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Eagles Finishing Woes Continue In Bitter Loss To Cowboys


Darren Sproles #43 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Ron T. Ennis / TNS)

Darren Sproles #43 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Ron T. Ennis / TNS)



If Philadelphia Eagles fans weren’t worried about their offensive playmakers, they will be now. Especially after the rival Dallas Cowboys rode theirs to a 29-23 overtime victory Sunday night in Arlington.

RB Ezekiel Elliott had 148 all purpose yards and was a thorn in the Eagles side most of the night. WR Dez Bryant had four receptions for 113 yards and the game tying touchdown. It’s hard for fans not to salivate at either of these guys, despite the rivalry.

The first iteration of the Carson-Dak Bowl goes to the home team. QB Dak Prescott looked incredibly shaky at times but helped bring his team back from a ten-point deficit, finishing with 287 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He completed just half of his throws, but led a strong drive in overtime, culminating with the game winner to TE Jason Witten.

Carson Wentz threw for 202 yards and a touchdown and played decent enough to win, but drops and some questionable play calls led the Eagles to their third loss of the season. The Eagles found themselves up by three at the end of the first half after kicker Caleb Sturgis connected on a 55-yard field goal. Wentz hit WR Jordan Matthews on a 5-yard touchdown pass to take the lead to 20-10.

Suddenly, Coach Pederson took his foot off the gas and went ultra conservative. He started to coach scared, playing not to lose instead of stepping on the Cowboys throats when he had the opportunity. They never tested the Cowboys safeties at all, except for a trick play by WR Josh Huff that Matthews should have done a better job to catch. Whether it’s due to the coaching staff’s lack of trust in the receiving unit or just rookie coach jitters, it doesn’t matter. The team is 4-3, and each of their losses were avoidable.

The team’s traded field goals before Bryant’s 22-yard game tying touchdown with three minutes left in the game, but Eagles fans could feel the tide turning well before the Cowboys tied it up. It’s a feeling that’s been all too familiar in the fourth quarter this season. It wouldn’t be a 2016 Eagles loss without a 4th quarter running back fumble. RB Wendell Smallwood fumbled the ball on the first play of a drive that the Eagles hoped would push the lead past two possessions. Call the team young for their inability to close games, but really it boils down to coaching, or the lack thereof. At least they’re consistently losing the same way.

Pederson chose to punt the ball instead of kicking a 54-yard field goal, after Sturgis crushed a 55-yarder to end the first half. The Cowboys immediately took the ball down the field and tied the game up.

“Where we were in the game, the defense was beginning to kind of catch their legs and had some momentum,” Pederson said. “We had stopped them and we were stopping the run game. Outside of the first quarter, we were doing a great job in the run game. So I was trusting my defense in that situation, and to pin them back inside the 15 to make them drive the length of the field, I felt real comfortable in that decision. I went back again today and looked at [kicking a field goal instead of punting], and I felt doing the math on everything, and you burn two timeouts possibly in that situation, you might get the ball back with about 15 seconds and one timeout to go 30-35 yards to kick the field goal, but I was relying on the fact that our defense was playing extremely well at the time. We were starting to put pressure on Dak those last couple of possessions they had, and I was fully confident in our team going into overtime that we were going to win the game.”

It’s great that even after doing the calculations, he stood firm in his genius decision to not kick a long field goal after his kicker had just made a shorter one. Even worse, he chose to sit on his hands at the end of the fourth instead of using his timeouts to give his team a shot to win at the end of regulation when the defense had held the Cowboys. Timeout issues aren’t exactly a shock to the fan base, as Pederson clearly learned from the clock management maestro, Andy Reid. Pederson has coached his way out of three wins this season, a trend that cannot continue.

WR Nelson Agholor went off after being asked about his drop after the game, a red zone play that stalled a drive, because it’s completely unreasonable to ask a young millionaire that’s nicking a living about a play that happened in his game.

“I don’t give a damn, man, that s— is nothing,” Agholor said. “You just have to make the next one. Everybody runs routes. Sometimes they are contested. Sometimes you drop them. If you make as many as you possibly can that come your way, you’ll put yourself in a good position.”

“No one is perfect. I don’t look at no drops, or that type of s—. I’m tired of hearing that s—. It’s just stupid. We play football. I dropped the first one. I didn’t drop one after that. What does it matter? Because if we lose, then it’s like we’ll place blame on this person did this. No. As a team, we have a responsibility to win football games and I get it, some plays could have helped. But there are still four quarters of football to be played and we got to win. I don’t got time for that no more. I got time to win football games, only. No statistics, no who did this. Win, that’s all that matters. That’s what coaching staff cares about. That’s what I care about. That’s what we all care about, winning football games.”

Poor Nelson. He can be upset all he wants. But people are straight up scarred from the fact that he’s a first round pick and can’t get any separation at all. Drops aren’t his problem. He very rarely has looked like an NFL receiver, let alone a first round talent.

Crucial drops and mistakes continue to damn the Eagles but an old friend has reached out for help. WR Terrell Owens was asked on Twitter about returning to the team to shore up the receiving corps, to which he replied “Available.” The sick part is that even at 42, he’d be an upgrade over what they’ve got. The Eagles are simply better off pulling a trigger on a trade for a receiver, because it’s doubtful the team can be trusted in drafting another receiver at this point.

The Cowboys (6-1) extend their division lead to two games and the Eagles drop down to third place. The Cowboys travel to Cleveland to face the Browns in a cupcake game, and the Birds head to East Rutherford, NJ to face division rival, the New York Giants. The Eagles remain winless in the division.

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