Detailed Game Review – PHI 24, DAL 22

Posted: January 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 57 Comments »

Sorry for the delay. Spent the last 2 days watching college bowl games. No matter how the playoffs turn out, soon enough we’ll be talking a lot about the draft. I don’t believe the Eagles need to look at Baylor or UCF for any defensive help. Anyway, here’s the DGR. I’ll put up a post about the Saints game later tonight. We’ll shift fully into that quickly.

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I can say without hyperbole that the 2013 NFC East is the greatest collection of football talent in the 2014 years that the Earth has existed. Since the Eagles went to Dallas on Sunday night and won the NFC East title, that clearly makes them the greatest team of all time. Right? I mean, that is how logic works isn’t it?

Okay, maybe I’m stretching things a bit. Still, winning the division is great. Doing it in JerryWorld is even sweeter. If you’re Jerry Jones, a Dallas player or a fan, don’t you just have to know what’s going to happen? Reminds me of this great scene from Billy Jack.

“I’m gonna take this right foot and kick you on that side of your face. And there’s nothing you can do about it.”

The game did not play out exactly as I expected. I thought Dallas might start hot before the Eagles would take control of the game. Instead, the Eagles built up a 17-7 lead late in the 1st half. I let my guard down just a bit and the Cowboys got a late FG to make it a 17-10 game at halftime. Dallas cut that to 17-16 in the 2nd half before the Eagles expanded the lead to 24-16. From that point on, it was holding on to win the game.

I was petrified when the Eagles punted the ball back to Dallas late in the game. The Eagles only led by 2 points and the Cowboys have a good kicker with a strong leg. Even though Dallas has a habit of losing these games, I dreaded the thought of losing to the friggin’ Cowboys by a single point with the division title on the line. That would have ruined a great season.

Thankfully, the Eagles didn’t panic at all. Donnie Jones boomed a 56-yard punt to push them back. And then Brandon Boykin made a huge play when he picked off Kyle Orton and essentially sealed the game. The game wasn’t technically over until Shady McCoy ran for a 1st down and allowed Nick Foles to kneel down and run out the clock, but I felt completely comfortable after the INT. That put me at ease.

I was hoping for a blowout so I could sit back and enjoy the game, but there is something to be said for winning the game like this. In terms of football, it was a tense, pressure-packed situation that didn’t bother the Eagles. That will serve them well in the playoffs, when everything is life or death. We see all the time in sports that teams who win a lot of blowouts can struggle in the postseason when games are tougher. The Eagles have dealt with plenty of pressure this year already, but Sunday night was a different level since the season was on the line. The Eagles handled the situation well.

The other good aspect is that losing like that must have been ultra-torturous for Jerry Jones and Cowboys Nation. They were hoping that this would be the game where things were different. This would be their chance to show the world they could win big games and come through in clutch situations. All they needed was a FG. They could steal the division from the Eagles and Jerry’s smile would have to be surgically removed. He would have been on top of the world. Instead, it was more of the same. Another late game INT that ended the season and crushed their souls. You know, a fairy tale ending.

COACHING

If there were any questions about how Chip Kelly would handle a tough game, I think he answered them. He had his team ready to go. Kelly wasn’t out-coached. He didn’t try to do anything dumb. He stayed true to his principles. Kelly was creative and aggressive, even in late in the game. He played to win. Some coaches will focus on “not losing”. You always wonder about the signal that sends to the team.

The biggest coaching moment of the game was 4th/GL from the 1. Kelly didn’t hesitate. He wanted that TD. I think that was the right call. I think the QB sneak was the right call. Unfortunately, Dallas did a great job on that play and stuffed it. My only complaint was the lack of creativity with the formation. Why not shift Lane Johnson over to the left side and sneak there? Or go jumbo and put Allen Barbre at TE in place of Celek. The Eagles went with their base look and Dallas made the play. I know some of you wanted Shady to run there. We’ve seen plenty of plays where the RB gets stuffed. You only need a foot. Why give the ball to a RB who is several yards in the backfield?

Kelly was faced with another dilemma late in the game. 3rd/4. Eagles needed a 1st down to basically seal the game. Do you run and keep the clock going? Do you risk a pass? Kelly called the pass play, but made sure it was a smart, safe pass. He gave Foles multiple options, including running the ball. I would have preferred handing the ball to Shady in this situation, but Dallas was focused on stopping the run. There is absolute logic to Kelly’s decision. His play might have worked if Dallas didn’t get away with holding. I still do like the fact that Kelly was in “let’s win” mode. He wasn’t scared to fail.

OFFENSE

I was not enamored with the offense in this game. I wrote in my preview that the way to beat Dallas was with crossing routes. They tended to get lost, confused or just sloppy. Instead, Kelly spread out the receivers and challenged his guys to win 1-on-1. Dallas did a much better job in coverage than anyone expected. The numbers from the passing game are still pretty good, but they could have been better with a different strategy.

Dallas did a good job of taking screens away. Shady only caught one pass all day. Dallas played man coverage and that eliminated the WR screens. I didn’t see any TE screens called.

The Eagles tried to mix Dallas up by bringing DeSean in motion a lot. This would help Foles read man or zone (if a DB chases DJax in motion, it is man). That also put DeSean on the move and limited how much bump and run Dallas could do with him. The idea worked okay, but it did limit DeSean’s effectiveness as a receiver. He was quiet for the day. You don’t want your most explosive player to be a decoy too much. That seemed to be the case on Sunday.

