Detailed Game Review – DAL 38, PHI 27

Posted: December 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 20 Comments »

Preview for the Skins game will be up in a while. Had to get this out of the way.

* * * * *

What an utterly frustrating game. Mistakes, mistakes and more mistakes. The Eagles had breakdowns on offense, defense, and STs. Heck, the Eagles couldn’t field the opening kickoff. That should have given us a clue of what was to come.

It is easy to think of this loss as being mostly on Mark Sanchez, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. They made THE mistakes that really hurt, but unfortunately there were others that contributed to the crapfest. This was the biggest game of the year. The Eagles needed to come out and play smart, tough football. They were tough, but smart? Forget that. There were mental mistakes all over the field. Missed blocks, missed coverages, poor choices on where to throw the ball, poor choices on where to run after getting/catching the ball. It was pretty miserable to see this live and even worse to study it a second time around.

There were some positives. I loved the run defense. They really bottled up DeMarco Murray. 31 carries, but only for 81 yards? That’s some good run defense. It was great to see Josh Huff make a big play on offense. You can really see his RAC potential. It was great to see Chris Polk run for 2 TDs. The Eagles were 3 for 3 in the Red Zone.

Coming back from down 21-0 was huge. In the past, it always seemed like the Eagles would cut into a lead, but never catch up. This time the Eagles got out to a 24-21 lead and had control of the game. Dallas finally responded at that point and took the lead back, 28-24. The Eagles had no answer from that point on. There were 3 turnovers and some big mistakes.

This game wasn’t a complete debacle, but it was a bad performance in a huge game. What has to infuriate Chip Kelly is how many unforced errors there were. It wasn’t like the other team overwhelmed the Eagles. Dallas didn’t play a flawless game. This wasn’t Green Bay, pt. 2. This game was there for the taking.

Instead of taking it, the Eagles gave it away.



I don’t have any major qualms with Chip Kelly’s handling of the game. Maybe the biggest decision was whether to go for it on 4th/short when down 11. He chose to kick the FG and cut the score to 35-27…one possession. I think that was absolutely the right move.

The offensive gameplan worked well enough. The Eagles did score 27 points despite sloppy execution.

Defense was a trickier subject. The initial plan was to shut down DeMarco Murray on run downs and then double Dez Bryant on passing downs. Then Jason Witten burned the D early. That meant more attention for him and less for Bryant, which proved to be costly. In defense of Bill Davis, I think Nate Allen’s poor job as FS made the plan look worse than it was. Davis adjusted late and had Cary Williams shadow Bryant. Too little, too late.



* The Eagles were 5 for 11 on 3rd downs

* 3 for 3 in the Red Zone

* They averaged more per play than Dallas (5.5 to 4.8). Overall, that sounds like an efficient offensive game. The big difference was turnovers and the fact the Eagles couldn’t get Dallas off the field in the 1st Qtr.

* The Eagles had a 72-yard play, a 44-yarder and then only a 23-yarder. Normally the team has several plays in the 20-30 range.



SANCHEZ – Bad game. Numbers look okay at 17-28-252, but had no TDs and 2 INTs. Sloppy early as the Eagles fell behind 21-0. Got hot and helped the team take the lead at 24-21. Dallas responded and went up 28-24. That’s when Sanchez needed to continue playing well. Instead he got sloppy and threw a pick which set up a TD for Dallas and essentially put the game away. Sanchez missed some throws and just didn’t have an overall good game. More than 1/3 of the yards came on a pair of pass plays where WRs created big plays after short passes. The biggest frustration is that Sanchez wasn’t under constant pressure. He had time to make some basic throws and just missed. You can’t do that in a shootout. Tony Romo played like a franchise QB and Romo played like a backup.


* Early 3rd down pass for Shady or Coop? Split the difference and put the ball between them.
* Off target on a throw to Huff that would have been a good gain in the early 2nd.
* High to Celek for gain of 23. Luckily Celek could haul it in.
* Made an impressive throw to Ertz that led to a gain of 15. Short throw, but had to get the ball around/by a defender.
* Good throw to Mac on 3rd/12
* Missed throw to Ertz over the middle…picked off. Ball was a foot or so too far out in front.
* Off target on corner route to Celek that would have put the ball down by the 10.


