The Philadelphia Eagles, Super Bowl contenders last season, suffered only four defeats all year. Those matches remained fiercely competitive until the dying minutes of the fourth quarter. Notably, the Eagles have sustained just a single defeat in this year’s league through 11 games and that loss came against the New York Jets close to the two-minute warning.
However, the loss to the Dallas Cowboys that resulted in a 33-13 scoreline not only revives the competitiveness of the NFC East with only four matches remaining, but it raises eyebrows about Philadelphia’s gameplay. This concern escalates especially given their performance against the San Francisco 49ers in the previous week where they were outclassed to a significant degree.
The Eagles struggled from the outset of the game. A disappointing first quarter saw them down 10-0, and by half-time, they were lagging behind at 24-6. The second half was no different. Despite a defensive touchdown, the Eagles failed to produce any offensive touchdowns. The gap widened, and they ended up losing by a 20-point margin.
Despite entering the match with the better track record, they underperformed considerably. Their gameplay didn’t reflect that of a team holding a 10-3 record, considered as one of the best in the NFL. Given their subpar performance in the past two games, they appeared out of their depth.
Perhaps 10 or 20 years back, a 10-1 start by the Eagles might have caused less skepticism. However, in our present era where advanced metrics and analytics are in play, the savvy NFL followers pointed out that the Eagles were teetering on a thin line. Their seemingly amazing rallies and tight victories were attributed more to good fortune than skill.
The lack of a solid point differential and unsustainable close wins signaled they weren’t among the top NFL teams, despite owning one of the best records. Thus, the first half of the game against the Cowboys was reminiscent of their struggle against the 49ers, where they were outmatched.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, showcased incredible prowess, scoring on all four drives in the first half. Their quarterback, Dak Prescott, is arguably the in-form player in the NFL currently. He managed a total of 157 yards and registered two touchdowns even before the half-time whistle.
The Eagles’ offense was ineffective, managing only a couple of fields goals and failing to secure a touchdown in the opening half. The only touchdown they managed came from the defense after Jalen Carter, a promising rookie defensive tackle, scooped a fumble forced by Fletcher Cox on Prescott, and sprinted 42 yards to the end zone.
Though significant, this touchdown did little to affect the scoreline. The Eagles were still trailing by 11 points, a deficit they failed to overcome. The Cowboys consistently outmaneuvered and outscored the Eagles throughout the match, proving to be the superior side.
Cowboys’ kicker, Brandon Aubrey, maintained his perfect record, nailing field goals from 60 and 59 yards. Their cornerback, Stephon Gilmore, added to the Eagles’ troubles by forcing a turnover on their first possession and stopping DeVonta Smith on a crucial fourth-down play in the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys outperformed the Eagles in every aspect of the game. Their quarterback Prescott was superior to Jalen Hurts; CeeDee Lamb stood out compared to Brown or Smith from the Eagles. Even the tight end Jake Ferguson from Dallas made several notable plays, further exposing the Eagles’ subpar performance.
The Eagles compounded their issues with three turnovers in the Cowboys’ half of the field. This disappointing match puts in question the Eagles’ potent run towards the NFC East title and top spot in NFC as Week 13 concludes.
However, not all hope is lost for the Eagles. They are still in a strong position in the NFC East, as winning their remaining games guarantees their claim to the division. Even a single loss from both teams might still give the Eagles the upper hand through tiebreaker rules. Their prospects for the No.1 seed become a bit more complicated due to the 49ers, but the Eagles do have a comparatively lighter schedule ahead.
Ultimately, their journey might still prove successful. Winning 10 games does not happen merely by chance, and the Eagles arguably boast one of the league’s most talented rosters. The coaching staff possesses the capability to rectify issues before a potential playoff match against the 49ers or Cowboys. However, the recent matches undoubtedly unveiled some weaknesses that the Eagles have managed to keep hidden for some time.