I did love the run game. Kelly got creative and fed the ball to Shady. Kelly did some different things in terms of blocking. Shady only had one run of more than 15 yards, but he consistently moved the chains. That fit this game pretty well. Dallas was a tired defense late in the game and they couldn’t stop the run when they needed to.

Plays

* 1st/GL. Eagles had 12 personnel. Riley out left, DeSean out right. Both TEs to the right. DeSean came in motion toward the formation. He stopped in the backfield and Foles faked handing the ball to him. Both TEs started off heading inside, to the left. Shady took off for the right flat. The offensive flow was going the other way so the defense focused on that and the fake to DeSean. Shady was wide open for an easy pass for the TD. Kyle Wilber, #51, was the SAM and the player charged with covering Shady. He’s a former DE and isn’t adept at coverage. That’s the matchup Chip Kelly wanted.

* 1st/GL. Brad Smith motioned into the backfield. Foles handed him the ball and Smith started going to the right. Foles drifted to the left. Was designed to be a throwback pass to Foles. Dallas covered it well. Smith ended up throwing the ball to Ertz in the end zone. A slightly better throw might have meant a TD, but the pass was behind him. I don’t mind the call at all. You mix in oddball plays like that to give the defense something to worry about. If Kelly did too much of it, that would be bad.

* 4th/GL. Ran a QB sneak. Peters wasn’t able to get to Carter, who came over the top and got Foles. Celek wasn’t able to block Ware, who helped to keep Foles from fighting for the TD.

* 3rd/4. Late in the game. Kelly called a pass play. Foles faked a hand-off to DeSean in the backfield. Shady was supposed to run to the flat. Celek got knocked back into him so Shady was on the ground. Riley Cooper was running a crossing route. He started to come open, but the DB grabbed his jersey multiple times to keep Coop from getting separation. No flag. Without the holding, Foles has a target wide open in the middle of the field. There is no guarantee the throw is perfect or that Cooper makes the catch, but I’m guessing they would have. Critical non-call. Foles wisely went to the ground rather than throwing the ball. He wanted to keep the clock going. A couple of guys hit Foles while he was on the ground. That easily could have been a flag, but again…no call.

MISC

* 5 for 13 on 3rd downs

* 3 for 4 in the Red Zone. This was hugely important. Dallas had to settle for FGs, while the Eagles scored TDs.

* only one turnover

Players

QB 

FOLES - We all wanted to see how Foles would play in the rematch with the one team who had shut him down. 17-26-263. 2 TDs, no INTs. Did lose one fumble. Good game. Had some ups and downs, but mostly good. I felt pretty calm once I saw the first TD pass. I also felt good when Nick had more than 80 yards passing. I was able to forget about the October disaster at that point. Had to deal with pressure. That got to him at times. Threw the ball away on several plays. Was called for grounding on one where he fired the ball into the ground. Shady was a couple of steps away, but the officials still made the call. There was one play that made me nervous. Foles had no one open, started moving up in the pocket. Then stopped and started to run the other way. Huh? You never want to see the QB running backward, even if just for a step or two. It was 3rd down and Nick was trying to find some way to make a play and extend the drive. Ended up taking a sack.

Foles made a pair of very impressive throws. He was in the pocket and saw Jason Avant open down the right side. Foles didn’t have great protection, but again decided to give his guy a chance. Foles took a risk by throwing this pass since a defensive back was right there, but the defender had his back to the ball. Avant went up over the defender and made a terrific catch. That put the Eagles inside the 5-yard line and set up the first touchdown of the game.

There was a downfield pass to Celek that happened late in the 1st half. This was a play-action pass where Foles had time to let the route develop. Celek was covered tightly by a linebacker, but Foles decided to give his guy a chance to make a play. He put the ball out in front of Celek and sure enough Celek made a tough grab for a gain of 35 yards. Huge play.

Made one really bad decision. On 2nd/GL, Foles didn’t go for Shady to the right or DJax to the left. Forced the ball over the middle. Bad throw, with a lot of Cowboys in the area. Got lucky that was an incompletion. Bounced back on the next play. Hit DJax with a quick pass that got the ball down to the 1-foot line.

Made a really smart decision late in the game when he didn’t try to force a throw on 3rd/4. Just went down. That kept the clock running. Got hit after going down. No call. Nick got up and let the officials know he didn’t like that. Wanted the call.

-Misc Plays-

* Good throw on the wheel route to Polk. Gave him a chance to get RAC yards.
* Made a real good throw to Cooper on 3rd/long on the opening drive. LB was buzzing underneath, but the ball had enough zip to get by him.
* Hit Ertz with a really good throw to open the 2nd series. That helped move the Eagles from the 12 to the 29. Gave them some breathing room. The pass was a tight spiral that was right on the money. Very catchable.
* A few plays later, hit Ertz over the middle on 3rd/7. Got 12 yards on that play.
* Did a good job of moving on 2nd/20 to buy time and then hit DeSean on the move. The pass was a bit behind him, but DJax was still able to catch it on the move and turn upfield for the 1st down.
* Hit Avant over the middle for 17 yards on 3rd/8. Avant was open, but it was a tight window with so much traffic around him. Good throw.
* Forced to scramble in the mid-3rd and hit Ertz on the run for a gain of 14.
* Only threw one deep ball. Carr had good coverage on DeSean and the pass was incomplete.
* Connected with Cooper on a dig route in the early 4th. That got 19 yards and moved the Eagles across midfield. Jump-started the final TD drive.

