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Eagles Evaluation: A Tough Fight and A Tough Loss

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By Gia Lanci, Sports Talk Philly Staff

The Eagles had a divisional matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas. The Eagles were searching for a win to fight for a spot in the playoffs. It was a must win game for the Birds. Dallas has been on a hot streak, beating the Saints the previous week. It is going to be a tough game for the Eagles.

Drive One (Defense)

  • The return was fumbled on the first play of the game after Malcolm Jenkins forced the fumble. The referees said it was unclear who had recovered the ball after the fumble, so it stayed Cowboys possession of the ball. However, it was very clear that there were no Cowboys players in the vicinity of the ball. A blown call by the refs.
  • The ball was run up the middle and the front line was able to get the stop. Then the ball was run toward the side and Sidney Jones tackled the runner immediately. Sidney Jones also had good coverage on the next play, forcing an incomplete pass intended for Amari Cooper. This forced a three and out.

Drive Two (Offense)

  • Josh Adams had a good run for eight yards that started off the first offensive drive of the game. The ball was carried again but lost yardage.
  • Zach Ertz received the ball from Wentz. That gained a first down on a slant route. Ertz can run that slant route all day.
  • Josh Adams stiff armed the defender and was able to get away from him. He carried the ball for 24 yards with assistance by Golden Tate, who had a great block on the play.
  • Sproles was pitched the ball but only gained a few yards. The blocking in front of him needed to be there to allow him to get further down field.
  • A pass was overthrown to Dallas Goedert. That was completely Wentz's fault. He needed to wait just a second longer to get the timing right.
  • Wentz was sacked by Gregory. He held the ball too long, and the offensive line was unable to hold their men long enough. This forced the punt.

Drive Three (Defense)

  • Elliott ran the ball right up the middle and gained 13 yards. He was stopped by Nathan Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill, but after he already ran for 13 yards. They know he is an offensive powerhouse, so I am not sure why they don't prepare to have better coverage on him.
  • Dak was able to get rid of the ball while Michael Bennett was in the process of sacking him. It was good Bennett got there, but it was also a good play by Dak. If Bennett got to him just like that again, I'm sure Dak would not be able to make the same play.
  • Elliott ran right through the defenders. Malcolm Jenkins flung off the back of him and Rasul Douglas was able to get the tackle in the secondary.
  • The defense needed to get to Dak and put pressure on him. As the pressure was coming onto Prescott, he threw it to the tight end. There were a few defenders surrounding him, who got the tackle after the throw was already completed.
  • A pass was thrown to the receiver, and Sidney Jones could not get the coverage on him to prevent the pass. He has been struggling throughout this game.
  • Kamu Grugier-Hill was able to come from mid-field and stop the runner because Sidney Jones could not get the tackle because he was blocked. It was good that Grugier-Hill was able to be there. If he was not, the runner could've went way further.
  • A huge pass was thrown way down field that was overthrown. Rasul Douglas had a face mask penalty that pushed the Cowboys up 15 yards.
  • Elliott carried the ball and Nathan Gerry got the stop. They must tackle Elliott earlier than that if they want to stop the offense.
  • The Cowboys were in the red zone. A pass was thrown, and Fletcher Cox had a personal foul penalty for hitting Dak that pushed them up half the distance to the goal.
  • Michael Bennett sacked the quarterback and was completely untouched. Jim Schwartz need to realize it is essential to pressure Dak and shake him up just like Bennett did.
  • A pass was thrown into the end zone, but Sidney Jones had good coverage on the intended receiver, forcing the incomplete pass.
  • Nigel Bradham got the stop on the receiver and Brandon Graham assisted in sealing the deal. They attempted a field goal which was made.

Drive Four (Offense)

  • Corey Clement returned the ball for 36 yards. This gave the Eagles a great starting position. The blocking by Shelton Gibson, Deondre Hall and Tre Sullivan was the reason he was able to have such a good run.
  • It was a bad snap to Wentz and he bobbled it, but Clement had excellent concentration and it was bobbled into Clement's hands. They did not get to the line of scrimmage, but it could've ended very badly. Clement was injured on this play.
  • It was third down and Wentz threw a big pass intended for Golden Tate. It was inaccurate and overthrown. Apparently, Wentz is unreliable in those big pressure moments or maybe even throwing the ball for more than ten yards.

