Ten Takeaways From The Philadelphia Eagles Loss To The Dallas Cowboys
To think just a couple of weeks ago the Philadelphia Eagles were in contention for home field advantage and now they are on the outside looking in. Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys was certainly as deflating as losses get, but the season is not over and the Eagles can still sneak into the postseason if they can get the help that they need. With all of that said, here are my ten takeaways from the loss to the Cowboys:
1. To kick things off(no pun intended) I’ll start with the opening kickoff. What the heck was that?! I have never seen an opening kickoff go the way that it did Sunday Night. While we would like to blame Josh Huff, that is not his fault. Brad Smith does point at Huff, telling him that it is Huff’s ball, but Smith was wrong in that situation.
Chip Kelly said that it was Smith’s ball, that he is there for situations like that, and that is was a simple communication error. It was a costly communication error as that play basically set the tone for the game. Five plays later the Eagles were already down 7-0.
The special teams has been big all season, unfortunately for the Eagles, they came up short against the Cowboys. After seeing Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey continue to kick the ball short, it was obviously something that they saw on tape, so you have to give them credit for that.
2. The Eagles simply didn’t look ready to play, and it started with the opening kickoff. The difference between Thanksgiving and Sunday Night wasn’t that Tony Romo got a pain shot, it was that the Eagles got off to a good start on Thanksgiving and they got off to a terrible start on Sunday Night. Starting down 21-0 is not ideal.
In the first quarter alone the Cowboys had run 21 plays compared to the Eagles six. Not to mention the Eagles netted -6 yards in the opening quarter as well. This slow start obviously came back to hurt the Eagles and is a big reason why they lost.
3. Although the slow start was a big reason for the Eagles’ loss, it also all came down to third down. The Eagles defense could not get off the field as they allowed a 3rd and 6 on the first drive, a 3rd and 7, 3rd and 5, and 3rd and 3 on the second drive, and a 3rd and 10 on the third drive. Do the math and the Cowboys were 5/5, one of which was converted because of a Carey Williams illegal contact penalty(I’ll get to him later).
The Cowboys only converted four third downs the entire game on Thanksgiving, but were much better on Sunday Night and the Eagles paid for it.
4. You are only as good as your biggest weakness and when the Philadelphia Eagles have played the good teams this season, that statement has been proven. The Eagles secondary has been a constant weak spot this season, and they were exposed against Arizona, Seattle, and now the Cowboys. Why Billy Davis didn’t give Bradley Fletcher help after Dez Bryant scored three touchdowns is a mystery. If only the Eagles had drafted a cornerback in the first round of last years draft instead of that other guy…What’s his name again?
5. I think I speak for all of Philadelphia when I say this…Carey Williams and Bradley Fletcher, you are hereby banned from the city of Philadelphia.
6. While the Eagles did fall down 21-0, you have to give this team credit for fighting all the way back and eventually taking the lead at 24-21. It is a shame that the Eagles couldn’t close the deal after eventually having the lead, but the fact that they didn’t quit when they easily could have speaks volumes.
7. Although the Eagles did go up 24-21, as mentioned before, you are only as good as your biggest weakness, and the Philadelphia Eagles have turned the ball over far too much this season. The Cowboys did retake the lead to go up 28-24, but the turning point of this game was Mark Sanchez‘s interception that was intended for Zach Ertz.
Ertz did tip the pass, but Sanchez lead the Eagles’ tight end too far and it was a desperation effort by Ertz to even get a hand on it. Two drives later, Brent Celek had his third fumble as a Philadelphia Eagle which basically sealed the game for the Cowboys.
8. While a lot of blame will fall on the players, I don’t think we can let Chip Kelly and the coaches off the hook. As mentioned earlier, it looked as if the players were not ready to play. After two three-and-outs, why wouldn’t you slow things down to give your defense a breather? The Eagles are 1-5 against NFC teams that are .500 or better this season, to be elite, you have to be able to beat the elite, and the Eagles have failed to that this season.
9. While I was a firm believer that if Sanchez could win big games, i.e. against the Seahawks and Cowboys, then he deserved to continue to start for the Eagles, however after wins against the Panthers, Titans, and Cowboys, Sanchez has now lost his last two games, both of which were two of the biggest games of the year. Circumstances change, and now that Sanchez has proved that he is not the Eagles savior, when Nick Foles is healthy, the Eagles need to go back to him. While Foles may not be the answer either, there is still some hope that some of the Foles that we saw last year returns.
10. While all seems lost right now, the Eagle still have a decent shot at making the postseason especially with two winnable games left to be played(@Redskins, @Giants). If the Cowboys lose one of their last two(Colts, @Washington) or the Detroit Lions lose out(@Chicago, @Green Bay), the Eagles will make the playoffs.For what it’s worth, the Colts are 4-2 on the road this season while the Cowboys are 3-4 at home. Go Colts!