SUNDAY 8:30 AT & T Stadium Arlington, TX
PICTURE a ragged man dragging a sledgehammer across concrete. Picture a bloody man on his back shimmying away as fast as he can; hand out-stretched, eyes wide, words that won’t form between gasps of breath. The raggedy man with the hammer, still suffers from a wound given to him weeks ago while fighting the bloody guy, but he will not be stopped by mere pain. His eyes, his face, conveys his singularity of purpose.
In that fight, the bloody guy was ripped open. Weeks later that wound still won’t stop spurting. The bandages (Weeden, Cassel) haven’t helped. He’s weak. He’s dying. He knows it. And now the man with the sledgehammer is looking to finish the job. The bloody guy’s head touches a wall behind him. There is is no where else to go. There is nowhere left to run.
Ask any Cowboys fan and they’ll tell you the loss of their starting QB is why they’re in the 5 game tailspin they’re currently in. The hit that sealed the Cowboys fate was delivered by Eagles rookie ILB Jordan Hicks. So in a very real sense, it was the Eagles that ruined, that ended, the Cowboys 2015 season back in Week Two.
And this weekend, with just one more swing of the hammer…we will make it official.
FS Walter Thurmond has as many interceptions (3) as this weeks opponent. In seven games this team has stolen 11 passes, which puts us on pace for 25 when the year ends. That’s not an earth-shattering number, but with our spotty pass rush, it’s at least something to hang our hats on while we tighten everything else up. By everything else, I mean the pass rush, the 4.0 yards per rush we allow, and the 64% completion rate allowed.
These are the type of numbers that sub .500 teams put up. Oh wait, we’re 3 – 4 now. So yeah, we need to get this fixed. The sack production (7) from our starting Defensive Line is better than it’s been in years, but there’s been a massive drop-off in production (8) from everyone else so far. In a passing league that also has to get fixed.
Luckily for us, this week the NFL has lobbed us a softball, underhand. This is perfect time to experiment and see what works for when we start seeing real teams again.
Even with last week’s Bye, the Eagles are in the middle of the pack as an Offense. That’s due in part to the actual use of RB DeMarco Murray and employing some basic power elements which not only benefit Murray but also RB Ryan Mathews. Now if only QB Sam Bradford would get around to getting rid of the ball sooner, we might be able to break out and scare some teams.
In the meantime we’ll put up points in our usual “off and on” manner. We score enough points to stay in games, but it would be nice to be able to put together four quarters of high octane ball for a change. It’s a good system our coach has brought here, we just don’t have the top-shelf talent to run it anymore, since our GM gave it all away.
Statistically this is one of the better teams in the league. Those stats also tell you that they suck at forcing turnovers. In fact, the only thing they do worth a damn, is rush the passer. Everything else, (4.1 ypc allowed, 65.8% completion rate allowed, 3 picks all year far) they suck at. All those statistical rankings…we’re talking about a paper tiger here.
Matt Cassel‘s QB rating is over 40 points lower than the rating of starter Tony Romo and 33.6 points lower than Brandon Weeden whom Cassel replaced. QB is a downward spiral for this team. Well at least they can lean on their run game.
Did I mention that they just cut the guy who was their Week One starter and their current leader in rushing TD’s? Oh yeah and also their long run leader. And their yards per carry leader. He’s been replaced with a brittle and less explosive player as the Cowboys are now staking it all on former Raider RB Darren Mcfadden.
Under no circumstances should the Eagles lose this game. Both teams have issues, many of which are similar, but the bottom line here is that the Cowboys are just a bottom feeder team this year. They probably would find themselves being blown-out by some college teams. (Alabama springs to mind.) There’s nothing the Cowboys can do to save themselves. This week the hammer falls and the with it so does one fourth of the NFC East.
EAGLES 28 – Cowboys 18