FOR A FOUR-WIN team one day removed from another administrational humiliation, the 76ers sure were a happy, hopeful bunch. Franchise center Joel Embiid was ready to play almost a whole game. Former franchise center Nerlens Noel practiced with the team, sort of, the first step in his latest injury comeback. Stopgap franchise center Jahlil Okafor might get to play with Embiid, if, for a change, Okafor tries real hard.
SEATTLE - Offsides turned a punt into a touchdown. Illegal formation turned a touchdown into a punt. In a span of 2 minutes, 33 seconds in the second quarter, this delightfully bumbling Eagles team short-circuited its best chances to win against the best home team in the NFL.
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DOUG PEDERSON just couldn't help himself. Every page in the Book of Football directed him, as head coach, to take the three points and trust his defense. Every instinct in his football soul pulled him toward going for it on fourth down. Again.
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SOMEONE has to bear the blame. Why not Jason Kelce? Well, probably because he doesn't deserve it. The charm of Jason Kelce, overachieving former hockey player and onetime Twitter god, lies as much in his candor as in his background. Kelce was an Eagles sixth-round pick out of Cincinnati in 2011 who won the starting center job as a rookie and improved steadily through 2014.
IT IS the responsibility of every leader to identify and utilize the abilities of his followers. He might subscribe to a certain philosophy, but unless he has the right tools he must ignore personal preference and employ the skills and talents in front of him.
ARLINGTON, Texas - Ya still gotta believe. Don't ya? Carson Wentz and the Eagles trundled into Dallas, faced the league's top running back and the best offensive line and a sterling young quarterback and took the 'Boys to overtime. That line wore the down the Birds' front four, converted an OT fourth-and-we're-stronger-than-you and gave Dak Prescott 10 seconds to find Jason Witten with a 5-yard playground touchdown.
AS DOUG Pederson's new coaching staff set into evaluating the Eagles roster, offensive-line coach Jeff Stoutland, the most important holdover from Chip Kelly's staff, harped on one point in particular:
Marcus Hayes is a sports columnist for the Daily News and Inquirer. Hired more than 20 years ago as a features writer, he has since covered the Eagles, Phillies, and Sixers beats as well as Big Five basketball, college football, golf, and the Olympics.