The Eagles' performance tonight did little to silence the critics who call the Eagles offense an "all or nothing" unit. Last week, they hit their big plays against the Giants and won in blowout fashion. Tonight, the big plays weren't there and they lose a slow, grinding game to the Cowboys by 4. The defense wasn't great by any means(particularly the tackling), but the story of this game is once again the inconsistency of the Eagles defense. There were dropped passes, poor throws from McNabb, inconsistency up front, inability to convert short yardage... It was many of the same problems we saw in the loss to Oakland. I'm not exactly sure what to do with this offense other than just pray the good Eagles show up on a given week.
That said, we've seen this script before. The Eagles drop the early game to Dallas and then beat them in December when the pressure is on. How many Decembers in a row have we seen this? Hopefully the Cowboys enjoy their midseason win while they can. Round one to you guys, the decisive round comes in week 17.
The Eagles don't have any time to dwell on this one. A very tough game is looming against San Diego. That's a cross country trip against a decent out of conference opponent. Those aren't games the visitors win very often. Unless it's against the Giants I guess...
I've got a few more thoughts after the jump
Peters shows his worth
Gotta give credit to Jason Peters who absolutely owned DeMarcus Ware tonight. Ware made a few plays when Peters was off the field, but when he came back Ware disappeared. It got so bad that Dallas actually started lining up Ware on the other side to get him away from Peters. Solid job tonight by the $60 million man. I also have to give him credit for coming back after what looked like a very nasty play. A defender rolled up on his leg from behind, which we've seen led to torn ACLs all too often. Peters missed a few series, came back, and dominated.
What is the point of replay?
No one should take this as me blaming the refs. No doubt the Eagles had plenty of opportunities to win this game and have only themselves to blame. But how on earth did the refs see nothing on that McNabb sneak play? The camera angle was clear as day, the ball was clearly ahead of where they marked it... and yet the ruling on the field stands? What didn't they see? I'd love to hear an explanation of exactly why they felt that ball was spotted correctly.
David Akers came to play
If you were going to point out a positive tonight, one easy one would be David Akers who surprised just about everyone in the game thread by kicking FGs of 45, 48, and 52. Akers has been very hit or miss from beyond 40 for a while now, but for tonight at least he was back to his old self.
Can the Eagles ever get a big play at the end of a game?
Maybe it's late and I'm just not remembering correctly, but does it seem like the Eagles never make a big play at the end of a game? It just seems like every time the offense needs to make a drive or the defense needs to get a stop, they just fall short. The defense needed to stop the Cowboys once at the end of this game to give the offense a shot and couldn't do it. Now, I do give the defense some leeway considering they played decent overall and were without all 3 of the LBs they were supposed to start the year with. After Akeem Jordan was injured on the previous kickoff the only starter in the LB corps was Will Witherspoon, who only joined the team a couple weeks ago. It left them pretty exposed to the run and short pass, which is exactly what Dallas did to get the couple first downs they needed.
Every Eagles win this year has come pretty much in blowout fashion. This was the first really close game they've played all year. Last year, they won exactly one game where the final score was within at least a TD. That was the 20-14 win over the Giants which was only within one score was because the Giants scored a TD with under 2 minutes left. The Eagles lost 6 of their 7 games that were within one score last year. This year, they're 0-2 in games decided by one score. In 2007, they were 4-7 in close games. There definitely seems to be an issue there.
Some timeouts at the end would have been nice
As the previous paragraph said, it probably wouldn't have mattered that much if the Eagles could have stopped the clock at the end of the game... but still, their margin for error was very small with no timeouts. I suppose whether you're upset about this depends on how you felt about the challenges. Reid lost both and used another timeout somewhere than I don't even remember. I thought the first challenge was pointless, but I would have thrown the flag on the second one myself.