Eagles’ season DIES in Dallas

Okay…the long awaited Eagles post.  Many apologies for the fact that this has taken so long to post but this week turned out to be surprisingly busy for me so deal with it.  I’ll post the wrap-up in traditional form here.  I’ll eventually post an entirely separate entry with my reflections on what the Eagles need to do this offseason.  Here goes…

COWBOYS 34, EAGLES 14 – Ugly.  There’s just no better word to sum up this game from the Eagles’ perspective than ugly.  We all thought that the week 17 shutout loss was bad, but somehow 6 more days to prepare for the same opponent gave us an even worse loss.  The Eagles were outplayed in EVERY facet of the game and their season died accordingly.  Face it, folks: the Cowboys are better than the Eagles right now.  As much as saying that makes me wanna vomit, it’s true.  This game actually had the most competitive 1st quarter of any of the weekend’s games.  Dallas came out and drove right down the field on the Eagles but thanks to some stupid penalties and a defensive stand, ended up punting.  After the Eagles went 1-2-3 punt (shocker, right?) Dallas drove right back down the field but the Eagles’ D held and the Cowboys punted again.  This time the Eagles ran 4 plays before they punted and Dallas turned its next drive into 7 points (helped by a VERY DUBIOUS Sheldon Brown 40 yd pass interference penalty in the endzone).  But the Eagles answered right back with a 76 yard TD from Michael Vick to Jeremy Maclin (who caught the ball, made a great move, and blew down the sideline untouched) and tied the score.  On Dallas’ next drive, QB Tony Romo floated a ball into the secondary that was intercepted by Eagles safety Sean Jones.  The Eagles were gonna get the ball DEEP in Dallas territory & were in prime position to take a 14-7 or, at the very least, a 10-7 lead.  Unfortunately, Dallas challenged the ruling on the field.  DESPITE THE FACT THAT EVERY REPLAY SHOWN WAS NOT CONCLUSIVE ENOUGH TO EASILY OVERTURN THE CALL, the referees overturned the call (screwing the Eagles twice in 5 minutes) and Dallas retained possession.  That was the moment the game turned.  Dallas never looked back and the Eagles never seriously threatened again. Though the score was 0-0 after one quarter it was 27-7 after 2.  That’s right – the Eagles defense gave up 27 POINTS IN THE SECOND QUARTER.  Words really can’t describe how badly the Eagles were outhit, out-thought, and just generally outplayed.  The Cowboys knew the Eagles’ psyche was very fragile coming into the game and they showed no mercy.  Had the Eagles scored on their first drive of the 3rd quarter they might’ve been able to make things interesting.  But they didn’t and actually fell behind 34-7 before grabbing a too-little-too-late TD to Desean Jackson.  So sad to see a game that started out rather competitive dissolve into an abject disaster of a blowout.   Here’s the basic review:

THE GOOD – Nothing.  Absolutely nothing was good about this game.  But there are 2 not totally awful things I will remember;

  • Jeremy Maclin – 7 catches, 146 yards, TD. The kid’s a player.  He got better as the season wore on and I think he & Desean will come out like gangbusters next season.  Throw in a hopefully healthy Cornelius Ingram and a hopefully re-worked, rejuvenated, and HEALTHY offensive line and the offense might be even better next year.
  • Desean Jackson – Though he had his usual quiet game against the Cowboys (3 catches, 14 yards, TD), one play stuck out for me.  As the blowout raged on in the middle of the 3rd quarter, Donovan McNabb threw an INT to Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins.  As Jenkins attempted to return the INT, Desean caught him from behind and STRIPPED THE BALL, forcing a fumble which the Eagles actually recovered.  When a team is getting blown out as badly as the Eagles were at that point, you look for the guys who keep playing hard no matter the score – those are the guys you wanna go to war with.  With that play Desean proved he’s one of those guys.  He could’ve easily packed it in and given up, but that play told me everything I needed to know about him.  Not only has become one of the most dangerous weapons in the entire league, he’s more mature than people give him credit for.  Though few people will remember this play, his teammates surely will.


THE BAD – For the second straight week, I don’t know where to begin. Here are the lowest of the low:

