Eagles-Cowboys: Roob's 10 Observations

Eagles-Cowboys: Roob's 10 Observations


ARLINGTON, Texas -- So this is what 9-1 looks like. Not a bad view of the rest of the NFL up here.

The Eagles won their eighth straight game Sunday night, bouncing back from a 9-7 halftime deficit to clobber the Cowboys, 37-9 (see breakdown).

That was a serious whooping the Eagles put on the Cowboys in front of their home crowd. Let's break it down with our 10 Observations.

1. When people were panicking at halftime, I tweeted this out: "Nobody is going to blow out every team they play. Even the best teams face adversity, find themselves in tough spots. Let's see how the Eagles respond. They've been pretty good at it so far this year." And, man, I love the way the Eagles responded Sunday night. As bad as they looked on offense for most of the first half, they regrouped at halftime and came out and opened the second half by reeling off TD drives of 75, 90 and 85 yards. They outscored the Cowboys, 30-0, in the second half, outgained them, 268-99. This team knows how to finish people off. And they know how to handle a little adversity. Something special going on here.

2. Specifically, Carson Wentz really did a tremendous job gathering himself at halftime after finishing the first half 3 for 14. Wentz did not look right much in the first half and it was fair to wonder if that blow he took to the head in the first quarter was affecting him. But he came out in the third quarter sharp, confident and effective and although his final numbers weren't anything special, he did throw two more TDs and no interceptions. He now has 25 touchdowns and five INTs this year. What a season the kid is having.

3. Really a tremendous effort by the defense against a pretty formidable offense. They kept the Eagles in the game in the first half when the offense was struggling, then blanked the Cowboys in the second half. Three INTs against a guy who had never thrown three in his career. Four sacks. No TDs. This was a huge performance by the D just when the Eagles needed it the most.

4. Have to give Kamu Grugier-Hill a ton of credit for handling kickoffs so ably after Jake Elliott left the game with a concussion. Grugier-Hill, a terrific special teamer and backup linebacker, hit his first kickoff to the 1-yard line and his second was a touchback. Losing a kicker early in a game can be a huge blow, but you can't ask for anything more than what they got out of Grugier-Hill. And looking longer term, Caleb Sturgis — a pretty good kicker in his own right — is eligible to come off injured reserve if the Eagles need him.

5. Remarkable to see Ronald Darby come back after not playing since opening day and just pick up right where he left off. Darby, Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson were all very good Sunday night, especially on Dez Bryant. I've been doing this a looooong time and I can safely say the Eagles have never had four cornerbacks as good as Mills, Robinson, Darby and Rasul Douglas, with Sidney Jones waiting in the wings. And all but Robinson are 23 or under. Scary.

6. I wasn't sure how the Eagles were going to involve four running backs in a game plan, but they're pulling it off. Kenjon Barner had a career-long 22-yard catch and TD run on the Eagles' first drive, Corey Clement gained 33 yards on five carries and scored his sixth red-zone TD of the season, Jay Ajayi had 87 yards, including a 71-yard run that really got the Eagles rolling, and LeGarrette Blount added 57 yards on 10 carries, including a big 30-yarder on the fourth-quarter TD drive. In all, the four running backs netted 202 rushing yards and a couple catches for 32 more yards. Incredible job by Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas for rebuilding the running back position and for Doug Pederson and Frank Reich for figuring out how to take advantage of the skill sets of each guy. And just think — when training camp began, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey were all expected to have major roles. With none of them in uniform Sunday night, the running attack looks stronger than ever.

7. We don't talk about the Eagles' offensive line enough, but my goodness, they were monstrous in the second half (see report card). The Eagles, so ineffective early, just kept pounding and pounding and pounding and eventually, the Cowboys just fell apart. The Eagles gained 268 of their 383 total yards in the second half and 180 of their 210 rushing yards after halftime. They lost a Hall of Famer and are still playing out of their minds. Incredible.

8. This may be my favorite stat of all-time: Since 2000, the Cowboys have lost 22 games by 23 or more points. Eleven of them — half of them — have been to the Eagles.

