Sunday, November 8, 2009

Eagles let NFC East lead slip away to Dallas

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
A matter of inches decided tonight's game between the Eagles and Cowboys. With the game tied and the Eagles facing a 4th and 1 while entering Cowboys territory, Donovan McNabb took the snap and lunged at the line, seemingly falling forward for the few inches the Eagles needed to convert. One bad spot, an Andy Reid challenge and a non-reversal by the referees later and the Eagles were robbed of a first down they nearly certainly had.

Just a few plays later, Tony Romo found Miles Austin for a 49 yard touchdown that clinched the victory for the Cowboys, who ended up winning 20-16. The win gives Dallas sole possession of first place in the NFC East and makes them a truly legit contender in the NFC.

The Eagles had plenty of chances all night but seemed to come up just short every time. Donovan McNabb had his usual maddeningly inconsistent game, throwing nearly as many passes into the ground as he did to his receivers. McNabb wasn't helped by the Eagles offensive line in this one, either, as he was sacked four times and flushed out of the pocket on numerous occasions.

Still, the Eagles had a shot to at least send the game into overtime as they drove down the field trailing by a touchdown with about 5 minutes left. Then, facing a 4th and 11 in Dallas territory, Andy Reid made one of his more curious decisions, electing to kick a 52 yard field goal to cut the Dallas lead to 4 rather than go for the touchdown the Eagles would need eventually, anyway. So, with no timeouts left, the Eagles gave the ball back to the Cowboys with 4 minutes left and all Reid could do was watch as Dallas salted the game away.

In all, this was one of the more maddening Eagles games to watch. The game was right there for the taking by the Birds and they just couldn't get it done. While the refs do deserve some blame in this one, there is still plenty of blame to go around on the Eagles sideline, from the coach to the quarterback to the defense that couldn't stop Dallas on 3rd downs. While I still have faith that the Eagles will be right there in the NFC East title race at the end of the season, they simply must fix some of the glaring problems they seemingly have had for years, like their timeout usage and their short yardage failures. It's not going to get any easier when they travel to San Diego next week, either, so let's hope they find that magic solution sooner rather than later.


dana said...

I'd like to also cast a glaring eye towards Fokou, whose first personal foul was not catastrophic, but whose second cost us at least another field goal, and very possibly a touchdown.

allthingsphilly said...

I agree, Fokou's penalties were ill-timed. Let's hope Gocong is good to play next week.