PHILADELPHIA — In Monte Kiffin's last two games against a Chip Kelly team, he gave up 100 points. Sunday against the Eagles, his defense was nearly perfect as the Cowboys stifled a normally explosive Eagles attack, winning 17-3 at Philadelphia.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, starting in place of the injured Michael Vick, was held to 80 yards on 11 of 29 passing before leaving the game with an injury. Third-stringer Matt Barkley didn't fare any better against a Demarcus Ware-free Cowboys defense: He was 11 for 20 for 129 yards — and three late interceptions.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had far from his best game, connecting on 29 of 47 attempts for 317 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions (the first of which was a jump ball Hail Hary to end the first half that Earl Wolff captured over Dez Bryant's fingertips).
Dallas scored only 3 first-half points, but that was somehow enough to head into halftime with a lead.
The Cowboys offense moved the ball better in the second half, the defense continued to suffocate Philadelphia's attack, and the Cowboys coasted to an easy victory over a longtime rival.
In the first quarter, the Cowboys let the Eagles convert just one third down out of five, and kept the league's leading rusher in check; LeSean McCoy ran three times for 10 yards.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys' offense sputtered, converting just one of four third-down attempts.
In the second quarter, Romo engineered a 44-yard drive that included completions to Cole Beasley, Dez Bryant, and Terrance Williams. But on a third down, Romo and Williams couldn't connect, bringing on the field goal team.
Dan Bailey was true from 38 yards to put Dallas in front.
The Eagles' high-powered offense failed to generate much of anything, with quarterback Nick Foles misfiring on several passes. The Cowboys continued to completely shut down McCoy, allowing him just 12 rushing yards on eight carries.
Philadelphia was just 2-for-10 on third down, and punted the ball seven times before halftime — more than they had punted in any full game this season.
The Cowboys began the second half by scoring the game's first touchdown when quarterback Tony Romo started feeding receiver Dez Bryant. Bryant made 3 grabs on the drive for 42 yards, including a 19-yarder that set up the Cowboys with first and goal at the two.
Kimball High School grad Phillip Tanner capped off the drive with a 1-yard plunge to put the Cowboys on top 10-0.
On the next drive, Romo threw an interception when Philip Tanner ran the wrong route, pulling Eagles linebacker Demeco Ryans in front of the intended receiver (Cole Beasley). Ryans ran the ball back to the Dallas 30.
On the third play of the drive, the Cowboys came up on the wrong end of a controversial call. Officials initially ruled Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox had intercepted a pass that bounced off the hands of Eagles receiver Jason Avant in the end zone. Instant replay reversed the decision, and the Eagles eventually were forced to settle for a field goal to cut the deficit to seven.
Those three points would be all they could muster on this day.
The Eagles began that drive on the Cowboys' 30 yard line following a Tony Romo interception.
Dallas began the fourth quarter with another productive drive, marching down the field primarily through short passes to Bryant, Witten and Beasley. On first and goal at the 9, Romo found Williams in the end zone and the rookie didn't disappoint, pulling in the pass to give the Cowboys a 17-3 lead.
Matt Barkley replaced Foles at quarterback on the Eagles' next possession, and calling him unimpressive would be kind. Barkley was on the field for three drives, and each of the three ended the same way: With the ball in the hands of a Cowboys defender.
Sean Lee, Barry Church and Brandon Carr took turns picking off the rookie fourth-rounder, and the Cowboys will headed home with an easy win.
The Philadelphia offense averaged only 3.7 yards per play and 85 rushing yards - a far cry from the league-leading 178 they had averaged going into this match-up.
The Cowboys' rushing attack began with Joseph Randle and didn't go far within or beyond that. Randle ran 19 times for 65 yards, and Phillip Tanner got 1 yard on two carries — but it was a crucial yard, a goal line run to give Dallas its first touchdown.
Dez Bryant caught 8 passes for 110 yards and both Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley corralled six of their own.
The 4-3 Cowboys now have sole possession of first place in the NFC East. Dallas will head to Detroit for next week's game against the 4-3 Lions.
Or Moyal reported from Dallas.