The Philadelphia Eagles (7-8) went down to Dallas to take on the Cowboys (8-7), in a game that upon kickoff held playoff implications, but by the final snap, Philly had been eliminated. Following a New York Giants win over the New York Jets, the Eagles playoff hopes had been dashed, but despite being all too aware of being knocked out of the postseason, Philadelphia played a tough and physical game and won 20-7.
The Eagles offense started off red-hot and drove down the field, with Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy lighting up the Cowboys defense. After jumping out to an early lead, the Eagles offense cooled off in the second half, and were only able to knock in two field goals in the final 30 minutes. But through the entire game, Philly’s offense looked sharp and precise, and in the second half, Dallas’ defense caught up with the Eagles offense and slowed them down.
Philadelphia’s defense caught a big break, as in the early first quarter, Tony Romo injured his hand, and was sidelined for the remainder of the game. The Eagles were lucky enough to match-up against back-up Stephen McGee and an incredibly flat Cowboys offense. The Eagles defense forced consistent three and outs, kept the running game contained, and were able to get excellent pressure on McGee. Aside from a single last second drive, the Eagles nearly shut-out the Cowboys at home, and flexed their defensive dominance all game.
The Eagles were able to go to Dallas, have a great performance, but unfortuanetly the Jets couldn’t close out the Giants in the New York bash. But this win, although having no actual implications for either team, was a rewarding and solid retribution win for Philadelphia. The Eagles are looking to end their season on a high note, aiming for .500, and this win is a good way to head into week 17 against the Washington Redskins.
Considering the Eagles teams that have shown up earlier this season, as fans, we should be proud of the performance they had in Dallas. Instead of going out in the second half and rolling over, the Eagles played with intensity and proved they are still a competitive team. The fact that Philadelphia missed a number of key opportunities this season is their own fault, but they proved that the mistakes that have hurt the team in the past can be fixed.
It’s really likely that Andy Reid saved his job, if he didn’t already earlier in the season. The Eagles have been playing solid football in these last few weeks, and he has the entire team back on the same page. Juan Castillo’s defense has looked great, and it’s possible that he has finally found the perfect rhythm to make this talent click. The question really becomes whether or not the Eagles organization has enough faith in Castillo following a late-season rally, or if they feel that he doesn’t have a firm grasp on the defensive coordinator position. It will be a fun off-season to watch, and it’s anyone’s guess on how it will play out with the current coaching staff.
This season can’t be marked as a total disappointment. The Eagles had a lot of kinks to work out with the amount of free agency talent they brought onto the team, and the dominance they have shown in the recent weeks proves just how good they can be. It’s a tough thing to take, as Eagles fans, with expectations as high as they were this pre-season. But Philadelphia has a really talented team, and they are only going to get better.
Philadelphia plays the Washington Redskins at home in Week 17.