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Philadelphia Eagles fend off Dallas Cowboys: 5 winners and losers, including Cooper Rush

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles were absolutely dominant in the first half Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys. They led 20-3 after two quarters as Jalen Hurts and Co. looked to go 6-0 on the season.

Something changed in the third quarter and to open the fourth with Dallas scoring two consecutive touchdowns to make this a game.

Unforutnately for embattled head coach Mike McCarthy, a time-consuming touchdown drive from Philadelphia coupled with Cooper Rush’s third interception of the game put an end to the Cowboys’ comeback aspirations. The Eagles came out on top by the score of 26-17 to remain in first place in the NFC East. Meanwhile, Dallas falls to third place as it prepares to get Dak Prescott back in the mix. Below, we look at the five biggest winners and losers from Philadelphia’s nine-point victory.

Related: Philadelphia Eagles standing in Sportsnaut’s NFL defense rankings

Winner: Darius Slay continues to play elite football for the Philadelphia Eagles

dallas cowboys at philadelphia eagles: darius slay
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

One of the primary reasons for Philadelphia’s surprising start to the season has been the resurgent performance of Darius Slay at cornerback. He’s dominated opposing wide receivers thus far this season. In fact, the Pro Bowler has held signal callers to a 43.8% completion and 44.1 QB rating when targeted. Cooper Rush found out first hand Sunday night just how good the 31-year-old Slay has been this season.

To be clear, that was a terrible pass from Rush. But Slay’s ability to jump Michael Gallup’s route as Dallas attempted to get on the board in the second quarter snuffed out any hope for the Cowboys. This represented Slay’s third interception in six games. Gallup also ended up catching just two passes for 18 yards on six targets.

Related: Dallas Cowboys standing in Sportsnaut’s NFL power rankings

Loser: Mike McCarthy didn’t have the Dallas Cowboys ready to play

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
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On third and nine with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half and Dallas down 14-0, CeeDee Lamb seemed to catch a first-down pass from Rush. However, officials on hand in Philadelphia called him short of the marker. Instead of taking his time and seeing if a challenge made sense, McCarthy opted to rush Dallas’ offense to the line. The end result was a Rush incompletion and a turnover on downs.

Dallas immediately found itself down 17-0 in a game that it ended up losing by nine points. Imagine if McCarthy had challenged an won. Perhaps, he could have opted to punt rather than go for it from his own 34-yard-line. Either way, this is just another example of terrible in-game coaching decisions from the veteran head coach. He also didn’t have Dallas ready to play from the get. It was an ugly all-around performance from McCarthy in Philly.

Related: Philadelphia Eagles DeVonta Smith and NFL’s top wide receivers of 2022

Winner: DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown do their thing for the Philadelphia Eagles

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals
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Smith and Brown have been a dynamic duo for Hurts in their first season as teammates for the Philadelphia Eagles. This pair entered Sunday’s action having caught a combined 56 passes for 789 yards and two touchdowns. While they weren’t as electric as we’ve seen in the past, the two came to play big time. That included both Brown and Smith catching touchdown passes in the win.

Smith and Brown combined to catch 10-of-13 passes for 111 yards and two scores in the Eagles’ win. Through six weeks, Hurts boasts a QB rating in the triple digits when targeting the tandem. That seems pretty good.

Related: Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott throws balls ahead of “Sunday Night Football”

Loser: Cooper Rush’s first struggles as Dallas Cowboys starting QB

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

About that entire QB competition in Big D? We knew that this narrative was pretty ridiculous even with Rush having led Dallas to four consecutive wins in Dak Prescott‘s stead. After making history with wins in his first five starts as a member of America’s Team, Rush shrunk big time when it counted most on prime-time television.

Rush completed 18-of-38 passes for 181 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. All three picks were pretty darn ugly, disabling Dallas’ ability to make this a game. With Prescott likely set to return next week against the Detroit Lions, Rush will now be back at his rightful place of holding a clipboard on the sideline. It was fun while it lasted.

Related: Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts and NFL’s top QBs of 2022

Winner: Jalen Hurts just continues to win

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
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Hurts wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination Sunday evening. He completed 15-of-25 passes for 155 yards. He also took four sacks and fumbled the ball. Sometimes, a quarterback simply needs to play within the confines of a game and manage the offense.

That’s exactly what we saw from Hurts as Philadelphia moved to 6-0. The Eagles converted on 6-of-14 third-down opportunities. They connected on nine first downs through the air. In a game that saw Dallas’ quarterback throw three interceptions, Hurts was flawless. That was the biggest difference in this one.

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