10 one-liners: Too little, too late for Eagles in 38-27 loss to Dallas

For a chunk of the rematch between the Eagles and Cowboys, it looked like Dallas was on track for an all-too-familiar collapse in the clutch. But in Sunday’s prime time Week 15 showdown, it was Philadelphia that folded.

Despite scoring 24 unanswered points, the Eagles were unable to dig themselves out of an early hole, failing not only to sweep their season series against Dallas but also secure a likely playoff berth in a 38-27 loss to the Cowboys.

Here are 10 one-liners that sum up the Eagles’ fifth loss of the season:

From the get-go, the Eagles simply failed to execute, surrendering 21 straight points, and the tone of the evening was set on the first play of the game, during which Dallas recovered its own kickoff after a miscommunication between wide receivers Josh Huff and Brad Smith left the ball untouched inside Philadelphia’s 20-yard line.

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was mostly held in check during the Eagles’ 33-10 win over Dallas on Thanksgiving, but he was all but a one-man wrecking crew against cornerback Bradley Fletcher and the Philadelphia secondary Sunday night, finishing with 114 yards and three scores, two of which came in the first half.

The Eagles defense held its own in some aspects of the game, particularly during the team’s rally to take the lead in the third quarter, but Bryant reemerged as a problem in the fourth, hauling in his third TD on a 25-yard pass from quarterback Tony Romo and also helping set up an earlier scoring drive that ended with DeMarco Murray’s second rushing score of the night.

The Eagles deserve credit for overcoming a 21-0 hole, but the team’s offense is arguably just as much to blame for Philadelphia’s crucial loss after managing just six plays in the first quarter, struggling to gain momentum in the deep passing game and turning the ball over on three occasions.

Two of the turnovers came from quarterback Mark Sanchez, whose sixth start for the injured Nick Foles was severely marred by several misfired deep throws and a pair of interceptions, both of which put Dallas in Philadelphia territory.

The Eagles’ other turnover, a fourth-quarter fumble by Brent Celek as the tight end fell onto an opponent, was all but the nail in the coffin for Philadelphia, setting up a 49-yard Dan Bailey field goal to give Dallas a two-possession lead.

Despite two short touchdown runs by No. 3 back Chris Polk, the Eagles had trouble generating much production with their rushing attack, too, gaining just 69 yards on a combined 19 carries by LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles.

That being said, the running backs played a big role in the Eagles’ temporary comeback, as Polk scored two of the team’s unanswered touchdowns and McCoy served as a lead blocker on Sproles’ own score, a one-yard carry that gave Philadelphia a 24-21 third-quarter lead following a 72-yard catch-and-run by receiver Jeremy Maclin.

The Cowboys all but silenced the energized Lincoln Financial Field crowd following the Eagles’ 24-point run, however, scoring two touchdowns in a span of 2:51, largely thanks to three separate passes of more than 20 yards from Romo to Bryant.

Despite the obvious mismatch in coverage against Bryant, the Eagles defense had a few highlights, limiting the NFL’s leading rusher in Murray to an average of 2.6 yards per carry and forcing a third-quarter fumble on a Vinny Curry sack of Tony Romo that helped set up a Philadelphia score during the team’s 24-point stretch.

Fletcher’s fellow cornerbacks had their fair share of troubles, too, as No. 3 man Brandon Boykin surrendered several first-down catches, reserve Nolan Carroll drew a late-game 15-yard penalty for a personal foul and starter Cary Williams, despite several pass deflections, helped Dallas keep two scoring drives alive when he was flagged on debated calls of illegal contact.

Now 9-5 on the season, the Eagles surrendered the opportunity to control their own playoff destiny with their loss. Second in the NFC East behind Dallas (10-4), Philadelphia will begin a two-game road stretch to close the regular season with a Dec. 20 rematch vs. the Washington Redskins (3-11).

Rematch: 3 questions for Eagles vs. Cowboys

Coming off a 24-14 loss at the hands of the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks, the Eagles return home Sunday for a prime time rematch with the Dallas Cowboys and a chance to take a big step in winning the division.