RB

SHADY - Terrific game. 27-131. Never could break a huge run. Came close on several tries. This might be my favorite Shady game of the year. He sometimes frustrates me by always wanting the big play. I thought Shady showed great discipline in the 4th Qtr. He ran N-S. He attacked the LOS and showed excellent situational awareness. Also did a good job in pass protection for much of the game. Dallas blitzed on a regular basis. That kept Shady in and blocking. Did catch one pass, for a short TD.

Made one bad read. 2nd Qtr run. Dallas had the defense stacked to Shady’s right. The play had a natural cutback lane for him. Instead, he went straight and then tried to bounce the run outside where all the Cowboys were. Only lost a yard. Had a terrific run in the mid-2nd. Went to his right. The MLB had to guess inside or out. Shady faked out, then stayed inside. The LB totally bit and Shady hit the hole for a gain of 16. As he got downfield, Shady tried another shake-n-bake move, but got tackled. I wish he had just kept running hard and had aimed outside. Might have been stopped, but also might have gotten by that DB, who wasn’t an ideal tackler. Made a terrific cut on an outside run late in the 3rd Qtr. Went back to the inside and got an additional 10 or so yards. Got 13 on the play.

Was great in the 4th Qtr. Didn’t post big numbers, but moved the chains when it was critical. The final TD drive was a thing of beauty. The blockers did their part and Shady played within the offense. Absolutely beautiful.

B BROWN – Didn’t play a lot, but had some impact. 2 carries for 11 yards. Both runs game on the final TD drive. Scored the final TD on a 6-yd run. Lined up to the right of Nick and then took the hand-off going left. Used his speed to get wide, but then put on the brakes and turned up the field. Was able to just get into the end zone.

POLK - Came into the game on the opening 3rd down. Ran a wheel route and had a 34-yard catch/run. Caught the ball 5 yards upfield, then got the rest on the move. Almost broke a couple of tackles and took the ball all the way.

TE

CELEK - Great game. 3-71-1 as a receiver. Made a great catch on the downfield pass from Foles. Had to really extend for that ball and make a pure hands catch. Did that and held onto the ball as he went to the ground. On the next play, caught a short TD. The Eagles ran a simple play, but one of the defenders failed to cover Celek and he was wide open in the flat. Got the ball and turned upfield for an easy TD. 14 yards. Caught pass in the late 3rd when Dallas forgot to cover him. Got 22 yards on the play and set up 1st/GL. Did an excellent job of blocking for most of the game. Ware got the best of him on 4th/GL, but that was a tough assignment.

ERTZ - Good game. 3-43. Caught 17-yard pass to open the 2nd series. Plucked the ball smoothly on that play. Caught a 14-yard pass when Foles was on the move. Smith tried to hit him in the back of the end zone. Tough. Ertz was running away from a defender, but also needed to slow down since he was headed for the sideline. And then the ball was behind him. Couldn’t pull off a miracle on that play.

CASEY - Mostly did a good job of blocking. Did give up a sack. Why was he blocking a DE? It was a play action pass and the motion of the OL is crucial to selling the fake. They had to flow one direction with Casey taking out the backside DE. Casey blocked him for a second, but Foles didn’t have anyone open right away so that led to the sack. Had a key hand in the final TD. Lined up out wide. Came inside and blocked the SAM. Then shoved him into the MLB. Took out 2 LBs on one play. Brown got the TD to that side. Great job by Casey.

WR

D JACKSON – Quiet game. 3-28. Only had 4 passes thrown his way. The one incompletion was a deep ball. Despite the lack of touches, DJax did impact the game. Was used as a decoy quite a bit. Wasn’t a pure decoy. If the defense left him open, the ball would go his way. The defense didn’t do that so Foles went elsewhere with the ball. Just faking the ball to DeSean did help score one TD, as well as on some other plays.

AVANT - Big game. 3-45. Made a huge catch to open the 2nd Qtr. Went up and over Heath (#38) to grab a pass for a gain of 22. You don’t see Avant go up over DBs often. Looked athletic in making that grab. Also had a gain of 17 over the middle on 3rd/8. Got a couple of RAC yards on that play. Also was a key blocker. Eagles had him come in motion to the formation and then block the DE on several run plays. Avant did a good job, despite giving up lots of size.

COOPER - Solid game. 3-39. Caught a 16-yard pass on 3rd/18 on the opening drive. That moved the team into FG range. Caught a short pass on a crossing route. Final catch helped set up the final TD. Got 19 yards on a dig route.

SMITH - Only touch came he the threw the pass in the Red Zone. Was used as a blocker on some run plays late in the game.

D JOHNSON – DNP

OL

* 3rd/7 on 2nd series. Dallas rushed 4 & blitzed 2 LBs. Shady stayed in to block so there were 6 Eagles vs 6 Cowboys. The OL gave Foles enough time to find Ertz and move the chains. Really impressive protection.

* The Eagles gave up 5 sacks. Casey gave up one. Another came on a blitz and Shady might have been expected to make the block, but he was caught inside due to the fake and the blitzer was outside. It is really hard to specifically blame the OL for the other 3. There was tight coverage on those plays. It wasn’t a jailbreak situation. Mostly I thought the OL did a good job in pass pro. Stunts did prove to be an issue at times.

PETERS - Failed to sustain a block of Selvie while at RT and that blew up a run play. Ware tried to beat him with an inside spin move, but JP just mirrored him to the inside. Bascially neutralized Ware in the game. DeMarcus had 2 solo tackles and one QB hit, which didn’t come vs Peters. JP mostly did a good job on run plays.

