCarthy, who chose to play it passive instead of trying to put away the Eagles at halftime. This was back-to-back weeks of time management issues. You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi

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