Thoughts From Eagles-Cowboys

Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons, USA Today Spots

Now It’s Over: Eagles Fall Short In Overtime, Lose Division and Season To Dallas

It’s as sour a way for a season to go out as one can imagine.

With an opportunity to go on the road and keep playoff hopes alive, the Philadelphia Eagles let the 2018 season slip away. The Super Bowl Championship will not be properly defended in the playoffs. While the Eagles may not be mathematically eliminated, the writing on the wall is clear as day.

This is a lost season, and the Birds won’t be making the playoffs. They may not even finish with a .500 record. It’s not just about today’s loss, its about the body of work that this team has put together as a whole.

The injuries, the mistakes, the self-inflicted wounds, everything that’s gone wrong since the start of September culminated in tonight’s effort.

The hallmarks of this team were all on full display. Another slow start. Questionable playcalling throughout the game. Injuries taking their toll along the way.

Absurd Officials Cost Eagles Early

I think this would have been a very different game had the officials made the proper call on the opening kickoff.

It was clearly a fumble, recovered by the Eagles’ special teams deep in Dallas territory. The refs not only missed the initial fumble, but once they took a look at the review, somehow made the determination that there was no recovery by the Eagles despite the fact that there were at least three Eagles on top of the ball with no Cowboys anywhere close.

My jaw dropped upon hearing the explanation after the review. I’m not normally one to be bothered by bad calls; its just part of the game, but in what world was that not a fumble recovered by the Eagles?

Imagine how much this game might have swung in the Eagles’ favor if the right call had been made? The Birds start with a short field, steal a possession from Dallas, and at minimum put three points, possibly seven on the board. We’re talking about a completely different game if that’s the case.

Instead, the Cowboys dodged a bullet, and the Eagles’ offense went through their patented slow start, and the rest is history.

Quick Thoughts

Offense

  • Carson Wentz was bad early in this game. I mean, really bad. Constantly missing open receivers down the field, overshooting his deep ball. Holding on to the ball too long. Not feeling the rush around him. Not taking care of the football. I know Wentz isn’t all the way back from his injury, but he’s gotten himself into some really bad habits this year, hopefully he can be coached out of them over the coming offseason.
  • The fumble Wentz had before halftime not only cost the team a valuable opportunity for points, but set the stage for Dallas to drill a 62-yard field goal before the half.
  • Wentz was better later in the game, and to his credit, led the team on two late touchdown drives to tie the game. He finished with a rating above 100 again, and threw three scores.
  • Josh Adams broke a 24-yard run on the opening drive, and the running game wasn’t heard from again. The Eagles ran only 14 times on the day.
  • Two of those were designed runs for Wentz, who has looked a step slow all year. Terrible play selection by Doug in those spots.
  • Alshon Jeffery led the team with six grabs for 50 yards and his first touchdown since Week 7.
  • Nelson Agholor caught just two passes, but made his effort count with a big 42-yard catch late in the game.
  • Golden Tate was a complete non-factor, very disappointing after his effort Monday night. Once again, you just have to question what the point of the Tate trade was with the amount of disruption its caused the roles of guys like Agholor and Jordan Matthews, who now barely plays.
  • Dallas Goedert came through with his best showing yet, catching four for 44 and a touchdown. Goedert also had a 75-yard score wiped away late in the game by a ridiculous penalty.
  • Seeing Darren Sproles fight for that late touchdown shows you the element that he brings that’s been missing from this offense all year long. Shame to see his career wind down on a team that won’t be in the playoffs.