MATHIS – I’m just going to focus on one drive with Evan. This was the final TD drive. Had a great block on 3rd/1 play. Engaged the DT, who had an outside alignment. Evan was able to reach block him and sustain the block, allowing Shady to go right by there for the 1st down. Very tough block to make. Pulled to the left and sealed a LB so Brown could get wide on a run play. Took out the MLB on a run play to the left side. Shady went through that hole and got 6 yards. Blocked the DT on 3rd/1 play and Shady went right through that hole for 4 yards. Finally, pulled left and sealed the DE, allowing Brown to get wide for the TD. Great drive. The fact that the Eagles ran so much based on Mathis and where he was blocking on those plays tells you all you need to know about him.

KELCE - Had some very good run blocks in the game. Did a good job on combo blocks (hitting the DT, then going for a LB). My favorite block came in the late 3rd. Shady ran to the right. Kelce got up to the 2nd level and blocked the MLB. Engaged him and drove the guy wide enough that Shady could cut inside and get extra yards. Really good in the 4th Qtr.

HERREMANS - Made a critical block on the big pass to Avant. Dallas used a stunt and Todd picked up the looping DL to keep Foles clean enough to make the throw. Consistently took out LBs on runs to his side.

JOHNSON - Excellent seal block on opening run. Called for holding on opening drive. Lined up at LT/LG and had to reach block the DT. Got his hands too high and it was a good call. Good block on pass play in the late 1st Qtr. Selvie went hard to the inside. Johnson was able to stick right with him. Had a real good run block in the 2nd Qtr. DE moved with the flow, then Lane drove and sealed him to the inside, giving Shady an running lane. On the very next play, Lane failed to block the DE and Shady got tackled for a loss. Poor hands on that block. Good block on run play in the late 3rd. Engaged the DE and was able to seal him when the guy took one step to the inside. Shady then got wide for a gain of 10.

BARBRE - DNP

TOBIN - DNP

VANDERVELDE - DNP

KELLY - DNP

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DEFENSE

The Eagles were coming off their best defensive showing of the year. They were facing a backup QB. What could go wrong? Dallas ended up with 417 yards of offense. But some of those were hollow yards. The Eagles had 3 takeaways. They held Dallas to 3-11 on 3rd downs. There was a key 4th down stop. There was a key Red Zone stop. There was a key stop on a 2-point conversion. The defense made big plays. Holding Dallas to 22 points may not sound huge, but they were only held to fewer points in 4 other games (one by the Eagles).

I was concerned early. DeMarco Murray caught a pass and went toward the sideline. Carry Williams pulled up. Murray ran him over. If you’re anyone but an Eagles fan, that’s a beautiful play. You want to be the aggressor. Attack the tacklers, don’t hide from them. I didn’t think it was a good sign to see that. Then Murray ran over Damion Square. Yikes. He came ready to play and the Eagles were not exactly in beast mode. The defense picked up the pace and Murray either wore down or simply decided to quit being as aggressive.

Murray was red hot coming into the game. He was averaging 125 yards and 6.5 ypc for the last 3 games. The Eagles shut him down. Murray finished the game with 17 carries for 51 yards. Dallas was hoping to feed him the ball and work him hard. Didn’t happen. Murray was 4-18 on the opening drive. The Eagles held him to 13-33 after that. And that wasn’t selling out to stop the run. They just played good run defense.

Murray was 5-39 as a receiver. His first 2 catches netted him 28 yards, so the final 3 catches were for just 11 yards. The Eagles defense was able to really neutralize him as a runner and receiver after a hot start.

The Eagles pass rush looked non-existent when I watched the game live. I did feel better after studying the All-22. Even then, it wasn’t what I hoped for. Bill Davis and Chip Kelly explained that Dallas was throwing the ball quickly and that was the big problem. There is some truth to this. Orton did get the ball out quickly most of the time. Still, Orton dropped back 47 times. Not sacking him once and only hitting him a couple of times isn’t good enough. The Eagles are too talented up front to not get more hits than they did. I’m not asking for 11 sacks, but just some more QB hits.

For the most part, I liked the gameplan. Davis mixed blitzing and coverage. I do think he should have bumped Witten more than he did. Witten got mostly free releases and caught 12 passes. Some of those he was well-covered and just made a play. There were a few where he was running wide open.

There were a few pass plays where DeMeco Ryans looked to be confused in coverage. One of these was the TD to Escobar. There were throws to Murray and Witten as well. I can’t say Ryans was to blame for sure, but it appeared that way. There were multiple plays when Ryans, Kendricks and sometimes DBs were shifting around at the last minute. I don’t know if Dallas had some unexpected wrinkles or what.

PLAYS

* You could see the lack of speed over the middle on early throw to Bryant. Ran away from Williams. Ryans couldn’t get to him. Nor could Nate, until he had the good pursuit angle.

* 1st/10. Cowboys lined up in a simple 2 x 2 formation. Ran a generic play. Unfortunately one of the Eagles failed to cover TE Gavin Escobar when he headed to the flat. He caught a short pass and then ran 15 yards for a TD. Looked like DeMeco is the one who blew the coverage. Connor Barwin was over him initially, but rushed the passer. Nate Allen was deep to that side. DeMeco was the one defender in the same zip code and he stayed over the middle, even though there were no Cowboys there.

* In the early 4th, Orton got some pressure up the middle and threw the ball away. He was in the pocket and there wasn’t a Cowboy within 15 yards of the ball. No flag. No discussion from Cris/Al about that being grounding.

