Hicks holds his own in duel with Elliott

ARLINGTON, Texas - Jordan Hicks' last visit to AT&T Stadium was a hard one to forget.

Sunday night's return to the scene might not have had the dramatic swings, but it proved to be quite memorable, too.

In a duel with stellar Dallas rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, the Eagles' young middle linebacker led a defensive effort that held the NFL's leading rusher in check most of the night and came up with a huge play that gave Philadelphia a chance to seize control of the game.

Almost a year ago - Nov. 8, 2015, to be exact - Hicks, then a precocious rookie from the University of Texas, cemented his budding reputation as a big-play machine with a 67-yard interception return for a touchdown that gave Philadelphia a fourth-quarter lead.

That same night, he saw his spectacular season come to an abrupt end, suffering a torn pectoral muscle and landing on injured reserve after ringing up 50 tackles, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, a sack, a touchdown and five pass breakups in his first eight NFL games.

"I'm just doing what I need to do for this team," he said. "Obviously, I have family ties nearby in Austin and a lot of people at this game, and that always gives you a little extra motivation. But at the end of the day, you're just out there playing, doing what you need to do and trying to get the win."

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Hicks' interception at the goal line with 1 minute, 26 seconds left in the second quarter of the Eagles' 29-23 overtime loss turned a prime Dallas scoring threat into a touchback in a 10-10 game, not only stopping an impressive drive that had begun at the Cowboys' 25-yard line but also providing a huge momentum shift.

Hicks undercut Brice Butler as the Dallas wide receiver tried to slip down the seam, grabbing Dak Prescott's pass just inside the end zone. The Eagles then took the ball and moved it 43 yards on the way to a tiebreaking field goal and a 13-10 halftime lead.

That lead eventually was extended to 10 points before the Cowboys came back to send the game to overtime.

"They ran a basic follow route out of their bunch concept - kind of a little hole play," Hicks said. "I just read Dak's eyes and went and got it. ... He threw it right to me."

Hicks was also a key figure in the Eagles' battle with Elliott, who came into the game averaging 117 rushing yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry.

Elliott got off to a strong start, running six times for 40 yards in the first quarter and adding 25 yards by outrunning Hicks after catching a flare pass. But for the rest of regulation, the Dallas rookie managed only 38 yards on 12 runs. Hicks wound up with four tackles on Elliott.

But Elliott sprang back to life in overtime with a 12-yard run and a 10-yard catch during Dallas' drive for the winning touchdown. He finished with 96 yards on 22 carries and four receptions for 52 yards.

"He's a strong runner, man," Hicks said. "He does a good job finding the holes. But you know what? When we were stout and we were in our gaps, he wasn't running for anything. That's what this defense is all about. Everybody's got to be in their gap doing their own job. You can't be trying to make other plays.

"I think we did a pretty good job in the run game."

Hicks came up with one more big play in the passing game. On third and 10 from the Dallas 40 and 1:24 left in a tie game, Hicks raced in on a blitz to blast Prescott and force a key incompletion as the Cowboys tried to get into field goal range.