Man Up: Peters, O-line fall apart
Here's the player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles' terrible offensive performance against the Cowboys: Donovan McNabb - I never understood why it had to be one side or the other with McNabb. Either he's a terrible passer and every loss is his fault, or he's underappreciated, and the blame should fall on the line, coaching and weapons. McNabb did not play well yesterday. Neither did the offensive line. When McNabb had time, he was off-target with throws, throwing behind Reggie Brown, high to Brent Celek and high to Jason Avant on the interception. At times, he held on to the ball way too long. In the first, that was the case when he took a sack and was whistled for intentional grounding. On 3rd-and-7 in the third, when the Eagles were likely in four-down territory at the Dallas 42, McNabb took a sack for a loss of 8, and the Eagles had to punt. Replays clearly show he had Avant open on the sideline and LeSean McCoy open in the flat. Inexcusable for a guy in his 11th year to be making some of these mistakes. He twice had balls batted down at the line of scrimmage, and Al Michaels pointed out that he led the league in that category this season. The only time he looked comfortable was at the end of the first half when he made a couple nice throws to Avant before the Leonard Weaver fumble. So when you're debating McNabb's performance with your friends Monday morning, remember, it doesn't have to be McNabb OR everyone else, it can be McNabb AND everyone else. Michael Vick - Flawless execution on the 76-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin. Great job selling the run and then delivering a perfect throw. Big fumble on the exchange to Weaver in the second. I'm still not sure how Vick didn't recover that ball. Leonard Weaver - He was involved in two of the Eagles' four turnovers. The first one was probably on Vick, but the second one was big. As I mentioned, McNabb had made a couple nice throws on the drive. A TD there makes it 24-14 going into half with the Eagles getting the ball first in the third. Instead it was 27-7. Would the Eagles have come back without the fumble? All signs would point to no. But it still came at a bad spot. Overall, seven touches for 30 yards, including a nice 7-yard carry. Weaver was on the field for 21 snaps. Brian Westbrook - He was on the field for only 16 snaps, the least among the three running backs, and did not have a single carry, which is remarkable when you think about it. The Eagles lined him up as a receiver. He drew a pass interference penalty in the second and looked good on a 27-yard screen in the third. Good blitz pick-up on the throw downfield to Celek that drew an unnecessary roughness penalty in the first. LeSean McCoy - Played the most of any of the three running backs, with 32 snaps. But keep in mind 14 of those came on the final three possessions in garbage time. Five carries for 24 yards, including gains of 14, 9 and 6. McCoy also lined up as a receiver and took a screen 9 yards. Poor job as a blocker on third down during the first series, allowing a blitzing linebacker to get in McNabb’s face on an incompletion. Eldra Buckley - Good job by Al Michaels to know who he was. Buckley made the most of his one snap, delivering a great block on a third-down conversion to Alex Smith. Winston Justice - Justice struggled quite a bit. In protection, he didn't block anyone on the sack/intentional grounding play. Tough to know whether that's his fault or just part of the overall confusion on the offensive line. He was beat by Anthony Spencer multiple times. Justice had a tough time as a run blocker too. Spencer was originally lined up against him before rushing inside on the Vick/Weaver fumble. He did a terrible job blocking Spencer on a McCoy run that got stuffed in the first. And Justice was beat by Marcus Spears on a third-quarter Weaver run. Nick Cole - His is a tough one to write up. The concern the last two weeks was how Cole and the Eagles' interior linemen would match up with Jay Ratliff. He actually did a tremendous job in that respect. Ratliff was much more of a problem in the first meeting then he was in either of these two games. But in terms of leaading the offensive line, directing protection and minimizing confusion, Cole had a much more difficult time than he did a week ago. Spencer shot the gap between him and Max Jean-Gilles on the Vick/Weaver fumble. He also let a blitzer go untouched between him and Herremans in the fourth. Cole missed a block on Keith Brooking during a 6-yard McCoy run in the second. And he was beat badly in protection against Jason Hatcher on third down in the second. Cole also had the bad snap at the end of the first half, but McNabb recovered. Max Jean-Gilles - He struggled also (noticing a theme?). Jean-Gilles didn’t get a block on anyone on the Eagles’ first third down of the game. DeMarcus Ware started outside and then rushed in between Cole and Jean-Gilles on the play, and it looked like MJG was supposed to pick him up. He was beat badly by Marcus Spears on the sack/intentional grounding play, although McNabb held on to the ball for too long there. Jean-Gilles was also beat by Spencer on a third-down throw in the second and a McCoy run in the third. He had a couple bright spots. A nice block on the 7-yard Weaver run in the second. And Jean-Gilles cut down Ware on the 76-yard touchdown pass to Maclin. Todd Herremans - Probably was the Eagles' best offensive lineman Saturday. He was front and center with blocks on most of the Eagles' positive run plays. Herremans was decent in protection also, although he and Cole let a blitzer through on the fourth-down play in the third. Herremans was also called for a false start penalty. Jason Peters - After handling Ware during the first two meetings, Peters was completely outplayed in this one. I counted four plays where Peters was beat badly in pass protection. One resulted in a sack; the other three incompletions. There was a moment that bothered me when Peters gave up the sack. Instead of helping McNabb up, Peters simply walked away. Doesn't that violate some kind of unwritten rule? It was also funny to see Peters point to the ground as if the runner was down on the Vick/Weaver fumble. He clearly did not see the play. Two false starts in this one, giving him four penalties over the last two weeks. Brent Celek - Three catches for 59 yards. Celek was OK. No drops and I didn't see a missed blocking assignment. The Eagles tried to line him up all over the place, but didn't have much success. Alex Smith - He played 13 snaps, briefly filling in for Celek when he left the game in the first half. Smith made a first-down catch on 3rd-and-1. Per Cris Collisnworth, it was the first completion for the Eagles on 3rd or 4th and one all season. Smith drew a tough blocking assignment against Spencer on a Weaver carry in the third and did not get the job done. DeSean Jackson - As frustrated as we've seen him in his first two years. Jackson's first catch came with 11:03 left in the third quarter. Three grabs for 14 yards overall. Look for other teams to copy the Cowboys' strategy for bottling him up. Good hustle on the tackle/forced fumble after the McNabb interception. Jackson probably shouldn’t have talked trash there, but he was clearly frustrated and looking to yell at someone. Better Mike Jenkins than McNabb, right? The struggles of the offensive line made it tough for McNabb to even look for him downfield. Jeremy Maclin - One of the only bright spots. Can't say enough about the great job he did selling the run before going out into his route on the 76-yard touchdown. Overall, seven catches for 146 yards. He too was fired up late in the game, mixing it up with the Cowboys defensive backs. Jason Avant - Quiet game and quiet end to the season for Avant. Five catches for 65 yards in the last three weeks. Reggie Brown - Got the nod over Curtis once again. He was on the field for just four plays.
Man Up: Peters, O-line fall apart
Here's the player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles' terrible offensive performance against the Cowboys: