ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – No kicker, no problem for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Carson Wentz threw for two touchdowns and three 2-point conversions after Philadelphia lost kicker Jake Elliott to a head injury, and the Eagles all but wrapped up the NFC East with a 37-9 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.
The Eagles (9-1) outscored the Cowboys 30-0 in the second half while extending their winning streak to eight games, their longest since 2003-04 and tied with New Orleans for the best current run in the NFL.
Philadelphia leads the second-place and defending division champion Cowboys (5-5) by four games with six to play after handing Dallas its worst home loss at 8-year-old AT&T Stadium.
Dallas’ Dak Prescott threw a career-high three interceptions and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in his second straight loss without star running back Ezekiel Elliott, serving a six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence.
Jake Elliott’s injury wasn’t a factor for nearly a half because the NFL-leading Eagles couldn’t get in scoring position. They failed to get a first down on five straight first-half drives, starting with one at the Dallas 15 when Elliott missed a 34-yard attempt and soon after left the field.
Trailing 9-7 at halftime, Wentz led the Eagles on scoring drives of 75, 90 and 85 yards, the middle one boosted by Jay Ajayi’s 71-yard run against his hometown team in his second game since getting traded by Miami.
“The biggest thing was sticking with the game plan,” said Wentz, who is up to 25 touchdown passes with just five interceptions. “The big boys up front kind of came out angry. We ran the ball the second half really effectively.”
Ajayi had 91 yards on seven carries and LeGarrette Blount added 57 on 13 carries, including a 30-yarder leading to the last offensive touchdown.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson declared at halftime that he would go for every fourth down and try 2-point conversions after every touchdown.
It came into play right away when Corey Clement scored on an 11-yard run to open the second half and ran in a screen pass behind three blockers for the 2-pointer.
The first fourth-down try was Wentz’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery for a 29-9 lead. That 2-point pass failed. Torrey Smith had the other TD catch, an 11-yarder.
After Derek Barnett hit Prescott’s leg and arm as he was throwing, Nigel Bradham picked up the loose ball and ran it 37 yards for a touchdown. Wentz’s pass to Trey Burton provided the final margin.
“We got some nice 2-point conversions,” Wentz said. “Now we’ve got to go back to the drawing board with our 2-point plays.”
The Cowboys appeared to have fixed the problems of missing injured left tackle Tyron Smith and 2016 All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee from a week earlier, when they allowed eight sacks of Prescott along with three Atlanta scoring drives following Lee’s injury in a 27-7 loss to the Falcons.
But after protecting Prescott fairly well before halftime, Dallas allowed three sacks and 180 of Philadelphia’s season-high 215 yards rushing in the second half.
Prescott was 18 of 31 for 145 yards for a career-worst 30.4 passer rating before backup Cooper Rush took mop-up duty.
NO RUST THIS TIME
The Eagles had a focus on being better following the bye after losing nine of their first 11 with a 3-0 record going into the break last season. Now Philadelphia will take a shot at the best record in the NFL with history on its side when starting this strong.
BRING A JACKET
The Cowboys had their retractable roof open for the first time this season despite a game-time temperature of 54 degrees, chilly for the Texas types. It was just the sixth time the roof was open while the huge sliding glass doors behind each end zone were closed since $1.2 billion AT& Stadium opened in 2009.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, embroiled in what has become a public dispute with fellow owners over a contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell, received his Hall of Fame ring in a halftime ceremony. He shared the stage with wife Gene Jones and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker.
Eagles: After missing wide right on the 34-yard field goal in the first quarter, Jake Elliott was evaluated for a head injury. He was in on the tackle on Switzer’s long return on the opening kickoff, but made an extra point and kicked off again before the missed field goal.
Cowboys: Already missing Lee, replacement Anthony Hitchens left with a groin injury.
Eagles: Home against Chicago next Sunday.
Cowboys: Los Angeles Chargers visiting for annual Thanksgiving game.
Corrects previous versions with Philadelphia kicker Jake Elliott, not Luke Elliott.
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