I’d like to begin this morning with an Eagles haiku:

Offense was dog shit

Defense was also dog shit

Please claw out my eyes

What a diabolical performance. It was a travesty of a mockery of a sham – as Woody Allen once said – and a waste of three hours to boot. You’re gonna come out of the bye week, playing a division rival at home, and put THAT on display? You’re going to give us a first quarter interception, a dropped pick-six, a stuffed 4th down attempt, and a 3rd and 2 screen pass with the game on the line?

Those were just the atrocities I could think of off the top of my head. There were a lot more than that.

This was, by far, the worst loss of the Doug Pederson era, which I think I’ve written twice already this season. It was worse than the Carolina loss a few weeks ago, which was worse than the Tennessee loss a few weeks before that. We’ve watched the three worst losses of the Doug Pederson era in something like a six week period. I don’t even think I’ve enjoyed a single quarter of Eagles football this year, not as a neutral and jaded blogger OR a local kid who grew up a fan of the team. It’s just been disjointed, mediocre, inconsistent football all season long.

At halftime I called the 97.5 the Fanatic “Riled Up” line and made one long fart noise before hanging up, so we’ll see if they play that on Gargano’s show this afternoon.

For now, I’ll keep it relatively short, since the only real takeaway from Sunday night is that the Eagles are done. They’re cooked. This team is ravaged by injuries and they aren’t coming back to win the division. They’re gonna get annihilated by the Saints next weekend, so start drinking now.

1) Golden Tate Warriors

Quiet night for the new receiver, just 2 catches on 4 targets for 19 yards.

They got him his first reception on the first drive with a screen/bubble pass. He didn’t have another catch until the second half.

Tate also doubled as the Eagles’ punt returner for this game sans DeAndre Carter and Darren Sproles. He brought one back for 12 yards and fielded another that bounced off a Cowboy helmet and scared the shit out of probably everybody watching.

But here’s the rule:

Yep. You can’t cough it up after it hits an opponent in that situation.

Wentz tried to hit Tate deep on his first pass of the second half, and there was no call on what I thought was defensive pass interference. They got him later in the drive on a hook and ladder, which was wild, but kind of a risky call in that situation I think. In hindsight, maybe you try that hook play with more room to operate on the field, since it seems like it was kind of smushed over there in a red zone situation.

2) offensive line and “running game”

Big V played right tackle with Lane Johnson inactive due to his MCL issue.

Good effort by him right here:

Good job also by Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz, the ole’ “matador” blocking scheme.

DeMarcus Lawrence didn’t do a ton last night, so I guess Big V actually did relatively well for the rest of the game, though I counted at least two holds that weren’t called. Michael Bennett scored a better separation number over at the NFL’s NextGen stats page, and the Birds only allowed two sacks on the night.

One of the problems was that they finished with a 42 to 18 pass/run ratio, so the Eagles threw the ball on 70% of their plays last night. When you ask linemen to pass block over and over and over again, you just lose balance. It’s predictable and defenses start teeing off.

All linemen would prefer to run block rather than pass blocking, and when you can’t really establish much of anything on the ground (71 yards last night), then you’re just not keeping defenses honest enough, which puts a strain on the line. Take away the Josh Adams 29 yard run and the Eagles’ backs ran 13 times for 35 yards. That’s bad, and it helps explain why the Eagles rank 22nd out of 32 NFL teams in rushing yards per game. They are bottom half in just about every running stat this year.

3) The secondary

Captain Obvious: the injuries are just destroying them here.

Tre Sullivan started as safety with Avonte Maddox in the slot, then Corey Graham came in at safety on third down. They had Maddox back in deep safety in the base, with Rasul Douglas covering for the injured Jalen Mills. Douglas had a really poor game, just slow off the line and awful trying to plug holes and tackle as well. As a fellow Mountaineer, I was embarrassed and ashamed.

After Ronald Darby went down, Chandon Sullivan came in the game, leaving the Eagles with Malcolm Jenkins as the only true starter remaining on the field.

They’re down four guys in the secondary: Rodney McLeod, Darby, Mills, and Sidney Jones. Better hope they get healthy soon, or else the Saints and Rams are gonna do things to this defensive backfield that might not be legal.

Doug on the defense:

“I think one of the things we knew coming into this game was we were going to get a steady diet of the run game. Zeke is a big back, powerful back. Probably some of that a little bit. But I thought, overall, we didn’t tackle great. That’s one of the areas we got to get better at, too. Tackling in space, tackling in the box, and just making sure that we get the guys on the ground. There were too many yards after contact and things like that. So those are areas we have to concentrate on.”

Zeke Elliott carried the ball 19 times for 151 yards and a touchdown. He caught 6 passes for 36 yards and a score. He’s literally the only elite player on that Dallas offense, and he went off for almost 200 scrimmage yards and a pair of touchdowns.

You had one job!

They didn’t get it done.

