Cowboys- 38- Eagles- 27- Post-Game Recap

December 17th, 2014 by Kyle Lutz | Filed under Eagles, Football, General.

(AP Photo)

Team Stats

Dal Phi
First Downs 26 19
Total Yards 364 294
Turnovers 1 4
Time of Possession 41:55 18:05
First Downs 26 19
Passes for First 17 11
Rushes for First 6 5
Penalties for First 3 3
Third Down Efficiency 5-13 5-11
Fourth Down Efficiency 0-0 0-0
Total Yards 364 294
Total Plays 76 53
Avg Gain Per Play 4.8 5.5
Net Yards Rushing 115 75
Rushes 42 21
Yards Per Rush 2.7 3.6
Net Yards Passing 249 219
Comp-Att 22-31 17-28
Yards Per Pass 7.3 6.8
Times Sacked 3 4
Yds Lost To Sacks 16 33
Interceptions 0 2
Punts 5 3
Punt Average 41.0 52.0
Penalties 11 8
Penalty Yards 79 95
Fumbles 1 3
Fumbles Lost 1 2

The Eagles on Sunday night didn’t exactly come out the gate with flying colors, as they not only faced a 14-0 deficit after one quarter, but were in the negatives, yardage wise, at -5.

Oddly enough, the team first eclipsed positive yardage on their first touchdown of the game, which was an 11-play, 84-yard drive that culminated in a five-yard Chris Polk touchdown run- with 8:30 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Prior to that, Dallas had a 21-0, seemingly foolproof, lead, as their third touchdown came via a Dez Bryant 26-yard touchdown catch a few minutes into the second. At one point, Dallas had 101 yards to just three for the Eagles, 11:56 in.

For the game, surprisingly, the Eagles were very good in red-zone territory, both teams went a perfect 3-3. Then again, all three red-zone scores for Philadelphia were short-yardage situations- at the Dallas five-yard line, and twice on their one-yard line. However, this season, Philadelphia only ranks 24th in the league in red-zone efficiency (touchdowns only) at 48%, meanwhile, Dallas has been the total opposite, being very effective. They rank fourth in the league at 67.4%. The Eagles, in the two teams’ first match-up this season- at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, were surprisingly only 1-5 in red-zone attempts, although they won that game pretty convincingly- 33-10. In the previous-five games, the Eagles were 10-21 in the red-zone.

This was the third time in five years that the two teams split their regular-season series.

The referees played a huge part in the game, as both teams combined for almost 20 penalties; Dallas had a few more, 11-8. Although the Eagles had three-fewer penalties, as mentioned, than Dallas, the Eagles had more penalty yards than Dallas did, as they took dumb penalties all night long in crucial situations, some of which resulted in big penalties, yardage wise. Philadelphia had 95 penalty yards to Dallas’ 79, an average ratio of 11.9-7.1, in terms of yards/penalty. Philadelphia ranks fifth in the league in most penalties/game accumulated on the road, at 8.2.

Eagles’ starting quarterback Mark Sanchez will remain the starter for Saturday’s game at Washington, as starter Nick Foles has been ruled out for the game, as he’s still recovering from his collarbone injury, one that he suffered in week nine at Houston. His collarbone was examined early Monday morning, and as it continues to heal, Foles is prohibited from engaging in football contact until it does so.

Meanwhile, two huge injuries, especially for Dallas, occurred in Sunday-night’s game. The NFL’s leading rusher, DeMarco Murray, broke a bone in his hand in the fourth quarter. He hasn’t been ruled out yet for Dallas’ Sunday-afternoon game, at home, vs. Indianapolis, though he underwent surgery for it on Monday.

Losing Murray for the last-two games, mainly for Sunday’s game, would be a huge blow for Dallas, as he’s been — by far — the team’s MVP, and he makes a good argument for league MVP, along with Aaron Rodgers, as well. As the week progresses, I’m sure his status for Sunday will be revealed. This season, Murray has rushed for over 100 yards/game, at 1,687, and has 11 touchdowns and a yards/attempt average of 4.8, too. Murray has 409 more rushing yards than the league’s second-best rusher this season, in Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell, who has 1278 so far.

Meanwhile, Eagles’ outside linebacker Trent Cole may miss the remainder of the season with a fractured hand, one that he suffered in the fourth quarter of the game. Cole has been the Eagles’ longest-tenured defensive player, as he’s played in 46 straight regular-season games, dating back to 2012. Cole, over the past several years, has been a huge asset for the Eagles defensively, and a leader in the locker room, too. His on-field presence will be sorely missed.

This season, he ranks third on the team in sacks, with 6.5, and if the injury reports are confirmed, Brandon Graham will take over for him at outside linebacker. Unfortunately, Sunday-night’s game could very well be Cole’s last game in green and white. Although he is signed for three-more years, in the off-season, the Eagles may choose to go an alternative route, trading/releasing Cole and replacing him with the much-younger Graham. If that does occur, Sunday’s game would be a horrible way to end a respectable career for him in Philadelphia.

In Mark Sanchez’s six starts this season, he’s gone 3-3. In that span, he’s completed 61% of his passes, accumulated over 1500 passing yards (258/game), has had three games with 300 or more yards, a TD-INT ratio of 8-7, and a passer rating of 83.3.