Drive Five (Defense)

  • During the punt, there was an offensive holding call that pushed the Cowboys back to the eight-yard line.
  • Elliott ran up the middle and Grugier-Hill had the immediate halt and Elliott had no gain. It was a great stop by Grugier-Hill on the play. He talked trash before the game and brought it onto the field.

Second Quarter

Drive Five (Continued)

  • The pressure was coming onto Dak by Michael Bennett, but he was able to move around and escape it and throw the ball away. The receiver caught the ball and Malcolm Jenkins was able to stop him.
  • Elliott made a 20-yard run. He weaved in and out of the defense. Rasul Douglas was able to get the tackle eventually in the secondary. They cannot allow him to even get to the secondary. The secondary is so banged up, so he will get all the way down field if they can't get to him before that.
  • The blitz was coming onto Dak and he knew it, so he threw the ball away quickly. The ball was thrown to a wide open receiver because the defense was attempting to blitz.
  • After the ball was caught, Rasul Douglas came up to the receiver and got the tackle. He has stepped up and made some decent plays. He is the one that is the biggest improvement since he was forced to step up because of the injuries on the defense.
  • Corey Graham got a huge stop on Elliott to force a third down.
  • LeBlanc was beat out by Cole Beasley, who caught a really nice ball. LeBlanc was on him, but was not quick enough. He was only brought up from the practice squad a few weeks ago. It is difficult to put him in these situations when he is expected to make huge plays and he is just not ready.
  • Rasul Douglas intercepted the ball in the endzone. It was a bad pass by Dak. Rasul Douglas was right in front of the intended receiver and the ball was right in Douglas' hands. This is his second interception this season.

Drive Six (Offense)

  • Carson Wentz scrambled and was just able to get back to the line of scrimmage.
  • A short pass was thrown to Alshon Jeffery who gained eight yards. This is the first time this play has been made the entire game. The play calling needs to be better. They need to use more variety of their offensive weapons. Gaining just a few yards each play is alright and how they will get down the field.
  • Wentz attempted a run/pass option, but he decided to run the ball and tripped. It was a poor play call on third down with one yard to go.

Drive Seven (Defense)

  • Elliott ran the ball again because the defense cannot stop him, so they are just going to continuously use him. He ran right up the middle and Bradham was able to grab on him but did not get the full stop. Corey Graham got the tackle coming up from the secondary. Elliott ran again and Gerry and Hester were able to get in front of him and stopped him right away. There was no gain on the play.
  • The ball was thrown short to a receiver in the middle. Malcolm Jenkins saw the pass coming but could only get there in time to tackle him
  • Smith carried the ball and gained 14 yards. When he got into the secondary, Graham got the tackle.
  • A huge pass was thrown to Amari Cooper who was wide open. Graham was way too deep and too far away to make a play on Cooper. This gained 27 yards. Dak also had way too much time to throw the ball. The pressure needed to be brought onto him and Graham should not have given that much space between himself and Cooper.
  • Elliott carried the ball and Fletcher Cox stopped him before he got to the line of scrimmage. It was a great stop by Cox. He needs to make more of those big plays.
  • At the Philadelphia 28-yard line, the Cowboys attempted a short pass that only gained one yard. Then they attempted a 45-yard field goal. The Cowboys kicker missed the field-goal. Good job by the Eagles defense to only hold them to a field-goal attempt.

Drive Eight (Offense)

  • Wentz threw a short pass to Agholor, who ran for seven yards. Jason Kelce was reported injured on this play.
  • A pass was thrown to Ertz for nine yards. Wentz took way too long to throw the ball. The offensive lineman were protecting him to give him that time, but Wentz has consistently been taking too much time in the pocket. Another pass was thrown to Ertz that gained 12 yards.
  • Carson Wentz was sacked in the pocket. He fumbled the ball and the Cowboys recovered it. Jason Peters was the one who was unable to protect Wentz when he could not hold back his man. Then he stood there and watched Wentz fumble the ball, and the Cowboys recovered it. Wisniewski, who came in for Jason Kelce, watched the ball roll into the Cowboys pile, too. It was a very messy play by many people on the Eagles offense that resulted in a turnover.

Drive Nine (Defense)

  • A pass was attempted to Beasley on the Cowboys own 38-yard line, but it was incomplete. Then Malcolm Jenkins halted a run after a catch of a short pass.
  • Elliott ran right up the middle, again, and the secondary had a lot of space between them and him. Because of this, he gained nine yards.
  • Rasul Douglas had good coverage on the receiver, but he still could not prevent the pass only got the tackle after the catch.
  • With only 14 seconds left in the second half, a pass was incomplete by Dak. He threw another incomplete pass that forced a field-goal attempt. The field-goal attempt was for 62-yards. The attempt was good.