* 4th/9. The Eagles went Cover 0. They blitzed heavily and played man coverage with no deep Safety. Orton had time to get the ball to Bryant, who then broke Chung’s tackle and raced 32 yards for a TD. I hated that call. I don’t ever want Chung covering Bryant with no S help. Boykin blitzed on the play. Ugh. Have him on Bryant and blitz Chung. Really terrible call. Some argue that Chung should have tackled Bryant since he was in position to get him down short of the sticks. But Chung isn’t a great tackler. You can’t rely on that. Bad call by Bill Davis.

* 1st/10. Dallas final possession. The Eagles showed blitz, but Kendricks backed out at the snap. Chung was covering Witten and Kendricks helped to double him. That took away Orton’s first read. He had a clean pocket, but threw a bad pass to Austin. The ball was behind him and Boykin picked it off. Austin was open. Just a bad throw. Big time play by Boykin to make the catch. He started to run, but slipped and Connor Barwin grabbed him and told him to stay down. You don’t want to risk a fumble or some disastrous play. Just go down.

PLAYERS

DL

COX – Blew up a 2nd Qtr run by driving the LG back and then tackling Murray for just a short gain. Jumped offside in the 3rd Qtr. Turned 3rd/7 into 3rd/2, which they converted. Drove the LG right back into Orton’s face on 3rd Qtr pass play, but didn’t affect the throw.

LOGAN - Offside penalty. Made up for it on the next play by getting some pressure in Orton’s face. Drove Frederick right back into him and forced a bad throw on 3rd down. Got some late pressure on 3rd Qtr pass play when Orton tried to go deep. Ball ended up incomplete.

THORNTON - Good vs the run, as usual. Didn’t make any solo tackles, though. Did get 1/2 a TFL on run play to Murray.

CURRY - Seemed quiet when I watched the game live. Much better on tape. Got held by Smith on a 2nd Qtr run play away from them. Vinny fired off the ball and was chasing from behind. Smith got him up high, then grabbed his arm. No call. On the very next play Curry beat the LG and almost had a TFL. Disrupted the run. Knocked the crap out of Doug Free late in the half. Put him on his back while trying to get to Orton. That was beautiful. Got a good shot on Orton late in the game. The pass got out, but was off target. Easily could have called holding on Frederick on the play, but no flag.

GEATHERS - Quiet game.

SQUARE - Had a major lowlight play on the 2nd series. Tried to tackle Murray downfield and instead, got run over. Took a big hit and went to the ground hard. Not good for a NT to get hit like that by a RB. Did hustle on the play and bounced right up from the hit, but that was ugly. Did get some pressure on Orton on 2nd Qtr pass. Ball was then off-target and incomplete.

OLB

COLE - Another guy who showed up on tape. Played both LB spots, DE and even lined up at DT in a Nickel look. Had good coverage of Witten on pass play on the opening drive. Created a TFL for Ryans in the 2nd Qtr. Got upfield and forced Murray to cut back, where Ryans was waiting for him. Drove Smith back toward Orton late in the half and forced a poor throw. Got a big hit on Orton in the early 3rd Qtr. Was unblocked due to a blitz. Hit Orton just after the ball was out so it didn’t affect the play, but it was good to see Orton on the ground for once. Fired into the backfield in the mid-3rd and disrupted a run. Orton wasn’t able to even make a clean hand-off due to the penetration. Unfortunately, Trent couldn’t get the TFL or knock the ball loose. Murray escaped out wide and got back to the LOS. Great hustle to chase down Murray on 3rd/2 run in the early 4th. Only gave up a yard on that.

BARWIN - Set the edge well on run plays throughout the game. Went nuts in the late 2nd Qtr. Jason Witten got away with a blatant false start and it shocked Connor that the refs didn’t see it. Was yelling at them before the snap and after the play. Forced Murray out of bounds after a short pass to the flat. That stalled a 3rd Qtr drive after Foles fumbled deep in Eagles territory. Made a huge play in the early 4th. It was 4th/1. Dallas tried a play-action pass, but Barwin didn’t bite. He stayed wide and in the passing lane. Orton tried to throw around him, but Barwin knocked the ball down.

GRAHAM - Actually did okay in coverage on an early play. The ball didn’t come his way, but looked okay in space. Chased down Murray from behind on a 2nd Qtr run. Great effort on that. Limited the play to 1 yard. Chase Orton out wide on 2nd Qtr pass and forced him to throw the ball away. Made a solid tackle in the late 3rd. Orton fired a quick pass to Witten in space on 3rd/9. Graham had dropped back in coverage. He was on Witten and closed in and made the stop for no gain. Wasn’t a beautiful form tackle. Basically grabbed a leg and tried to drag him down.

ILB

KENDRICKS - Terrific game. Was in on 12 tackles, had an INT and a FF. Blew up the FB on an early Iso run, which caused Murray to cutback to the other side for just a minimal gain. Got a FF to halt the opening drive. Moved to his left and hit Murray in traffic, knocking the ball loose. Fletcher recovered it. Picked off a pass late in the 1st half. Covered Witten on a play near the sideline. Orton put the ball behind Witten and he couldn’t make a catch. Kendricks grabbed the ball and went out of bounds. Great awareness, good hands on the play. Gift INT. Made an impressive coverage play in the early 3rd. Had Murray in the flat. Hustled out there quickly and then put Murray down with authority. Got an arm around him and drove Murray to the ground. Didn’t give up a yard on the play. Made a good coverage play on Witten after Foles fumble. Orton threw a quick pass to the flat. MK took a great angle and forced Witten out of bounds, giving up just 1 yard. Made a good tackle of Murray on run play in the late 3rd Qtr. Flew to the other side of the formation and hit Murray as he started to cross the LOS. Good speed, power. Put him down for just a gain of 1 yard. Beaten by Witten for a gain of 34 on a seam pass in the late 4th. MK had good coverage, but Orton threw a terrific pass and Witten made a good catch.