SHADY – 16-64. Solid showing. Just didn’t get enough carries. Did a great job as lead blocker for Sproles on his 1-yard TD run in the mid-3rd. Lost RZ touches to Sproles and Polk. Read into that what you want.

SPROLES – Only had 5 touches but did produce a TD on one of them and a 3rd down conversion on another. Lined up in the right slot and ran quick out on 3rd/5. Caught the ball and turned upfield for a gain of 11. Ran for a short TD in the mid-3rd. Motioned into the backfield pre-snap and then took the hand-off and ran for the far corner. Able to use his speed to get wide for the score.

POLK – Ran for TD in the mid-2nd. Made a good read and hit the hole hard. Stayed square and got into the end zone. Ran for a 1-yard TD in the early 3rd. 2 carries for 6 yards and 2 TDs. Efficient.


CELEK – Up and down game, just like the whole offense. Made a huge catch down the middle in the early 2nd. Got 23 yards on 3rd/7. Had to really extend for that ball. Had a terrific seal block on defender on Polk’s TD run. Poor block on 4th Qtr run limited Shady to 1 yd. Had room to run if one LB was blocked. Caught 14-yd pass on 2nd/13. Would have been big to keep that drive going, but Celek fumbled on the play. That turned out to be a huge play. Helped Dallas to extend the lead to 2 possessions. Finished 4-52 as a receiver.

ERTZ – 3-32. Caught short pass and rumbled downfield for a gain of 15 in the mid-2nd. Caught a short pass on the right side and got upfield for 11 yards. Jumped over a DB who tried to tackle him low on that play.


MACLIN – Good game. 4-98. Made a very tough catch on 3rd/5 in the early 3rd. Had LB on him and had to really extend to snag the ball. Sanchez had to throw it with good velocity despite the fact Mac wasn’t far away. Kept alive a TD drive. Most of that drive happened a couple of plays later when Mac caught a pass on 3rd/12. His CB went for the ball and missed so Mac went 72 yards and put the ball down at the 1. I’m still not sure how he didn’t actually score on that play, but give Dallas credit for hustling.

MATTHEWS – Quiet night. Sanchez got a pass near him in the late 2nd. Ball was out in front. Jordan reached for it and got a hand out there, but couldn’t secure it. Would have put the offense inside the 10. Instead, the drive ended in a FG. No catches.

COOPER – 2-17. Caught a quick screen to open the game and did a terrible job. Didn’t have a ton of room, but could have lowered his head and gotten 3 to 4 yards. Ran to the guy blocking for him and seemed to stall. Very weird looking. Failed to catch a pass along the sideline in the early 2nd Qtr. Too tough to call a drop, but the kind of pass Mac catches on a regular basis.

HUFF – Had pass come his way in the early 2nd. Extended for it, but couldn’t haul it in. Too tough to label a drop. Made his first important offensive play of the year. Caught short pass over the middle and turned that into a gain of 44. Showed good RAC ability on that play. Led to a FG.


* Generally the OL gave Sanchez good pass protection. Things got sloppy late in the game when Dallas knew the Eagles had to throw on every down.

PETERS – Very good blocks on Polk’s TD runs. Collapsed his guy and created room

MATHIS – Had excellent combo block on Polk’s TD run. Started on the DL, then got a LB to clear the way for Polk.

KELCE – Occasionally struggled with 97 due to his strength. Short, powerful DT. Called for holding on 4th Qtr run. Got his hand on LB from behind. Legit call.Had some excellent blocks while pulling to the outside.


JOHNSON – Whiffed on LB on inside run by Shady and that guy made the stop. Got 4 yds on the play, but had room for more.




* Free releases to Witten on early 3rd downs

* Romo saw Fletcher on Dez in the RZ and adjusted the call pre-snap, then threw jump ball to him for TD.

* Dallas was 5-13 on 3rd downs. Started out 4 for 4, then went 1 for 9.

* 3rd down penalties were costly on a couple of drives.

* Dallas was 3 for 3 in the Red Zone

* They had 6 plays of 21 or more yards

* They ran 76 plays to the Eagles 53.



