Eagles live up to the 'hype' against Cowboys
PHILADELPHIA // LeSean McCoy spotted Howard Mudd standing on crutches on the sideline and slowed up to give the 69-year-old assistant coach a pre-game chest bump.
No one else could stop McCoy.
Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes, McCoy had a career-best 185 yards rushing and two scores and the Philadelphia Eagles routed the Dallas Cowboys 34-7.
"I feel like every game is a chance for me to prove myself," McCoy said. "At any given time, any one of our guys could go off."
Mudd, the team's offensive-line coach, was on crutches because he had hip surgery during the bye week.
The time off helped him and the Eagles move to a win/loss record of 3-4.
They dominated right from the start, improved to 13-0 after a bye under Andy Reid, the coach, and snapped a five-game losing streak at Lincoln Financial Field that dated back to last season.
"We started fast," Vick said. "That was our mindset. We wanted to set the tempo. We didn't want to let up."
Rob Ryan, the Dallas defensive coordinator, fired up the Eagles with some trash-talking during the summer after they added several big-name players.
Ryan, the son of beloved former Philadelphia coach Buddy Ryan, called the Eagles the "all-hype" team and predicted the Cowboys would beat them.
He was way off.
The Eagles racked up 495 total yards and held the ball for 42:09. They thoroughly outplayed a defence that came in ranked seventh in the NFL.
Ryan paced the sideline and desperately tried to figure out how to stop Vick and company. It did not happen until the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.
"I got outcoached by Reid and their staff," Ryan said. "It's ridiculous. I never gave our guys a chance. The whole thing was on me."
DeMarcus Ware was one of the few players who played well for Dallas (3-4). He had four sacks, and now has 12 this season.
Coming off a 253-yard rushing performance in a win over St Louis, DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys rookie running back, was held to 74 yards on only eight carries.
"We weren't up to the task tonight," Jason Garrett, the Cowboys coach, said. "This game is not coming back. We can learn from it and move on to the next challenge. We didn't execute in any phase of the football game."
Eagles, the defending NFC East champions, have entered this season with a Super Bowl-or-bust mentality after adding six former Pro Bowl players in free agency and trades.
But a 1-4 start had people wondering if the self-proclaimed "Dream Team" - backup quarterback Vince Young gave the Eagles that label after signing a one-year deal — was overhyped as Ryan boldly declared in August.
After two straight wins, the Eagles are in a three-way tie with Dallas and Washington for second place behind the New York Giants (5-2).
"They've been very willing to work," Reid said. "It's important you have the right attitude to correct mistakes. We'll continue to do that. We've got plenty of room to improve."
Vick completed 21 of 28 passes for 279 yards and led the Eagles to points on their first six possessions. He also ran for 50 yards.
A swarming defence harassed Tony Romo throughout the game. Romo got sacked four times and threw an interception to Nnamdi Asomugha.
McCoy had 80 of Philadelphia's 115 yards rushing in the first quarter. That was more than Dallas allowed in any game this season. The Eagles entered with the No 1-ranked rushing offence and the Cowboys had the top-ranked run defence.
The Eagles took the kick-off and drove 79 yards for their first opening-drive TD this season. Vick was sacked by Ware on the first play, but he connected with Jeremy Maclin for 24 yards on the next one. McCoy had a 21-yard run and Vick scrambled 15 yards to the Cowboys 13.
On third-and-nine from the 12, Vick tossed a screen pass to Maclin, who followed a lead block by Jason Peters into the end zone.
Vick led the Eagles 90 yards with McCoy running in from the two for a 14-0 lead. McCoy had runs of 11 and 34 yards before scoring for the seventh straight game. He is one short of Steve Van Buren's team record set in 1947.
Asomugha set up Philadelphia's third scoring drive by picking off Romo's pass at the Eagles 33 after the ball bounced off Martellus Bennett's hands.
Vick kept the drive going with a nine-yard run on third-and-eight, and made a perfect pass to Jason Avant for a 20-yard gain on another third-and-eight. He threw a strike to Brent Celek in the back of the end zone on the next play for a nine-yard TD and a 21-0 lead.
The Eagles had a first down at the Cowboys six on their fourth possession, but settled for a 23-yard field goal by Alex Henery that made it 24-0.
Henery kicked a 26-yarder to make it 27-0 in the third quarter. McCoy's 13-yard run put Philadelphia up 34-0 in the fourth.
But the Cowboys spoiled the shutout bid on the ensuing possession when Romo threw a 70-yard TD pass to Laurent Robinson.
Published: October 31, 2011 04:00 AM