The Eagles beat the Cowboys, 23-9, in one of the ugliest Sunday Night Football games in recent memory.
What to make of the result? Here are three overreactions, except they might not be overreactions...
1. The 'bench Carson Wentz?' conversation is here to stay
After Carson Wentz committed his fourth turnover of the night on Sunday, a wide swath of Eagles fans on Twitter started thinking about benching Carson Wentz. Former steadfast "don't be silly" Wentz defenders were suddenly considering the alternative.
When NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank, never one to make rash football decisions, posed the question after Wentz's second INT of the evening, you knew you had to take it seriously:
The Eagles kept Wentz in and eventually secured the win, but the question remains: does Wentz really deserve the job right now? He finished the game 15 of 27 for 123 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Oh, and two fumbles lost. That's... not great.
We can say "if Wentz plays better, the questions will go away", but at this point in the season - and more importantly, at this point in his career - there's no reason to believe that will happen.
Wentz is making the exact same mistakes he's made his entire career. He's still holding on to the ball for way too long, and turning it over at an astounding rate, like on this embarrassing first-quarter play:
He's still missing on deep throws, like the second interception of the night to John Hightower, when he put too much air under the ball and it drifted left towards the corner instead of right towards open field.
And he's generally trying to do much, like the first interception, a miserable forced throw into double coverage on first down. Those plays put his team in bad spots, like trailing an abysmal Cowboys team at halftime. The win Sunday night moves the Eagles to 3-4-1, and technically constitutes a winning streak, but the calls for Wentz to maybe take a seat shouldn't quiet down until he shows us something new.
And Wentz's history suggests that something new might not be coming - maybe ever.
2. Travis Fulgham is the best WR in the NFC East
Travis Fulgham continues to be one of the only silver linings from this ugly, ugly Eagles season. Fulgham has 29 catches for 435 yards and four touchdowns in five games with the Birds, a truly staggering stretch. On Sunday night, he went up against a bad Cowboys defense, but he was still absolutely cooking.
Look at this release in the first half against Trevon Diggs:
That's some elite wide receiver stuff. Could Fulgham really be the best wideout in the NFC East right now?
It's hard to say he's not. Here are the five guys you could argue are better than Fulgham:
- Amari Cooper
- Michael Gallup
- Ceedee Lamb
- Terry McLaurin
- Darius Slayton
I'd absolutely take Fulgham over Slayton and Lamb. Gallup was playing great before Dak Prescott went down.
McLaurin is a real talent, and at 25 has yet to reach his ceiling. The stuff he's doing this season without any talent or stability at the QB position is fantastic. I'd likely take McLaurin over Fulgham, but only barely.
And Cooper is obviously a stud, but is he better than Fulgham *right now*, at this very moment? I don't know if it's a sure thing! That's how good Fulgham has been this year. It's thrilling.
3. The NFL should change its home playoff rule because of the NFC East
Goodness, this division is so bad. I thought the Eagles would come out tonight and destroy the Cowboys from the jump, to show the world that while the NFC East is bad, the Birds at least can be competent against awful teams.
Instead, the Eagles turned the ball over four times and somehow trailed at halftime to a guy making his first career start before eventually swinging things back for a win.
All four teams in the NFC East have at least four losses, and after Moday Night Football the bottom three teams will sport a combined 5-17 record through eight weeks.
The teams' two wins outside the division? They came against the 49ers and the Falcons, a pair of teams with a combined 6-10 record, both sitting in dead last in their respective divisions. There is no chance the division champion will have eight wins.
I think the division winner should still get into the playoffs, but the conferences should seed straight-up by record, with division winners only guaranteed entry into the postseason. There's no reason for the Eagles to host a playoff game; they certainly aren't earning it this season.
The league is already changing its postseason format by adding a seventh team. This is just another logical change.