Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wow, what a great game last night between the Cowboys and Eagles. From the get-go, it seemed both teams were in playoff-type mode. Because I have Direct TV's NFL Sunday Ticket, I have the opportunity to watch parts of every game. I came out of watching this game feeling I was watching the best two teams in the league. The play calling by both coaching staffs and the brilliant execution of those plans showed last night that these are not just run-of-the-mill teams.

Add the Super Bowl champion New York Giants to the mix and you see why the NFC East is once again the cream of the crop.

One thing I think that will get overlooked though is the way the Cowboys' defense stiffened in the second half. For all the talk of the Cowboys disastrous first half (allowing 30 points by halftime), they only allowed 7 points the rest of the game. Statistically, while Donovan McNabb appeared to be unstoppable, he didn't reach 300 yards passing and Brian Westbrook was only held to 58 yards passing.

But the real key to me was the fact that even though the Cowboy defense had every reason to be gassed at the end, they made the big plays at the end (Ware and Ellis with huge sacks, Thomas and Jenkins with big pass defenses) that separate wins from losses.

I will give you that the officiating was brutal for both teams, although the call against Anthony Henry was especially egregious.

But no matter how you slice it, this was just game two of the season and should the Cowboys lose to Green Bay next week and the Eagles defeat Pittsburgh, these teams will once again be tied. It has not been lost on me, however, that the Eagles historically have had huge let-downs following Cowboy week. It will be interesting to see if Philadelphia (and McNabb) truly are in the Giants and Cowboys league. Last night did nothing to make anyone think they aren't.

On the other hand, for whatever you want to say about the Cowboys letting up so many points to the Eagles, keep in mind as well that at no time did Philadelphia - with their vaunted defense - show any ability to stop Dallas' offense. It seemed to me that the only way the Cowboys would lose last night is if they beat themselves, which they almost did.

Wow, what fun this season looks to be.

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