OK, let's get this over with.
1. As hard as it was to watch this game, and wow was it hard watching the Cowboys come into the Linc and win 51-26, resting the starters really is absolutely the right thing to do. It's just unfortunate when one team is resting everybody and the other team is playing everybody. But it was still the right thing to do. Is there something to be said for staying sharp going into a playoff game? Maybe. I don’t really think so. Heck, the 2004 Eagles clinched the No. 1 seed and a 1st-round bye with two games to go so their starters didn’t play for a month going into the postseason. Didn’t slow them down. The value of a bye week is tremendous. That’s what teams play all year for. That’s what teams fight for all year. Getting a week off. It’s been a very long season. Even the guys who aren’t on the injury report are banged up and beat up. Having a week to heal, a week to recover going into the wild-card round is so valuable and so worthwhile. Even if it means we have to watch the Cowboys score 51 points, it’s the right thing to do.
2. Jerry Jones enjoyed this game a little too much. Jerry, your team just beat the Eagles’ practice squad, calm down. Just a reminder that the Cowboys have won three playoff games in the last quarter century. The Eagles won three in a 23-day span in 2017.
3. Gardner Minshew did just about everything he could do considering he was working behind a practice-squad offensive line (Casey Tucker? Kayode Awosika? Jack Anderson?) and throwing to just one decent WR (Quez Watkins) once DeVonta Smith left the game. Minshew is a solid quarterback, and unless the Eagles get a really good trade offer, I’d keep him around for another year as a cost-controlled bargain backup who can win you some games. If the Eagles improve in the right areas – particularly WR and DE – they’ll have a chance to do some pretty good things next year, and the value of a QB2 who can come in and win you games beats the value of a late-round draft pick who won’t help you for at least a couple years, if ever. Now, if someone offers a 3rd-round pick? Jump on it. But otherwise, I want Minshew here.
4. I’m looking forward to seeing what Tyree Jackson can do next year with a full season under his belt as a tight end and a full healthy training camp. There’s a lot to like about Jackson. He’s obviously got great size, but he’s also very tough, he’s a willing blocker, and we saw in training camp before he hurt his back that he catches the ball very well. Good to see him catch his first couple passes Saturday night, including a touchdown.
5. Jalen Reagor and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside cannot be on this football team next year. Really, they shouldn’t be on this team next week.
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6. I know it doesn’t really mean anything in the big picture, but how on Earth does CeeDee Lamb not get called for offensive pass interference on the Cowboys’ first touchdown? You literally could not have a more obvious penalty. He just ran face-first into Josh Scott on Dak Prescott’s first touchdown pass to Cedrick Wilson Jr. It was a textbook illegal pick and I don’t care if it’s a preseason opener or the Super Bowl, you’re making a mockery of the game if you don’t call it. Inexcusable. Just awful.
7. Not much to say about the Eagles’ defense. You have guys who have literally never played NFL football before going up for three quarters against Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Lamb and Company, and it went about as you’d expect. I mean, at least on offense the Eagles had a handful of regulars out there. The defense was almost all practice squadders, special teamers and deep backups. There was no way they could compete. A couple guys ran around and made some plays – Milton Williams and Josiah Scott flashed a little. But it’s a good thing the Eagles stayed predominantly healthy on defense this year because the backups just aren't good.
8. I love watching Kenny Gainwell, and this kid has a really bright future. He’s had some ups and downs as a rookie, some fumbles and drops, but he’s so talented, and what a steal in the fifth round. Gainwell finished on a high, with 12 carries for 78 yards and his sixth touchdown – matching the most by an Eagles rookie running back in 68 years. Gainwell is only going to get better, but he’s a slick runner, a sure receiver, a decent enough blocker and he really has a nose for the end zone. Can’t wait to see where he goes from here.
9. On the subject of young running backs, was great to see Jason Huntley get a chance to play. The kid had a very good training camp but the Eagles are so deep at RB he spent all year on the practice squad and didn’t get to play until Saturday night, and even in limited snaps you can see the burst, the cutback ability, the quickness. Huntley got 13 carries for 51 yards and also had a 35-yard kickoff return – the Eagles’ second-longest this year. For the Eagles to rush for 149 yards and a 5.5 average without Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, Boston Scott and their entire offensive line is remarkable. Maybe the Eagles are actually a running back factory.
10. I’m sure some people will disagree, but I’m glad Jason Kelce got in his one snap and extended his streak of consecutive starts to 122. Kelce isn’t about stats or honors or awards or streaks, but this one symbolizes so much about Kelce and his ability to answer the bell every week for 7 ½ years and play through injury after injury as an under-sized center playing against monster defensive tackles and dominating them. Kelce has started every game since the middle of 2014. The next-longest active streak by an interior lineman began in 2017. Kelce is an all-time Eagle, and he’s earned the right to play one snap if he wants to play one snap.