Sunday, August 30, 2015

10 observations: Eagles-Cowboys

Before we get to my 10 observations from last night's game, some quick notes. If you're looking for one place to get all our Eagles coverage, it's philly.com's Eagles section. This has the day's stories and columns from both newspapers, the most recent blog entries, a photo gallery and more. Today at noon, The Inquirer's Ashley Fox will join us for a live chat about last night's game. Get your questions ready, and be sure to join us. And don't forget to grade the Eagles' performance. I'll have your results later. Thanks to everyone who joined me for last night's Eagles-Cowboys game chat. It was a lot of fun despite the result. Click here for a transcript of the chat. Some of these observations come directly from there. 1. If I see one more Donovan/T.O. feature, I'm going to slam my head into this computer screen. Can we finally just put it to rest? If you missed ESPN's pre-game show, even the hosts seemed tired of it. Keyshawn Johnson said Owens seems jealous of McNabb and would rather be the MVP in a Super Bowl loss than have two catches in a Super Bowl win. Mike Ditka called T.O. a lousy teammate, and Tom Jackson questioned his toughness. 2. Emmitt Smith before the game: "If they [the Cowboys] are the frontrunners, it has to stop the losing." Emmitt Smith after the game on Tony Romo: "I love him to death." 3. The Eagles' offensive drives in the second half: punt, touchdown, fumble, punt, turnover on downs. The defense was awful all game, but the offense had two chances to win it in the fourth quarter and didn't come through. 4. Why Brian Westbrook has so much credibility with fans and teammates: After the botched handoff and the Cowboys' score, the camera showed Westbrook clapping on the sidelines trying to get the offense ready to win the game. It was the critical play in the loss, and appeared to be McNabb's fault, but Westbrook was doing the right thing trying to move past it instead of moping. Give both players credit for taking the blame on the miscue during their press conferences. 5. It's going to be even tougher to play the Cowboys in future years for two reasons: Felix Jones and Jason Garrett. Jones, of course, is the Dallas rookie that took a kickoff back for a touchdown. Anyone else get nervous every time he touched the ball? And Garrett called a heck of a game, making great adjustments throughout. In the first half, the Cowboys connected on big plays, and in the second half, they finally got Marion Barber going, scoring on three consecutive drives from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth. Give Garrett credit for creating mismatches also: Brian Dawkins on T.O.? Stewart Bradley on Barber? Those were key on the touchdown plays. 6. Who says a rookie can't make an immediate contribution in the NFL? We already mentioned Jones for the Cowboys. They also had rookie cornerback Mike Jenkins make a nice play to force an incompletion to Greg Lewis. And backup tight end Martellus Bennett had a 20-yard catch. For the Eagles, of course, DeSean Jackson had his second straight 100-yard game with six catches for 110. 7. What a weird feeling of frustration and comedy when Wade Phillips was running down the sideline during Jones' 98-yard return. 8. Maybe the only thing we all agreed on during the chat: Enough with Sean Considine. 9. What was up with the lack of injury updates during the game? Isn't that what sideline reporters are for? All of a sudden, we learned two pretty key players -- Shawn Andrews and Roy Williams -- were out of the game. Maybe the teams were being mum about the injuries, but this caught my attention. 10. Nice job by Mike Tirico on the DeSean Jackson play. The camera wasn't even on Jackson when he was nearing the end zone, but Tirico was frantically yelling, wondering whether he got in as the play was happening live. By the way, this is not the first time something like this has happened to Jackson. Kudos to ESPN for pointing out that the same thing happened in a high school All-American game. Quality is poor but you get the idea...

10 observations: Eagles-Cowboys

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Brian Westbrook accounted for three touchdowns in the Eagles´ 41-37 loss to the Cowboys. (Ron Cortes / Inquirer)
Brian Westbrook accounted for three touchdowns in the Eagles' 41-37 loss to the Cowboys. (Ron Cortes / Inquirer)

Before we get to my 10 observations from last night's game, some quick notes.

If you're looking for one place to get all our Eagles coverage, it's philly.com's Eagles section. This has the day's stories and columns from both newspapers, the most recent blog entries, a photo gallery and more.

Today at noon, The Inquirer's Ashley Fox will join us for a live chat about last night's game. Get your questions ready, and be sure to join us.

And don't forget to grade the Eagles' performance. I'll have your results later.

Thanks to everyone who joined me for last night's Eagles-Cowboys game chat. It was a lot of fun despite the result. Click here for a transcript of the chat. Some of these observations come directly from there.

1. If I see one more Donovan/T.O. feature, I'm going to slam my head into this computer screen. Can we finally just put it to rest? If you missed ESPN's pre-game show, even the hosts seemed tired of it. Keyshawn Johnson said Owens seems jealous of McNabb and would rather be the MVP in a Super Bowl loss than have two catches in a Super Bowl win. Mike Ditka called T.O. a lousy teammate, and Tom Jackson questioned his toughness.

2. Emmitt Smith before the game: "If they [the Cowboys] are the frontrunners, it has to stop the losing." Emmitt Smith after the game on Tony Romo: "I love him to death."

3. The Eagles' offensive drives in the second half: punt, touchdown, fumble, punt, turnover on downs. The defense was awful all game, but the offense had two chances to win it in the fourth quarter and didn't come through.

4. Why Brian Westbrook has so much credibility with fans and teammates: After the botched handoff and the Cowboys' score, the camera showed Westbrook clapping on the sidelines trying to get the offense ready to win the game. It was the critical play in the loss, and appeared to be McNabb's fault, but Westbrook was doing the right thing trying to move past it instead of moping. Give both players credit for taking the blame on the miscue during their press conferences.

5. It's going to be even tougher to play the Cowboys in future years for two reasons: Felix Jones and Jason Garrett. Jones, of course, is the Dallas rookie that took a kickoff back for a touchdown. Anyone else get nervous every time he touched the ball? And Garrett called a heck of a game, making great adjustments throughout. In the first half, the Cowboys connected on big plays, and in the second half, they finally got Marion Barber going, scoring on three consecutive drives from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth. Give Garrett credit for creating mismatches also: Brian Dawkins on T.O.? Stewart Bradley on Barber? Those were key on the touchdown plays.

6. Who says a rookie can't make an immediate contribution in the NFL? We already mentioned Jones for the Cowboys. They also had rookie cornerback Mike Jenkins make a nice play to force an incompletion to Greg Lewis. And backup tight end Martellus Bennett had a 20-yard catch. For the Eagles, of course, DeSean Jackson had his second straight 100-yard game with six catches for 110.

7. What a weird feeling of frustration and comedy when Wade Phillips was running down the sideline during Jones' 98-yard return.

8. Maybe the only thing we all agreed on during the chat: Enough with Sean Considine.

9. What was up with the lack of injury updates during the game? Isn't that what sideline reporters are for? All of a sudden, we learned two pretty key players -- Shawn Andrews and Roy Williams -- were out of the game. Maybe the teams were being mum about the injuries, but this caught my attention.

10. Nice job by Mike Tirico on the DeSean Jackson play. The camera wasn't even on Jackson when he was nearing the end zone, but Tirico was frantically yelling, wondering whether he got in as the play was happening live. By the way, this is not the first time something like this has happened to Jackson. Kudos to ESPN for pointing out that the same thing happened in a high school All-American game. Quality is poor but you get the idea...

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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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