Desperately, the Eagles will need some help — from multiple teams — in the next-couple weeks, as they not only trail Dallas by a game now in the division, but lose the tie-breakers vs. number-five Seattle and number-six Green Bay, as they lost to both teams this season. If the Eagles win out and Dallas loses to Indianapolis this weekend, the Eagles will win the NFC East, as they’d own the tie-breaker. Philadelphia would own the tie-breaker due to a better divisional record than Dallas (assuming the Eagles win out and Dallas beats Washington in two weeks); 5-1 to 4-2. If the playoffs started today, Dallas would be the number-three seed in the NFC and would play at home vs. Green Bay (who has a better conference record than Dallas does this year; 7-3 to 7-4) in the wild-card round. Dallas hasn’t played Green Bay since almost a year ago, on December 15th, 2013 at home; Green Bay beat them in a nail biter, 37-36.

There’s a good chance that even if Dallas beats the Colts at home, they could still lose in the season finale at Washington, although Washington’s only 3-11 this year. I say that with a vote of confidence, due to Washington winning at Dallas earlier this season, 20-17 in overtime.

A positive sign for the Eagles, heading into Dallas’ match-up vs. the Colts, is that Dallas has been mediocre at home this season, at 3-4. Tony Romo has been fantastic, to say the least, this season on the road, with a 72% completion percentage, an incredible TD-INT ratio of 18-1, and a quarterback rating of 125.7. At home, he’s been solid, too: with a 66.8 completion percentage and a quarterback rating of 94.8 (albeit only a 10-7 TD-INT ratio), but he’s not even close to what he’s been on the road, statistically.

Romo had a phenomenal game, completing 22 of his 31 passes (a completion percentage of 71), for 265 yards, a perfect TD-INT ratio of 3-0, 8.5 yards/completion, and a very-impressive quarterback rating of 129.5. He remained calm and collective in the pocket, even when Philadelphia brought pressure from both sides and tried to contain him, which proved to be ineffective, as he used his legs to avoid sacks and make quick throws.

Dez Bryant absolutely torched the Eagles’ secondary all-night long, with 114 receiving yards, six catches and three touchdowns. In his last-six games vs. Philadelphia, spanning three years, Bryant’s averaged 97 receiving yards/game, with 35 catches and seven touchdowns. Tight-end Jason Witten had a decent game, too, with seven catches and 69 yards, while, on the flip side, Jeremy Maclin put forth a solid effort — with four catches, 98 receiving yards, and a 72-yard reception almost five-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter.

Sanchez, however, wasn’t as solid. Although he completed over 60% of his passes on the night and averaged nine yards/attempt, he threw two interceptions (although one was tipped), zero touchdown passes, and had a quarterback rating of just 60.4. His first interception occurred with four-seconds left in the third, to which Dallas unfortunately took advantage of the Eagles’ turnover, with a 25-yard Dez-Bryant touchdown on third down. If Sanchez, assuming Foles doesn’t return for the year, wants to take the Eagles to the playoffs this season, he’ll have to put forth a much better effort — week-by-week, not just once in awhile — than that.

On the road, Dallas is undefeated, at 7-0, and they’ve outscored the opposition by a margin of 67, 231-164. Meanwhile, at home, albeit slightly, they’ve been outscored 164-150. Point being, they’re a totally-different team at home than on the road.

In the special-teams department, Cody Parkey continued his hot streak, going a perfect 2-2 in the game on field-goal attempts, including a 47-yarder. Parkey’s ranked tied for third (with Seattle’s Stephen Hauschka) in field-goals made, with 29- three behind Buffalo’s kicker, Dan Carpenter. He’s also ranked third in field-goal percentage, for kickers with 25 or more attempts, at 94. Meanwhile, Eagles’ punter Donnie Jones had three punts in Sunday’s game, for an average of 52 yards/punt, one of which was inside the 20-yard line.

Despite leading the league this year in rushing yards, rushing attempts (351) and first downs (78), Murray hasn’t fared too well in either game vs. Philadelphia. He’s averaged just 77 rushing yards/game, with just 3 yards/carry. Although the Eagles’ pass defense has been atrocious and arguably the worst in the league this year, their front four and rushing defense have been great.

They rank second in the league (behind Buffalo, who has 49) in sacks, with 47, and first in the league in opponents’ yards lost on sacks, with 342, seven more than Baltimore’s 335. They also rank second in forced fumbles, with 22, as well as within the top 10 in passes defended, with 67.

Speaking of sacks, for Dallas, Jeremy Mincey and Tyrone Crawford had two sacks a piece, while — for Philadelphia — linebacker Connor Barwin continued to pile up more sacks on the year, with his third-down, second-quarter sack. He ranks third in the NFL this year in sacks, with 14.5 (a new career high for him), and yards lost on sacks, with 104. It’s pretty good, for Barwin, when you’re in the same company as J.J. Watt, at least statistically (Watt ranks second in sacks, with 16.5). Speaking of third-down scenarios, the two teams were decent, combing to go 10-24, including 5-11 for Philadelphia.

Impressively, Indianapolis is 4-2 this season away from home, outscoring the opposition 200-175. With their 17-10 win vs. Houston on Sunday, the Colts improved their win-loss record to 10-4 and, in the process, clinched the AFC-South division; their second-straight division title, and fourth in six years. Dallas, with a win and an Eagles’ loss this weekend, would clinch their first division title in five years- since winning it, and going 11-5, in 2009.

From here, the Eagles’ll face Washington, at 4:25 Saturday, at FedEx Field, then they’ll finish the season — on the road as well — at the Meadowlands vs. the Giants, 12 days from now, on the 28th.

Hopefully they can make quick turn-around next weekend at Washington after Sunday’s loss, and pray for a Dallas loss vs. Andrew Luck and the Colts.

(Dez Bryant’s TD catch/AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

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