Eagles

Instant Replay: Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 (OT)

Instant Replay: Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 (OT)

BOX SCORE

ARLINGTON, Texas – So close.

The Eagles almost left AT&T Stadium in first place in the NFC East, but faltered late in a 29-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in overtime.

With the loss, the Eagles (4-3) failed to rip first place away from the Cowboys (6-1), who haven’t lost since their opener against the Giants.

In overtime, the Cowboys won the coin flip and promptly drove 75 yards on 12 plays to win the game. The touchdown came on a 5-yard pass from Dak Prescott, who found time, to a wide-open Jason Witten. Witten had been quiet for much of the evening before that.

The Eagles had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter but allowed the Cowboys to come back and tie it with just over three minutes left in regulation.

With a tied game late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles had the ball twice and twice couldn’t move the ball down the field to score.

The Eagles had a chance to perhaps seal the game late in the fourth quarter when Malcolm Jenkins applied pressure and forced a bad Prescott throw. But Leodis McKelvin couldn’t pick it off. On the next play, Prescott hit Dez Bryant for a 22-yard touchdown to tie the game at 23-23.

The Eagles were able to overcome a somewhat scary first quarter and settled in to actually take a first-half lead. In the second half, they had a 12-play, 69-yard drive that took 4:10 and ended in a huge touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to Jordan Matthews. On that drive, they went no huddle, and it seemed to throw the Cowboys off.

On the ensuing drive, the Cowboys pulled a beautiful 30-yard fake punt run, but had to settle for a field goal. The Eagles responded with a big Josh Huff kick return and a field goal of their own.

Wendell Smallwood had a costly fumble on his first carry of the game, but the Eagles’ defense held the Cowboys to a field goal.

Caleb Sturgis made all three of his field goal attempts (30, 55, 34) and has now made his last 17.

Turning point
The final drive in overtime.

Key stat
The Cowboys went 75 yards on 12 plays to punch in the touchdown that won the game.

First half
The Eagles took a 13-10 lead into the locker room after Sturgis drilled a 55-yard field goal, the third-longest in team history. The big play that led to the field goal drive was Jordan Hicks’ interception in the end zone.

The Cowboys were driving when Hicks intercepted a Prescott pass in the end zone for a touchback. The Eagles then went 43 yards in eight plays to get into Sturgis’ field-goal range.

Sturgis started the scoring on Sunday night, too. After a defensive stop, the Eagles got the ball at their 38-yard line and drove into field for a 30-yarder.

On the ensuing drive, the Cowboys answered quickly. Prescott hit Bryant for a big 53-yard pass and the Cowboys scored their touchdown on a 7-yard run. The Cowboys went up 10-3 with a 38-yard field goal a little later.

The Eagles then got the ball on the Dallas 45-yard line and took nine plays and over five minutes (to give their defense a break) before punching in a short touchdown.

The Cowboys out-gained the Eagles 212-158 in the first half. Both teams had 11 first downs in the first.

Offensive stud
Darren Sproles continues to defy age. He was the Eagles’ most productive back on Sunday and he didn’t fumble. He also moved into eighth place in all-time all-purpose yards in NFL history.

Offensive dud
Nelson Agholor just doesn’t give the Eagles much. Never has. Maybe he never will.

Defensive stud
Hicks saved points with a huge interception toward the end of the first half. In his short career, he’s been a Cowboys killer.

Defensive dud
The Eagles’ run defense allowed Elliott to run over them during parts of Sunday night’s game.

Injuries
Bennie Logan (groin) and reserve linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (hamstring) were both inactive on Sunday night after being ruled out on Friday. Taylor Hart (ankle) was also inactive; he was questionable entering the weekend.

Left guard Allen Barbre (hamstring) left the game early and Stefen Wisniewski filled in for the remainder.

Up next
The Eagles are on the road again next week, but will need just a bus trip to head north to face the Giants in North Jersey. After that, they’ll return home for a game against the Falcons before a cross-country trip to Seattle.

