After week one, a lot of the criticism the Eagles faced was inflicted towards the Defense. In week two, the tables have turned. But the criticism this week has been in such large quantities that people are forgetting to recognise the Defensive success.
The majority of you will already be disagreeing, thinking that Maxwell was still underwhelming or remembering the Williams touchdown in the fourth. But if you compare the performance this week as a whole to last weeks infuriating display..it’s clear to see the unit has taken a step forward.
The first half was incredibly promising. A Connor Barwin sack set the tone early one before the Defense held the Cowboys twice at a goal line stand to hold their Offense to just two field goals in the opening two quarters.
But then the Eagles were dealt a cruel hand. Kiko Alonso limped off the field with a potential ACL tear/ leg injury and Mychal Kendricks pulled a hamstring following a big play down the sideline. But NOBODY is talking about rookie Jordan Hicks. With the Eagles being so thin at ILB with both of their big names sidelined, Jordan Hicks entered the game almost oblivious to most as their attention was distracted by a concerning Offense.
Hicks created one of the teams two forced fumbles by sacking Tony Romo and stripping the ball away in the play that broke the left clavicle of the Cowboys Quarterback. Now that’s impressive. Not the injury..nobody want’s to see players go down, especially with an injury like that. But for Hicks to come into a game where the fans were shaking the link to it’s core with boo’s and put on an impressive display, that’s impressive. The third round pick racked up seven tackles after playing nothing but special teams in week one.
Malcolm Jenkins was a force to be reckoned with yet again, eight tackles and that crucial fumble pick up. In a Defense that was on the field for over 40 minutes of the game, he was all over the field and almost glued to the ball at times..which brings us onto our next point.
People are quick to flag down Maxwell for having another sub-standard game, but he at least has a reasonable excuse this time. The Defense were on the field for over 65% of the game..they’re going to get worn down. Whilst the scheme doesn’t really benefit Maxwell’s playing style either, he was still able to force a fumble deep into the second half. Whilst it counted for nothing in the end, Maxwell made a play. That’s all Eagles fans have wanted to see…if the corner who earns over $20,000 a day can make a play when it matters.
Prior to his injury, Kiko Alonso broke up a pass at the goal line intended for Escobar whilst Ryans swatted one away from Jason Witten. People throw a lot of shade towards Billy Davis..but he is certainly not at fault here.
If there is one positive to be taken from the loss, it’s the Defense. With the Offense close to being non existent, this could have easily been a trainwreck. Momentum was always with Dallas and they played very tactically to sustain long drives to wear the Defense down and keep the “explosive” Offense sidelined. Towards the end the Eagles Defense showed signs of fatigue but who can blame them?! Their hard work was counting for nothing. Of course it’s going to be demoralising and when you’re out there for close to the summation of THREE FULL QUARTERS then they are going to be physically drained. You cannot blame the Defense for giving up a few plays towards the end after battling through adversity the entire game.
The Defense played with heart and they never once gave up. They were forced into a corner and constantly beaten down..but they allowed 20 points. 20 points in 40 minutes of Cowboys Possession. The blame for this loss falls completely on the Offensive side of the ball.