Dallas Cowboys defense excelled in simplest form

The Cowboys defense limited Sam Bradford to just 224 yards and one score with two picks. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

PHILADELPHIA -- To Rod Marinelli, there was nothing magical about the Dallas Cowboys' defensive performance Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I just think we played our defense," the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator said. "We didn't do anything special. We just try to line up, get lined up No. 1 and be on our keys and then we try to play really fast and really hard and tackle well."

Playing fundamentally sound does not sound juicy when you hold DeMarco Murray to 2 yards on 13 carries. In Cowboys' history only Ottis Anderson had a worse yard-per-carry average among opposing running backs with at least 10 carries. On Nov. 4, 1985, he carried 11 times for minus-10 yards.

Reading keys and playing fast doesn't sound juicy when you hold the Eagles to 7 yards rushing on 17 carries and give up one first down and 21 yards in the first half. The Eagles' only first-half first down came on a Dallas penalty.

There had to be something special to make the Eagles look so helpless.

"We just did our jobs," defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said. "Everybody played as one. One defense. We played together, played our gaps, disciplined in our assignments. We just did a great job of doing our job."

The Eagles converted only just two of 11 third-down chances. Seven of their 11 drives were three plays or less. Only three were more than four plays.

Sam Bradford completed 23 of 37 passes for 224 yards and was intercepted twice before he threw a touchdown pass with 1:21 left to play. He was sacked only once.

"I thought we were pretty physical and fast," Marinelli said. "When you know what you're doing, you've got a chance to play fast. That's our whole team. We're simple and we try to use our speed."

Physical and fast doesn't sound strategic, but it was what worked. And it's what Marinelli's defense is about.

"Well we care about running to the football, causing turnovers and playing the right way," said Sean Lee, who had one of the Cowboys' two interceptions, picking off a Bradford pass in the end zone on the series after Tony Romo went down. "That's all we're going to focus on. We're not worried about too many stats. We're worried about doing our job every time and causing turnovers, and that's what we did today and I think that's why we got a win."