Defense

  • You really have to give the defense credit today. They fought and battled all day long to keep this team in the game. They bent, but didn’t break for as long as they could. By the end of overtime, they had just run out of gas, smoke and mirrors, plain and simple.
  • Heartbreaking end to the game for Rasul Douglas, giving up the game winning score to Amari Cooper on a deflected ball. Rasul played an otherwise strong game, and looked like the surest tackler on the defense, making several open-field stops.
  • Nigel Bradham, Malcolm Jenkins, Corey Graham, and Kamu Grugier-Hill all had double-digit tackles.
  • Michael Bennett and Fletcher Cox each registered 1.5 sacks.
  • Is Sidney Jones ever going to make a play? All that the second round pick has done with his starting opportunity is get burnt in coverage, Jones was toasted by the speedy Dallas receivers all day.
  • Yes, I’m aware Sidney Jones was playing hurt. My counter to that is when is Sidney Jones ever healthy?

Special Teams

  • Jake Elliot’s missed extra point was just one more what-if that the Eagles are forced to ponder.

Final Thoughts

I wasn’t ready for this season to end.

Coming off of the Super Bowl, I at least wanted the Eagles to have a chance to defend their title in the playoffs themselves. I certainly didn’t want the season to end on the 9th of December, leaving us with a long, cold winter ahead of us without any meaningful football.

However, it can’t be helped. This team just wasn’t good enough. It’s time to start thinking about 2019.

20 thoughts on “Thoughts From Eagles-Cowboys

  1. I thought seriously wentz needed be replaced , foles would at least managevthe game and not fumble it away. A season on the line decision, i get all that. We were rediculously two to one in time of possession and took gut shots twice by the referees, and we were a two point play call away from taking a lead. Tie on the toad with a beaten up defense or try for a lead ? Season ending decisions. Based upon not having a running game losing sproles and ajayi and still were one point from turning up the heat. Shoulda woulda coulda , all season , too many defensive lapses , sub standard offensive play calling , abandoning the run game (all wins were with a commitment to run the ball ) 14? Loss. No surprise. We fought gallantly , but i believe coach played way too tight all season long. Last year every move howie made paid dividends. Now in a game where cooper outplayed golden tate , the front office came up snake eyes. Losing has consequences , same as winning did.

  2. Denny. You ever replacing wentz? You going for 2 ? You lauded the defensive effort , and yes they were gallant , and on the field twice as much as dallas, but the ot clock was heading to zero , because we tied the game. You need understand as a coach all the data and put the season on a two point try vs putting your defense out their to get wentz another chance. Lastly 500 plus yds of offense , allowed by jim ? Go for two

    1. Wentz has been frustrating to watch all year. I think the mistake this team made was bringing him back way too soon.

      They panicked and made a knee-jerk move after losing the Tampa game. Foles wasn’t at fault for how the team played the first two weeks, and if he had played with the full deck of weapons that Wentz has had, I think he may very well have done better than Wentz on the season.

      But Wentz is still the future, and at this point you can’t realistically pull him from a game without causing more long-term damage than it’s worth, especially with the season already dangling by a thread, the last thing the team needs is to go into the offseason with doubt over the franchise quarterback.

      And yeah, certainly there’s a strong case to be made for going for two in that spot. I don’t think it’s the most egregious nondecision Doug could have made, but I understand your points.

      Personally I’m more upset with Jake Elliot missing something as routine as an extra point.

      But bottom line, just the way this whole year as gone, I don’t think it matters what they did or didn’t do, the breaks just haven’t gone the Eagles’ way as a whole.

      Refs make terrible game changing call on the opening kickoff.

      Dallas kicker makes miraculous 62-yarder before the half.

      Elliot misses extra point.

      Cooper in right place at right time to snatch deflected ball.

      In most of the Eagles’ losses this year, the story has been very similar, just with different opponents and scenarios.

      I guess that’s the price of having so much go right last season to win the Super Bowl.

