Eagles

Eagles use dominant second half to blow out Cowboys

Eagles use dominant second half to blow out Cowboys

ARLINGTON, Texas — There was no fiery halftime speech. There were no lineup changes. There weren’t even any major adjustments. The Eagles went into the locker room Sunday night at halftime flat and rusty. They came out unstoppable.
 
“It shows we're resilient,” Carson Wentz said. “We knew coming into the locker room at halftime that we left a lot out there. We knew that we're much better than that and we had to go execute. It shows that we have a lot of believe in each other and we can get the job done.”
 
The Eagles couldn't do much right in the first half and couldn't do much wrong in the second half.
 
"We were positive," guard Stefen Wisniewski said after the Eagles had finished off a 37-9 destruction of the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium (see Roob's observations). "No one is going to get our heads down.
 
"We know we’ve got a lot of talent on this offense. It’s one of the best offenses in the league. Even if someone slows us down for a little while, we’re not going to panic. We’re just going to keep believing in what we do, keep swinging, just keep believing it’s going to work and it did.” 
 
First half: They scored seven points.
Second half: They scored 30 points.
 
First half: They gained 115 yards.
Second half: They gained 268 yards.
 
First half: Their running backs gained 25 yards
Second half: Their running backs gained 202 yards.
 
A different team.
 
“We just decided to run the ball,” Lane Johnson said.
 
“The first series (of the game), we ran the ball and got a touchdown. Then we got away from it a little bit. We came out the second half and ran the ball right at ‘em, and they didn’t have an answer.”
 
The Eagles outscored the Cowboys, 30-0, in the second half, turning a two-point deficit into their eighth consecutive win. At 9-1, the Eagles have not only the best record in the NFL but a four-game lead in the NFC East with six games to go.
 
This was the first time in franchise history the Eagles have scored 30 second-half points after going into halftime trailing. It’s only the fifth time they’ve scored seven or fewer first-half points and 30 or more second-half points (see breakdown).
 
“We were kind of a little bit asleep in the first half,” Jay Ajayi said. “We woke up in the second half, got to our run game and just dominated after that.”
 
The Eagles finished the first half with five straight drives that netted five yards or less. They opened the second half with touchdown drives of 75, 90 and 85 yards.
 
In the first half, the Eagles didn’t have a running play longer than seven yards. In the second half? Ajayi had a 71-yarder, LeGarrette Blount had a 30-yarder and Corey Clement had an 11-yarder for a TD.
 
The Eagles’ backs averaged 3.1 yards per carry before halftime and 8.4 after halftime.
 
“We just had to stay relaxed," Clement said. "We knew the game plan that was worked up by coach (Doug) Pederson was going eventually pan out."
 
Wentz didn’t have a huge day, but he didn’t need one (see report card). In the second half, he was 7 for 9 for 88 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions and a couple two-point conversion passes.
 
“We were just off a little bit in the passing game (in the first half),” head coach Doug Pederson said. “You could see a little bit of the frustration with (Wentz). I just keep talking to him and saying, 'Hey we just have to keep with the game plan. Trust the game plan. Trust the guys. We'll get this thing fixed,' and (he) just did that.
 
“Just kept shooting. Kept dialing up throws. Wanted to get him on the edge a little bit, so we moved the pocket some. That also can help the quarterback get in a little bit of a rhythm but just stayed the course.”
 
How rare is it for the Cowboys to lead a game at halftime and then allow 30 or more second-half points? It's now happened four times in franchise history.
 
The last time the Cowboys were shut out for a second half while allowing 30 or more points? It was 1962.
 
“The biggest thing was just staying with the game plan,” Wentz said. “They made plays and we didn't later in that first half. We just had to stay with what we knew what we could do. Execute better and stay out of some of those 3rd-and-long situations."
 
Maybe it had something to do with the bye week. The Eagles sure opened the game like a team that hadn't played in two weeks.
 
"I hate using the term rusty, but we weren't playing up to our ability in the first half," Johnson said. "Came back in the second half and just dominated."

Nightmare confirmed: Carson Wentz has torn ACL

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Nightmare confirmed: Carson Wentz has torn ACL

The nightmare was confirmed Monday by Doug Pederson: Carson Wentz is out for the season with a torn left ACL.

There was thought to be a chance Wentz avoided the worst-case scenario when he was involved in a collision in the end zone late in the third quarter of Sunday's win in Los Angeles, but the Eagles now face the reality of a playoff run without their superstar QB and leading MVP candidate.

More coming ...

Carson Wentz injury more proof Philly fan paranoia is real

Carson Wentz injury more proof Philly fan paranoia is real

Woe Is Us.

“The sports gods have something against us.”

“These refs are out to get us.”

“We always go up against the hot goalie.”

“Things are going too well, something bad is going to happen.”

Admit it, if you’re a Philadelphia sports fan, those words to some degree or another have come out of your mouth more than once. True, you could probably apply those paranoid rants to most sports cities. But today, you, the Philadelphia sports fan, have every right to feel like there’s a higher power conspiring against you.

Carson Wentz's injury is not a gut-punch, it’s a haymaker that just connected clean on the jaw and down went the Eagles' Super Bowl hopes. With Wentz under center, the Eagles were capable of beating any team. With Nick Foles, a playoff win or two is surely possible. The Birds have overcome serious injuries this season. Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks and Darren Sproles were major losses for this team, and to the players' and the coach’s credit, they have been able overcome them.

But with all due respect to those guys, including future Hall of Famer Peters, this is different — 57 years of championship futility went to 58 with 3:53 left in the third quarter last night in Southern California when Wentz's left knee got crunched.

Things were just too perfect. Second year, MVP-front-running quarterback, tough defense, head coach proving all the naysayers wrong, leading his team to the best record in the conference. A bye, home-field advantage, Minnesota here we come. Finally putting an end to the “How many rings do you have?” discussion. Dare to dream. It was all setting up too perfectly ... then boom.

If you grew up here or have lived here long enough, you bare the scars of Philadelphia’s sports past. Whether it’s the Phillies' collapse in 1964, Black Friday, Bernie’s eye, Leon Stickle, the Sixers up 3-1 in 1981, Randall’s knee in 1991, Joe Carter, JVR over Patrick Kane, Ryan Howard’s Achilles ... and that's just to name a few. The list could go on and on and on. The Philadelphia sports fan's paranoia is not unfounded. And here is yet the latest, shining example.

To be blunt, Wentz has brass balls. We didn’t need to see him stay in the game for four additional plays after his knee injury Sunday to know that. He stands in the pocket with defenses bearing down on him like no quarterback I’ve ever seen. His fearlessness is perhaps the greatest attribute of his many. He’ll dip his shoulder and take off out of the pocket like a running back. He’s strong enough to shrug off a would-be sack in the pocket and make an incomprehensible play. But the courage comes with a price and the bill came due. And you know what? It sucks. Only in Philadelphia can you have the irony of winning a wild road game with a backup quarterback against a really good team while clinching the division title ... and yet you’re somehow left feeling deflated.

It’s not easy being green, as Kermit The Frog once said. Truer words have never been spoken.