5 Minutes with Roob: Josh Andrews still waiting on his chance 4 years later

5 Minutes with Roob: Josh Andrews still waiting on his chance 4 years later

In today's "Five Minutes with Roob," Reuben Frank chats with Eagles guard/center Josh Andrews:

Roob: Let's clear the air first. You're definitely not related to Shawn Andrews?

Josh Andrews: No, I'm not. No relation to Shawn Andrews at all.

Roob: So that's one positive. Do you get that a lot?

Andrews: I've got it a few times now, but no relation.

Roob: Alright well that's good to know. Now, you've got a really interesting story. You've been here four years now. Talk about when you came here in '14, were there a lot of teams trying to sign you out of Oregon State? How did that whole thing go?

Andrews: Went undrafted, about three teams tried to grab me, but felt like the best fit was for the Eagles and I've been here ever since.

Roob: It's really crazy because obviously, they like you. Obviously, Chip (Kelly) liked you. Obviously, Doug (Pederson) likes you. But you haven't had a chance to play. How do you balance being here, preparing like you're gonna play every week and not having gotten that chance yet?

Andrews: Just gotta have that mindset to get ready every week. That's how I've been since I've been here. My time is coming, I just gotta wait and do what's best for this team right now and keep us winning.

Roob: Now there was a really interesting thing on Tuesday, Jim Schwartz, without prompting, I don't know if you heard about this, he mentioned you as far as talking about how guys on the offense help the defense prepare. And he mentioned that you'll go to him and say, 'Hey we're figuring this out in running scout team.' Because you run scout team center or guard, I guess mainly center I would think. That's kind of unusual for a defensive coordinator to mention a scout team offensive lineman. What do you bring to him? What do you see from the first defense that can maybe help?

Andrews: Just blocking schemes you know, the way that they're ran. Say if (Fletcher Cox) needs help with something I'll be like 'I think this is the best way to go.' And it's been working. They've been getting home a lot this season and it's really been paying off for our defense.

Roob: How hard is it to not play?

Andrews: Man, it's tough. It's really tough. But just gotta keep going. I love playing this sport and I will continue as long as I can. 

Roob: I remember there was one game, I think it was 2015, where somebody got hurt and you ran on the field and then they didn't leave the game. 

Andrews: Oh yeah, that was against the Cowboys in 2015. Lane (Johnson) got hurt, pretty sure it was Lane. And I was about to go in and then he came back on the field. I was like, 'Ah man, that was my shot.' But, I gotta keep positive. Gotta keep that positive mindset. That's how I've been ever since I've been here.

Roob: Now you've actually been here longer than most of the team. (Jason) Kelce's a guy who's been here your whole time. What have you learned from being around him, watching him play, watching him practice?

Andrews: He's such a smart guy man. On the field, the way he just commands attention, the way he commands the offensive line is just impressive to see. I try to mimic that every time I step on the field. I've learned so much from him over these past four years and he's just a great player to learn from and be under. 

Roob: Now preseason games I guess are like your Super Bowl now, right? Cause that's your chance to play. What do those games mean to you? You're not playing a lot. A few of them you're playing a lot. But what does it mean to get out there and have a chance to play?

Andrews: It's gold man. That's everything for me right now. When I get a chance to get on that field, I give it all I got. I've done that ever since I've been here. That's just, like you said, my Super Bowl. Every time I go on that field I give it all I got. 

Roob: What's (offensive line) coach (Jeff) Stoutland meant to you? You've been around him a while now. 

Andrews: Great mentor. Great teacher. He's just been wonderful. He's really hard on us and it's for a good reason, to get us better and get us playing at a high level. That's the way he commands the player and I like that. 

Roob: What's special about this team now? You've been on some good teams and some bad teams since you've been here but you guys are rolling, 8-1, seven-game winning streak going into Dallas Sunday night. What do you like about the kind of vibe in this locker room?

Andrews: The vibe is awesome. Everyone's on the same page. Everyone's with each other. It's been really different from the past three teams I've been on. I feel like we're gonna go far with the team we got right now. 

Roob: Alright last question. Chip Kelly, do you think he's going to take the Florida job?

