Friday, November 30, 2012
Tony Romo should keep firing vs. Eagles
By Jason York, ESPN Stats & Information
The Dallas Cowboys should look to throw the ball deep, early and often Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Opponents have completed 76.5 percent of passes and thrown eight touchdowns on passes more than 10 yards downfield against the Eagles since the firing of Juan Castillo five games ago. Prior to Castillo’s firing, the Eagles allowed a league-best 31.8 completion percentage on such throws, and intercepted or defended 13 of them.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has only completed 46.3 of his passes more than 10 yards downfield this season, but nine of his 16 TD passes have come on such throws. In the Cowboys’ 38-23 win over the Eagles in Week 10, Romo completed 4-of-6 passes of 10-plus yards, including a touchdown.
Here are four other statistical areas to watch Sunday:
- The Eagles released defensive end Jason Babin this week. Babin finished third in the NFL in 2011 with 18.0 sacks -- tied for the third-highest total in Eagles history. His 5.5 sacks this season was tied for 34th in the league. Babin has done most of his damage from a standard pass rush -- 18 of his sacks since the start of the 2011 season came with four or fewer pass rushers, which is third in the NFL. Twelve of the Eagles' 18 sacks this season came with Babin on the field.
- Speaking of sacks, Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer has been just as important to his team’s pass rush. Eighteen of the Cowboys' 23 sacks this season have come with Spencer on the field, including a career-high 6.5 for Spencer. The Cowboys have also relied on standard pass pressure as 16 of their sacks have come with four or fewer pass rushers.
- The Cowboys’ rushing attack has been non-existent this season but that could change against the Eagles, especially on rushes outside the tackles. The Eagles have allowed 6.0 yards per attempt on rushes outside the tackles, fifth worst in the league. Three of the Cowboys' five rushing touchdowns this season have come on rush attempts outside the tackles.
- Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has 145 receiving yards in each of his last two games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last player to have at least 145 receiving yards in three straight games was Isaac Bruce in 1995. Bryant has been a reliable deep threat the past two as 169 of 290 receiving yards have come on receptions more than 10 yards downfield.