Grading the Eagles: Run defense gets an ‘F’ as Ezekiel Elliott runs all over Birds | Paul Domowitch
The Eagles were plagued by bad tackling and the offense's slow start. Golden Tate was nowhere to be found, nor was much of the running back corps.
The Eagles fell to 4-5 with a 27-20 loss to their NFC East rival, the Dallas Cowboys.
Paul Domowitch is handing out grades. Read what he thinks and then grade the Eagles yourself.
The Eagles ran the ball a season-low 16 times and had just three rushing first downs. Rookie Josh Adams, who had 61 yards on nine carries against Jacksonville two weeks ago, had 47 yards on seven carries Sunday. But he lost 3 yards on a fourth-and-one play at the Dallas 20 early in the second quarter when he missed the hole. Neither of the Eagles' other two backs – Corey Clement or Wendell Smallwood – were productive.
Golden Tate had a minimal impact in his first game with the Eagles. He played a limited number of snaps and had just two catches for 19 yards. Doug Pederson's decision to use 11 personnel much of the first half backfired badly. Carson Wentz completed just 10-of-17 passes for 104 yards with an interception in the first half. Pederson used more 12 personnel in the second half and Wentz completed 22-of-27 passes for 254 yards and two TDs. Tight end Zach Ertz had 14 catches for 145 yards, and caught both of Wentz's TD passes.
The Eagles needed to neutralize Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and failed miserably at that. Elliott finished with 151 yards, which was just one yard shy of his season-high. He had five double-digit-yard runs against the Eagles, including 32- and 35-yarders. He also went into the end zone standing up on a game-winning one-yard touchdown run.
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Already playing without cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones, the Eagles lost their other starting corner, Ronald Darby, to a leg injury early in the third quarter and spent most of the second half with Rasul Douglas and Chandon Sullivan on the outside. Dak Prescott completed 26 of 36 passes for 270 yards, but was sacked four times and threw just one touchdown pass.
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The Cowboys fooled the Eagles with a fake punt on a fourth-and-two in the second quarter that kept alive a drive that would produce the second of Brett Maher's two field goals. Jake Elliott made both of his field goal attempts, including a 56-yarder. Golden Tate averaged just 5.5 yards per attempt on two punt returns.
The Eagles continue to be plagued by slow starts, which has a ripple effect on their defense. They scored just three points in the first half Sunday. Doug Pederson's decision to play so much 11 personnel in the first half was befuddling. So was the defense's poor tackling.