COX – Another terrific game. Stat sheet shows 3 tackles, TFL, and FR. Much bigger impact than that. Regularly disruptive. Beat both G’s and the C. Lost sack due to penalty by C. Williams. Had a chance for a gift sack in the early 3rd. Went unblocked and stormed into the backfield. Was all set to flatten Romo when Tony used one of his spin moves and eluded the rush. Recovered a fumble in the mid-3rd on Curry’s strip-sack.

LOGAN – Great game as a run defender. Put on a 2-gap clinic. Extended his arms into the blocker and flowed with the ball. Able to shed blocks and clog lanes or make plays. Was in on 5 tackles. Had 2 TFLs.

THORNTON – Good game. Had 7 tackles and a sack. Fought off the RT and forced Murray out of bounds on the first run of the game. Gave up 4 yards, but didn’t let Murray get loose. Credited with a sack in the early 3rd. Cox collapsed the pocket and really made the play, but Ced was first to get his hands on Romo.

CURRY – Beat the RT off the edge late in the half and drew a holding call. Got a sack/FF in the mid-3rd. The Eagles used a 3-man rush on the play and coverage smothered the receivers. Romo held the ball forever, which allowed Curry to rush deep and then come up and hit Romo from behind. Definitely a coverage sack, but still love the effort. Never quit on the play and it paid off.

BAIR – Solid vs the run. Had 1 tackle.

B. ALLEN – Didn’t stand out.


COLE – More quiet than I expected. 2 tackles and a TFL. Did help with Thornton’s sack. Drove the LT back into the pocket, which helped trip Romo up. Got pressure using the bull rush on some plays, but wasn’t as disruptive as usual.

BARWIN – Led the team with being in on 9 tackles. Got a sack in the mid-2nd. Wasn’t his prettiest play of the year, but counts the same. Got by a TE and that got Romo off balance. Was able to touch him down for the sack. Had a chance to get Romo for a sack in the mid-4th. Would have knocked them out of FG range, but Romo dipped and was able to then throw the ball away. Ugh.

GRAHAM – Had 3 tackles and 2 TFLs. Flew off the backside on both of the TFLs and got the RB from behind. Got a big hit on Romo on one pass play.


KENDRICKS – More quiet than I expected. Can’t say he had a bad game since he wasn’t making mistakes or missing a bunch of tackles, but just didn’t make plays like he has recently. Had 2 solo stops, 1 TFL. Blew up a 1st Qtr run play by blitzing off the edge and driving the lead blocker into the backfield. Created TFL. Drew a holding call in the mid-4th when he rushed off the edge and Murray couldn’t keep him blocked. Did miss one tackle of Murray on a run that went for 21 yards, but was going to be tough since he was coming from the side.

MATTHEWS – Solid game. Was in on 8 tackles (5 solo). Did a good job on the opening play. Covered Witten early, passed him to Barwin and then went after Romo, forcing the ball to be thrown away. Generally was in the right spot on run plays and helped contain Murray.

ACHO – Looked good as he played more than in recent weeks. Had 4 solo tackles. Had some good wrap-up tackles of Murray.


N. ALLEN – Bad game. Was in centerfield on the 2 longer TD passes to Bryant. Both times Allen sat in the middle and watched Romo’s eyes. Tony knew this and looked off. No instincts whatsoever. Nate has to know Bryant is the primary target when single-covered by Bradley Fletcher. Yet, Nate treated the play like everyone was an equal threat. Can’t do that. You have to cheat over that way. You have to anticipate the ball going that way. Did have good coverage in some man situations. Finished with 3 solo tackles.

JENKINS – Led the team with 7 solo tackles. Got TFL in the early 2nd Qtr. RB was bounced out wide and MJ came up aggressively to put him down. Had tight coverage on Witten late in the half on a play down the field. Romo threw the ball that way, but had to put it out of bounds due to the coverage. Got a TFL of Murray in the mid-3rd.


FLETCHER – Bad game. Gave up 3 TDs to Dez Bryant. First came on a short jump ball in the end zone. Bryant made a terrific catch. Can’t really blame Fletcher on that. Helped blow up a 2nd Qtr run play. Took on lead blocker and forced the runner to go way wide. Led to TFL. Gave up TD #2 in the early 2nd Qtr. Beaten down the sideline. Showed poor technique on that play. The FS didn’t offer any help either. Burned for another TD by Bryant.

