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Under The Spotlight Vs. Dallas

Posted Dec 2, 2012

Arlington, TX -- At times in the 38-33 loss to Dallas on Sunday night, the Eagles were very, very good. The offense was crisp. The defense applied pressure on quarterback Tony Romo and covered down the field.

At other times, though, in the team's eighth straight defeat, things just didn't go well for the Eagles. They turned the ball over at the wrong time. They were terrible on defense in the second half, allowing quarterback Tony Romo to complete all 10 of his passes for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Add it all up and the Eagles are 3-9 with another road trip to tough Tampa Bay looming. Here is a look at some of the individual efforts from Sunday night ...

  • Brandon Graham, DE: He started at left defensive end and was extremely active. Graham had 1 1/2 quarterback sacks, 6 total tackles and 2 tackles for loss in the game. Graham gave right tackle Doug Free all kinds of trouble and was impressive with his effort throughout the game. He also registered 4 quarterback hurries and was physical against the run. Good job for Graham.
  • Bryce Brown, RB: He was again tremendous running the football. Brown registered 169 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 24 carries and he also had 4 receptions and 14 yards. Brown often made something out of nothing, especially when he ran to the edge and simply sped past defenders. However, Brown committed a critical turnover when he fumbled with 3 minutes, 50 seconds to go in the game and the Eagles trailinng 31-27. Morris Claiborne picked up the fumble and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown and the icing-on-the-cake touchdown for Dallas. That's three fumbles in two starts for Brown, and that lack of ball security is going to be a concern until he gets it right.
  • Eagles defensive backs: In the first half, after which the Eagles led 17-10, Dez Bryant had one catch for 14 yards and Miles Austin had one catch for 19 yards. Tight end Jason Witten was the main target for quarterback Tony Romo, with 5 catches for 72 yards. Bryant went off in the second half, though, catching 5 passes and scoring twice. Austin contributed a 27-yard touchdown catch and run. And Witten added a 36-yarder to put Dallas at the 4-yard line. Dallas scored on Romo's third touchdown pass of the half a short time later. The secondary was awful. The coverage was soft. The tackling was poor. Safeties Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman took bad angles several times and missed tackles in the open space. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was unable to contain Bryant in coverage or in the open field when he had to make a tackle. Nnamdi Asomugha gave up too much ground in coverage and missed tackles. There were receivers running free and clear lapses in communication. Once again, the secondary did not respond to the defense called by coordinator Todd Bowles and Romo finished with a passer rating of 150.5.
  • Dennis Kelly, RT: In general, the offensive line did a pretty good job. With King Dunlap at left tackle, Evan Mathis at left guard, Dallas Reynolds at center, Jake Scott at right guard and Kelly at right tackle, the Eagles moved the football pretty well. Foles was sacked just one time, although he eluded some pass-rush pressure with quick feet and also took some hits and hurries. Kelly did a good job and seems to be coming along at right tackle. The Eagles may have something in Kelly, who is big and rangy and who has good feet.
  • Brent Celek, TE: It was good to see Celek featured as much as he was in the passing game. Celek was targeted 8 times and caught 7 passes for 73 yards. He was sure handed and tough after the catch. He failed to handle DeMarcus Ware in a one-on-one blocking situation on the first play of the game as the Eagles hoped to throw it deep but instead watched Foles take a big hit as he threw the ball away. Good game otherwise for Celek, who has taken a beating this season.
  • Damaris Johnson, PR/WR: His 98-yard punt return was fantastic late in the game as Johnson showed the breakaway speed and moves the Eagles want from him. Johnson also gained 13 yards on a nice catch-and-run early, making a screen call work.
  • Defensive tackles: Talking about this group as a whole, it did not appear that they played particularly well. Dallas ran for 123 yards and had some huge gains early in the game. The pass rush inside was minimal. It was a disappointing performance by the interior of the defensive line.
  • Alex Henery, PK: His remarkable season continues. Henery booted a pair of 43-yard field goals to extend his streak of consecutive makes to 21, highest in the NFL at the moment. Henery has missed only one field goal attempt this year. He also made all three of his PATs and had touchbacks on four of his five kickoffs. His onsides kick at the very end of the game wasn't particularly good, but that's about the only thing Henery did wrong during a convincing night at Cowboys Stadium.

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