Here are three questions to consider as the Eagles look to down the Cowboys (9-4) for the second time in three weeks on Sunday night:

Can the Eagles take pressure off Mark Sanchez by running?

When the Eagles run the ball well, they usually win. It’s just a fact. And when Dallas hosted the Eagles on Thanksgiving, Philadelphia had little trouble on the ground thanks to a big day from LeSean McCoy. Last week’s game wasn’t as promising for the Eagles, however, and the team was forced to rely on quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has had his fair share of ups and downs in place of an injured Nick Foles. If the Eagles want to attack Dallas with a balanced game plan as they did in their last meeting, setting up the pass with heavy doses of McCoy and Darren Sproles could be important.

Will the Eagles dominate up front?

The Eagles defense has been on the wrong end of a lot of big plays this year. But it also deserves credit for forcing plenty of takeaways, and a number of those seem to come as the result of dominant showings up front. In the last Eagles-Cowboys showdown, Dallas’ DeMarco Murray came into the game as the NFL’s leading rusher but managed just 3.7 yards per carry. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was also rattled, throwing two interceptions. Philadelphia’s headlining defensive starters, from Fletcher Cox (49 tackles, 3 sacks) and Connor Barwin (13.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles) to Trent Cole (6.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles) and Vinny Curry (8 sacks, 3 forced fumbles), could play a monumental role in limiting Dallas.

Can the Eagles make big plays down the field?

The Eagles fired on all cylinders against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but one of their primary struggles against Seattle last week was finding opportunities down the field. The team’s top three wide receivers, Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Jordan Matthews, combined for just 57 yards against the Seahawks. Of course, Dallas’ secondary isn’t anywhere near as talented, or at least in terms of their numbers this season. But capitalizing on opportunities, especially in the passing game, could be crucial for an offensive balance as well as the Eagles’ confidence in Sanchez.

Other Eagles notes: Romo has reportedly been battling back and rib injuries as of late, but the Cowboys quarterback posted perhaps his best performance of the season against the Chicago Bears in a 41-28 Week 14 win, throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions. That being said, Romo has a career losing record in games he’s started in the month of December. Also, the last time the Eagles played a Sunday Night Football game, they topped another division rival, the New York Giants, in a 27-0 shutout on Oct. 12.

Midweek update: Eagles claim rookie safety

The Eagles added some depth to their secondary in advance of their Sunday rematch with the Dallas Cowboys.

A day after announcing the release of cornerback Roc Carmichael, Philadelphia claimed rookie safety Jerome Couplin off the Detroit Lions practice squad, according to the team’s website.

Couplin, a product of The College of William & Mary, was originally an undrafted free agent signing of the Lions. On and off the team’s practice squad, he appeared in eight games as a backup. Couplin (6-1, 215) had a brief stint with the Buffalo Bills after being released in October but later returned to Detroit’s practice squad.

Carmichael played in 13 games for the Eagles last season and was re-signed in November after the team’s placement of safety Earl Wolff on Injured Reserve. But the veteran backup was inactive the last three weeks, and the Eagles had been somewhat thin at safety following Wolff’s absence.

Couplin joins special teamers Chris Maragos and Chris Prosinski behind Malcolm Jenkins and Nate Allen at the safety position.

10 one-liners: Eagles quieted by Seattle ‘D’ in 24-14 loss

With potential high playoff seeding on the line Sunday, the Eagles struggled to replicate their Thanksgiving Day magic at home.

Despite coming into this week having won 10 consecutive games at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia was slowed by the stifling defense of the Seattle Seahawks, falling to the defending Super Bowl champions in a 24-14 decision.

Here are 10 one-liners that sum up the Eagles’ fourth loss of the season:

At the forefront of the Eagles’ struggles was the team’s fast-paced offense managing just 139 total yards, Philadelphia’s lowest total under head coach Chip Kelly.

The Eagles figured to face a tough task against the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense, but the Seahawks virtually shut down all facets of Philadelphia’s game, holding running back LeSean McCoy to 50 yards on 17 carries and helping force a dismal outing by quarterback Mark Sanchez (10-20, 96 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT).

