The best way to win a football game is to start at an even score. Nothing-nothing. Blank slate.
On Sunday night, the Eagles allowed the Dallas Cowboys to pile up 21 points in the first 18 minutes of the game before beginning their first successful drive of the game.
While they were able to dig out of the hole and even reclaim the lead for a sliver of time, head coach Chip Kelly said he thought the initial hole was a big part of the Eagles' downfall against Dallas.
"Obviously you can't put yourself behind 21-0 against a good football team, and then expect you can come back and win the game," Kelly said after the Eagles' 38-27 loss. "We put ourselves in too big a hole to start with."
Kelly said he gave his team credit for getting back into the game in the second and third quarters, scoring 24 straight points to take a 24-21 lead with just over 20 minutes left in the game.
But the Eagles manufactured that lead with a flurry of efficient offensive drives - touchdown drives of 84 and 86 yards that took less than four minutes each - and opportunistic defense and special teams play. When the offense lost its efficiency and instead began to turn the ball over, the Eagles fell behind once again, this time for good.
Turnovers have plagued the Eagles for a good part of the season, and Kelly said after the game that his team needs to stop the turnovers. They gave the ball away four times Sunday. The team's comeback effort was encouraging, but the turnovers negated that effort.
"It's the same thing we talk about every week," Kelly admitted. "It sounds like a broken record, but we can't turn the football over and expect to win football games."
On the first of quarterback Mark Sanchez's two interceptions Sunday, the Eagles were down 28-24 after Dallas reclaimed the lead late in the third quarter. Tight end Zach Ertz appeared to be open across the middle of the field, but Sanchez's pass was left a little long. The ball deflected off of Ertz's hands and into the waiting hands of Dallas safety J.J. Wilcox.
"I think Mark was off-balance and it didn't look like it was a good throw," Kelly said. "I don't know if he had a rush. I was watching the combination coverage on (Darren) Sproles. We had Sproles and Ertz over there. He was on the right guy, it was Ertz, but it's got to be a better ball."
It was plays like those that ultimately doomed the Eagles, Kelly explained. Despite spotting the Cowboys the huge lead to start the game, the offense played well enough to stay in the game for most of the evening. But the turnovers cost them the ability to consistently close the gap and finish off what could've been an outstanding comeback.
It's Sunday night and the biggest game in the NFL is the Cowboys-Eagles' showdown for first place in the NFC East ...