The Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs with Sunday’s 37-17 loss to the host Dallas Cowboys, one of the most disappointing defeats in a season where there have been plenty of candidates.
Now 4-10-1, the Eagles jumped to a 14-3 lead and looked as if they were going to stomp the Cowboys, but the offense sputtered, and the defense, with so many inexperienced players was overwhelmed.
Coach Doug Pederson’s reaction was expected not only from this loss, but in discussing the entire season, which has just one game left: next Sunday against the Washington Football Team.
“I think my disappointment is just with how everything has gone,” Pederson said. “Obviously this season was not what we expected.”
He said there is collective blame, and he started with himself.
“If I don’t look at myself in the mirror, it’s hard for me to correct anybody else,” Pederson said. “And that’s what I mean when I say it starts with me, because I got to look at myself in the mirror and make sure that I’m doing everything that I can in my power. Whether it be play calls, decision-making in game[s], personnel in and out of the football game, whatever it might be, to help our team win.”
Jalen Hurts looked more like a rookie than the player who has provided a spark in his previous two starts. He completed 21 of 39 passes for 342 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also lost a fumble and had just a 70.7 passer rating. A positive was that he ran for 69 yards on nine carries.
“He came out in the first half and played really well, made some nice throws, was able to run the ball there, and the second half it changed a little bit defensively on him,” Pederson said of Hurts. “He was kind of battling through a little lower-body tightness as well as the game went on, and I do believe it affected him a little bit throwing the ball late in the game. But he’s a battler, he’s a warrior and he hung in there to the end.”
Hurts has now made three starts and finished a fourth game. He said he has learned a lot, especially through the adversity he faced against the Cowboys.
“That failure kind of teaches you a lesson, and that pain does nothing but motivate you,” he said. “And that pain is going to continue to motivate me, and we will be better for it.”
For the ex-quarterback Pederson, it wasn’t about just the quarterback.
“It is about the entire unit,” he said. “We weren’t good enough, coaches or players today to win the game.”