Week 13: Dallas Cowboys 38 Philadelphia Eagles 33- The Post Game Breakdown

This game turned out to be just another day at the office for the Eagles; they play well through the first 55 minutes, and then they cough the ball up on a potential game-winning drive.  What’s worse is they let Morris Claiborne return the Bryce Brown fumble for a touchdown. If they had tackled Claiborne and held the Cowboys to a FG, then it would have been a 34-27 game; only a one score deficit.  As is the case with everything else in the Philly season, anything that can go wrong will.  Their best player on the defensive side of the ball, DeMeco Ryans, left early with an injury.  Their defense played very poorly all night long; they could not get off the field on third down (which is something that has been plaguing the Eagles since Todd Bowles has taken over as defensive coordinator.  Tony Romo played well again and passed Troy Aikman on the all-time Dallas Cowboys passing TDs thrown list.  That is pretty darn impressive.  Luckily for him it came in a winning effort.

Nick Foles deserved better than to lose this game.  He played brilliantly.  There were maybe two or three bad decisions he made- one almost leading to an interception and one poor choice on the two point conversion.  Other than that, he showed intelligence beyond his years at the quarterback position.  He was checking into the right plays at the line of scrimmage, making solid throws, sliding in the pocket to avoid pressure, and showing patience while letting the play develop in front of him.  These are all things that the great quarterbacks can do.  He resembled Tom Brady in this way.  The Eagles played one of their best games of the year.  Their offensive line was great (only allowing one sack and blocking well for the running game), their offense was smooth and they only had to punt the ball twice all game, and they committed one penalty for five yards all night long.  All and all this was a pretty solid effort.  So why did they lose the game?  It was because of their defense.

Tony Romo was having a field day.  He was finding his guys wide open, and was getting decent enough protection to do so.  The reason why this Eagles defense is not respected anymore is because they are simply not forcing turnovers.  They don’t have an interception during the Todd Bowles era, and they are just not getting pressure.  These corners are giving up big plays into the middle of the field and Romo was picking them apart.  If the Eagles made one or two third down stops in this game, then they would have won.  The Cowboys converted 9/14 third downs (64%).  And on one of those failed conversions they went for it on fourth down and got it.  So the Eagles defense really only stopped the Cowboys four times on those third down conversions.  Protection was also a strong point for the ‘Boys.  Their offensive line held together pretty well and Dallas was able to run and pass the ball with great balance.  They won this game because of balance up-front.

Looking ahead, Eagles fans have reason to be optimistic.  Nick Foles is turning out to be a great young prospect and Bryce Brown had another impressive game (outside of his costly fumble).  Once LeSean McCoy gets back, Brown will be a great spell option that opposing defenses will have to pay great attention to.  Next week the Eagles fly to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers in what should be a high scoring game.  Dallas will go to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals in a very important game for both teams.  Next week should tell a lot about both of these teams.

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