The Philadelphia Eagles lost more than just a football game this past Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys. They also lost the ability to control their own playoff destiny as the season winds down to the final two games. Plenty of negative things happened Sunday night which caused the Eagles to lose, but instead of focusing on the negative, I figured this week I’d focus on a positive. That positive was the excellent job Fletcher Cox and Benny Logan did against the Cowboys’ offensive line. Logan and Cox have really been playing great all year. Cox should be a sure-fire lock for the pro bowl, and has a good chance of being voted to the AP All-Pro team. If Benny Logan doesn’t get voted to the pro bowl this year, it will only be because of lack of name recognition, as he’s had a great year playing the nose tackle position in the Eagles’ 3-4 defense.
The Eagles rushing defense has allowed 3.8 yards per carry this season, which places them at 6th in the NFL. They’ve done this while having to face DeMarco Murray (1st in rushing yards) twice, Marshawn Lynch (3rd in rushing yards), Arian Foster (6th in rushing yards), Alfred Morris (8th in rushing yards), and Eddie Lacy (9th in rushing yards). So they’ve seen no shortage of top running backs this season.
This past Sunday against the Cowboys and DeMarco Murray, Cox and Logan continued to lead the way for the front seven of their defense as they held Murray to 81 yards on 31 carries, for a season low average of 2.6 yards per carry. Before Sunday night, Murray had been held to under 4 yards per carry only one other time this season, and it was on Thanksgiving day against the Eagles.
So let’s get into the film and break down how Logan and Cox were able to cause trouble for the Cowboys’ offensive line.
Fletcher Cox uses a nice swim move on this play to get into the backfield to tackle Murray for a two-yard loss. He displays excellent technique on this move as he uses his left hand to club and then swings his right arm over and through to be able to get by right guard Zack Martin.
Benny Logan display textbook two-gap technique on this play as he is able to stop Murray at the line of scrimmage. He extends his arms out at the point of attack to control left guard Ronald Leary, peaks into the backfield to see which hole Murray is going to attack, and then at the last second pushes Leary aside and makes the tackle on Murray.
Fletcher Cox sacks Tony Romo on this play on third down, but unfortunately the play was negated by an illegal contact penalty on corner back Cary Williams. Cox again displays excellent technique on this play. He starts off with a chop with his left hand to prevent Leary from being able to get a hand on him, follows it up with a club with his right hand, and finishes up with a rip move with his left arm, which prevents Leary from re-gaining any leverage on him.
Cox and Logan team up for a stop on Murray on this play. Cox explodes off the line at the snap of the ball, gaining positional leverage on center Travis Frederick. This forces Murray to have to make a cut to his right, where Benny Logan is waiting for him as he sheds the block attempt from fullback Tyler Clutts.
Cox gets pressure on Romo on this play, forcing Romo off his spot and to the left. Romo eventually trips over his own lineman as he’s trying to get away from Cox. On this play, Zack Martin is able to get his hands to Cox’s chest, but Cox does a great job of shooting his own hands up underneath Martin’s arms to knock them away which allows him to get positional leverage on him and get into the backfield.
Logan shows patience and great technique on this run play as he stops Murray. Watch as he keeps his shoulders square as he moves down the line of scrimmage, and then when Murray tries to cut back inside, he throws Ronald Leary to the side and tackles Murray.
Logan is an anchor on this play on third down with one yard to go. Zack Martin and Travis Frederick initially double team Logan, but he doesn’t budge an inch. He ends up stuffing Murray with the help of linebacker Connor Barwin.
Logan uses a rip move to get leverage on Frederick on this stretch run play, which forces Murray to cut back inside into linebacker Brandon Graham for a stop.
The Dallas Cowboys offensive line finally did find a way to contain Fletcher Cox. It’s a new blocking technique I’d like to call the “Hug and Hold”. Here’s a picture of them perfecting this technique.
That wraps up this week’s All-22 breakdown. The Philadelphia Eagles travel to the nation’s capital Saturday to face the 3-11 Washington Redskins in a game that has huge playoff implications for the Eagles. A win for the Eagles coupled with a loss by the Cowboys puts the Eagles back in the driver’s seat for control of the division.