WILLIAMS – Up and down game. Beaten by slant on initial 3rd down play. Williams got inside of him and got enough to move the chains. Broke up pass to Harris on the 2nd drive. Tight coverage and knocked the ball away cleanly. Called for illegal contact in the late 1st when he pushed Dez out of the back of the end zone. Delayed call, which frustrated everyone, but looked legit. Had an illegal contact penalty wipe out a 3rd down stop and keep alive a TD drive. Called for PI in the early 3rd. That came on 3rd/6 and moved Dallas across midfield. Broke up a pass to Williams in the mid-3rd. Made too many mistakes, but at least did make a couple of plays.

BOYKIN – Bad game. Sloppy zone coverage in the late 1st left Beasley open for an easy catch, run of 13 yds. Made a subtle, but impressive play in the mid-3rd. Murray was trying to run wide. Boykin came in and took on Witten, the edge blocker. Boykin set the edge and that bottled up Murray for a TFL by Jenkins. Completely blew a coverage in the mid-4th and left Dez wide open. That gave Dallas 15 yards and set them up for an easy FG.

CARROLL – Had one tackle. Didn’t stand out.



JONES – Averaged 52 yards on 3 punts, but that was because one went for 68 yards. Long punt to start the game. Dallas didn’t have anyone covering the gunner so the PR had to come down on him, which meant there was no returner. Good bounce for Donnie.

PARKEY – 2 for 2 on FGs. Only 1 touchback on KOs.

KOR – First KO was a disaster. Ball was short. Should have been fielded by the up-man, Brad Smith. For some reason, he thought Josh Huff would be able to get it. The ball hit the ground and Dallas was first to it. Next one was short, but Huff was closer and got in on the bounce. Huff got a short KO in the 2nd half and came close to breaking that for a huge return. Huff averaged 18 yards per KOR. Smith had 1 for 21.

PR – Sproles just got 1 yard on 1 PR.

– MISC –

* Great punt coverage by Carroll in the late 1st. Tackled Harris as soon as he caught the ball.

* Chris Prosinski had another good day in kick coverage.



20 Comments on “Detailed Game Review – DAL 38, PHI 27”

  1. 1 P_P_K said at 10:32 AM on December 20th, 2014:

    Tommy writes, “Instead of taking it, the Eagles gave it away. Ugh.”

    I’ve got nothing to add to that.

  2. 2 Media Mike said at 10:45 AM on December 20th, 2014:

    Yeah, totally unreal that they’d be that lazy and unfocused in a game of that magnitude.

  3. 3 Media Mike said at 10:44 AM on December 20th, 2014:

    “What an utterly frustrating game. Mistakes, mistakes and more mistakes. The Eagles had breakdowns on offense, defense, and STs. Heck, the Eagles couldn’t field the opening kickoff. That should have given us a clue of what was to come.”

    Pure choke. The team wasn’t ready to play and flat out gave away control of the division. This was a truly putrid loss that needs to be the source of future scorn and ridicule for this team and players.

  4. 4 Media Mike said at 10:49 AM on December 20th, 2014:

    Ha ha ha ha, Tommy left the comments about Gardner blank. I think that sums up what a complete zero of a football player that dude is. The coaching staff needs to STFU next pre-season about how great their 2nd time O-line looks; the bragging this pre-season resulted in nothing except putrid play by the backups when asked to start.

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 1:08 PM on December 20th, 2014:

    Dude, don’t be silly. Gardner was very good this summer. He deserved any praise he got. This season, he’s been up and down. He struggles some in pass pro, but has generally been a good run blocker. I didn’t write about him because I kept the OL notes short and sweet on everyone.

  6. 6 GEAGLE said at 10:57 AM on December 20th, 2014:

    Bwahahah move over Jerruh Jones. Danny Boy Snyder, the Oakland Raiders, there is a new contender for King of Dysfunction….the Chicago Bears!

    NFL front office types think that Cutlers contract is so horrible, that the Bears have to give a team a quality draft pick to take Cutler off their hands..this level of dysfunction has only been seen in the NBA LOL
    Basically for example.
    If the Texans want to trade for Cutler, they would trade the Bears like a 7th round pick(rules state that he have to give up something in a trade), The Bears would send Cutler and like a 3rd round pick to the TEXANS, Bwahahahahahahah
    And they still have a head coach to fire, GM to fire, and defense to build up from ground 7, and they need to find a new franchise QB,,…. Even Dan Synder would be proud of such a mess they created in Chicago!!!