  • The refereeing was atrocious.  23 penalties for 228 yards combined and I think the teams set a playoff record with all of that malfeasance.  HOWEVER, while the numbers show the Cowboys had more penalties called on them, most of those calls came late in the game after the outcome was never in doubt (a cynic – not me, I swear – might say they were of the “even up” variety so that the numbers wouldn’t look biased in favor of the home team).  The truth is that ALL of the early calls went against the Eagles to the point at which I had to ask whether Jerry Jones bought off the refs when he bought his stupid stadium.  Sheldon Brown’s pass interference penalty was VERY borderline and the Sean Jones INT-that-wasn’t should not have been overturned (especially when using the criterion that 50 drunk guys in a bar would need to agree that the call was wrong in order to overturn it).  Though the Eagles would probably have lost the game anyway, the refs certainly helped Dallas out early on.
  • 13 rushes for the Eagles, 35 for the Cowboys.  Enough said.
  • Didn’t think it was possible, but the Eagles offensive line actually played WORSE than they did in the Week 17 game.  Much will be made about McNabb’s performance but his line really gave him no help whatsoever in this game.  Demarcus Ware absolutely TERRORIZED him all day and while he bounced some of his passes, he never had consistent time to throw the football (which they were doing way too much anyway).
  • The inability of the offense to sustain any type of drive.  During the Eagles’ 6 game winning streak, they actually managed quite a few lengthy drives that took time off the clock, resulted in points, and gave their defense a nice long breather.  Against the Cowboys, the Eagles offense repeatedly failed to mount any type of drive and as a result, left the defense twisting in the wind.  No wonder Romo was so easily able to pick it apart 2 weeks in a row. 
  • The Defense in general.  Gave up at least 20 points in 8 out of its last 10 games (& that includes the 6 game winning streak).
  • The pass rush.  Anyone seen it?  Trent Cole is a great player (and the Eagles’ only 3 down lineman) but the Eagles will continue to waste his talent until they find somebody to consistently provide pressure on the QB from the other side of the field.
  • The linebackers.  Stewart Bradley tearing his ACL in training camp really did kill the defense this year.  The whole season was a revolving door of linebackers and schemes and the last 2 weeks against the Cowboys (much like last year against the Cardinals) exposed all of the holes.  Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott has a lot of work to do this offseason.


THE VERDICT: An ugly finish to the season.  But the fact of the matter is that right now the Cowboys are a superior team.  Yes, it makes me nauseous as hell to admit that but there’s no denying it.  Dallas straight up ABUSED & DESTROYED the Eagles 2 weeks in a row.  Romo is playing better than ever, they have a nice mix of run/pass on offense, and their defense is playing as good as any defense in the league right now.  On the defensive line Ware, Anthony Spencer, and Jay Ratliff get consistent pressure on opposing QB’s and as a result, they cover up a lot of the potential flaws in their secondary.  The Eagles offense stalled for 2 straight weeks against these guys, so they must be doing something right.  The Eagles should be ashamed of themselves for the effort they put out in Week 17 but the playoff loss will sting more because of the early season promise the Eagles showed.  Dallas exposed a lot of the Eagles’ flaws and now they have a whole offseason to figure out what the hell to do about it.

UP NEXT: Golfing and soul searching.  The Eagles have a serious problem on the defensive side of the football.  By my estimation they need at least 3 new impact players next year (a shutdown cover CB who’s over 6 feet tall and ACTUALLY TACKLES, a pass rushing specialist opposite Trent Cole, and a young LB who can stop the run effectively) to help fix it.  I’ll be doing an entire separate post on what I think the Eagles need to do this offseason so I won’t get too much into that now.  Looking back on this season though, it’s truly a shame that the Eagles managed to rip off a 6 game winning streak, finish 11-5, and yet are 1 and done in the playoffs.  But if you look at their schedule a little more closely, they beat a lot of bad teams.  Now while they have no control over that, they DO have control over how they play the good teams.  This year?  They beat one team that finished over .500 (a Falcons team that was missing half its starters when they played the Eagles, finished 9-7 & missed the playoffs).  So perhaps the Eagles weren’t quite as good as we thought/hoped.  A long offseason awaits (and a LOT of questions must be answered), but I fully expect the Eagles to be one of the best teams in the NFC next year.


4 Responses to “Eagles’ season DIES in Dallas”

  1. 1 MichaelJ
    January 18, 2010 at 7:24 AM

    ANyone have a video of that Romo faceplant yesterday?
    I need to watch it a few hundred times.

    Pls post!


  2. 2 King David
    January 18, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    Yesterday’s game just proves the Cowgirls had no place in the playoffs

  3. 3 The Gras'
    January 18, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    So glad to see Favre, Rice, and Jarred Allen blow up the Cowgirls and Tony Homo yesterday. It does not make up for the disaster in Dallas on the 9th, but it sure makes this Eagles’ fan fell really good.

    As for the Flyers, three letters…wtf? I mean, 4 straight wins, just to get shut-out by the LEAFS and blown up by that dirty Russian Ovechikin the following week? This team needs some stability…and perhaps Emery needs to get into another fight on the ice to bring back his moxi (you know he was an amateur boxer, right?). Prediction: Carter get traded before the deadline and the Flyguys pick up another defensemen to make up for the poor play of Timonen.

  4. 4 MichaelJ
    January 18, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    Romo Face Plant at around the 4:40 mark

    Enjoy !

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