Instant Observations: Cowboys 38, Eagles 23
Here are my instant observations from the Eagles’ 38-23 loss to the Cowboys.
* Nick Foles saw his first action of the season, going 22-for-32 for 219 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His pass to DeSean Jackson bounced around and was eventually intercepted by cornerback Brandon Carr, who returned it 47 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. With the Eagles down 7 and backed up in their own end zone, Foles was sacked and fumbled. The Cowboys recovered to go up, 38-23. Earlier, Foles bought time and found Jeremy Maclin wide-open for a 44-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
* Foles entered the game with 7:41 left in the second quarter after Michael Vick went out with a concussion. Can’t say for sure, but it looked like Vick’s concussion was sustained when former Eagle Ernie Sims came on a third-down blitz. Vick had LeSean McCoy wide open, but sailed the throw to him. We’ll get more details after the game. Vick was 6-for-9 for 70 yards before leaving.
* The day started out on a positive note for the Eagles. They put together a 10-play, 81-yard drive to start the game. Vick hit Riley Cooper on a fade from the 2-yard-line. Cooper made a great one-handed catch. Jackson took a screen 31 yards to set up the score. On the first play, Brent Celek started out in the backfield, faked like he was going to chip DeMarcus Ware and went out into his route for a 17-yard gain. Vick was 4-for-5 for 59 yards on the first drive. The Eagles called six passes and four runs. They got the Cowboys to jump offsides twice on third downs.
* LeSean McCoy had a nice 23-yard run in the third. It looked like Dallas Reynolds had the key block. Cooper did a good job blocking downfield. McCoy finished with 16 carries for 82 yards (5.1 YPC).
* A Morris Claiborne penalty negated a pick-six by Foles in the fourth. It looked like Dennis Kelly got beaten badly on the play, and Foles tried to throw the ball in the flat.
* Maclin got hit while he was in the air and landed awkwardly on his upper back/neck/head in the first. He took awhile to get up, but eventually walked off under his own power. He was tested for a concussion, but returned. Jason Avant left the game in the second with a hamstring injury and did not return.
* Horrible clock management at the end of the first half. With the Cowboys setting up to punt, the Eagles chose not to call timeout, even though they had two left. After two runs, they threw the ball, and Stanley Havili ran out of bounds. The Eagles had to eventually punt near their own end zone, which was completely avoidable.
* Terrible game for King Dunlap. He had a couple illegal hands to the face penalties. He also ran into Maclin on a wide receiver screen and failed to stay on the field for a field-goal attempt, forcing the Eagles to use a timeout.
* Foles found Damaris Johnson for a 32-yard gain late in the fourth. Havili got in the end zone from 1 yard out.
* Overall, it wasn’t a bad showing by the defense. Remember that 21 of the Cowboys’ 38 points came on defense and special teams.
* The Eagles gave up a 13-play, 80-yard drive to start the game. The Cowboys scored on an 11-yard Tony Romo touchdown pass to Felix Jones. I counted five missed tackles (Nate Allen, Nnamdi Asomugha, Darryl Tapp, Brandon Graham and Kurt Coleman) on the play. Romo finished 19-for-26 for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He did not throw an interception.
* Special teams continue to kill this football team. With the game tied in the fourth quarter, the Eagles gave up a 78-yard punt return to Dwayne Harris. They also had the Dunlap miscue I mentioned above. And Alex Henery missed an extra point in the fourth.
* Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie got beaten by Dez Bryant for a 30-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He was called for pass interference on the play. The touchdown was reviewed and upheld. Earlier, Rodgers-Cromartie gave up a 49-yard completion. It looked like the Eagles were blitzing on the play. On the Cowboys’ scoring drive in the third, they were facing a 3rd-and-5, and multiple Eagles had chances to sack him, but Romo escaped and found Miles Austin for 25 yards.
* The Eagles’ pass-rush was more effective, thanks in part to some blitzing. Brandon Graham’s pressure led to a Mychal Kendricks sack in the second. On the next play, Fletcher Cox sacked Romo. The Eagles blitzed on both plays. Cox had a couple hits on Romo in addition to the sack. He had only two hurries in his previous four games. Cullen Jenkins also added a sack.
* The Cowboys entered the game averaging 3.6 yards per carry, tied for 31st in the league. But they ran all over the Eagles (14 attempts, 80 yards) in the first half. They finished with 97 yards on 22 carries (4.4 YPC).
* Let the receiver catch the ball, but tackle him short of the sticks on third down. That’s the new DeMeco Ryans special. He seems to make that play every game, and he did it at least twice today.
* Kendricks tackled Jason Witten for a loss on a screen in the third. He had seven tackles (all solo) in the game.