  7. 7 anon said at 12:56 PM on December 20th, 2014:

    yeah they should just blow it up, get rid of b marsh, move jeffries. I thought they should have paid mccown and left cutler walk last year not give him a monster deal.

  8. 8 oreofestar said at 2:23 PM on December 20th, 2014:

    Not a horrible idea move Marshall for anything might be able to get 2nd for Jeffrey (only has one year left on deal) get rid of Cutler and start over by building the D

  9. 9 GEAGLE said at 11:01 AM on December 20th, 2014:

    Sucks to be a few hours from An eagle game and to find it very hard to be excited. Watching Sanchez without any hope for a FOles return this year is gut wrenching…. I should be able to enjoy watching BG and marcus step up for my beloved defense, but I can’t even enjoy that since I have to worry about BG playing his way out of Philly. Dudes going to be possessed out there today, hopefully the Silverback Trent Williams ate his wheaties this morning and BG doesn’t end up looking like Reggie white

  10. 10 Media Mike said at 11:20 AM on December 20th, 2014:

    Don’t worry about Graham playing his way out of town. That Avril contract yesterday did a nice job setting the level for what Graham should be making. If they want him back, he’ll be here. He’s not a guy another team is going to make a nuclear bomb level offer for.

  11. 11 Dominik said at 12:44 PM on December 20th, 2014:

    Yeah, 16m guar./4 years for a proven pass rusher is a nice benchmark for us. Good job, Seattle, at least you’re helping us one way. 🙂

  12. 12 GermanEagle said at 11:09 AM on December 20th, 2014:

    Tony Romo played like a franchise QB and Romo played like a backup.
    I wouldn’t mind Romo in Eagles green. Maybe we can package Sanchez and Cooper for Romo and Dez?!

  13. 13 TommyLawlor said at 1:08 PM on December 20th, 2014:

    I’ll make a call.

  14. 14 Flyineagle45 said at 11:45 AM on December 20th, 2014:

    I agree 100% and on another note here is where our coaches fail. They are stubborn scared to hurt their players feelings and its not good. How do you not bench Bradley Fletcher. Fletcher looked like a boxer that had got knocked down 2 times and knew he stood no chance but went out there for pride. Let’s just say dez’s 3rd TD was the knock out punch for fletcher and they had no choice but to change. I love the coaching staff but there biggest fault is not being honest with their players when they know they are hot garbage.

  15. 15 wee2424 said at 11:54 AM on December 20th, 2014:

    Being loyal to players helps install trust in the coaches. Being too loyal can lose games. There is a line that needs to be walked, and right now they are leaning to hard on one side.

  16. 16 Flyineagle45 said at 11:56 AM on December 20th, 2014:

    If belichick was the coach fletchers ass would have been out the game. I know we would not have seen huff back in the game anytime soon after that opening. I think Chip needs to have some more convos with Bill and learn the patriot way.

  17. 17 unhinged said at 12:22 PM on December 20th, 2014:

    I’m not ready to call ’em lazy, but the D was flat out soft on the KO gift. The botch was not necessarily an omen, but the slack D that immediately followed was sickening. They looked flat-footed and unsure, and offered very little resistance. They eventually picked it up, but no answer for passing game.

  18. 18 anon said at 1:09 PM on December 20th, 2014:

    do you think after the first and second dez tds, or in the meeting during the week the db coaches were like “nate, dez is a good wr, you should shade to his side, don’t get looked off in favor of, what’s that other guy’s name? oh who cares. who know that guy that’s been jawing off, make sure that guy doesn’t get the ball deep.

    frustrating, between that and him biting on double moves against speed receivers he’s gotta go. i don’t care if he’s basically free, no instincts or common sense.

  19. 19 James Durant said at 1:14 PM on December 20th, 2014:

    Now watch him not treat DJax like deep threat too lol. We should have moved on a while ago from Late Allen.

  20. 20 GermanEagle said at 5:18 PM on December 20th, 2014:

    I changed my mind. Let’s spend Mr sconce’s 8 million on someone else next season.