4) Penalties


They committed zero penalties for zero yards.

And they lost.


Eagles got some of that home cooking and didn’t do anything with it.

5) Zach Ertz

14 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

He’s now 9th in the NFL in total receiving yards, pipping Travis Kelce as the top tight end on the list. Ertz has 75 catches on 100 targets this year and his numbers project like this:

  • 75 receptions = 8.3 catches per game –> 132.8 catches over 16 games
  • 100 targets = 11.1 targets per game –> 177.7 targets over 16 games
  • 789 yards = 87.6 yards per game –> 1,402 yards over 16 games
  • 5 touchdowns = 0.55 touchdowns per game –> 8.8 touchdowns over 16 games

Those are Pro Bowl numbers and extrapolate to Hall of Fame numbers if he keeps doing anything remotely similar over the next 5-7 years.

6) Peripherals

Ghastly stuff here:

  • lost time of possession battle, 33.22 to 26.38 minutes
  • -1 turnover margin (interception)
  • 4-10 on third down (40%)
  • 0-2 on fourth down (0%)
  • allowed Dallas to go 8-16 on third down (50%) and 1-1 on fourth down (fake punt)
  • lost 10 yards on two sacks
  • 2-3 success rate in red zone
  • zero penalties

The third and fourth down numbers are just repugnant.

And that’s the first time the Eagles have lost the time of possession battle since I started making this a regular entry into the weekly column. Philly came into the game as the NFL’s best team in time of possession while Dallas was one of the worst. The shitty 1st quarter offense and the defense’s inability to get off the field consistently killed the TOP numbers in this game.

7) Josh Adams

Shrug. He’s just another guy.

Everyone is out here saying, “man I like Josh Adams, I need more of Josh Adams” when the reality is that the Eagles don’t have any above average or interesting running backs, which is why you default to thinking that he has some kind of incredible upside or value.

And I swear to God, if Doug runs Adams out of a sweep or toss one more time, I’m gonna lose it. The guy is 6’2″ and 225 pounds. You cannot run him sideways. Run him downhill, which they did on that “wham” scheme that broke him loose for 29 yards in a NORTH/SOUTH DIRECTION.

It’s true that they need to run the ball more, but Smallwood is just a dude, Adams is just a dude, and Corey Clement has been really disappointing this season.

8) Doug’s best call?

The 2nd quarter challenge seemed like it was more about giving his defense a breather rather than anything positional. They only really got a yard out of the reversal, which may have made Dallas think twice about running the ball, but it was more of a momentum stopper than anything related to field positioning.

At least I think that was the idea..

Was it?

9) Doug’s worst call?

Take your pick!

The very first series set the tone, with some crap play calling.

Of course people might argue about the decision not to kick the field goal early, but more important was the fact that it was a boring and predictable 4th down play call for Adams. Just sneak it with Wentz, right? You’ve had a ton of success doing that, but instead they tried to run behind Big V, Agholor, and Ertz.

And the 3rd and 2 screen pass in the fourth quarter was whatever. Just throw the ball past the sticks. Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks gotta do a million times better on Leighton Vander Esch there, but again, throw the ball down the field.

On the ensuing 4th down play call, the one that Ertz caught one yard short of the marker, here’s what Doug said about that:

“It’s a route that’s going to get you the fourth down or any down really. I give credit to Dallas and to (Jeff) Heath. He came up and it was a contested catch. Zach did a great — ball was a little bit high, but he came down with the ball and we were just about a half yard short. So just a great play by them, and it was a play that I would call again. You’re putting it in Carson’s hands, you’re putting it in Zach’s hands and that’s what you want.”

Wouldn’t have been a problem if they didn’t lose yards on 3rd and 2. Clement was asked about that play after the game and said that if he could have it back, he would have tried to get the ball in the opposite hand so he could throw a stiff arm and shake Vander Esch for an extra pair of yards.

10) Boring broadcasting

I laughed when Al Michaels referred to Geno’s Steaks as “one of the city treasures.” I guess it was just the choice of words. You could say it’s a cultural landmark, for sure, but Philly city treasures are things like the Liberty Bell, Art Museum, and whatever Evil Genius currently has on tap. Of course we also got the Rocky music and all the assorted cliches in this broadcast as well. There’s more to Philadelphia than cheesesteaks and a fake boxer. God forbid they shoot some broll of the new Revolutionary War museum or Elfreth’s Alley or something else. It’s the same lazy stuff over and over again. It’s like showing TV footage of chili every time the Bengals play. There’s more to Cincy than chili, I think.

Also – what the hell was with the sky cam being used for almost the entirety of that third quarter Dallas drive? Goodness gracious, just show the normal angle please. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I also rolled my eyes at Cris Collinsworth going over another completed catch 10 minutes after the play actually took place.

But maybe the worst part of the last 24 hours is that this guy gets the last laugh:

Happy Monday, the Eagles suck.