THIS game could have been a turning point for this franchise. By itself it would have been just a win for a fluid first place spot. However, paired with beating a formerly undefeated team, a road win to take over first place would be impossible to ignore by either the national media or the Eagles Front Office. (More on that in an upcoming article.)
Last night’s 23 – 29 overtime loss to Dallas was a back and forth struggle, complete with lead changes, and a sudden end on a touchdown in overtime. If this shocked you or surprised you in any way, welcome to rivalry games in the NFC East.
Aside from our Defense holding Dallas to 4/14 on third down, there wasn’t a whole lot to write home about in this game. With the way plays were called on Offense, it felt like we had more of a hand in our loss, than the Cowboys could have hoped to have.
You’d think on a night when the Defense was getting the opponent off the field, that 74.4% passing accuracy and averaging 4.0 yards per run would be enough to win a ball game. You’d think that until you noticed the 4.6 yards per pass attempt/6.3 yards per completion that we floated out there.
But what about the stuff that the stats don’t reveal? That’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. To have an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that we’re forced to honestly answer questions AFTER the game.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) Hit the QB. We sacked QB Dak Prescott twice and hit him six times. Not the brutal beating I was hoping for, but the pressure was enough to unsettle him and make him not resemble the phenom that everyone wants to make him out to be. DONE
2) Lock down the run. The Cowboys went into last nights game averaging 161 rushing yards per game. Because of the 187 we allowed that average is now higher. Our DE’s DID NOT keep contain, and too often our DT’s allowed themselves to be washed down the line, which allowed Dallas’s straight line runners to pick up easy yards up the gut. NOT DONE
3) Settle the hash. TE Zach Ertz caught 4 balls for 19 yards but at no point was he really working the middle. I was glad to see a few Slant routes, but more has to be done to clear out space over the top, so our receivers can get the actual YAC (yards after catch) that the West Coast Offense thrives on. As for this game…NOT DONE
4) Run the ball. A LOT. 24 rushes to 43 pass attempts. Our leading rusher was RB Darren Sproles with 15 carries. Not exactly a “wear you down and work the clock” approach. RB Ryan Mathews was allowed to play for about 25 footsteps, during which time he scored on a 1 yard touchdown run. After that, he was placed back in Witness Protection. NOT DONE
This week’s score is a pathetic 1 out of 4. I say ‘pathetic’ because everything here is fundamental football. Our coaching staff is so in love with trying to show how smart they are, that they don’t prioritize the things that make teams successful over the long run. The good news? Next week we get a New York giants team that operates pretty much the same way.