Loss to Seahawks a reality check for Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (AP) A convincing rout at Dallas had the Philadelphia Eagles thinking about a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Now, they have to beat the Cowboys again just to have a chance to get in.
The Seattle Seahawks gave the Eagles and their fans a harsh reality check on Sunday in a dominant 24-14 win at Lincoln Financial Field. The defending Super Bowl champions are still one of the elite teams in the NFC along with Green Bay (9-3) and Arizona (10-3).
One thing all three of those teams have in common: Wins over the Eagles (9-4).
''When we have lost, we've lost to some really good teams,'' coach Chip Kelly said Monday. ''It's not lack of effort or lack of attention to detail. This team trains very well and they're real professional in their approach. In this league, anything can happen.''
Considering the Eagles would lose tiebreakers to the Packers, Cardinals and Seahawks, their hopes of earning a bye are slim. If they don't beat Dallas (9-4) this week, they might not even get a wild-card berth because they would also lose a tiebreaker to Detroit (9-4).
That's why players and coaches were quick to move past the loss to Seattle and focus on the Cowboys. The Eagles won 33-10 in Dallas on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys rebounded with a 41-28 win at Chicago on Thursday and have a few extra days of rest to prepare for the rematch.
''The most important thing is just to get past this one, to watch the film and move on and get ready for another huge game,'' quarterback Mark Sanchez said. ''All of these games down the stretch are so important. Big picture is too far out in front of us. We really just need to focus on what is right in front of our nose and that's getting this bad taste out of our mouth and going out and playing Dallas and giving our best effort.''
Sanchez and the rest of the offense were completely shut down by Seattle's ''Legion of Boom'' defense. The Eagles were held to just 139 total yards, fewest under Kelly. They had the ball for only 18 minutes.
''We will get back to the drawing boards, we will get back to practice, we will train and prepare hard,'' running back LeSean McCoy said. ''It is a big, big game, a must-win type of game. And there is nothing better than having them (Dallas) here, in Philly.''
Some of the Seahawks weren't too impressed with the Eagles. Defensive end Michael Bennett said Sanchez is impersonating a good quarterback. Safety Earl Thomas said he expected the defense to dominate Philadelphia. Cornerback Richard Sherman said the Eagles still miss DeSean Jackson, who was cut in March.
The teams could end up playing again in Philadelphia in the first round if the Eagles win the East and the Seahawks don't catch the Cardinals and get in the playoffs as the No. 6 seed.
''They have great players across the board,'' rookie wideout Jordan Matthews said. ''But at the same time, we have strong personnel on offense. We have a lot of weapons. We just have to go out there and play better.''
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