Philadelphia Eagles fans are having a happy Halloween after the Eagles did the Monster Mash all over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. The question is, was it a trick or treat?
One thing is for sure, Andy Reid and the Eagles tricked Rob Ryan and the Cowboys and gave Eagles fans a tasty treat!
Okay, enough with the Halloween references, let’s talk football.
The Eagles finally played their first complete game of the season. The Eagles dominated the Cowboys on both sides of the ball and the special teams did their job.
The game highlighted the No. 1 rushing offense (Eagles) against the No. 1 rushing defense (Cowboys). It was supposed to be the classic case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.
Well, LeSean McCoy proved to be irresistible as he not only moved the immovable Dallas rush defense, he obliterated it by rushing for a career best 185 yards and two touchdowns.
Michael Vick and Ronnie Brown tacked on 54 rushing yards to bring the grand total to 239 yards rushing for the Eagles. So much for that No. 1 ranked run defense!
Through the air, Michael Vick accumulated 279 yards and two touchdowns. That makes for a whopping 518 yards of offense (official stats will subtract yards due to sacks) against a supposedly pretty good defense.
The Eagles offense scored on their first six possessions and had their way with the Dallas defense. Almost everything the Eagles did offensively worked with ease.
Whether it was McCoy exploding through the line for six yards per-carry or Vick finding receivers open over the middle of the field, everything was clicking.
Tight end Brent Celek is starting to reestablish himself in the offense as well by catching seven passes for 94 yards and a score. This the second consecutive game in which Celek has found the end zone.
There were only two negatives I saw on offense last night. One was the play call at the goal line where they tried to hit full back Owen Schmitt in the flat, but that play was doomed from the start.
The other was that they allowed Dallas defensive end DeMarcus Ware to accumulate four sacks. Chris Collingsworth, who was announcing the game, stated that they were “the quietest four sacks he has ever seen.”
I can agree with that because by the end of the game, I didn’t even realize that Ware had four sacks. Everything else was going so well, the fact Ware was the only Dallas defender making a blip on the radar escaped me.
However, if the Eagles would have lost the game, you can bet we’d be ranting about how on earth did the Eagles allow Ware to get four sacks.
Defensively, the Eagles darn near pitched a shut out. If not for safety Kurt Coleman biting on a “shoulder fake” by Tony Romo that led to a 70 yard touchdown pass, the defense would have blanked the Cowboys.
Nonetheless, the Eagles defense held the Cowboys to just 267 yards of offense. They intercepted Romo once, sacked him four times and pressured him throughout.
It was good to see the defense play well on a night when they inducted former Eagles defensive coordinator, the great Jim Johnson, into the ring of honor during halftime. They also inducted former cornerback Eric Allen as well.
The only negative from the defensive side of the ball (besides the 70 yard score) was that running back DeMarco Murray had eight carries for 74 yards. Obviously, 74 yards is not the concern. The concern is that he got it on just eight carries.
That’s a 9.3 yards per-carry average. If the Eagles’ offense wasn’t as dominating as they were, Dallas may have been running all over the defense last night.
Plus, the Dallas offense only had the ball for a total of 17 minutes and 51 seconds. The Eagles dominated the time of possession so that was a key factor in the defense’s success.
So, are the Eagles getting to be that good or did the Cowboys just play that bad? Was it just a case of Andy Reid and the Eagles having the bye week to prepare and come up with a good game plan?
Are the Eagles turning the corner on the season and starting to come together? Or was this just a fluke?
These are all fair questions. I’m as thrilled as anyone about their performance against Dallas. I’m basking in the glow of putting the beat-down on Big D.
However, as many Eagles fans know, the Eagles have a way of getting everyone pumped and excited only to ultimately be let down.
I’m not talking about falling short of the Super Bowl, either. Just last season, the Eagles came up short in a couple of big regular season games after we thought they were getting on a roll.
The Eagles were 7-3 and heading into a big game against the 7-3 Chicago Bears. Both teams were leading their division and controlled their own destiny to at least get the second-seed in the playoffs.
The winner of the game would have a big leg up on the other as far as a tie-breaker. The Eagles ended up losing the game and marked the first real “let down” of the season.
They ended up getting back on track and winning their next three games to get to 10-4. Then came the “Blizzard Bowl”, the game against the Minnesota Vikings that had to be rescheduled to a Tuesday night.
The Vikings were a team that was playing poorly and were down to starting the unknown Joe Webb at quarterback. The Eagles only had them and a poor Dallas team standing in the way of a 12-4 record.
Everyone knew that the Bears would have to play Green Bay on the last week of the regular season so if the Eagles could pull off two wins, they would likely get the second playoff seed and a coveted first round bye.
But alas, the Eagles played a horrible game against the Vikings and lost. It was inexplicable at the time and yet another big let down.
Think about it, had the Eagles won that game, they would have gotten the second seed and things may have played out much differently.
That leads us to this year. The Eagles started out with a good win over the St. Louis Rams but then dropped four straight games. The losses were filled with turnovers, mistakes, poor coaching and bad defense.
Now, they’re again starting to ascend and looking like the team everyone thought they would be this year.
The Eagles are trending upwards and have been playing pretty good football for the past two-and-a-half games. The second half of the Buffalo game seems to have been the turning point.
However, the Eagles have just beaten two divisional opponents in Washington and Dallas. Two teams they know well and may not be all that good (Washington is definitely not good).
Another, and perhaps more important, test comes this week when the Eagles take on the Chicago Bears. Can they perform this well and beat a decent Bears team?
This is an important game because the Bears will likely be in the mix for one of the two wild-card playoff spots. Getting a victory is key for any potential tie-breaking scenario that may arise.
Of course, we hope the Eagles will win the division, but that is not guaranteed.
We need to see Andy Reid, Juan Castillo and the players perform well against a good, non-divisional opponent to see if they’re up to snuff.
I say that we’re in for a treat! The victory over Dallas was not a fluke, this team is good and they are on the rise.
You are now witnessing the team doing that key word many of us have been throwing around since before the season: they’re finally starting to “gel.”
The Eagles are like a snowball that has just started to roll down a mountain. They’re finally getting big enough to knock down a few small trees as they gain size and steam. Pretty soon they’ll be a massive boulder that will destroy anything in their path.