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Eagles Remain Unbeaten as Jalen Hurts Outwits the Cowboy Pass Rush

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PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles entered Sunday because the N.F.L.’s last unbeaten team, thanks largely to the improved play and the event of Jalen Hurts. Together with his arm and together with his legs, Hurts, the third-year quarterback, had propelled the Eagles to the franchise’s third 5-0 start since 1981, stirring newfound excitement for a fan base already viewed as probably the most ardent within the league.

Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence, though, didn’t care.

“All you-all need to put in writing is he hasn’t played the Cowboys yet, so we don’t understand how good he’s,” Lawrence said Thursday at his locker within the team’s facility.

That sentiment was typical of this bitter N.F.C. East rivalry, especially before a prime-time matchup to find out first place within the division. It was inaccurate, though, because the Eagles beat the Cowboys, 26-17, due to Hurts’s efficiency and Philadelphia’s suffocating defensive performance early in the sport.

The Eagles moved to 6-0, while the Cowboys (4-2) fell to 3rd place within the division behind the Giants (5-1).

The Eagles and Hurts, who threw for 155 yards and two touchdowns, rose to the moment, pairing their run-pass option system on offense with sticky defensive coverage and timely takeaways within the second quarter, when Philadelphia outscored the Cowboys, 20-3. Receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith combined for 111 yards and two touchdowns and the team rushed for 136 yards.

“I believe this team was hungry for it and wanting to come out and play in a giant time game,” Hurts said in a postgame news conference. “We’ve built this sense of ‘not being satisfied.’ We’ll never take this sense of winning with no consideration, but we’re all the time going to be hungry.”

The sport held an intense playofflike atmosphere from the beginning. The rapper and Philadelphia native Meek Mill performed right before kickoff, and at one point within the second quarter, running back Miles Sanders needed so shush the energetic home crowd so the offense could hear its cadence.

In the primary half, the Philadelphia defense held Dallas, led by the backup quarterback Cooper Rush, to only 81 total yards of offense and snagged two interceptions. Rush, who had been undefeated in 4 games as a starter instead of the injured Dak Prescott, threw for 181 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions, while Dallas rushed for 134 yards.

The Eagles’ offense, which had succeeded early by containing the Cowboys’ versatile linebacker Micah Parsons, stalled toward the top of the primary half when offensive lineman Lane Johnson left the sport with a head injury, allowing Dallas to realize momentum initially of the third quarter.

Shortly after halftime, Dallas accomplished a 79-yard drive that concluded with Ezekiel Elliott rushing for a 14-yard touchdown, closing the gap to 20-10 with just over eight minutes remaining within the third quarter. On their next series, after an Eagles punt, the Cowboys drove 93 yards and scored a touchdown when tight end Jake Ferguson caught a 7-yard pass, closing the gap to 20-17 with 14 minutes 39 seconds left in the sport.

But Hurts orchestrated a 75-yard drive, which ended when Smith acrobatically caught a 7-yard touchdown. The Eagles did not convert the 2-point attempt, making the rating 26-17 with 7:02 remaining.

On the following Cowboys possession, Rush sailed a omit the center and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson made a diving interception for his second takeaway of the night, effectively ending the sport.

It was an announcement performance for the Eagles, who moved the ball a lot of the night with run-pass options, an idea that permits the quarterback to run or throw the ball depending on how he reads a defender. On many plays, that defender was Parsons, a second-year player who entered the sport tied for the league lead in sacks (six) but for whom Hurts repeatedly accounted.

“Sometimes it’s like, should you can’t block him, read him,” Coach Nick Sirianni said.

Hurts has emerged as one in every of the league’s best players in just his second season because the full-time starter. Drafted within the second round in 2020, Hurts faced criticism for inconsistent streaks as a pocket passer, and entered the yr still under evaluation from the front office. Armed with two first-round picks within the 2023 N.F.L. draft, General Manager Howie Roseman could supply Hurts with more weapons, or select his successor in a robust draft class for the position.

Through six weeks, Hurts has earned the trust of his coaches and teammates, and Sirianni said he was impressed with Hurts’s control of the offense.

“This guy’s not fazed by anything,” Sirianni said. “He’s got an amazing demeanor that you just see in great quarterbacks. He’s unfazed by things and that’s what I like about him. He just he just goes and plays the following play.”

The Cowboys had been led by Parsons and their defense, which entered the day having allowed the second fewest points within the league (72) and ranked second in sacks (20). The unit’s production under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn allowed Rush to administer games well enough to win, however the Cowboys this season had not scored greater than 25 points in a game. Cornerback Darius Slay said he felt they might capitalize on Rush in the event that they grew a lead.

“They were a team that never played from behind,” he said. “We knew we needed to stand up and force them to play from behind.”

Dallas will await Prescott’s return to balance its approach as a way to keep pace within the N.F.C. East. He said after the sport that he expected to play next week against the Detroit Lions.

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