RYANS - Had 6 solo tackles and a TFL. Missed a tackle of Murray on 2nd series after short catch over the middle. Had a TFL in the 2nd Qtr. Flowed to his right and got Murray in the backfield. Had tight coverage of Witten on 2nd Qtr pass over the middle. Tackled him immediately and Witten got up slowly. Cleaned up a lot of plays when Murray was forced to cut back to the middle.

MATTHEWS - DNP

KNOTT - DNP

GOODE - DNP

S

ALLEN - Was in on 5 tackles. Credited with a TFL as well. Did a good job on Kendricks FF. Nate set the edge, which forced Murray to stay inside and allowed Kendricks to make the hit. Covered Witten 1-on-1 at least once in the game and did a good job.

CHUNG - Made one huge mistake when he failed to tackle Bryant on 4th/9 and that resulted in a TD. Had some other plays in coverage where he could have been better. Was in on 10 tackles and was solid at times. Had a good blitz in the mid-3rd that forced Orton to throw quicker than he wanted. Happened on 3rd down and kept them from moving the chains. Blitzed up the middle on 3rd/9 in the late 3rd. Timed that perfectly and forced Orton to throw quickly. The pass was complete, but for no gain.

WOLFF - DNP

COLEMAN - DNP

CB

FLETCHER - Good game. Covered well. Finished with 7 tackles. Did a good job of tackling Bryant and limiting RAC yards. Recovered a fumble on the first drive. Was moving in toward traffic to help with run support when the ball popped out and came right to him. Had pretty good coverage on 3rd/2 throw that came to Bryant in the late 1st Qtr. Ball was out of bounds. Had a couple of run stops.

WILLIAMS - Great game. Stat sheet shows 1 tackle and that’s it, but that hardly tells the story. Covered Bryant quite a bit. Did a good job on him, short, deep and everything in-between. Made one huge play when he broke up a 2-point conversion pass intended for Bryant. Got away with a hold on that play, but managed to get a hand out so he could knock the ball away.

BOYKIN - Great game. Picked off one pass and broke up 2 others. Also played the run well. Got burned for a gain of 39 on a seam pass to Williams in the 2nd Qtr. Boykin had solid coverage. He tried to play the ball as it got there, but just missed it. Broke up a pass to Beasley late in the half. Blitzed off the edge and forced a quick throw late in the half. Blew up a 3rd Qtr run by taking on 2 blockers (TE, WR) and not letting Murray get wide. That allowed pursuit to chase him down for a TFL. He and Ced were credited with the TFL. On the next play, Boykin covered Bryant out of the slot. Orton threw to him in the end zone, but BB was able to go up and knock the ball away. Great play. Did a great job on 3rd/2 run in the early 4th. Got wide and took on the pulling LT. Didn’t do much more than get in his way, but that was enough to force Murray to stay inside. Pursuit got him and only gave up a yard on the play. That set up the huge 4th/1 stop.

CARMICHAEL - DNP

=============================================================

ST’s

JONES - Another big game, averaged just over 47 yards per punt. He blasted a 56-yard bomb late in the game to push Dallas back on their final drive. Got good hang time on his punts. Limited Harris to 18 yards on 3 returns. 2 of Jones punts were inside the 20.

HENERY - Very good game. Henery nailed a 47-yard field goal that proved to be crucial. Henery also had three touchbacks, which helped to neutralize Dwayne Harris, the Cowboys dynamic returner.

KOR – Eagles expected an onside kick late in the game so everyone was up close, with only Brad Smith deep. The ball was kicked deep. Smith got it and had a short return.

PR – DeSean had a 23-yard PR late in the 3rd Qtr. Got the team out near midfield.

– MISC –

* Good tackle by C Williams on the opening KO.

* Harris got loose for one good KOR, but Goode tackled him at the 36.

* Boykin had one dumb moment. Was covering a punt when he nudged the PR. Harris had called for a fair catch. Even though there was minimal contact and Harris made an easy catch, Boykin was flagged for interference and gave them 15 yards. Dumb.

* Roc Carmichael did a good job at covering punts.

* Harris muffed a punt in the 3rd, but fell on the ball. Jake Knott then dove on him.

GAMEBOOK

_


  • D-von

    The refs didn’t do a good job on calls but at least they were consistent. I don’t any PI or holding penalties were called on either team, which is rare.

    • Joe Minx

      I almost never complain about the officials, but I’m glad to see from
      reading this that it appears the game was just as poorly officiated as I
      felt like it was while watching it.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      Tommy noted an early holding call on Lane Johnson, but mentioned it was legit.

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    i really liked the brad smith play, (not the end result of course) seems like that play could work well in the future at the right moment of course.

    • Joe Minx

      I could do without seeing another Wildcat play again. Ever.

      If you’re going to throw the ball down there, it needs to be in Foles’ hands.

      • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

        im not scared… chip ant scared….

      • the midatlantic

        Not a wildcat play.

        • Sean Stott

          Yes it was. Just because Chip said it wasn’t doesn’t make it not true.

          • therevxxx

            I don’t remember the play 100% how it went down, but didn’t Foles take the snap, give it to Smith then run to the flat to hopefully receive the pass? If so, then it isn’t a wildcat play. Or did he line up as a WR?

