Mac Engel

Jason Garrett outcoaches Eagles’ Doug Pederson as Dallas Cowboys take over first place

The 2019 Mediocre Bowl did not end in a tie, and the Cowboys are back in first place in the NFC East as they enter the bye week.

They are, in part, because Dougie Dumb Pederson forgot he coaches the Philadelphia Eagles rather than the ‘90s dynasty Dallas Cowboys.

It was Pederson who was dumb enough to announce Monday on Philadelphia radio station WIP, “We’re gonna win that football game, and when we do, we’re in first place in the NFC East.”

Well played, coach.

The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 37-10 on Sunday Night Football, and they are in first place in the NFC East. Not that he was ever getting fired this soon, or perhaps for all of eternity, but the Jason Garrett Era continues.

Pederson tried to walk back his bold comments, but any member of the Dallas Cowboys with even one good ear heard his prediction. Having lost three straight, the Cowboys needed zero motivation. But Pederson had to know better than to poke a rich, comfortable, vain, fire-breathing, blue-and-silver dragon.

(Writer’s note: On behalf of every member of the media who covered, or watched, the Cowboys play the Eagles, I want to thank Doug Pederson for his prediction, and plan to send him a 2008 bottle of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill.)

My personal reverence for the coaches’ comments aside, he put his team in a terrible spot by talking big when they are not good enough at this point to back up that sort of cheap-wine infused arrogance.

It’s one thing if Jimmy Johnson says on the radio, “We will win the ballgame, and you can put it in 3-inch headlines,” and your team has Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. It’s quite another to make this prediction when you’re coaching a 3-3 team.

There is one NFL team that could pull of this sort of verbal stunt, and it plays in New England with a coach who is basically a mute toward the media.

Pederson talked, and the Cowboys walked all over him and into first place.

The NFC East is mediocre, and during the NBC Sunday night telecast, color analyst Cris Collinsworth said, “In all likelihood, it’s a two-team race between these teams, and the loser doesn’t make the playoffs.”

Of course, this is all likely to change in about the next 35 minutes, but for right now the NFC East’s playoff team will be the Dallas Cowboys.

As bad as the Cowboys looked and played during the three-game losing streak that ended Sunday night, the better version of themselves returned. (It’s not a coincidence that they played better with the return of tackles La’el Collins and Tyron Smith to the starting lineup.)

Also making a successful return to the lineup after missing nearly all of last week’s loss against the New York Jets was receiver Amari Cooper.

Having your best players helps. Having your best players actually be your best players helps even more.

The Cowboys defense generated not one but two first-quarter turnovers in Philadelphia territory that led two touchdowns.

That would be the first time this season the Cowboys offense started an offensive drive on the other side of the 50 yard line. You are reading that correctly.

A few plays after linebacker Jaylon Smith caused a fumble, receiver Tavon Austin showed why he is still on the team when he took a pitch to score on a 20-yard run. It was 7-0 with less than five minutes elapsed.

Another turnover, this one caused by defensive end Tank Lawrence on a sack, and the offense started a drive at the Philadelphia 14. Another touchdown resulted, and, with less than six minutes gone, the score was 14-0.

The Eagles were never going to win this game after they fell behind by two touchdowns.

Zeke Elliott ran for more than 100 yards. Cooper had more than 100 receiving yards. The defense forced four turnovers.

The Cowboys were the best version of themselves to win the 2019 Mediocre Bowl and take over first place in the NFC East.

They deserve credit for the win, as does Doug Pederson.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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