Sunday, November 11, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 38, Eagles 23
By Dan Graziano
PHILADELPHIA -- A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys' 38-23 victory over the reeling Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
What it means: The end, for the Eagles, most likely, if that hadn't come already at some earlier point in what's now the first five-game losing streak of Andy Reid's head coaching career. At 3-6, they're not out of it in the division race, but they show very few signs of being a team good enough to turn things around. For the Cowboys, however, the win puts them very much in the hunt for a division title with which the New York Giants have refused to run away. Dallas is just a game and a half behind the Giants and has an extremely favorable-looking remaining schedule. For those who want to believe the Cowboys can make this year's playoffs, Sunday offered fresh reason for hope.
Reality check: The fact that Dallas won will lend itself to excitement and optimism this week, and that's fine. Fans are entitled to that if they want it. But in reality, there was little to indicate that either of the teams on the field Sunday were very good. The Cowboys committed 13 penalties that gave the Eagles 75 yards, including six that resulted in Philadelphia first downs. Rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne was flagged for five penalties of his own, which ESPN Stats & Information tells us is tied for the most penalties by a cornerback in a single game since Fred Smoot had five in Week 8 of 2005. Aside from the first drive, they couldn't really get the run game into a rhythm and had to rely on some brilliant playmaking by Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to tie up the game and a punt return and and interception return to build their lead. Romo should be lauded for the game he played, and he and the team for not adding to their teetering turnover total. But there remain issues to fix as they head into these final seven games.
Foles Gold: Eagles fans have been crying for rookie Nick Foles to replace starting quarterback Michael Vick for weeks. And when Vick left the game in the second quarter with a concussion, they got their wish. They need to be careful what they wish for. Foles looked very much like a shaky, jittery rookie. Yeah, he hit Jeremy Maclin for that 44-yard touchdown pass, but Maclin was literally standing on the goal line with no one within 10 yards of him. All Foles had to do was heave the ball in his general vicinity, which is all he did. Otherwise, if the hope was that a switch would result in improved pocket presence, decision-making and accuracy, I didn't see it. There's no way to know yet whether Vick can return for next week's game in Washington, but regardless, the Eagles are going to be dealing with a major question mark at quarterback the rest of the season and, likely, into next season as well.
What's next: The Cowboys return home, where they will spend most of the rest of the season, to play the Cleveland Browns next Sunday at 1 pm ET (12 noon CT). The Cowboys' next three games and five of their final seven will be at home. The Eagles will try to end their five-game losing streak against the Redskins in Washington in a battle of 3-6 teams at 1 pm ET on Sunday. Washington will be coming off its bye week.