The Eagles fell to the Cowboys 29-23 in OT.
After looking like the best running back on the team last week in extremely limited duty, Sproles looked like a starting running back on Sunday, gaining 86 yards on 15 carries, relegating Ryan Mathews to backup duty.
Eagles run defense
This was a big concern going into the game, especially with Bennie Logan out. After five straight games where Ezekiel Elliott had at least 134 yards and at least 4.7 yards per carry, the Eagles shut him down. Elliott finished with 96 yards on 22 carries for just 4.4 yards per carry. He broke out a few long runs, but mostly was stopped for short gains.
Dez Bryant beat Nolan Carroll for two big plays, but when he was up against McKelvin, he struggled. McKelvin’s importance to the secondary has been seen whenever he’s had to miss time, and on Sunday it showed with is play on the field.
The Birds lost a game they should have won through bad play calling and bad hands, handing Dallas a clear division lead. At the end of the season we may look back on this game and say it cost them the division or the playoffs.
This was Pederson’s worst game of his young career. He declined to kick a 53 yard field goal despite Sturgis hitting a 55 yarder with ease earlier in the game (twice if you consider the first attempt that didn’t count) to improve to 3 of 3 on the season from 50+ and 7 of 9 under Dave Fipp. Special teams have been really strong this year, Pederson should have had faith in them.
He also kept his timeouts in his pocket late in the fourth quarter that would have given the Eagles the ball back to end the game with a chance to win if he had used them. Maybe they would have still lost, but Pederson never tried to find out.
And his play calling was questionable at best. There were too many WR screens, by the third quarter the Cowboys knew they were coming and easily stopped them.
A bad game all around in a big game by Pederson, who put his team in position to win and then took it away, and could have done so again but never tried.
Eagles skill position players
Pederson’s struggles wouldn’t look so bad if he had anyone Carson Wentz could reliably go to. Nelson Agholor is beyond useless, Josh Huff might be better off as a running back, and for every good play Dorial Green-Beckham had, he had a bad play. The next defender Zach Ertz makes a move on will be the first. It’s hard to get an offense going when the skill position players keep failing.
Non-Carson Wentz Hands
Late game fumbles aren’t just Ryan Mathews’ problem. Wendell Smallwood fumbled in the fourth quarter, and four plays later the Cowboys kicked a field goal. Jordan Matthews dropped a gimmie. Nelson Agholor dropped a first down and possible touchdown on 3rd down. Dorial Green-Beckham dropped passes. The only saving grace in the hands department was Carson Wentz somehow holding onto the ball while being sacked from behind late in the game. Get the man some help, he’s earned it.