Third Quarter

Drive 10 (Offense)

  • After a touchback, Wentz attempted a pass to Ertz, but he was well covered and could not go anywhere.
  • Josh Adams carried the ball. He was barely used in the first half. I am not quite sure that I understand why he was only used a few times. He had no gain on this play.
  • The pass was incomplete to Ertz from Wentz. The defense is starting to realize that Wentz wants to throw to him consistently and that they should have good coverage on him.
  • A three and out happened for the first drive of the second half.

Drive 11 (Defense)

  • Amari Cooper receives the ball. He was one on one with Bausby, so Cooper beat him out. Bausby obviously is not ready to be covering top offensive players like Cooper. He did not even have a lot of space between him and Cooper, and he still could not get to him. This gained the Cowboys a first down.
  • Elliott trucked through defenders but was only able to gain five yards because of Nigel Bradham.
  • A skinny post route was run by the tight end. Bausby had good coverage on him, but he was beat out. The route created a quick opening which allowed him to catch the ball. After the catch, Bausby had a good tackle on him.
  • A pass was thrown that gained 22 yards. It was a play/action play. Because of it, the defense started to move up towards the line, which left the receiver open in the secondary. It took the secondary a while to get to him. This allowed him to gain big yards into the red zone. It was a nice play by the Cowboys.
  • An incomplete pass was thrown intended for a receiver in the endzone. LeBlanc had good coverage on the receiver and stayed with him. He also did a good job of not getting a pass interference call.
  • The defense was able to hold the Cowboys back here. On second down, Ngata and Bradham had a conjoined tackle on Elliott, who ran right up the middle. It was a great team effort. On third down, Dak carried the ball but had no gain because of Jenkins and Sullivan. This forced them to attempt a field-goal that was made.

Drive 12 (Offense)

  • After a touchback, Josh Adams carried the ball and was only able to gain a yard. The ball has been run at the wrong times. The play calling is just not what it needs to be. That is why their drives have not been as successful as they hoped.
  • A pass was thrown to Jeffery that gained 11 yards. Wentz is only able to make these short passes. If that seems to work, those quick slant routes with a short pass need to be run more often.
  • Another short pass was thrown to Ertz that gained seven yards. See my note about the above short pass.
  • They had no huddle, then Wentz passed the ball to Agholor, but it was incomplete. So far, each time they have done a no huddle play, it has not worked. Wentz threw an incomplete pass earlier this game when they did not huddle.
  • He threw another incomplete pass. This forced a punt.

Drive 13 (Defense)

  • Cox sacked Dak on the first play of the drive. He was able to drive back the offensive lineman and get to the QB. They need to put more pressure on him like this.
  • Corey Graham intercepted the ball that was a pass intended for Gallup. The pass was over the intended receivers head. It was right in his hands, and he ran it back to the four-yard line. Great play by Graham.

Drive 14 (Offense)

Drive 15 (Defense)

  • After a touchback, Nigel Bradham got the stop on Elliott. The next play was Elliott carrying the ball, and Bradham had a really good hit, but Elliott snaked his way out of it. Then, Chris Long hit him again and he came down. Even though it was a great hit, Bradham did not wrap up completely which made him not be able to complete the hit. Elliott gained five yards from this.
  • Elliott gained one yard on the next play because of Bradham and Jones getting a conjoined tackle. They needed two defenders to stop Elliott.
  • A pass was thrown to a wide-open receiver in the secondary. Two defenders standing around him who barely got the tackle, but could not prevent the pass. There was too much separation between the defenders and Cooper, so he was able to get away from Jenkins but got tackled by Douglas. Once again, they needed two defenders to stop Cooper, as well.
  • Hester was coming after the quarterback. He was chasing him but was not fast enough to catch him. It was a good play to put pressure on Dak, that forced him to throw it away.
  • Brandon Graham came out of nowhere and wrapped up Elliott's legs while he was running. He only gained two yards. I don't even think Elliott saw Graham.
  • Dak was sacked by Michael Bennett, who knocked the ball out of his hands. It was then recovered by Brandon Graham. Bennett was able to go right around the offensive lineman to hit the quarterback. Great play by the Eagles defense. This is the second drive in a row for the Eagles defense that ended in a turnover.