      1. All agreeable points. In addittion jim Shwartz ; albeit with his hands tied , gave up 500 plus yds and limited the offenses abilities to compete (time wise) . Last year was a transformative year, and normally its not a repeated season in nfl history. In retrospect; which always seems precient , if the plan was to rush wentz back , they could have traded the superbowl mvp and had a fall back of picks and or addittional weapons (players). Whats your thoughts on the inherent changes that are ultimately coming ? Will coaches all survive? Tates a bust , i dont see him returning ? Biggest needs are protecting 11 and the back end of the dee and the scheme defensively, i want physical athletes to jam receivers. A running back to match ezekiels skillset, and who can block. I dont like any nfl team that doesnt make playing home a positive. The scripted slow first fifteen plays need be burned. What screamed out in a 3-0 game was Run the ball. Coach morphed into Andy at precisely the wrong time.

        1. I want to move on from both Groh and Schwartz, I think they’ve both done terrible jobs this year.

          Schwartz will survive; he has a built-in excuse with the amount of injuries they’ve had defensively… schematically though, the lack of creativity and pressures, the amount of times he’s played a three man rush, the damn picket fence defense…I’ve seen enough to want to move on, but that won’t happen.

          I think there’s at least a decent chance to get rid of Groh, and possibly Press Taylor as well. Wentz regression and lack of development is pretty damning for both of those guys, but the biggest indictment of Groh has been Golden Tate and how little of an impact hes been able to make. The fact that Nelson Agholor, as impactful as was last year just becomes invisible and doesn’t really have a consistent role in the game plan week to week is really at the feet of Groh and Doug, Groh should be the fall guy though much like Greg Lewis was in 2016. Getting a fresh, experienced voice would really help these guys. Maybe a reunion with John DeFlillipo is possible if the Vikings let him go.

          I don’t think Tate comes back. Team already has cap issues, I don’t think they can pay him a big contract.

          Offensively, I think Foles, Sproles, Smallwood, Wallace, Tate, Wisniewski go.

          I think Jason Peters comes back for one more year, as crazy as that might sound.

          I think Ajayi and Ronald Darby may come back on prove-it one-year deals off of their injuries.

          Brandon Graham, Ngata, Jernigan (no guaranteed money if Eagles release him), Chris Long all go on the defensive line, that group will need major youth overhaul.

          Jordan Hicks probably goes as well. I don’t think he’s done enough to justify a bigger deal. Bradham takes over as the MIKE full time, Kamu slides into Bradhams role.

          I think the dline is going to be the biggest need going in to this off-season, especially at the tackle spots where they desperately need quality talent to go with Cox.

          Secondary is right there as well. I like Rasul Douglas, he can tackle and tracks the ball well. I’m really sour on Sidney Jones right now…guy is never healthy, and I haven’t seen him make a play all year when he’s been out there. Too early to give up on him, but he’s not trending in the right direction.

          I think this could be the year they draft Peter’s replacement. I’m not anywhere near as high on Mailata as a lot of people, I don’t dislike him, but I just think it’s tough to count on a project to be a long term solution at a position as important as left tackle.

          Long term answer at running back should be addressed as well in the draft. Talented guys like Hunt, Kamara, Kerryon Johnson have been found in third round and later, just a matter of scouting department hitting and not drafting another Donnell Pumphrey.

  3. Such a frustrating year. Hard to believe the season peaked with our Week 1 win on a Thursday night. It was downhill the rest of the way. The team did play hard. We wasted an all-time year from Ertz. Doug really did not do a good job this year. He needs some new ideas and it’s his job to get Carson playing well. The slow starts on offense never got fixed. How many times did the Defense bail us out in 2017 when the offense slowed down? This year the defense needed an assist, but the offense was putrid. This franchise’s unwillingness to invest at RB is maddening. Look at Gurley, Kamara, Ingram, Hunt, Marshall, Zeke, on and on. Good offenses have excellent dual-threat runners. Howie did not have a good year. We puked up a 3rd for Tate and allowing Dallas to scoop up Cooper changed the balance of power in the East. We have holes at offensive skill positions and if I’m being honest, the entire D needs to be rebuilt. The offensive line needs an overhaul as well. Did I mention we have cap issues? Here’s hoping we have a great draft. All I can say is THANK GOD we got that ring last year!

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