          • TheRogerPodacter

            i believe you are correct. the wildcat takes the ‘real’ QB out of the game entirely. Foles not only received the snap, but was still in on the play after that.
            if anything, it was just a simple WR toss play.

          • the midatlantic

            Foles took the snap and flipped the ball to Smith, who then immediately looked to throw the ball back to Foles in the flat (he was covered). Not a wildcat play.

    • therevxxx

      I liked the call too, was actually shocked that the Girls covered Foles on the play. I would have gone crazy if he caught the pass for a TD. With a decent pass that play would have resulted in a TD. I would take that opportunity all day.

      • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

        i liked it because he was in the backfield and didnt line up as a QB. seemed like he could have ran it too… yeah i def like that design

  • dave H

    Billy JACK !! REALLY? OMG I KNEW THIS WAS THE BEST Football site ever!
    .,
    im sure I saw in on one play because I said “WTF is Tobin!! is that my favorite ex-dream girl from college, her brother??” ha how irrelevant is that/sorry y’all.

  • Ark87

    Was pretty cool to see Foles get fired up looking for that penalty at the end of the game. You hear about how competitive he is, but you never get to directly see it. As he gets older, and more settled in, he may be able to drop the boy scout/super hero facade and really become a leader.

    • sprawl

      I saw elsewhere that Foles might have also been pissed about one of his receivers being pretty blatantly held on that play trying to break across the middle. I’m betting he both saw the hold and then got the late hit and just couldn’t keep from blowing up.

  • D3Center

    The one non-call that aggravated me more than anything was when Murray ran over Square and led with the crown of his helmet which should have been a fifteen yard penalty under the new rules. I don’t think I saw that called once this year but that was a perfect example of when the call should have been made.

    • Ark87

      Sad part is Square could have countered it by doing the same thing and took Murray out, that would have been a penalty and a fine though.

  • Jamie Parker

    Loved going for it on 4th and goal, but I hated the QB sneak. I didn’t like the play because we never run it. I like to see teams run plays in that situation that they’re used to executing. The trick play run to Smith I hated too. 1st and goal is not really the place for it. When you’re in goal to go mode, getting too cute with the play can invite disaster. Cuteness has no place on the football field, unless it’s the Lingerie League.

    The Cowboys got away with a lot in this game too. Especially when holding the Eagles O-lineman so they couldn’t get to the next level. Bugged the crap out of me.

    About the clock operator: I wonder if he was doing that the whole game, but was only caught when they called that delay of game. Maybe Jerry paid off the refs, but forgot to pay the clock operator.

    • P_P_K

      I was going to comment on the 4th and goal, but your first paragraph is so spot on that I don’t need to. Well said.

      • Jamie Parker

        Thank You.

    • ACViking

      hear, hear

    • Maggie

      I hope you don’t seriously believe that anybody paid off the officials. Considering the level of incompetence this year, nobody had to. And all it would take, if there is bias, is one or two holding down a daytime job in the Dallas area.

  • RobNE

    Tommy look at Chip Wagon he suggests the brad smith play was not designed for foles

    • ACViking

      Great play if Smith regularly plays QB. Not so great otherwise.

      I hate these gimmickry calls in the RZ.

      Foles was coming off a 5-5 night in the RZ. And he was 2-2 up to that point against Dallas.

      Don’t care that Ertz broke open between the Dallas S and LB.

      Only care that Kelly drove down the odds of success on a passing play by using a Utility Player to be the QB.

      I don’t want to say Kelly has an “I’m smarter than you” attitude. Clearly, he’s very, very smart when it comes football. (Reid tried this kind of stuff twice that I can remember — and both times turnovers resulted. And he was the smartest coach EVER.) But those plays hurt when Foles is so Red-Zone hot right now.
      _________________

      Regarding Mathis and Kelce, I think a mention in the DGR was merited regarding the failed 4th-and-1 at the GL play.

      Third week in a row the Eagles could not get 1 foot behind those two.

      Why is that?

      • OregonDucker

        Bad cleats.

      • mtn_green

        Despite weeks of failed 4th and 1 the eagles win.

      • Maggie

        They are very large. Maybe at close quarters, like the goal line, they get in their own way?

  • Ashley Fox

    Will Chip Kelly be the Next Coach of the Cleveland Browns?
    by Ashley Fox, ESPN

    In the wake of the Rob Chudzinksi firing, an NFL source in Cleveland revealed some of the details of the Browns’ 2013 coaching search. After interviewing with the Browns and Eagles, Chip Kelly decided to return to Oregon. But after learning of the steep NCAA sanctions he would be facing due to his recruiting violations, Chip was desperate to make the jump to the NFL. According to the source, Kelly begged the Browns to allow him to become their head coach, but they had already made a commitment to Rob Chudzinksi. So Kelly was left with no choice but to settle for the Eagles head coaching job.

    Given that the Browns head coaching position is now available again, it’s easy to question if Kelly will jump ship and take the job that was his original first choice. The availability of veteran NFL coaches like Mike Shanahan, Gary Kubiak, and Jim Schwartz means that the Browns have options that may be far more promising than hiring a college coach like Kelly. But still, there’s a real possibility that if the Eagles lose to the Saints on Saturday night, Chip Kelly will be the new Browns head coach by Sunday morning.

    • Jamie Parker

      And become a HoF coach by getting Brandon Weeden to look like an actual QB.

