By Ben Sullivan

Okay, the Eagles hadn’t played since they beat the daylights out of rhe Broncos two Sundays ago.

Which, judging by the egg the Birds laid in last night’s first half, seemed like an eon ago:

They were losing 9-7!

So, what was the locker room like?

“It really wasn’t anything big or crazy that was said,” quarterback Carson Wentz recalled. “We were frustrated because we left some plays out there in the first half. … We came out, got the run game going, relied on that. We knew we had a great game plan, we just had to stick with it.”

In the second half they trounced the Cowboys for a 37-9 victory that improved their record to 9-1 and extended their win streak to eight games.

A rushing attack that managed just 35 yards and one touchdown on 10 first-half attempts suddenly caught fire, producing another 180 yards and a touchdown on 23 second-half attempts. Wentz threw two touchdown passes and a two-point conversion in the second half.

And the defense recorded two more takeaways, scoring on one of them – a Nigel Bradham 37-yard return off of a Derek Barnett sack-fumble. The Eagles held the Cowboys scoreless in the second half.

“Obviously, they just did a much better job than we did in all phases of the football game for the last 30 minutes of the game,” said coach Jason Garrett, whose Cowboys fell to 5-5 and are in jeopardy of falling out of playoff contention. “They drove the ball offensively on their drives, they cashed in down in their red zone, they cashed in on their two-point conversions and we couldn’t get anything going consistently offensively in the latter part of the game. They did the things necessary and we did not.”

The Cowboys needed a rebound performance from last week’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons, in which Dallas reeled from the absence of suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott and injured all-pro left tackle Tyron Smith. As if they didn’t already understand the dire situation, Cowboys players then received further pressure when owner Jerry Jones said in an early-week news conference that the Eagles game would serve as Dallas’ Super Bowl, because a win was crucial for boosting the team’s playoff hopes.

The Cowboys gave up touchdown on the Eagles’ first possession of the game. But from that point on, they denied the team on six three-and-outs and harassed Wentz often, causing the league’s leading MVP candidate to complete just seven of his first 18 passes for 80 yards.

But the Eagles didn’t flinch.

“We’re such an even-keeled team, and that starts with our coach,” defensive end Chris Long said. “We knew the law of averages and the way we’ve been playing, when the offense came out and put those two touchdowns up, it put the game at arm’s length where our defense could take over.

“That’s a good football team. We couldn’t expect that to be easy. … We knew at halftime that nobody needs to panic. We just had to go back to being us.”

So the Eagles regained their pre-bye form and reminded everyone why they owned the best record in the first half of the season: They’re also the most complete team in the league.

Wentz threw both of his touchdown passes – fitting balls into tight windows and avoiding big hits – and the two-point conversion in the second half. The Birds’ defense is often pointed to as one of the best in the league, and Long and his teammates reinforced that claim by shutting down the Cowboys, sacking quarterback Dak Prescott three times and denying the hosts on all five third downs in the second half.

Proving themselves as the deepest running back stable in the league, the backs combined to rush for 215 yards and two touchdowns. The contributors: Jay Ajayi (seven carries, 91 yards), LeGarrette Blount (13 for 57), Corey Clement (six for 50 and a touchdown and two-point conversion) and Kenjon Barner (four-yard touchdown run and 22-yard catch).

“It was good to win this way,” Clement said. “I think we’re still getting the bit. We’re still getting our engine running. Everyone doesn’t really have the mileage that we could put on our running backs. If you keep feeding us, the offense keeps pushing and Carson has the time that he needs to throw and things just continue to open up.”

Summing up the night, Long said, “This team doesn’t know any better than to try to win the game the next week. These guys are so even keeled and most guys have never been 9-1 in this locker room, so you don’t get tired of it. You don’t get complacent. We love trying to win each game the next week and that’s why we’re doing as well as we’re doing.”

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