Someone, Anyone, Please stop the Bleeding! Jeff Lurie, Are you there? Did you see YOUR team’s performance in an elimination game vs. your rival with a chance to play for the Division Title next week in your house? For the sake of the Philadelphia Eagles fan base and their sanity, I sure hope you did. The Philadelphia Eagles walked into Dallas guns blazing with a fantastic start. This was short-lived as they quickly ran out of bullets and ended up getting humiliated by their division rival, losing 37-17, and being the first team eliminated from the playoffs in the worst division in NFL History. Let’s recap the ugly events of yesterday’s game and breakdown the Eagles performance.
First Half: Eagles Start Strong
The Eagles showed up ready to take control of their destiny to play for a division title next week. The offense started very well. Philly marched down the field very quickly and scored on their opening possession to grab an early 7-0 lead. After a Cowboys field goal, Jalen Hurts found DeSean Jackson deep for an 81 yard touchdown to take a commanding 14-3 lead in the First Quarter. Is this happening? Are the Eagles going to blow the doors off Dallas today? Pump the brakes…
JALEN HURTS TO DESEAN JACKSON. 81-YARD TOUCHDOWN. #FlyEaglesFly
— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2020
The 2nd quarter begins with Dalton connecting with Michael Gallup on a 21 yard dart to cut the deficit to 14-10. The momentum started to shift in the Cowboys direction. Dallas and Philadelphia would trade field goals as we reached the two-minute warning. One defensive stop, and Philly could walk into the half with the lead. In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend.” The Cowboys put together a perfect two-minute drill going 75 yards and finishing the drive with a 7 yard reception to Michael Gallup over the heavily abused Michael Jacquet. Cowboys take control and lead the Eagles at halftime, 20-17.
Second Half: Are the Eagles Still Here?
The Cowboys received the ball to start the second half and looked to build off their late surge momentum in the first half. The Cowboys showed no signs of slowing down as Andy Dalton found rookie CeeDee Lamb for a 52 yard touchdown. This gave the Cowboys a commanding 27-17 lead over the Eagles. Next possession, Philadelphia suffered another quick 3 and out. Dallas goes 80 yards on the following possession, highlighted by a 69 yard catch and run, taking Michael Jacquet out of his shoes. Fortunately for Philadelphia, the drive stalled at the 3 yard line. Zuerlein splits the uprights on a 21-yard kick to extend the Dallas lead to 30-17.
Amari Cooper gets movin' for 69 yards! #DallasCowboys
— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2020
The Eagles offense looked horrendous throughout the 3rd quarter with two consecutive punts. The defense needed to make a play, and Darius Slay came to the rescue. He swiped a big interception to set the Eagles offense up in excellent field position. The offense trotted on the field, hoping to change momentum, but that was furthest from reality. Miles Sanders had a very nice run to get in the red zone, but Matt Pryor was flagged for holding. Then, the Eagles commit consecutive false start penalties. The Eagles faced a 4th and 15 from the 32-yard line. Kick the field goal, Doug! No way, Jose. Doug sends the offense out to go for it, and they complete an 8 yard reception to Zach Ertz. Cowboys take over possession and control of this game. Let that sink in for a minute. 4th and 15… 8-yard route…It makes absolutely no sense!
Final Quarter: Eagles Show Signs of Life
The 4th quarter is underway, and the Eagles defense rises from the dead to force a Dallas punt to regain possession. The Eagles offense shows signs of life as they march down the field into the red zone. However, Jalen Hurts throws a costly interception into traffic at the goal line. As the defense starts getting their act together, the Eagles offense is unraveling in the second half.
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) December 28, 2020
The Eagles defense forces another punt, and the offense has another opportunity to get points on the board. The first play is a 43 yard Pass Interference penalty that puts the Eagles in the red zone with just over 4 minutes remaining. On the ensuing play, Jalen Hurts scrambles up the middle and fumbles as he’s tackled. The replays show that his knee may have been down, and they go to a booth review. You can be the judge of the play as you can look below at a video of the NFL Officiating’s explanation of the call. The booth review rules in favor of the call on the field, and the Cowboys take over possession. Dallas would add another touchdown on end-around by CeeDee Lamb. The Eagles suffer an ugly defeat by the score of 37-17 and elimination from the NFL Playoffs.
