Washington took care of business and lost to Carolina, but the Eagles didn’t uphold their end of the bargain, letting an 11-point first-quarter slip away in an ugly 37-17 loss to the host Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
The loss officially eliminated the Eagles (4-10-1) from the playoffs.
Had the Eagles won, they would have hosted Washington next week with a chance to win their second straight division title and become the first team to win back-to-back NFC East championships since the Eagles of yesteryear, 2003 and 2004.
Now, all that’s left are questions and there plenty of those for owner Jeffrey Lurie to sort out.
Will head coach Doug Pederson return?
"I think Doug did a great job," said defensive end Brandon Graham. "He’s a great motivator. I love Doug. ... Hopefully things happen the way we want it to with him being back, but that’s above my pay grade.
"Whatever they see fit, you have to buy into whatever it is, and let’s get it rolling. But I love Doug, I know Doug is a great motivator is a great coach."
Someone has to take the blame for a season that grew too many warts to count and on that has now reached 10 losses for the first time since Andy Reid’s final season town in 2012 when the Eagles lost 12 games.
The Eagles offense got off to the rare fast start, taking a 14-3 lead, with the momentum of an 81-yard touchdown catch from DeSean Jackson on their side.
It didn’t help.
They didn’t do much after that and allowed the Cowboys to take a 20-17 lead into the halftime break. The Eagles are incapable of leading at halftime, having only achieved that modest accomplishment four times this year.
The offense was back to making the same mistakes we saw with Carson Wentz at quarterback and against a defense that had allowed the second-most points in the NFL at 433 for an average of 31 per game, the Eagles were shutout in the second half.
Right tackle Matt Pryor’s holding penalty negated a Miles Sanders run to the Dallas 10 after Darius Slay recorded the first interception of the season set the Eagles up at the Cowboys’ 28-yard line with less than a minute to go in the third quarter and Dallas holding a 30-17 lead.
Pryor also had three false start penalties a week after allowing four sacks to the Cardinals.
After Pryor’s hold, tight end Zach Ertz had a false start putting the Eagles in a second-and-18 situation to start the fourth quarter at Dallas’ 36. An incompletion later, Isaac Seumalo had a false start.
Naturally, the Eagles couldn’t do anything to overcome that adversity, throwing a short pass to Ertz, not exactly known for his yards after catch, on fourth-and 15.
Seumalo had two false starts and the team had six.
How about defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz?
Yeah, the defense was short-handed and got even more so after Fletcher Cox suffered a stinger in the first quarter and never returned.
The Eagles were already without two defensive ends, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat, leaving them with Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, and Genard Avery.
Also, Michael Jacquet looked every bit the undrafted free agent he was, allowing Michael Gallup to position himself for an NFC East Player of the Week award, which would make him the eighth player to do that against the Eagles in 15 games this season.
Jacquet was thrown at nine times before benched, allowing seven catches for 182 yards.
Gallup had six catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns – all in the first half.
The Cowboys rang up 514 total yards with Andy Dalton throwing for 337 yards and three touchdowns a week after Arizona’s Kyler Murray to throw for 406 and three scores and piling up 526 yards.
What will the Eagles do at quarterback?
Jalen Hurts looked the capable part again, but Carson Wentz has the big contract.
Hurts had 342 passing yards and a team-high 69 rushing, but he is now 1-2 as the starting quarterback, and his ball security was suspect with two interceptions, including one in the end zone with just over six minutes left in a two-score game, and a fumble. All three turnovers came in the final quarter.
His accuracy needs to be questioned, too, after missing high on some throws and throwing behind some players.
Is that Hurts or a product of a dysfunctional offense? Of course, the same thing could be asked about Wentz before he became the scapegoat and was parked on the bench.
What becomes of Howie Roseman?
The general manager’s drafting has come under scrutiny and this team, as injured as it is, looks short on talent compared to every team they’ve played this year.
Look at this offense. Even with Hurts, the Eagles couldn’t find a way to score 30 points in a game against a defense that was giving up 31 points per game.
Look at the salary cap. The Eagles are in bad shape thanks to Roseman, and the talent is far from enough even with all that spending.
They were the first team eliminated from playoff contention in a division that is horrible. That says a lot.
So many questions that can now be asked, with just one meaningful game left in a lost season.
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