It ain’t a rivalry when one team plays like this.
The Cowboys embarrassed the Eagles Monday night on national TV, and this was an organization-wide defeat. Bad players, bad coaching, bad execution, you name it.
Maybe it’s just natural growing pains of a team with a new coach and a young quarterback or maybe it’s something deeper. We won’t know that for a while. But either way, it was a pitiful effort by the Eagles in their first division game under Nick Sirianni.
Cowboys 41, Eagles 21 with a late touchdown that made the score a little less lopsided.
This is the third straight year the Cowboys have beaten the Eagles by at least 20 points. And this will be the 10th straight year the Eagles don’t sweep the Cowboys. And the last time the Cowboys scored more points against the Eagles was 50 years ago.
Here’s our 10 Observations from a team-wide collapse in Arlington, Texas.
1. The 49ers game was a big step backwards from the Falcons game for Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni, and this was a big step backwards from the 49ers game. Although he made a few plays late in the game after things got out of hand, when the game was in the balance Hurts just looked overmatched. He didn’t handle pressure well, he didn’t make routine throws he’s got to make, he threw a couple bad interceptions and he was just never able to get rolling. And Sirianni’s play calling again did him no favors. Cowboys running backs had 20 carries for 115 yards before Sirianni called a running play. Other than a drive here and there, Sirianni’s play calling the last two weeks has lacked purpose and rhythm. He keeps talking about getting the ball into the hands of the playmakers and it just doesn’t happen. And how on Earth do you play an entire NFL game and your running backs – your really good stable of running backs – gets two freaking carries? Yeah it was a blowout, but it wasn’t always a blowout. Forget the final score: The Eagles’ offense scored seven points in the first 56 minutes. An alarming regression for Sirianni and his young QB.
2. A lot of regression on defense, too. Dallas moved the ball at will against Jonathan Gannon’s group, and as poorly as Sirianni called plays, Kellen Moore did a masterful job getting the ball into the hands of the Cowboys’ play makers mixing up the run and pass to keep the Eagles off balance. Hopefully Sirianni was taking notes. Three games in, Javon Hargrave is the only guy on this defense earning his salary. His strip sack on Dak Prescott – recovered by Fletcher Cox – got the Eagles their only touchdown. The Cowboys held the ball for 34 ½ minutes, piled up 382 yards, amassed 27 first downs, ran for 162. The defense has played worse each week. And Pat Mahomes and Tom Brady are coming up. Lot of work to do here.
3. We always talk about Brandon Graham’s strength as a pass rusher, but he’s also a big-time run defender, and that’s where the Eagles really missed him Monday night. With B.G. out of the game, the Eagles didn’t put up much resistence to the Cowboys’ two-pronged running attack. The Cowboys took command of the game with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard pounding the ball for 118 yards and two TDs in the first half and that was pretty much the ballgame. There are so many ways the Eagles miss B.G., and they felt them all Monday night.
4. After Trevon Diggs’ pick-6 in the third quarter, we watched Hurts get in DeVonta Smith’s face and ask him what happened. Smith told him he fell down and Hurts rolled his eyes and walked away. The ESPN cameras picked it up pretty clearly. Smith can’t fall down there, but that’s a pick-6 either way. The Eagles love talking about Hurts’ leadership, and I get that Hurts was frustrated, but rolling your eyes at a teammate after throwing a terrible pick-6 is not leadership and it’s not being accountable. That pick-6 was on you, Jalen. I didn’t like that at all.
5. Sirianni’s inability or refusal or whatever you want to call it to get Miles Sanders the football is inexcusable. Sanders is such a weapon and with his running and receiving ability he should be a huge part of what the Eagles are doing. Yet he got five touches Monday night: 2-for-27 rushing and 3-for-28 receiving. That’s 55 yards on five touches. Sanders is too good for this. I never thought the Eagles could find a coach who used Sanders less than Doug Pederson, but here we are. And the game was still in the balance until the third quarter, so the final score is no excuse. Miles is too gifted to be ignored. This is absolutely ridiculous.
6. Quez Watkins is that rarity in a young, unheralded player that has a tremendous training camp and actually backs it up when the games matter. Watkins showed tremendous focus and toughness on that 41-yarder in the third quarter that set up the Hurts-to-Ertz touchdown, and he’s been the Eagles’ biggest offensive weapon so far. DeVonta Smith might wind up being the Eagles’ best WR, but right now it’s Quez.
7. I’ve had enough of Derek Barnett. The dude was the 14th pick in the 2017 draft, and what’s he got to show for the first 51 games of his career? How about 23 penalties for 164 yards and 19 ½ sacks for 144 yards. Yep, more penalties than sacks. He’s an unproductive, undisciplined waste of money. You keep waiting for him to play like a 1st-round pick – a relatively high 1st-round pick – and it never happens. Just penalty after idiotic penalty. Tired of hearing about potential. He’s in his fifth season. Embarrassing.
8. Penalties. More penalties. In Atlanta, it was 14-for-89. Last week 8-for-57. Monday night 13-for-86. That’s 35 penalties in three games, the most the Eagles have ever committed in their first three games. The previous record was 33 by Jim Trimble’s 1954 Eagles. The Eagles have EIGHT more penalties than any other NFL team, and I’ll say this every week until they fix this issue: That’s on Sirianni. You can talk all you want about discipline, but it means nothing if your team isn’t listening.
9. After his 6-for-71 in Atlanta, DeVonta Smith had 2-for-16 against the 49ers and 3-for-28 Monday night. For this offense to work, Smith has to be a bigger part of things, and the blame goes to Smith, Hurts and Sirianni. Smith needs to get better at getting open and making tough catches in traffic and being physical against physical corners, Hurts has to make better throws to the rookie 1st-round pick and Sirianni has to do what he keeps saying he will do – find ways to get Smith the ball where he can make big plays. He’s a talented kid, and the Eagles need to figure out how to get that talent out of him.
10. The Cowboys have two flat-out defensive studs in 22-year-old Micah Parsons and 23-year-old Trevon Diggs. Just a reminder that the Eagles haven’t drafted a defensive Pro Bowler in nine years.
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