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The good, the bad, and the ugly from a Week 16 divisional loss.



Philly fans, our beloved Philadelphia Eagles finished their final road game of the 2022 season, and unfortunately they were not able to secure the win against their divisional rivals in the Dallas Cowboys. This was the Eagles third straight road game as they were able to beat both the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately, they left Chicago missing some key players, like Jalen Hurts.


Heading into this Dallas week, missing Hurts was a major concern for this team, but there was some faith in second string quarterback, Gardner Minshew, to take care of the Cowboys. This was game was already not favored for the Birds and it was going to be a tough matchup. Still, most of this fan base's faith did not waiver with the news of Hurts not being available for this game.


This game seemed to be a chess match from the start and ultimately came down to which defense would make a stop. There was some big times plays on both sides of the ball from these two rivaled franchises, but it would appear that Philadelphia in the end just made to many mistakes, losing 34 to 40.


Okay, let's get into the high and lows of this matchup, for there was plenty of both.







The Good.


Overall offensive game plan.

With Hurts missing, we all knew this teams game plan was going to be different from how it has been ran all season long. All in all, I thought this coaching staff did a solid job of putting this offensive unit in a good spot to win the game. Shane had some matchups that he truly wanted to exploit and for the most part this unit did just that.


Offensive line did their job.

Even with Lane Johnson going out, the offensive line unit did a great job in protecting Minshew in the pocket. This unit did not allow a single sack or a quarterback hit. The Cowboys, who are second in the league in sacks, could not get their hands on Gardner and it gave this team a fighting chance to win.


Defensive line came to play.

This defensive front, which is quickly becoming the best in the league, put an absolute beat down on Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' offensive line. From Josh Sweat's pick six to Milton Williams tackle for a loss, this front had nine quarterback hits, six sacks, and five tackles for a loss. They also only were allowing 3.7 yards per carry on 30 + rushing attempts and if you tack out the few Dak scrambles, it was less than three yards per carry.


1k times two.

For the first time in franchise history, the Philadelphia Eagles have not one, but two receivers with over 1,000 yards receiving. AJ Brown (1,304) and DeVonta Smith (1,014) both had 100+ yard games against one of the best defensive units the NFL. It truly is a dangerous tandem of receivers that the Eagles will have for some time.


Speaking of dangerous tandems


Josh Sweat and Haason Reddick.

Reddick and Sweat and getting into an incredible rhythm late into the season, now both having double digit sack seasons, did not let up at all against Dallas. Reddick, who know is third in the league in total sacks, has been a complete game wrecker and Josh Sweat is becoming the same on the other side. This is something offensive lines are going to have to really start game planning for.


The Bad.


Any throw to Quez Watkins.

Something that is no longer an anomaly is Quez Watkins and his route running. Watkins has showed up big in different spots through out this season, but when he is not streaking down the field, something bad seems to happen everytime the ball comes his way. Rather running bad routes, giving up in routes, or not fighting for the ball, he has cost this team big time the last few weeks.


Maybe throw more to Dallas Goedert.

This is the one part that is both on Shane Steichen and Gardner Minshew. You have one of the best tight end's in the league and is the best security throw for Minshew and for some reason, outside of a few targets, they took him almost completely out of the game.


Gardner Minshew's pocket awareness.

Throwing for over 300+ yards and a pair of touchdowns, Minshew in a vacuum had a solid game. There is obviously a major drop off between him and Hurts, but he still was able to keep this team ahead of the chains for most of the game. The one big knock that I will give Minshew is that his pocket presence was awful. Multiple times he just left a clean pocket, including the last play of the game, and put himself in harms way.


The Ugly.


The coverage scheme.

Something that is just simply just mind blowing was Jonathan Gannon's coverage scheme against the Cowboys. Dallas, who has a set of good receivers, was able to take pretty much any underneath throw that they wanted. Another thing that was simply just frustrating, was their faith in having a backup corner play one on one with Pro Bowl select, CeeDee Lamb. I will give credit to him, because he did ultimately adjust the game plan and had more man coverage in play, but allowing Prescott to have over a 70% completion percentage is just inexcusable.


Speaking of inexcusable:


The play that truly defined the game.

This game will forever be known as the 3rd and 30 game. If you were not able to catch this play, the Eagles had the Cowboys in third and 30 situation and then gave up a 50-yard play to none other than 33 year-old, T.Y Hilton. It was not even the play (which was a good throw and catch) that is bothersome, it is the fact that Josiah Scott and a bit of Darius Slay, had a completely blown coverage that allowed it. This team needs C.J Gardner-Johnson back in a bad way.


Turnover after turnover.

Something that this Eagles' team just does not do is turn the ball over and in the past few weeks, they have turned it over a total of seven times in the last two games, four alone in the game against Dallas. It does not matter who the opposing team is, turning the ball over four times is going to make you lose a game 99% of the time.


More injuries.


To add insult to the loss of this game, the Eagles themselves were not able to stay unscathed as they lost Avonte Maddox, Jordan Davis, and Lane Johnson to injuries in this Week 16 loss. No word has been official on their injuries or possibility of missing time, but Maddox and Johnson looked to have had big time injuries that may cause them not being available for this team.



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