Had the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, the Birds would’ve been playing to win the NFC East in Week 17. The Eagles received the necessary help from both the New York Giants and Washington Football Team losing on Sunday.
But the Eagles failed to take care of business on their end. Philly blew a good start that saw them jump out to an 11-point lead. The defense faltered and the offense sputtered en route to a loss to officially eliminate the Eagles from the NFC playoff picture.
Final score: 37 to 17.
The Eagles are now 4-10-1 on the season with one (meaningless) game left to play.
Read on for observations and postgame thoughts.
- The Eagles received the ball first. Jalen Hurts had Jalen Reagor open over the middle and underthrew him but there was a defensive holding penalty for a first down. Two Miles Sanders runs went for another first down. Sanders got hit late out of bounds for another Cowboys penalty. Two nice runs from Hurts moved the Eagles into the red zone. The Eagles got to 3rd-and-3 from the 10-yard line and Sanders ran up the gut to set up 1st-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Hurts evaded pressure and bowled over Jourdan Lewis for a TOUCHDOWN! Or not because he actually stepped out at the 4-yard line. Ugh. Too bad because that was a grown man TD run. No matter, though, because Sanders easily took a third down carry for the touchdown. Great opening drive. Also: touchdown Panthers! EAGLES 7, COWBOYS 0.
9 runs, 2 passes on the Eagles’ 75-yard opening TD drive against the Cowboys.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 27, 2020
- The Cowboys’ first offensive play from scrimmage was Andy Dalton hitting Amari Cooper with Marcus Epps trailing for a 35-yard gain. Michael Jacquet got called for pass interference and the Cowboys moved into the red zone. Vinny Curry sacked Dalton to bring up 3rd-and-14. Dalton’s third down pass fortunately went incomplete with the refs missing multiple holding penalties on Dallas. The Cowboys settled for the 35-yard field goal attempt from Greg Zuerlein. EAGLES 7, COWBOYS 3.
- Hurts rolled out right and threw deep to an open DESEAN JACKSON for an 81-yard touchdown! Oh baby. Welcome back, DJack. And nice deep ball on the money from the rookie quarterback. Refreshing to see the offense make a big play like that! And another Panthers touchdown to put Carolina up by 13 points! EAGLES 14, COWBOYS 3.
That was DeSean Jackson's fifth receiving TD of 80-plus yards -- tied for the most in NFL history with Jerry Rice, Lance Alworth, Bob Hayes and Derrick Alexander, according to ESPN Stats & Information.— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) December 27, 2020
- The Cowboys went three-and-out.
- The Eagles went three-and-out after three Sanders runs. Didn’t love Doug Pederson’s decision to run on 3rd-and-4. Put the ball in Hurts’ hands!
- Jacquet got called for another penalty, this time defensive holding, while he gave up a first down to Michael Gallup. Cowboys were clearly going after the Eagles’ undrafted rookie free agent cornerback.
- In bad news for the Eagles, Dalton hit Gallup for a 21-yard touchdown. Just way too much space there. In good news for the Eagles, the Panthers took a 20-0 lead over Washington. EAGLES 14, COWBOYS 10.
- Boston Scott fumbled the Cowboys’ kickoff and the Cowboys recovered. But the Eagles got a HUGE break with C.J. Goodwin being out of bounds while he recovered to give possession back to Philly. Still, probably time to get Scott off kick returns. Been a bad year for special teams. The Eagles got to 3rd-and-1 and Hurts kept a read for a 20-yard run. Such a big deal for this offense to have that mobility. The offensive line did a great job of giving Hurts an eternity to throw to find a wide open Travis Fulgham (hey!) for another first down into Cowboys territory. False start on Matt Pryor (the ref actually said “We’re gonna do 69”) set the Eagles back to 3rd-and-14. Hurts threw the ball away on third down with nothing there for him. The Eagles brought in Cameron Johnston and his punt went out of bounds at the 23-yard line. Really sweet 17-yard net there ... not. Terrible punt.
- A 55-yard catch-and-run by Gallup moved the Cowboys into goal-to-go territory. Rudy Ford (!) knocked a running Dalton out of bounds for a loss. Mike McCarthy decided to be a coward and attempt a 20-yard field goal instead of going for the touchdown. Lol. Big break for the Eagles. EAGLES 14, COWBOYS 13.
- The Eagles got to 3rd-and-9 after Sanders got tackled for a loss (and fumbled out of bounds) on first down. Hurts hit an open Greg Ward for a first down, nice play call by Pederson. Pederson with another good play call on what looked like a designed run for Hurts but was actually a pass to Dallas Goedert for a first down. Hurts overthrew Reagor (bad route?) in the end zone on 3rd-and-4 to bring up a 38-yard Jake Elliott attempt, which he made. Phew. EAGLES 17, COWBOYS 13.
- The Cowboys drove to the Eagles’ 26-yard line and took their final timeout with 0:23 remaining in the first half. The Cowboys got to the 7-yard line with a sick tiptoe sideline catch by Gallup. Dalton gave Gallup another chance in the end zone and it was a touchdown. Jacquet was just getting picked on. EAGLES 17, COWBOYS 20.
- The Eagles were set up to attempt a Hail Mary throw from their own 47-yard line but Pryor false started again. The Eagles instead attempted an underneath catch-and-run and Reagor had blockers in front of him but couldn’t break free from a defender.
Vilma: “[Jalen Reagor] had 5 blockers in front of him and he just got tackled.”— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 27, 2020
- CeeDee Lamb burned Nickell Robey-Coleman for a 52-yard touchdown. Too bad the Eagles couldn’t have traded up to draft that guy. EAGLES 17, COWBOYS 27.