Drive 16 (Offense)

  • The ball was tossed to Goedert who gained a quick six yards on the play. He is a reliable player for Wentz and I think they should use him more. He is able to gain yardage after the catch, which is important in a lot of situations.
  • Wentz scrambled up the middle and gained one yard.
  • On fourth down, they decided to go for it. Bold move. It was a short pass to Sproles, who gained 25 yards. Great play call by Pederson. Sproles is able to be quick and make those big plays with pressure.

Fourth Quarter

Drive 16 (Continued)

  • Another incomplete pass was thrown by Wentz. He really cannot throw an accurate pass with good timing.
  • A pass was thrown to Tate, who gained seven yards. Now they are getting into using a variety of their offensive weapons.
  • They are able to get into the red zone but have a tough time getting into the end zone. On first and goal, a short pass was thrown to Jordan Matthews, who gained six yards. A decent play by Matthews.
  • Smallwood carried the ball but only gained three yards. I am not sure why they tried to use Smallwood when they have Josh Adams and they barely played him throughout the game. They did not take advantage of their run game in this game.
  • On third down, Wentz attempted to pass the ball to Ertz, but it was an incomplete pass by Wentz. Ertz had a defender right on him who denied the pass. It was a poor read on the play by Wentz. It could've been a pick six if the defender turned around a bit earlier.
  • A field-goal was made by Jake Elliott. This tied the game.

Drive 17 (Defense)

  • A tackle was made immediately by Grugier-Hill on Elliott. The defense struggled in the first half on getting to Elliott, but now they are able to foresee the play and prepare to get the stop.
  • Sidney Jones missed a huge tackle on Elliott. He was there to hit him after the catch but did not wrap up and Elliott was too powerful and got through him. Elliott gained more yardage and Graham and Grugier-Hill came in and got the conjoined stop. However, on this play, the call was made that Elliott lowered his head and went helmet to helmet with Corey Graham. They were pushed back 15 yards.
  • Sidney Jones had good coverage on Amari Cooper, but, when the ball was thrown, he fell and Cooper caught the ball and ran a good route. Jones actually had pass interference on Cooper. The penalty was declined because they already got the first down. Sidney Jones needs to step up. He has been consistently missing tackles.
  • A big hole was made that allowed the runner to run right up the middle. When he got into the secondary, they were there and ready and got the stop. He should not even have gotten into the secondary.
  • A pass was thrown to Amari Cooper. Cox was putting pressure on Dak, but he was still able to throw the ball away accurately to Cooper. Cooper beat out Sidney Jones in his route to catch the ball. They put Jones on him because he was a reliable corner, but recently he cannot keep up with his man. Maybe his injury has affected him.
  • A huge 28-yard pass was thrown to Amari Cooper. Sidney Jones was beat out and could not stay with Cooper. Jones stayed with him for most of the route, but did not turn his head around to see when the pass was coming.

Drive 18 (Offense)

  • After a touchback, Adams attempted to carry the ball and lost a yard. The run game just did not work against the Cowboys defense in this game. That is what won us the game the last few weeks.
  • A short pass was made to Jeffery, who gained just five yards. They need to take their time and just gain a few yards each play to get down the field.
  • Wentz threw another incomplete short pass intended for Golden Tate. The pressure was being put onto Wentz quickly so he had to get rid of it. The defender made a good play on Golden Tate with good coverage to slap the ball out of the air in front of Tate. This forced a three and out.

Drive 19 (Defense)

  • Elliott carried the ball up the middle and Michael Bennett pushed him back four yards behind the line of scrimmage. Great tackle made by Bennett.
  • Jones played aggressive coverage on Cooper that forced an incomplete pass.
  • A huge pass was thrown down field to the receiver, but it was overthrown and incomplete. Luckily for Sidney Jones, it was incomplete, because he had too much space between he and the intended receiver to prevent the play. They had a three and out.

Drive 20 (Offense)

  • The pressure was coming onto Wentz, but he got rid of the ball to a wide-open Alshon Jeffery, who was able to get his way to the first down marker with a defender on his legs. Good play by Jeffery. The protection for Wentz by the offensive line was great. They gave him the time to throw the ball accurately.
  • A pass was thrown down field to Goedert, who was also well covered. The pass was perfectly placed and synchronized for him to make the catch.
  • The offense got inside the 10. Josh Adams carried the ball for six yards.
  • A nice pass was thrown to Dallas Goedert for a touchdown. It was a great route by Goedert who was able to beat out a defender, Smith, and get open for the touchdown pass.

