The morning after: Ten thoughts on Eagles loss to Cowboys and what it means moving forward


That didn’t go as planned. Was that a statement describing last night’s loss to the Cowboys or one describing the entire season? Who knows, but the Eagles came up short in their second most winnable game so far this season and it has dented their hopes of a repeat massively. Here are ten thoughts on last night’s rollercoaster.


Moving forward:
The Eagles are once again two games behind Washington after the Redskins were able to rise to a win over Tampa Bay. With two games against Alex Smith and the Redskins on the schedule, the Eagles are running out of time. They also have to face the Saints next week and the Rams in the not too distant future. If they drop either of those games, making the playoffs is going to be an almighty challenge. The time for excuses is over. If the Eagles can’t find a way to win these ‘easier’ games, there’s very little hope of a deep playoff run happening two years running.


I’ll be the first to admit that I was driving the ‘Rasul Douglas Hype Train’ this week. Things started off well for the second-year corner, but a flurry of missed tackles and errors came back to haunt him. Very reminiscent of Jalen Mills in 2016, Douglas was targeted early and often and while he kept his head above water and didn’t allow the knockout punch, it was all the jabs that eventually wore him and the secondary down.


Shooting yourself in the foot:
The Eagles have been inefficient offensively in key areas this season; third down and when inside the red zone. Jordan Matthews helped move the chains on third down as he did against the Jags, but for the most part, the offense sputtered and squandered any opportunity to convert. Penalties, a banged up offensive line, a lack of pass protection from running backs and rookie errors all hurt this team on offense. We’ll touch on the Defense later, but you can’t expect to win games if you’re unable to put up more than 20 points at home to the Cowboys.

The defense can only do so much. If the Eagles are unable to put points on the board, how are they going to go toe-to-toe with the high-flying Saints?


Injuries are killing the team:
At one point, the entire secondary was made up of backups. Rasul Douglas, Chandon Sullivan, Corey Graham and Avonte Maddox were the names filling the voids after Ronald Darby’s injury put the cherry on a very disappointing cake. The pass-rush has no interior force next to Fletcher Cox which is drastically hampering his progress, with Cox wearing down by the second half as he puts the unit on his back. On the offensive line, the loss of Lane Johnson speaks for itself. This Eagles team has battled injuries all season, but it’s safe to say losing so much star power is going to cause that shine to fade.


A Golden start tarnished:
I preached this all week, but a lot of people seem to be up in arms over the fact Golden Tate barely saw the field. It is so difficult for a receiver to move team, move city, learn a playbook, get acquainted with the terminology to a point you know it like the back of your hand and then get on the same page as your quarterback. It’s going to take time and even though the Bye-week help, the Eagles aren’t in a desperation point like the Cowboys were with Cooper which resulted in them force-feeding the ball last week. Give it time.


It’s too much:
Losing to the Titans in overtime, choking a 17-0 4th quarter lead to Carolina and now this? It’s just too much. This Eagles team is different from last year, as are the expectations. But Philadelphia is not playing like a championship winning team and it’s not being coached like one. This brings us onto my next point…


May the Schwartz be with you: 
Playing ‘sticks’ coverage on 3rd and long and expecting anything other than a screen or shot underneath with blockers is ridiculous, but hey, Schwartz falls for it every single week. Lining up six DB’s horizontally at the first down marker does not work. It hasn’t worked all year and it won’t start now. The Eagles had to shake things up defensively due to the injuries sustained, but this performance, allowing 151 yards to a running back which is more than they have all year, was underwhelming.


Pederson to blame?
There were some questionable decisions in that game, but I don’t think it’s on his shoulders. For instance, everyone seems to go a little crazy when he challenges for the sake of a few yards, but in reality:

The only negative scenarios that come to mind were taking Josh Adams out of the game after some big runs and dropping him back in on 4th & 1, that seemed like the most obvious decision ever and the Cowboys snuffed it out with ease. The play-calling through the opening quarter needs looking at, but I don’t think it’s on Pederson’s shoulders as much as it is on missed throws, poor execution and lackadaisical play.


Another ‘Clutch’ moment:
Do we need to bring up the fact that Carson Wentz had another opportunity to at least tie the game with it all on the line in the final minute and came up short? Maybe? I’m not sure. Say what you want about the offense, defense and coaching, but Wentz can’t be exempt from criticism. That’s where players like Matthew Stafford (32 game winning drives), Andrew Luck (what seems like 1,000 game winning drives) and elite quarterbacks come into their own, because they have to. Wentz still hasn’t done that yet. I’m not criticizing that, just observing it.


Establishing the run:
44 pass attempts and 16 rushing attempts in a one possession loss when Josh Adams was averaging close to 7 yards per carry. No more needs to be said.


Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports