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Five observations from Eagles-Cowboys: Doug Pederson’s curious calls, Birds can’t stop Ezekiel Elliott | Paul Domowitch

Five quick observations on the Eagles' devastating 27-20 loss to the Cowboys Sunday night.

Zach Ertz runs past the Cowboys' Xavier Woods to score a third-quarter touchdown.
Zach Ertz runs past the Cowboys' Xavier Woods to score a third-quarter touchdown.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

The Eagles' poor showing on Sunday in a 27-20 loss to the Cowboys dropped the team to 4-5.

Here are five things Paul Domowitch noticed:

Another slow start

The Eagles continued to struggle early. They scored just three points in the first half and trailed by 10 heading into the third quarter. Last year, they averaged 14 points a game in the first half. This year, they've averaged just 8.8. They've scored just 21 points in the first quarter in nine games.

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Stopping Zeke

The defense's top priority Sunday night was neutralizing Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, and they couldn't do it. Elliott rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown. He also had six catches for 36 yards and another touchdown.

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Doug’s decision-making

Doug Pederson made some curious decisions in the first half. For starters, he opted to use 11 personnel (1RB, 1TE) for all but three plays in the first half, even though the Eagles were missing their starting right tackle and had used multiple-tight-end sets more than 50 percent of the time in the first eight games. He finally went to 12 personnel (1RB, 2TEs) in the second half, and the Eagles were able to move the football and find the end zone. He also decided to go with a four-wide-receiver set for the first time all season on a third-and-1 play in the second quarter at the Dallas 20-yard line. Carson Wentz threw an incompletion to Golden Tate on the play. Then, rather than kick a field goal or have Wentz try a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1, he called a run play for rookie Josh Adams, who was stopped for no gain.

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Not-so-Golden start

Golden Tate's first game as an Eagles was pretty uneventful. He only played about a dozen snaps and had one catch in the first quarters. His most memorable moment was his participation on a 6-yard hook-and-lateral play with Zach Ertz in the third quarter before Jake Elliott's second field goal.

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Rasul and Chandon

The Eagles were already without cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones. Rasul Douglas had to replace Mills and spent most of the night going up against the Cowboys' Amari Cooper. Things got worse early in the third quarter when their other starting corner, Ronald Darby, went out with a leg injury. Chandon Sullivan, who had played in one game this season and hadn't played any defensive snaps, had to replace him.

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