The offense came out firing on all cylinders! The first possession was excellent. Doug clearly was dedicated to running the ball, and they moved down the field relatively easily. Miles Sanders had a few good runs, and Jalen Hurts turned his designed runs into chain movers. Hurts showed a lot of guts on the lunge into the end zone that was eventually called back for stepping out of bounds. The rest of the offensive performance was very lackluster. Outside of the 81 yard TD reception to Desean Jackson, the offense stalled out and was unimpressive.
There are severe issues on the offense. Let’s start with the penalties. False starts and holding penalties really killed a possession towards the end of the 3rd quarter. 6 False starts throughout the game are inexcusable. We’ve heard some rumblings about the rhythm of the cadence with a new QB, and blah blah blah. Listen to Tra Thomas break it down for you:
— Tra Thomas (@72TraThomas) December 28, 2020
The turnovers killed the Eagles yesterday. Three turnovers all occurred in and around the red zone. Argue the fumble all you want (I will argue with you), but the fact of the matter is that Hurts needs to hold onto the football regardless. The second half was rough for the Eagles offense. They had the ball in Dallas territory on 6 different occasions. ZERO points were converted on those drives. The results of those drives include 2 punts, a turnover on downs, 2 interceptions, and a controversial fumble. The offensive line struggled in pass protection, the wide receivers struggled in getting seperation from defenders, and the QB was careless with the football. The bottom line: The ENTIRE offense needs to improve for the Eagles to be successful.
DEFENSE WAS EMBARRASSING
The defense was terrible yesterday! Yesterday marked the second week in a row the Eagles defense allowed 500+ yards of offense. They allowed three different plays of 50+ yards. You’re not going to win many games that way. The Eagles secondary was torched all day. Any player in the Eagles defensive backfield not named Darius Slay was utterly overmatched. Michael Jacquet was tasked with being the Corner Back opposite Slay, and he was picked on all day by Andy Dalton. Jacquet allowed 7 catches on 9 targets for 182 yards. Once Fletcher Cox exited the game with a neck stinger injury, the defensive front could not develop any pressure on Andy Dalton. The Cowboys moved the ball up and down the field with ease yesterday.
While the Eagles have been eliminated from postseason competition, they still have another game to play next week against the Washington Football Team. The Eagles have the opportunity to play spoiler next week and cost Washington a chance at the division title. The coaching staff receives one last look at evaluating Jalen Hurt before they enter the off-season.
Management will have a huge decision to make for the immediate future of the organization. Will the Eagles hand the keys over to Jalen Hurts, permanently? Or will the organization give Carson Wentz a chance to regain the drivers seat in the Eagles offense? Staying with the offense, Doug Peterson can provide the young receivers some extended playing time to evaluate who will be in the future plans for the Eagles organization. The NFL flexed Next weeks Eagles vs Washington game to Sunday Night Football. Philadelphia will end the season in Primetime on NBC with coverage beginning at 7 pm.
I saw a video yesterday that was very bothersome to me. I’m sure that if any Eagles fan saw this video, they would be just as infuriated as I am at watching it. The video I’m referencing is the Miles Sanders post-game presser. Below is the video. Skip to the 11-minute mark, and listen closely.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Did he just say they weren’t “Locked in”? How can these guys not be locked in for a game against your division rival with an opportunity to play for a division title next week? That’s pathetic. Changes need to be made ASAP! The coaching staff is responsible for getting this team up for a game of this magnitude, and if they fail to complete that task, the coaches have lost the players. Time to Clean House! Doug, we’ll always be indebted to you for helping bring Philadelphia its first Superbowl, but all good things come to an end. Paging Mr. Jeffery Lurie! It’s time for a change. Wipe out the front office, coaching staff, and start over. This is the right time for a new philosophy in the organization. New leaders, new motivators, and a new mindset going into 2021. As always, Go Birds!