There’s always a silver lining, and in the case of the Eagles’ 37-17 thrashing at the hands of the rival Dallas Cowboys, there is this: Philly owns the sixth pick in the NFL Draft.
It may even get better. If they lose to Washington, they will climb to the fifth spot in the draft. And it could get better still. If the Texans, Bengals, and Falcons all win in Week 17, the Eagles could climb as high as third.
So, there’s that.
Still, the season's end is a wound that cut deep among the Eagles.
“We had a lot of expectations going into the year,” said head coach Doug Pederson. “I think key positions on the staff were back. We had some moving parts on offense, obviously. But then things began to slowly unravel with the injuries and things of that nature, all things that as a sport are out of your control. What’s unfortunate is where we are. We didn’t make the most of our opportunities when we had them.”
The Eagles can still play spoiler in the NFC East by beating the Football Team, which would open the door for the Cowboys to win the NFC East, provided they beat the New York Giants.
That may or may not excite the Eagles, who proved they were the worst team in the worst division in football – the only team without a chance among the others to win the NFC East.
“Disappointed, super disappointed,” said running back Miles Sanders, who had just 57 yards on 15 carries against the worst run defense in the NFL. “We work our (tails) off all week, every week, every day. I believe that we’re a great football team. We just have to play smarter.
“…I do believe that this is a great team. I believe better days are coming. I’m very disappointed right now because this city is so passionate about this game, and we’re passionate about it, too. We owe it to the fans. I promise you better days are coming. I promise you.”
That will be up to owner Jeffrey Lurie and his evaluations.
For now, here are the Eagles highlights and lowlights from their 10th loss of the season:
Offensive hero: DeSean Jackson. Whatever your thoughts on playing him at the expense of John Hightower and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside it was certainly electric to see him take a deep throw from Jalen Hurts and turn it into an 81-yard touchdown that was scored with him somersaulting into the end zone.
It was Jackson’s first TD of the season and the 25th of his career over 60 yards, which is more than any other NFL player in history. It was his 32nd over 50 yards, which has him four shy of tying Hall of Famer Jerry Rice for the most from that distance in league history.
“It was fun to hit it,” said Hurts. “Should’ve hit a few more.”
Offensive Zero: Matt Pryor. This is the second week in a row the right tackle shows up here. Last week, he gave up four sacks to the Cardinals. This week, he was called for three of the team’s six false starts and had a holding penalty that negated a long run by Miles Sanders.
Defensive Hero: Darius Slay. The cornerback returned after missing last week’s game and notched his first interception of the season and returned it 25 yards to Dallas’ 28-yard line. The Eagles did nothing with the field position, with three penalties backing them all the way up close to midfield.
Defensive Zero: Michael Jacquet. It’s a bit harsh putting an undrafted rookie free agent here, especially one who wasn’t supposed to play much of a role this season, but injuries dictated otherwise. He was targeted nine times in the first half, giving up seven receptions fort 182 yards, and found himself on the bench in the second half.
“He wasn’t a guy projected to be a starter,” said DB Jalen Mills. “Got thrown in the fire. Had some good plays here, a couple of bad plays, but at the end of the day, just come to work each and every day and just get better. He’s going to be a really, really good player in the future, I promise you.”
Key Stat: The Eagles committed 12 penalties for 115 yards. "Honestly, the penalties really killed us,” said Sanders. “It was impossible to get a true rhythm. We had a rhythm the first two drives, and soon as the penalties kicked in, they took the momentum from us.”
Other Stuff: The Eagles game with the Washington Football Team has been flexed from 1 p.m. to 8:20 on Sunday night, so the misery of this season will be delayed by several hours … Dallas’ Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper each had 121 yards receiving … Jalen Reagor continues to struggle. The Eagles rookie was targeted seven times but had three catches for just 30 yards … Ezekiel Elliott ran for 105 yards and the Cowboys are 5-0 against the Eagles when Elliott tops 100 yards … “We have to figure out ways to win and not beat ourselves,” said DE Brandon Graham, who had his first sack since Nov. 1 and has eight. “That’s the biggest regret I have this year is us with the self-inflicted wounds that we talked about each and every week.”
Injuries: Already short-handed on the defensive line, the Eagles lost Fletcher Cox in the first quarter with a stinger. Leading 14-3 at the time, the Eagles showed little pressure on QB Andy Dalton, and the Cowboys scored on five straight possessions from there … Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert suffered a calf injury.
Up Next: The Eagles (4-10-1) will head host Washington (6-9) then head into the offseason, ending a run of three straight years in the playoffs.
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