Considering Seattle’s lopsided edge in time of possession on Sunday, the Eagles defense held on its own on many occasions, limiting the Seahawks to 10 points in the first half and forcing a turnover, but the unit also surrendered several big gains on third downs and allowed quarterback Russell Wilson to score three touchdowns.

Early on, the Eagles defense seemed to have Wilson (22-37, 263 yards, 2 TD, 48 rushing yards, 1 TD) figured out, forcing throwaways and notching two sacks, but as the game went on, Philadelphia was fooled multiple times by Seattle’s read-option offense and struggled to cut the Seahawks drives short.

The Eagles stormed out to an early lead, recovering a fumbled punt by Jon Ryan and capitalizing with a first-quarter TD screen pass from Sanchez to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, but Philadelphia didn’t score again until the third quarter, when Seattle had already put 17 unanswered points on the board.

Tight end Zach Ertz hauled in a 35-yard TD pass from Sanchez to cut Seattle’s lead to three, but the Eagles’ usual weapons were otherwise all but nonexistent, with Maclin, rookie receiver Jordan Matthews and running back Darren Sproles combining for just 44 yards against a stout Seattle “D” headlined by linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive backs Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.

Roughly a week after arguably his best outing as the injury replacement of Nick Foles, Sanchez threw only 20 passes but was most scrutinized on a deep-ball interception that came immediately after the Eagles’ own fourth-quarter turnover, a forced fumble by linebacker Mychal Kendricks on a run by the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch.

The Eagles, at least according to the scoreboard, were still in contention in the fourth quarter, but a 23-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to receiver Doug Baldwin, who beat safety Malcolm Jenkins in the slot, essentially wrapped up a contest that saw one of the NFL’s top defenses prevail over one of its top offenses.

Although they had plenty of their own shortcomings to blame, the Eagles, namely Coach Kelly, also seemed to struggle with the game’s officiating crew, which most notably helped Seattle advance into Philadelphia territory on a third-quarter scoring drive thanks to a much-debated 44-yard pass interference call against cornerback Bradley Fletcher.

Among the few standouts for the Eagles in a game that saw them possess the ball for just 18:04 as opposed to Seattle’s 41:56 were Kendricks, whose knack for being around the ball helped mask a thin LB corps, and defensive end Fletcher Cox, who led the team with 11 tackles and helped anchor the Eagles’ run defense against Lynch (23 carries, 86 yards).

Now 9-4 on the season, the Eagles will stay at home for their next game on Dec. 14, a rematch of their Week 13 clash with the Dallas Cowboys (9-4) that will decide which of the two rivals moves forward as the leader of the NFC East.

3 questions for Eagles vs. Seahawks

Coming off a 33-10 rout of the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, the Eagles return home Sunday for another anticipated NFC showdown with the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

Here are three questions to consider as the Eagles look to stay alive in the hunt for a top-seeded playoff position against the Seahawks (8-4):

Can the Eagles move the ball against the Seahawks’ top-ranked defense?

The Eagles have one of the NFL’s most productive offenses, so it’s fitting that Seattle enters Sunday’s game with the league’s top-ranked defense. Philadelphia might have made things look easy against Dallas in its last game, but everyone on the offensive side of the ball, especially quarterback Mark Sanchez and running back LeSean McCoy, might need to step up in order to move the ball against the Seahawks. Seattle hasn’t allowed a touchdown in three weeks and has surrendered an average of just 285 total yards per game, so the Eagles are likely to need all the points they can get.

Can LeSean McCoy stay hot?

Once upon a time this season, people wondered if McCoy had lost a step or if his uncharacteristically low numbers were the result of a battered offensive line. That time is since long gone, however, as the running back has gained more than 130 yards the last two weeks and quickly ascended to the list of the top five rushing leaders in the NFL. It could be vital for McCoy to stay hot against Seattle, which has the league’s fourth-best run “D” but has also allowed opposing RBs to top 100 yards in two of its last three losses. A dose of Darren Sproles might also help McCoy’s chances.

Can the Eagles contain both Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch?

