Eagles-Cowboys Instant Observations

Notes on Carson Wentz, Jordan Hicks and more.
Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

The Eagles beat the Cowboys, 27-13, to finish the season with a 7-9 record, including a 6-2 mark at home and 2-4 mark in NFC East games. Here’s what we saw:

OFFENSE

*Carson Wentz broke the NFL rookie record for completions in a season, previously held by Sam Bradford (354 in 2010). Wentz completed 27 of his 43 pass attempts for 245 yards, two touchdowns and a 93.7 passer rating.. Wentz’s impressive elusiveness was once again on display as he consistency escaped pressure and extended plays with his feet.

*Wentz hit Zach Ertz for a six-yard touchdown pass just before the end of the second quarter and a 20-yard touchdown toss in the third quarter. Ertz led both teams in receiving in the first half with 48 yards on five catches, while Wentz’s wideouts combined for just one reception. Ertz led both teams in receiving with 139 yards on 13 receptions and made a heck of a catch on his second touchdown catch.

*The Eagles carried the ball 30 times for 114 yards, averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Terrell Watson, who was promoted from the practice squad for today’s game, scored the first rushing touchdown of his career.

*The Eagles faced a Cowboys defense devoid of several starters, including linebacker Sean Lee, cornerback Morris Claiborne, defensive end Tyrone Crawford and defensive tackle Terrell McClain.

DEFENSE

*The Cowboys only scored 13 points, but that was with three different quarterbacks, no Ezekiel Elliott and no Tyron Smith. Dak Prescott played the first two drives, while Tony Romo played the following series before Mark Sanchez entered the game in the middle of the second quarter and finished the game. In Romo’s only drive, he completed three of his four pass attempts for 29 yards and a touchdown.

*Jordan Hicks recorded two interceptions in the second quarter, both of which gave the Eagles the ball in Dallas territory. The second-year linebacker has forced a turnover in all four of his career games against the Cowboys. Hicks has four interceptions, including a pick-six, and a forced fumble against Dallas in the last two years. The 24-year-old also leads the Eagles in interceptions this season with five, more than all of the Eagles’ cornerbacks combined.

*Before this game, my sense was the Eagles would only bring back one of their starting cornerbacks — most likely Nolan Carroll. However, the Birds could easily decide to not re-sign Carroll and cut Leodis McKelvin to save $3.2 million against the 2017 cap, which is likely more tempting after Carroll’s poor performance today. Carroll committed a defensive pass interference penalty early in the second quarter, which cost the Eagles 29 yards. On the next play, Carroll conceded a 3-yard touchdown catch to Terrance Williams. Carroll committed another one in the third quarter and is once again first in the NFL in defensive pass interference penalties.

*Marcus Smith recorded a sack in the second quarter, which gives him the same amount of sacks this season (2.5) as Vinny Curry. Smith only has four career sacks, with two of them coming against the Cowboys this year.

*With Mychal Kendricks out, Stephen Tulloch started at middle linebacker while Hicks moved to weak side linebacker. However, Tulloch didn’t play very much as Jim Schwartz used a lot of nickel with Jalen Mills as the slot corner.

SPECIAL TEAMS

*Caleb Sturgis broke David Akers’ franchise record for most field goals in a season (33 in 2008) by making a 22-yard kick in the first quarter. Sturgis made 35 of his 41 attempts this season, including every kick of less than 40 yards.