PHILADELPHIA • The depleted Dallas Cowboys shut down Chip Kelly’s offense and knocked out Nick Foles.
Tony Romo threw for 317 yards and one touchdown and the Cowboys overcame a sluggish start to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 17-3 Sunday to take sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
Two teams that averaged a combined 58.2 points per game and allowed a combined 55.2 totaled 13 punts in a first half that ended with Dallas (4-3) leading 3-0. It was more two inept offenses than two dominant defenses.
A Cowboys defensive line missing three of its projected starters pressured and harassed Foles before sending him to the sideline with a head injury on the last play of the third quarter. With Michael Vick inactive because of a hamstring injury, Matt Barkley made his NFL debut and threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles (3-4) have lost a franchise-worst nine straight games at home. Their last win at the Linc was over the New York Giants on Sept. 30, 2012.
Dallas played without four-time All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who missed the first game in his nine-year career because of a quadriceps injury. Anthony Spencer, the end opposite Ware, is out for the season after knee surgery. Four-time Pro Bowl tackle Jay Ratliff was released during the week after failing a physical.
George Selvie had 1½ sacks and combined with Jarius Wynn on the hit that forced Foles out of the game. Wynn was signed last Tuesday after being released by San Diego.
Foles, coming off an impressive performance at Tampa Bay last week that earned him NFC Player of the Week honors, had his worst game since his first career start at Washington last November.
He finished 11 of 29 for 80 yards and was sacked three times. Foles misfired on several throws to open receivers, including a low throw to Jason Avant in the end zone in the third quarter.
The Eagles sorely missed Vick’s scrambling ability. Also, Vick’s presence makes LeSean McCoy more dangerous because teams have to be wary of both in Kelly’s read-zone offense.
McCoy, the NFL’s leading rusher, was held to 55 yards on 18 carries.
Cowboys rookie Joseph Randle had 65 yards rushing filling in for injured running back DeMarco Murray. Phillip Tanner scored on a 1-yard run.
Romo was 28 of 47 and threw two picks.
The teams averaged a combined nine punts per game in the first six weeks. The first 11 possessions resulted in 11 punts before Dan Bailey kicked a 38-yard field goal to give Dallas a 3-0 lead with 3:17 left in the first half.
Alex Henery missed wide left on a 60-yard attempt with 9 seconds left in the second quarter.
DeMeco Ryans intercepted a poor pass by Romo and returned it 36 yards to the Cowboys 30 to set up Henery’s 31-yard field goal that cut it to 10-3.
But the Cowboys answered with Romo tossing a 9-yard TD pass to Terrance Williams to make it 17-3.
The Eagles were the fourth team in NFL history to have 400 yards of offense in each of first six games. They were held to 278.
At Oregon, Kelly’s teams scored 150 points in three meetings against Monte Kiffin when he was defensive coordinator for USC. Kiffin now holds that position with the Cowboys, so the defensive mastermind wins their first matchup in the pros.
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.