The Eagles did one heck of a job containing the NFL’s leading rusher, DeMarco Murray, in Dallas. But fending off a pair of weapons in Wilson and Lynch could prove to be just as much, if not more, of a tough task. Lynch is known for his tough style of running, and with an NFL-leading nine touchdowns on the ground, he figures to be on the radar of a thin Eagles linebacker corps. Wilson, meanwhile, has thrown 15 touchdowns compared to just five interceptions but has also gained 679 rushing yards. Applying pressure up front could be key for Connor Barwin (12.5 sacks) and the pass rush rotation.

Other Eagles notes: Rookie kicker Cody Parkey was limited at practice earlier this week because of a groin injury but is listed as probable on the injury report; the Eagles have won 10 consecutive regular season games at home; Philadelphia has won seven of 13 all-time games against the Seahawks, but Seattle has won three of the last four meetings.

10 one-liners: Eagles bring down the house in Dallas with 33-10 win

Philadelphia fans were chanting, “We want Dallas,” before the Eagles even finished their game on Sunday. But in a prime time Thanksgiving showdown, they got what they wanted. There just wasn’t much to receive.

With first place in the NFC East up for grabs, the Eagles brought down the house in Arlington, quieting the rival Cowboys en route to a 33-10 victory and an ascension to the peak of the division.

Here are 10 one-liners that sum up the Eagles’ ninth win of the season:

The Cowboys came into the battle of 8-3 teams with a hyped-up offense featuring the NFL’s leading rusher in DeMarco Murray as well as a quarterback in Tony Romo who threw seven touchdowns in his last two games, but by the end of Thursday’s contest, Philadelphia had completely stolen the spotlight, gaining 256 yards on the ground and piecing together seven scoring drives.

At the forefront of the Eagles’ offensive attack was running back LeSean McCoy, who gave Philadelphia a 20-point third-quarter lead with a 38-yard touchdown run and whose 159 yards all but solidified his return to explosiveness after a slow start to the year.

On the flip side of things for Dallas, Murray entered the game with 400 more rushing yards than any player in the NFL but was held to 73 yards on 20 carries, his lowest total of the season.

The performance of the Eagles’ front seven played a monumental role in slowing Murray, coming alive thanks to dominant showings from defensive end Fletcher Cox (4 tackles, 1 sack), inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks (7 tackles) and outside linebacker Brandon Graham (3 tackles, 1 sack) among others.

With Murray kept in check and Romo forced to make plays for the Cowboys offense, the Eagles secondary also stepped up to the plate under the lights, holding wide receiver Dez Bryant under 75 yards and forcing three turnovers: a fumble forced by Brandon Boykin and recovered by Nate Allen as well as interceptions by Allen and cornerback Cary Williams.

In contrast to Romo as well as some of his own performances as the fill-in for injured quarterback Nick Foles, Sanchez may have had his finest performance as an Eagle Thursday, completing 20 of 29 passes for 217 yards, finding rookie receiver Jordan Matthews for a 27-yard touchdown and scoring himself on a two-yard read-option run on the Eagles’ opening drive.

One of the primary targets for Sanchez was receiver Jeremy Maclin, who led the Eagles against Dallas with eight catches for 108 yards, a total that pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season for the first time in his NFL career.

Rookie kicker Cody Parkey was a big scorer for the Eagles for the second consecutive week, hitting four of four field goal tries to boost his season stats to 27-of-29 on three-point attempts.

There were some chippy moments in the rivalry game, including a brief scuffle that resulted from a penalized hit by Cowboys receiver Dwayne Harris on Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll during a Philadelphia punt that wasn’t fielded, but in terms of the scoreboard, the Eagles claimed an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, outscoring Dallas in each of the remaining three quarters.

Early in the third quarter, the Cowboys had a chance to cut the Eagles’ lead to nine points after recovering a fumble by McCoy, but they were held to a 28-yard Dan Bailey field goal and essentially surrendered those points when McCoy scored a touchdown on Philadelphia’s subsequent drive.

Now 9-3 on the season, the Eagles have taken sole possession of first place in the NFC East with four regular season games remaining. Philadelphia will look to extend its win streak to three games when it returns home for a Dec. 7 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks (7-4).