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Eagles vs. Cowboys Week 8: 13 winners, losers, and I dunnos

Thanks I hate it

NFL: NOV 01 Cowboys at Eagles Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Winners

No

I will not. I refuse.

Travis Fulgham

Okay, fine. Fulgham is the best receiver in Philadelphia since Mike Quick. THAT’S IT.

The 5 Seed of the 2020 NFC Playoffs

Whoever you are, congratulations on making it to the divisional round.

Us

The best part about the bye week is not watching your favorite team win football games — a famously agonizing experience.

Losers

Carson Wentz

Inarguably the worst game of Wentz’s season. Never has Wentz been a greater liability to his team than he was against the Cowboys, turning the ball over four times to an effete defense, panicking at the simplest of reads, and failing to account for his awful play with the usual accompanying high value plays. Wentz’s only impressive throws against Dallas were vertical contested catches to Fulgham, that say more to the trust he has in Fulgham’s talent, and the coaching staff’s inability to create any throwing windows on actual route concepts, than any particular accuracy or playmaking from Wentz.

The Eagles have escaped bad Wentz play against the Giants and Niners, and to a lesser extent the Bengals, while wasting some of his better games against the Steelers and Ravens with defensive struggles. Their record could be a lot of different things right now, but one thing is for sure: their quarterback play would have led to a loss against most teams tonight. Thank goodness it was just Dallas.

Doug Pederson and the offensive coaching staff

Name one thing the offensive coaching staff has done well through eight games of the season? The deep passing game is no better; no incumbent players have improved; Wentz has taken multiple strides backwards; they have no idea how to generate chunk plays or sparks in mid-game lulls; they have no offensive identity. The fresh ideas that many requested after the stale offenses of 2018 and 2019 are disjointed with the base offense, as Wentz’s depth of target remains shallow, YAC remains limited, and deep passes remain prayers to bad players.

More so than anything else, the issue in Philadelphia is that the coaching staff doesn’t know what to do with their quarterback. What are his strengths, and how does the offense build around those strengths? They are giving him a simpler and simpler passing game with each passing week and don’t have an answer for his floundering under pressure. This is a bad coaching staff right now, and that starts with Pederson at the top, who hasn’t been his typical aggressive self, has made questionable in-game choices, but don’t worry! He still has trick plays.

Jalen Hurts

He should have gotten his first snaps at true QB this week. Shame, that.

Nate Herbig/Matt Pryor

It was a pretty rough day for the Eagles’ guards, even with a solid running game going. Both Pryor and Herbig can move people in a straight line, but neither has the agility to pull, climb to the second level, or critically, pass protect. The Eagles absolutely cannot afford to entertain Jason Peters’ left tackle delusions after the bye week: he must move to guard, and hopefully Isaac Seumalo can also return from injured reserve. A line of Mailata - Seumalo - Kelce - Peters - Johnson is as good as it will get this year.

Greg Ward

Ward is a fun guy to root as a clearly rosterable WR, but it’s time we stop pretending he’s more than Target 4, probably Target 5 behind Boston Scott in the current offense. He had three catches for 10 yards and a pretty critical drop today; despite having the longest tenure of all the active WRs with Carson Wentz, he doesn’t really have any chemistry that Jalen Reagor or Fulgham don’t have. He’s just a guy, and with only average return ability, he doesn’t have great special teams utility, either.

John Hightower

All but one deep John Hightower target has been a total waste. Field stretchers are inherently volatile role players, of course, but Hightower is lucky to track the football to a catchable position, and even if he gets there, does not have consistent hands. He’s only getting a few targets a game, of course, but with Reagor returning to the lineup, he should bite into those routes and targets.

Remember when he was a steal in the fifth round? It turns out players make it to the fifth round for a reason.

Dallas Goedert

No Zach Ertz; no problem. Dallas Goedert has always been a threat as a receiving tight end, and with Ertz target-hogging unavailable, Goedert had — ...Goedert had one catch on two targets?

If Jalen Hurts at 53 feels useless to you, man, the Eagles spent a Top-50 pick on a TE2 that apparently they aren’t going to feature when he’s the TE1. Makes no sense to me at all.

The whole offense

Wow, would you look at that? That was literally everyone.

I Dunnos

Fumble Recoveries

The universal law of referee balance owed the Eagles one after their woeful 2018 “no clear recovery” play, but Vinny Curry could not have more clearly had the fumble recovered on review. The fact that the play was not overturned is almost as stunning as the fact that the referees didn’t whistle the play dead altogether, which was their sin on the 2018 fumble in the first place. I officially don’t know how fumble recoveries work.