Extra Points: Eagles Lacked Rhythm in Loss to Cowboys
It's hard to say who had a rougher performance last night: Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts on "Monday Night Football" or "Cobra Kai" and "Karate Kid" actor Martin Kove on "Dancing With the Stars."
"Fear does not exist in this dojo."
"Pain does not exist in this dojo."
Both had tough outings.
Kove was the first celebrity eliminated from Season 30 after a pair of dances that went about as expected for a 75-year-old with arthritic hips. It wasn't a shock the judges took a Paso on his Doble.
Most of Hurts' Pasos weren't much better in the Birds' 41-21 loss to the Cowboys, save for a spectacular throw in the fourth quarter that saw him sprint to the right sideline, then leap and fire a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Ward.
Hurts completed 25 of 39 passes for 326 yards with two TD passes and two interceptions. Actually, he threw three TD passes - one apiece to Ward and tight end Zach Ertz and another to Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs, who returned an interception for a 59-yard pick-six.
"I didn't execute," Hurts said. "I didn't do a good enough job of leading. I didn't do a good enough job of running our offense and doing the things that I need to do. This one is on me."
Actually, it wasn't on Hurts.
While he certainly struggled, coach Nick Sirianni deserves a major part of the blame for an offensive game plan that was more unbalanced than me after downing a few glasses of my wife's "Hippie Juice" during a family barbecue last Saturday. By the end of the groovy evening, I had turned our back deck into North Cape May's version of Haight-Ashbury.
Sirianni's strategy was just as far out. Hurts attempted 39 passes while running backs Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell combined for three rushing attempts. Sanders, who's viewed as an elite back, had two carries for 27 yards.
"Those numbers get skewed at times," Sirianni said. "I know they are what they are, but when you don't have that many plays in the first half ... and then you're in position in the second half where you're down two scores the whole time. That's where that kind of comes into play."
That's not totally accurate. The Eagles' first nine offensive plays consisted of eight passes and a designed run by Hurts. Sanders' first carry, a 24-yard burst up the middle early in the second quarter, was on the 10th play. His second and final carry, a 3-yard gain, came two plays later.
The Eagles would have set the NFL record for the fewest rushing attempts in a game - the current mark is five set by Tampa Bay last year against New Orleans - if not for Hurts' nine runs. In addition to Sanders, rookie Kenneth Gainswell and one carry. According to SI.com, it was the fewest number of rushing attempts by the team's running backs in more than 20 years.
It made no sense. Dak Prescott and company were gashing a fatigued Eagles' defense. Maybe running the ball once in a while would have given them a much-needed break. It may have also eased the pressure on Hurts, who had his worst game of the season.
For Eagles fans who render snap judgments on a week-by-week - sometimes even on a play-by-play - basis, Hurts has gone from being hailed as the potential savior of the franchise after a week one victory at Atlanta to a bust who should be benched for Joe Flacco or perhaps even Gardner Minshew.
"Things didn't go my way," Hurts said. "Things didn't go our way. It's tough. All I can do is take complete ownership for how I played and how it affected the team in the end. I gotta do a better job, clearly."
So does Sirianni.
Besides his bizarre game plan, there was a glaring lack of discipline. The Eagles committed 13 penalties against the Cowboys and lead the NFL with 35 infractions through three games. It could take a while to fix the myriad of problems.
Next Sunday's game against coach Andy Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and the Chiefs (1-2) begins a four-game stretch against teams with a combined 9-3 record. Carolina (3-0) and Las Vegas (3-0) are both undefeated and Tampa Bay is 2-1.
Given the way they've played to this point, it wouldn't be surprising if Sirianni is doing the Quick-Step on his way out of town after just one season.