Cowboys' successful ground game doesn't translate in passing game

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys knew it would be difficult to run the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles, but they did a better job against the top-ranked run defense than any other team this season.

Alfred Morris ran 17 times for 91 yards. As a team, the Cowboys had 27 carries for 112 yards.

The most yards the Eagles had allowed a running back in their first nine games was 81 to Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs on 13 carries. As for other notable runners against Philadelphia this season, Melvin Gordon had 10 carries for 22 yards; Chris Johnson had nine carries for 21 yards, Christian McCaffrey had 8 yards on four carries; Carlos Hyde had 25 yards on 12 carries; C.J. Anderson had 13 yards on nine carries; Jamaal Charles had 1 yard on four carries.

“We were able to get it going and that was a big challenge against the No 1 run defense in the NFL,” Morris said. “So we rose to that challenge, but at the same time, we didn’t finish drives, and that was the deciding factor.”

Morris’ 17 carries tied the most he has had in his two seasons with the Cowboys. His 91 yards were the most since he had 100 yards against the Cowboys in the 2015 finale while with the Washington Redskins.

As successful as a running game can be, points need to come from the passing game. Dak Prescott threw for 145 yards on 18-of-31 passing. Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Brice Butler and Cole Beasley failed to average more than 10 yards a catch.

“We wanted to be patient and persistent running the ball against their front and not allow them to tee off,” coach Jason Garrett said. “That’s when they’ve been at their best. Teams haven’t run the ball throughout the game against them. [Abandoning the run] is the last thing you want to do against this front because they want to get going up the field and pressuring the quarterback. Obviously, when you do have some success running the ball, you’d like to have some complements off that.”

Morris gained 54 yards on three carries with gains of 22, 20 and 12 yards, so the consistency of the running game was not overwhelming, but Prescott believed it was good enough.

“I feel like we did have enough on the ground,” Prescott said. “That’s been our issue: the run game gets going and the pass game [does] not. And vice versa. It’s very frustrating to me.”