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By Matthew Ryan, Sports Talk Philly Contributor
After clinching a playoff berth last week, the Eagles (9-7) host the Cowboys (11-5) in a game that doesn’t have much significance for either squad. Both teams are missing key players on each side of the ball, and the Eagles are resting virtually all their starters. The game has been back and forth through the first half, but the Cowboys separated at the end of the second quarter and the Eagles trail 30-17 at the break. The Eagles will kickoff to start the final half of the regular season. Here’s what we saw in the first 30 minutes of action:
WR DeVonta Smith
Smith’s role in tonight’s game was clear. Go out there and break Desean Jackson’s Eagles rookie record of 912 receiving yards and then get out. That’s almost exactly what happened. Smith hauled in three catches for 41 yards, putting him at 916 yards on the season, and then exited. He came back in for one play a bit later but then left the game for good, ending his stellar regular season.
DT Raequan Williams
On the Cowboys’ second drive, Williams came up with a sack on first down that eventually led to a Dallas field goal, its only drive of the half that didn’t end with a touchdown. Williams was promoted from the practice squad right before the game.
This is hard to give out, considering expectations for the players on the field need to be tempered with all the starters out. The Eagles’ offense has been impressive, but their defense has struggled. The Cowboys enter the half with 308 total yards, 14 first downs and no punts. In the second half, the Eagles’ backups on defense need to be better if they want to come away with the win.
QB Dak Prescott
With the Eagles’ secondary comprised of all backups, Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense had a big first half. Prescott went 16/21 for 240 yards and four touchdowns. Sadly for the Eagles, Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox and Rodney McLeod won’t magically become active, so it’s up to the reserves to slow down Prescott and Co.