Drive 21 (Defense)

Drive 22 (Offense)

  • After a touchback, a pass was thrown to Dallas Goedert who ran the ball for 75-yards. There was an offensive pass interference call on Goedert that nullified the touchdown. It was a ridiculous call. The collision he made while he was running he was just trying to get away from the defender. That is what he is good at: gaining yards after the catch. This arguably cost the Eagles the game.
  • Wentz was sacked, but it was a roughing the passer call. It really was just a call by the refs to make up for the bad call on Goedert.
  • A pass was thrown to Jeffery where he got the first down and ran out of bounds to stop the clock.
  • Wentz got sacked again. Darren Sproles tried to block the defender coming onto Wentz but could not hold him. The offense looks shaken up and weak.
  • Nelson Agholor caught a 42-yard pass and just was able to keep his feet in. Incredible athletic ability by Agholor to catch the ball with a defender on him and stay in bounds.
  • They got into the end zone by a short pass to Sproles who split the defenders and got right in to score on a crucial drive. Mighty Mouse is definitely back.

Drive 23 (Defense)

  • The defense really has to step up.
  • A short pass was thrown and Rasul Douglas has a good tackle to stop the receiver from going anywhere.
  • They did not huddle, and a short pass was thrown to Cooper and he was only able to gain eight yards because of Tre Sullivan.
  • Two incomplete passes were thrown by Dak. On the second pass, Brandon Graham comitted a holding penalty that gave the Cowboys a first down.
  • The Cowboys were able to make quick plays that gain just a few yards, and the defense was unable to stop them.
  • Dak fumbled the ball then quickly jumped back on it and was tackled by Malcolm Jenkins. The defense needs to be more aware of what is going on and take advantage of the offense’s mistakes.
  • As the clock ran out, Dak took too long to throw the ball and Cox and Bennett had a conjoined sack on the quarterback to end the half and make the game go into overtime.

Drive 24 OT (Defense)

  • The ball was carried by Elliott, and Bradham and Grugier-Hill both attempted to get to him, and, even though they did, he gained eight yards.
  • They used Elliott again, and he ran right up the middle for a first down and more. Malcolm Jenkins got the tackle since he ran through everyone else. They need to be aware that they are in a crucial position to score, so Elliott is going to be used in a lot of situations.
  • A pass was made to a receiver in the secondary, and Corey Graham was on him but could not prevent the pass.
  • Elliott carried the ball up the middle, and Bausby had a great stop on the play that allowed him to only gain one yard.
  • Fletcher Cox sacked Dak. These plays putting pressure on Dak needed to happen all throughout the game, because once you get to him, he gets shook up.
  • A short pass was thrown to Cooper, who then ran for 12 yards. Graham was on him but could not stay with him. It seems like overall, whoever is on Cooper cannot keep up with him.
  • They kept on using Elliott b,ut LeBlanc and Bradham were ready for him and got the stop when he ran right up the middle.
  • As they moved down field, they got into the red zone with just those short gains by Elliott. On second down with five yards to go, Fletcher Cox and Michael Bennett stopped Elliott and made him loose three yards.
  • Rasul Douglas was covering Cooper, and he left too much space between them. The pass was thrown and Douglas read the ball well, jumping the route. Unfortunately, it was deflected off of his hand right into Cooper's hands and he ran into the end zone. This ended the game in overtime.

Game Notes

  • The Eagles fought hard. On both ends there were great plays and some mistakes.
  • There were too many three and outs for the offense, and they only were 1/9 on third down.
  • There were some blown calls made by the refs, but that is no excuse because there were so many opportunities for the Eagles offense.
  • The play calling was weak and did not use enough variety. They tried to pass the ball so much when Carson could not accurately throw a pass. They just could not execute, which cost them the game.
  • The defense really did step up. For them being so banged up, the leaders on the team made big plays at big moments. Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Michael Bennett, Nigel Bradham and Malcolm Jenkins had some really great moments. They really shined throughout the game.
  • The secondary is still so young, but Rasul Douglas did have a good game although the last play was rough. Sidney Jones really needs to step up because he is expected to make big plays because he is a veteran, but he could not keep up with Amari Cooper, just like the rest of the secondary.

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