Andrews: Sheesh, I don't know. We'll see. That's a good question.

Carson Wentz's durability is his biggest strength

ap-carson-wentz.jpg
USA Today Images

Carson Wentz's durability is his biggest strength

Forget for a moment all the record-setting touchdown passes, all the dazzling third-down conversions and the highlight-reel red-zone heroics.

One of Carson Wentz's greatest accomplishments these last two years has just been playing football every Sunday. Being out there for his team without fail every week.

That alone puts him in an elite group.

Look around the league. Tyrod Taylor just got benched in Buffalo with the Bills in the playoff hunt. Trevor Siemian was benched just before the Broncos came to Philly. The 49ers benched Brian Hoyer a few weeks before facing the Eagles

Last we checked, the Browns have already benched DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan this fall.

Heck, even one-time Super Bowl winner Joe Flacco was benched by Ravens head coach John Harbaugh during a loss to the Jaguars.

We've been through all of that. That quarterback carousel. It never leads anywhere.

Wentz on Sunday night will start his 26th consecutive game. Every game the Eagles have played since opening day last year. He's one of only 12 quarterbacks who's started all his team's games over the last two years.

Elite quarterback play is huge for any football team, but quarterback stability is just as important. And Wentz is finally giving this franchise something it's lacked for much of the last quarter century.

Think about it.

From 1991 through 2015, a 25-year span, the only years an Eagles quarterback started 16 games were Donovan McNabb in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2008. And McNabb got benched in 2008.

From 2010 through 2015, the six years between McNabb and Wentz, the Eagles used seven different quarterbacks. Not only did the Eagles not win anything during that span, there didn't seem to be much of a future either. 

The Eagles were stuck trying to build a championship team without an elite quarterback. Which is almost impossible to do.

All of which led Howie Roseman to make the franchise-altering decision that the Eagles had to do anything possible, no matter how drastic, no matter how extreme, to get that guy and turn the franchise over to him.

That realization, that organizational decision and the series of trades that landed Wentz in Philadelphia guaranteed that the Eagles would have quarterback stability and a chance for sustained success for the foreseeable future.

Just by starting 25 games in a row, Wentz has done something no Eagles QB had done since McNabb started 31 straight from opening day 2003 through Week 15 of 2004. With the No. 1 seed locked up, he didn't play the last week of the season.

McNabb started 51 straight games from midway through 1999, when he replaced Doug Pederson, through Week 10 of 2002, when he broke his ankle against the Cards (but threw four touchdowns anyway).

And along with those two McNabb streaks and streaks by Ron Jaworski and Randall Cunningham, Wentz's run of 25 starts is already the Eagles' fifth-longest since Norm Van Brocklin started 36 straight from 1958 through 1960.

You've probably already picked up on the fact that the Eagles' greatest periods of success in the NFL's modern era — the 1960 championship and the 1980 and 2004 Super Bowl appearances — just happen to coincide with periods of tremendous quarterback stability.

And maybe very soon we can add another era to that list.

Just by being out there every Sunday, Wentz has separated himself from most quarterbacks in the NFL.

Of the 12 QBs who've started every game since opening day last year, only six have a career winning record. And of those six, only Wentz and Dak Prescott — both 24 — are under 28.

They'll meet for the third time Sunday night in Dallas, and whatever happens, both franchises are in good hands for the foreseeable future.

For the Eagles, these are heady days. Wentz is having an MVP season and Roseman and Joe Douglas have surrounded him with a deep and talented roster.

An entire generation of quarterbacks — Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer — will be retiring in the next few years. And most of the young QBs lining up to replace them are unproven. Even guys like Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson will be in their mid-30s in five years.

How many NFL teams know who their quarterback will be in, let's say, 2023? The Texans with Deshaun Watson, the Rams with Jared Goff, Marcus Mariota in Tennessee and probably Jameis Winston in Tampa. And the Eagles and Cowboys. Anybody else?

Most NFL teams are in a constant search for that elite quarterback. Not around here. Not anymore.

The most important question facing almost every NFL team is one the Eagles won't have to even think about for a decade.