    • Insomniac

      Hahaha I went to ESPn to check if she did write that,

    • mtn_green

      Was chip signing, “I ain’t gonna work on Lurie’s farm no more.”

    • OregonDucker

      Oh the horror. The horror of betrayal!!

  • ICDogg

    Saints returned some tix so there are seats available at ticketmaster if anyone is interested, use promo code LOYAL

    • sprawl

      I was close to pulling the trigger on a pair of tickets way up in the corner but I decided to save my money for a home game against GB or SF in two weeks.

  • Mitchell

    Landshark had a great game. I remember being a bit worried on the Cowboys opening drive, then, out pops the ball. Another turnover for this defense. Landshark’s best game yet, easily.

  • SteveH

    Hey Tommy what do you make of Special K’s emergence? He’s always had the physical tools but is he finally “putting it all together”? It seems like he could have a pro bowl ceiling, but I worry about consistency. Was great to see him bringing the wood on a couple of those tackles against the ‘Boys, and he didn’t miss!

    • ACViking

      Needs to be more consistent, especially in coverage.

      Lots of G-R-E-A-T inside LBs in the NFL right now. Kendricks has a number of rungs to climb up the All Pro ILB ladder.

      • ICDogg

        Like not playing man when everyone else is in zone at least once a game.

        • fran35

          Great point. I feel like he has moments of sheer brilliance followed by splashes of Ernie Sims. However, the brilliant plays seem to be more and more frequent. One more year under Demecos wing..…

  • NinjaP

    I have never seen this billy jack film, but I now feel that I must.

    • TommyLawlor

      You must. Greatness.

  • ACViking

    Re: Cold-Weather Birds

    1960 World Champion Eagles . . . played that game in 21 degree weather w/ the windchill.

    It’s gonna be about that same temperature Saturday night — by halftime at least.

    Fair to say the Eagles historically play well in cold-weather playoff games?

    Sure, why not. (Tongue firmly planted in cheek.)

    • Jamie Parker

      Unless they’re playing TB in the NFCCG.

      • Maggie

        Now, now. Let’s not get caught up in reality checks. :~)

  • Insomniac

    In the wake of Cutler’s new (absurd) deal…Foles is going to get paid big money by us.

    • mtn_green

      SB winners gotta get paid.

    • ICDogg

      not for at least another year.

      • Insomniac

        Eventually….hopefully.

  • TheRogerPodacter

    JOHNSON – Excellent seal block on opening run. Called for holding on opening drive. Lined up at LT/LG and had to reach block the DT. Got his hands too high and it was a good call.

    glad someone was able to make a final determination on this play. many of us in the gameday thread (myself included) didn’t catch the penalty and had no idea if it was legit or not.

  • TheRogerPodacter

    * In the early 4th, Orton got some pressure up the middle and threw the ball away. He was in the pocket and there wasn’t a Cowboy within 15 yards of the ball. No flag. No discussion from Cris/Al about that being grounding.

    this is the one that really drove me crazy. especially when we get called for it when we have a guy within a few feet of where the ball landed. yea, Foles didn’t exactly sell it very well, but i don’t think the rules say anything about how the QB looks on his incomplete passes…

  • mtn_green

    Anyone else notice two interesting cowboys strategies:
    1. Seemed cowboys grabbed McCoy whenever he stayed in to block so he wouldn’t sneak out for screen.
    2. Seemed cowboys grabbed all receivers on the ‘mesh’ concept crossing routes.

    Seems that refs aren’t going to call many penalties in playoffs. I don’t normally complain bout refs, this game was silly.

  • ICDogg
    • mtn_green

      Hilarious. 6-10 said Vegas. 18% chance of playoffs.

      10-6 and 100% chance of playoffs.

  • Mr. Magee

    Great analysis as usual.

    I did not think either the OL or the DL played a great game. This one was all about a few great plays (esp turnovers), and unlike in years past, it was the Eagles who made the plays this time around.

    Also do not think it was the Eagles’ best coached game, either. You have to hand it to the cowboys for how well they played, but I was disappointed with the lack of adjustments in the 2nd half.

    Did anyone else besides me think the offense played a little slow? The cowboys routinely had time to substitute personnel while the eagles looked to the sidelines for the play. Birds seem to play their best when they play with pace, and I did not think they did that particularly well on Sun night.

    The cowboys took their best shot and gave the eagles a run for their money, but the birds will certainly have to play better than that to advance in the playoffs.

  • Mike Roman

    You know what is awesome? If there is anyone in the world with the money and ego to try to live forever, it’s Jerry Jones. And as long as he’s alive it will be great to be an Eagles fan.

  • Philip Soloninka

    Was able to attend the game, 2nd PHI vs DAL game I have been to (which means I have been to more Cowboy games than most Cowboy ‘fans’). First one was the 2004 game where TO broke his leg.
    Few points:
    – Pre game warmups, in the TEs group, Casey was directly under the big video board and was throwing the ball as high as he possibly could, in an effort to hit the video screen. He would look around, like a little kid to see if he could get away with it, reach back until his upper body was nearly parallel with the ground, and then let it rip. Never could actually tell if he nailed it, but looked pretty damn close.
    – LOTS OF EAGLES FANS AT THE GAME. Awesome sight to see, as I really felt I was walking into enemy territory in that place.
    – Speaking of that place, I have never hated the Cowboys or Jerrah Jones more than after having attended a game there. I understand that ultimately football is a business, but you would not believe the amount of crap they hawk in that place in order to make a buck. It is disgusting. They even have some ridiculous night club type establishment complete with half naked “models” posing at the entrance. Ridiculous.