Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day-After Dissection: Eagles-Cowboys

Some incoherent thoughts and some off-the-mark observations in the wake of Sunday night’s 30-27 Eagles victory over the Cowboys: This is going to be considerably shorter and probably considerably more incoherent than usual because I’m working on just two hours sleep.

Day-After Dissection: Eagles-Cowboys

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Some incoherent thoughts and some off-the-mark observations in the wake of Sunday night’s 30-27 Eagles victory over the Cowboys:

This is going to be considerably shorter and probably considerably more incoherent than usual because I’m working on just two hours sleep.

Let me quickly start with an explanation. A few of you sent me e-mails earlier questioning my intelligence for giving the Eagles’ rushing offense a B-minus on the post-game report card last night, despite the fact that LeSean McCoy rushed for a career-high 149 yards on 16 carries, despite the fact that their ability to run the ball and eat up the clock in their four-minute offense at the end of the game helped them protect their three-point margin of victory.

I would question my intelligence too if I had given them that grade after the game. But I didn’t. Because of the deadline situations we face after these night games, and because of the volume of copy that needs to be sent and because of the need to get down to the locker room and actually talk to the players and coaches involved in the game, I usually file my report card about midway through the fourth quarter.

At that point last night, a B-minus was pretty much in the ballpark. McCoy had that 56-yard run that set up one of David Akers’ three field goals, but had just 27 yards on his other 9 carries to that point. Just as significantly, the Cowboys had done a good job of neutralizing Michael Vick as a runner.

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But McCoy’s production at the end, when the Eagles killed the final 4 ½ minutes of the game after the Cowboys had closed to within 3, would’ve improved the grade to probably an A-minus. McCoy picked up 66 yards on his final 6 carries, including 4 double-digit runs.

So that’s why I gave the run game a B-minus. And if you send me any more e-mails calling me an idiot or telling me I should be I should be working in the deli at Wawa, I will hunt you down and kill you. Oh, damn. There’s that lack of sleep talking. Didn’t mean it.

--The Cowboys needed to do two things to beat the Eagles Sunday. They needed to win the turnover battle and they needed to run the ball well. They didn’t do either.

For just the fourth time this season, the Eagles had multiple giveaways (2). But they also intercepted Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna twice. As for their ground game, the Cowboys, who had averaged 148.7 rushing yards per game in their previous four games, were held to 110 by the Eagles, despite the fact that they lost middle linebacker Stewart Bradley to a dislocated elbow early in the second quarter. Rookie Jamar Chaney stepped in and played well. We’ll find out this week whether he can do it again against the Giants’ ground game. Here’s a breakdown of the Eagles’ run defense through 13 games:

327-1346-10 (4.1 yards per carry)
First 4 games: 126-555-4 (4.4)
Last 9 games: 201-791-6 (3.9)
Runs of 10 yards or more (season): 39
--first 4 games: 22
--last 9 games: 17
Rushing first downs: 71
--first 4 games: 33
--last 9 games: 38

By Quarter
First 4 games:
--Q1: 33-201 (6.1)
--Q2: 28-101 (3.6)
--Q3: 31-123 (4.0)
--Q4: 34-130 (3.9)
Last 9 games:
--Q1: 56-235 (4.2)
--Q2: 51-198 (3.9)
--Q3: 54-188 (3.5)
--Q4: 40-174 (4.3)

By Down
First 4 games:
--1st down: 66-253 (3.8)
--2nd down: 45-241 (5.4)
--3rd down: 13-58 (4.5)
--4th down: 2-3 (1.5)
Last 9 games:
--1st down: 106-356 (3.3)
--2nd down: 71-329 (4.6)
--3rd down: 22-80 (3.6)
--4th down: 2-26 (13.0)

--Why does Andy Reid deserve coach of the year consideration this season? A lot of reasons, but first and foremost, Michael Vick. Those of you who really thought Vick could learn how to play quarterback and run the Eagles’ offense the way he’s run it, raise your hand. That’s what I thought.

--For the seventh time this season, the Eagles scored a touchdown on their first possession. They lead the NFL in first-possession scoring with 49 points.
 

 

**

Former Eagles wide receiver Kevin Curtis is back in the NFL, signing with the Miami Dolphins.

Curtis, 32, played in only three games last season with the Eagles because of a knee injury. In September, he learned he had testicular cancer and had surgery.

He made a comeback to football last month with workouts for a few teams, but was not signed.

**

To read our earlier post from a busy Monday, click here.


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