Cowboys defense can’t afford another slow start against Philly no-huddle

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick

Derick E. Hingle/Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

The Cowboys got a taste of Philadelphia while they were in New York, and it didn’t go so well.

The Giants attacked Dallas with a no-huddle offense in the first half Sunday night, and it helped them roar to a 21-10 halftime lead. The Cowboys had no answer for Eli Manning and his offense, as Manning completed 14-of-16 passes for 191 yards in the first half.

Manning and the New York offense also converted 7-of-8 third downs in the first half – a conversation rate of 88 percent.

"You’ve got to keep the big plays off you, and I think that was one of the problems we had last week in the first half," said cornerback Orlando Scandrick. "We was allowing too many big plays, and you put yourself behind the eight ball when you allow big plays."

Scandrick acknowledged Tuesday that dealing with the Giants’ no-huddle should help the Cowboys prepare for Philadelphia. Having said that, he added that he expects the Eagles’ pace to be even more relentless.

"I think that they’re going to be moving a lot faster than the Giants. I think the Giants were no-huddling but calling the plays at the line of scrimmage," he said. "Philadelphia gets up there and snaps it, and they know if they want to run it two times in a row, they’re going to get up there and do it."

Both Scandrick and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett pointed out an important caveat to the Eagles’ style – Eagles coach Chip Kelly isn’t afraid to run the same things over and over if the opposing defense can’t stop them. Because of that, Garrett said organization is a big key.

"One of the things they’re able to do is they get themselves lined up and sometimes the defense doesn’t get lined up, and they have an advantage both in the run game and the pass game because of that," he said. "They run plays that they’re confident in that they run well and they do it again and again and again."

The Cowboys eventually settled down on Sunday, as the score would suggest. Dallas limited the Giants to 4-of-8 on third down in the second half, and they forced three punts after halftime. Despite that, it’s not an adjustment the Cowboys can afford to make against the Eagles.

"For 30 minutes of last week’s game, we didn’t get it done," Scandrick said. "We were fortunate to come out with a W, and last week is last week, but now we need to come out this week and play a complete 60 minutes."

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