8A. And favorite stat No. 2: Last time the Cowboys allowed 30 or more points in a second half while failing to score in that second half was against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in 1962. They were outscored, 38-0, and lost, 52-20.

9. Clement's knack inside the red zone continues to defy belief. He had three touches on the Eagles' opening drive of the second half — an eight-yard run down to the 11, an 11-yard touchdown and a successful two-point conversion. Clement now has 11 red-zone touches this year and six red-zone touchdowns and a two-point conversion, which is really kind of hard to believe. I think before too long Ajayi and Clement are going to be the Eagles' top two running backs.

10. Dak Prescott had three interceptions Sunday night. Wentz had three interceptions in his last eight games. I don't care how young they are or how much football they have left or what players they have around him. Wentz > Dak. Period.

Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity


Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity

Jeff Lurie has turned into Willy Wonka for a good cause. 

The Eagles on Wednesday announced that they’re going to raffle off a Super Bowl ring and all the proceeds will go to the Eagles Autism Challenge, Inc. 

This is pretty cool. 

Click here to donate and enter.  

The coolest part is that the ring the Eagles will give away on Dec. 3 before Monday Night Football against Washington at the Linc, is the real deal ring. The one the players got, with all 219 diamonds and 17 green sapphires. And it'll be personalized. 

The contest is underway and runs through Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. Fans can enter the contest by making a donation to the Eagles Autism Challenge, starting at $10 for 100 entries. The fan who wins will also get 50-yard line seats to that Dec. 3 game. 

There are also other incentives for fans who submit 2,500 entries or more. 

The Eagles have already done incredible work through their autism challenge, raising over $2.5 million at the inaugural event in May. This is a pretty cool way to raise even more money for a good cause.

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On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

Generally speaking, running backs either begin to decline or hit a wall around the time they turn 30. 

That hasn’t happened to Darren Sproles. 

In fact, today is Sproles’ birthday. He turns 35 and after rehabbing his way back from a torn ACL and a broken forearm, he still hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. That, in itself, is pretty incredible. 

Since it’s Sproles’ birthday, it seems like a good time to look into the elite company he can join this year as a productive 35-plus-year-old in the NFL. 

Sproles will enter the 2018 season with 19,155 all-purpose yards. He’s already eighth in NFL history and has a chance to surpass quite a few names on this list with a productive season. There are just seven players in front of him and five of them are already Hall of Famers: 

Jerry Rice: 23,546
Brian Mitchell: 23,330
Walter Payton: 21,803
Emmit Smith: 21,564
Tim Brown: 19,682
Marshall Faulk: 19,190
Steve Smith Jr.: 19,180

It’s impossible to know just how productive Sproles will be in 2018, especially as he’s coming off a significant knee injury. Last year, he had only two healthy games and he had just 88 all-purpose yards in them, putting him on pace for 704. That would have been significantly lower than his three previous seasons with the Eagles. 

In those three previous seasons, we saw a very slight decline from 1,237 in 2014 to 1,171 in 2015 to 1,108 in 2016. 

But if Sproles can return to form and is able to eclipse 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2018, he’d become just the eighth running back in NFL history to do it at age 35 or older. A search of Pro Football Reference shows the top mark ever for a running back over 35 (must be 35 or older on Dec. 31 of that year) was Herschel Walker’s season in 1997 (1,336). 

If Sproles eclipses that 1,000-yard mark, he’d also become just the second Eagles player (any position) to do it at 35 or older. The only other Eagle to do it was Irving Fryar, who had 1,316 back in 1997 too. 

He’d also move past Smith, Faulk and Brown into fifth all-time in all-purpose yards, becoming just the fifth player in NFL history to surpass the 20,000-yard mark. 

Even in 2016, when he had a down year as a punt returner, Sproles still had 224 punt return yards. If he surpasses the 200-yard mark this season, he’d be just the third player in NFL history to do it at 35 or older. The other three are Michael Lewis (336 in 2007), Leo Lewis (225 in 1991) and Mel Gray (205 in 1996). 

And this year, with the new kickoff rules, there’s a chance the Eagles might use him as a kick returner too. More chances to pile up yards. 

The man himself doesn’t care too much about individual achievements; he’d rather win another Super Bowl. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy tracking his progress. 

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