The Eagles wrapped up the 2016 season with a 27-13 win over the Cowboys. The Eagles wrapped up the game with a late TD run by rookie Terrell Watson and that put a smile on my face.
This has been a frustrating season. Finishing with a 2-game winning streak and a win over Dallas is a good way to end on a high note. The Watson TD was sweet because this was his first NFL game, his family was in attendance and he’s got such a compelling background story. That TD will mean something to Watson, his friends and his family.
People will point out that Dallas was missing some starters and used 3 QBs. That’s absolutely true. But don’t overlook the fact the Eagles had UDFA skill players all over the place. Beyond that, there were 12 first or second year players getting regular snaps in the game. I don’t think the Eagles need to apologize at all for winning that game.
Jordan Hicks was terrific, coming up with a pair of INTs (courtesy of Mark Sanchez). He also had 5 solo tackles. Brandon Graham did not have a sack, but he was disruptive all game long. He did have 2 TFLs. Nolan Carroll is the one defender who struggled. He was hit with a couple of PI’s and gave up the lone TD of the game. Not a great way to close out a season where you are looking for a new contract.
It was fun to watch Byron Marshall (10-42) and Watson (9-28-1) run the ball. Marshall has come a long way since the first couple of carries in the Ravens game. He looked so lost on those. Now he runs with confidence. He’s proven to be stronger and more physical than I anticipated. Marshall also has a good burst. Watson showed his physicality as he ran over tacklers a couple of times. He has good speed for a big man. Marshall could be part of long range plans. Watson is more of a developmental player.
The biggest takeaway from the game is that Carson Wentz played pretty well and came away healthy. He started the game well, went into a lull and then finished pretty strong. He was 27-43-245 with a pair of TDs and no turnovers. Wentz didn’t have Jordan Matthews to throw to and then Nelson Agholor got hurt early on. That meant a ton of work for Zach Ertz, who had a huge day. Ertz was 13-139 with 2 TDs. He actually did a good job of adding RAC yards as well. It will be interesting to see how Wentz plays when he has skill players he can rely on every week.
The Eagles went 5-1 with Lane Johnson and 2-8 without Lane Johnson this season.
— Adam Hermann (@adamwhermann) January 1, 2017
There is a lot more to the 2-8 stretch than just Johnson’s absence, but you cannot ignore the fact he makes this team better.
We’ll quickly shift the conversation from this game to the offseason.