Well, the good news is that we got our answer, this Eagles team is for real. The bad news, obviously is the loss, and the piss poor play and game planning on the defensive side of the ball. After T.O.'s long touchdown in the first quarter Jim Johnson dialed back his defense and rarely pressured Tony Romo with blitzes the rest of the game. The few times he pressured Romo, Romo choked, but he was loathe to do it, and it cost the Eagles the game
You'll see McNabb's botched hand-off to Westbrook on the highlights, and while it was a crucial play, that's not what lost this game. It was the passive defense that allowed the Cowboys to nickel and dime the defense the entire second half. They nickel and dimed their way to a win.
Still, it was obviously one of the most entertaining games I've ever seen and there was plenty of good to come out of it. I'm going to chalk DeSean's fumble/showboat/brain fart up as his one rookie mistake. I won't hold that one against him, the next time he does something like that, though, he needs to be benched. Oh, and by the way, he's for real.
Donovan's play was good, by my count only 3 of McNabb's 37 passes were poorly thrown. I counted 5 drops. The most-notable thing about McNabb's game was his health. I'm not talking about his speed. I think his speed was back early last season, I'm talking about his running strength. Time and time again McNabb broke free of arm tackles in the backfield and made something out nothing. Last year, those plays would've wound up with McNabb on his back. He appears to be all the way back.
The alarming thing on the offensive side of the ball is the play of the wide receivers. Baskett and Lewis completely disappeared. Avant made a couple of nice catches, and DeSean was outstanding, but when crunch time came they couldn't get open and when they did they couldn't make the catch. I guess that's to be expected when you're missing your numbers 1 and 2 receivers, but it still stings.
Defensively, I thought the Eagles tackled extremely well throughout the game. They ganged up on Barber and didn't allow a lot of RAC yards. Barber only averaged 3.5 yards/carry. Dawkins sure seems to have lost a step. He was burned a number of times by Witten and beaten badly on a TD slant by T.O., your guess as is good as mine as to why he was covering T.O. on the play, but there you have it.
My brother had a great comment as the game came to an end. This was the first time in a long time you could actually say that the Eagles defense let the offense down in a game. That's exactly what happened, and I hope Jim Johnson is kicking himself for his conservative game plan right now. It cost them the game.Offensive Player of The Game:
Brian Westbrook (102 total yards, 3 TDs)Defensive Player of The Game:
Quintin MikkelTeam Record:
Pittsburgh, at home.