Eagles view Nickell Robey-Coleman as a top 5 slot CB https://t.co/QESKSfzRvd— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) June 30, 2020
- The Eagles went three-and-out with Hurts pressured into a throwaway on 3rd-and-3. Probably needed to go for that even though it was at Philly’s own 32-yard line. Impossible to trust an under-manned defense.
- The Cowboys started from their own 17-yard line. Cooper caused Jacquet to fall at the line of scrimmage and took off for a 69-yard reception. Not so nice for the Eagles. Cooper dropped a would-be touchdown to bring up 3rd-and-goal. On third down, the Eagles put Jalen Mills on Cooper and Dalton’s throw went incomplete. The Cowboys brought in the field goal unit for a 21-yard field goal. McCarthy’s cowardice kept the Eagles hanging around. EAGLES 17, COWBOYS 30.
- Hurts scrambled around and found an open QUEZ WATKINS down the field for a 43-yard gain. Nice creation from the rookie quarterback. Hurts got blindside strip-sacked by Randy Gregory but Jordan Mailata was able to recover the ball. On 3rd-and-20, Hurts threw high to Sanders in the flat for an incompletion. The Eagles punted from the Cowboys’ 42-yard line and Dallas took over at their own 15-yard line.
Jalen Hurts up to 5 fumbles through his first three starts.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 27, 2020
- The Eagles’ defense actually forced a three-and-out!
- Philly’s offense took over at their own 37-yard line, their best starting field position of the game. On 3rd-and-5, it looked like Hurts could’ve thrown to Sanders for a first but he ran out of bounds instead to bring up 4th-and-3. The Eagles tried to run a hard count to draw the Cowboys offside, and it didn’t work, because that almost never works. How about just run a play instead? Really bad stuff from Pederson. Unless Hurts was to blame for that one? Then a really bad mistake by the rookie. Either way, bad! The Eagles punted.
- Darius Slay came up with an INTERCEPTION (gasp!) to become the first Eagles cornerback with a pick since Sidney Jones in Week 17 last year. About time!
- Nice Sanders run was negated by holding from Pryor, his third penalty of the game. Then Zach Ertz got called for a false start to bring up 2nd-and-18. Hurts’ second down pass was batted at the line.
- Isaac Seumalo was called for a false start to bring up 3rd-and-23. So sloppy. Hurts threw to Ertz, surely a dynamic tackle-breaker, to bring up 4th-and-15. On fourth down, Hurts threw to Ertz again way short of the sticks for a turnover on downs. Terrible. Zero points despite starting at the Cowboys’ 28-yard line! And Pederson was willing to go for it on 4th-and-15 but not 4th-and-8?
- The Cowboys ran some clock before punting.
- Hurts threaded a nice throw to Alshon Jeffery along the sideline. Rookie has nice touch. The Eagles drove into the red zone and Hurts tried to take off running up the middle but ran into a sack. Then Hurts threw it away to bring up 3rd-and-12. On third down, Hurts ran left and forced a ball into the end zone that was easily picked off by Anthony Brown to effectively seal the game and season. Welp.
- Brandon Graham sacked Dalton to bring him two sacks shy of his 10-sack goal. Also forced a Cowboys punt.
- Hurts aired it out to Jeffery, who drew a 43-yard defensive pass interference penalty. Sadly one of the best things the Eagles offense has going for them. Hurts took off running and fumbled and it looked like he might’ve been down but there wasn’t conclusive evidence to overturn. Welp. I actually think it was the right call since the ball was moving before his knee was fully down.
- Zeke broke off a big run to put the Cowboys around midfield. Lamb took a carry for a 19-yard touchdown. Fitting nail in the coffin. EAGLES 17, COWBOYS 37.
The Eagles are about to be the first team eliminated in one of the worst divisions in NFL history.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) December 28, 2020
When you look to the future, where fo you start with this team? Lack of talent and depth. Terrible contracts. Lack of discipline. Roster that gets gashed yearly by injury. NFL is a year-to-year league, but it is hard to see easy road back to relevance for #Eagles.— Matt Leon (@MattLeon1060) December 28, 2020
- Hurts was picked off in garbage time on another forced throw.
FINAL SCORE: 37 to 17, Eagles LOSE
- Big win for those on #TeamTank! Eagles loss ensures the Cowboys won’t be ahead of Philly in the 2021 NFL Draft order!
- The Eagles aren’t going to the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season.
- This team is in really bad long-term shape. At least Howie Roseman will totally be able to fix the mess he’s created.
- Bad game from Doug Pederson. Too conservative: had that three-and-out with three runs, lacked fourth down aggression. Players were undisciplined, way too many pre-snap penalties. Offense failed to produce capably against the defense allowing the most offensive points per game in the NFL.
- Jalen Hurts’ final numbers: 21/38, 342 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 70.7 passer rating. 8 carries for 61 yards. Hurts started strong but faded in his worst game since replacing Carson Wentz as the team’s starting quarterback. Fumbling continues to be an issue with Hurts now up to six in three starts. Just looked like a rookie out there.
- What the heck happened to DeSean Jackson after his touchdown? Was never seen from again.
- Jim Schwartz is going to get a lot of heat after this game and it’s not totally undeserved. Also hard to expect a shutdown performance with the defense being so under-manned. Still, obviously worse than you’d like to see.
- Michael Jacquet looking like less of a potential answer at CB2, huh?
- Marcus Epps got banged up late in the first quarter. Grayland Arnold came in for him as the first team free safety. Epps later returned.
- Fletcher Cox (stinger) left the game late in the first quarter and did not return. Came into the game with a neck injury and didn’t practice during the week. Not ideal with the Eagles also being without Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat.
- Shaun Bradley (stinger) got hurt in the second quarter.
- Dallas Goedert (calf) got hurt early in the fourth quarter.
- Jordan Mailata (head) was evaluated late in the fourth quarter.