Head Coach Nick Sirianni couldn't help but tip his visor to the Cowboys' coaching staff for the game plan it implemented in Monday night's NFC East showdown, starting with the offensive side of the ball.
"Dak (Prescott, quarterback) really did a good job of taking what our defense was giving him," Sirianni said. "Our goal was to eliminate big plays and I know we had a coverage early on that (CeeDee) Lamb got behind the defense on. But credit to them, we played a lot of middle field open. We tried to limit the big plays and Dak took what the defense gave them. He was content taking the underneath routes and smart taking underneath routes. They also did a good job running the football with some of those softer boxes, so they executed. We didn't. Hats off to them."
The Eagles wasted no time beginning their prep work for Sunday's matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
"We're on a short week. No one's going to feel sorry for us. The Chiefs aren't going to feel sorry for us. We got to rest our bodies, get our bodies right," Sirianni said. "We're going to have to watch this tape on the way home, get the corrections to our guys written down, and they're going to have to look at them on their own because we're going to have to be moving on to the Chiefs really quick."
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Wide receiver Quez Watkins' 41-yard reception in the third quarter provided a spark for the offense that led to Zach Ertz's 3-yard touchdown reception.
Jalen Hurts: 'This one is on me'
In a prime-time Monday Night Football game, quarterback Jalen Hurts and his offense could not get into a rhythm. On the first possession, Hurts' deep pass intended for wide receiver Jalen Reagor was short and intercepted by Dallas cornerback Anthony Brown. It was one of two turnovers in the 41-21 loss to the Cowboys, a game in which the young quarterback put the blame on himself.
"I didn't execute. 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." Hurts continued, "this one is on me."
"We all know that is not true. Whenever you're beat like that it's on everybody," veteran center Jason Kelce said on Hurts taking full responsibility for the loss. "Losses like that don't happen because of one guy. But that is the way you would expect to feel. Leaders and really good players feel that they completely control the situation, especially at the quarterback position. We have to play much better across the board."
There were plenty of missed opportunities for the Eagles' offense on Monday night. Hurts was 25-for-39 and threw for 326 yards. Knowing it was not his best performance, Hurts took complete ownership for how he played and how it affected the team. The second interception was on a pass intended for wide receiver DeVonta Smith that met the hands of Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs after Smith slipped and was returned for a touchdown.
Hurts and the offense started to find more of a rhythm in the second half. With under 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, Hurts threw a beautiful deep pass to wide receiver Quez Watkins for 41 yards. On that same drive, Hurts threw a short pass to tight end Zach Ertz for a touchdown, but it was too little, too late.
"I like to see me play better, that is something I can control," Hurts continued. "I'll learn from this."
Although the second-year quarterback blamed himself, injuries and penalties continued to hurt the offense as well. To add to the Eagles' injury list, left guard Isaac Seumalo was carted off the field in the fourth quarter and ruled out with a foot injury. The Eagles had 13 penalties for 86 yards.
"We have to take care of that. That's just us being disciplined and we have to get back to work and get better at that because that's obviously unacceptable," said Head Coach Nick Sirianni.
"Ultimately, you have plays on plays on plays and you have the outcome of the game. You want to win, but you don't win by having negative play. With negative plays you have a negative result," Hurts said.
While it is still early in the season, the Eagles' offense is still figuring out its identity. This was Round 3 out of 17 for Hurts, who is still a young quarterback and continuing to grow into the position.
"I learn from it and move on. I take responsibility for how this game went tonight. I take responsibility for that and I want to learn from it," Hurts added. "I'm learning from it and we're gonna be a better team from it. I believe that."
Check out the best photos from Dallas.
Defense couldn't win early downs vs. Cowboys
The defense provided the Eagles with some offense in the first quarter when defensive tackle Javon Hargrave continued his red-hot start to the 2021 season by pushing Cowboys center Tyler Biadasz into quarterback Dak Prescott, helping to jar loose the ball that was recovered by defensive tackle Fletcher Cox for a touchdown.
Hargrave finished the night with two sacks and keyed a fourth-down stop of Prescott on a goal-line sneak at the 1-yard line, but Dallas' balanced and patient attack kept the Cowboys in manageable down-and-distance situations throughout the game.
"You don't know if it's a run or a shot (pass) now. If it's second-and-10, if they line up in 12 personnel (two tight ends), we know they're maxing up (the protection) to throw the ball downfield. When it's second-and-2, second-and-3, they kind of get that advantage where if they play fake, it's going to be one-on-one or two-on-one downfield," linebacker Alex Singleton said.
The Cowboys rushed for 160 yards and Prescott was efficient, completing 21 of 26 attempts for 238 yards and three touchdowns for a 143.3 QB rating.
"We got to get off the field. We had some good plays and we had some bad plays and some penalties kept some drives alive, so we just got to be better in that part," defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. "We got to take control as a defensive line on that side of the ball."
Cox's veteran experience is key as the Eagles must realize that there are still 14 games left in the season, including a rematch down the line with the Cowboys. The Eagles can't allow Monday night's result to linger with the Chiefs' offense coming to Philadelphia this Sunday.
"The league is week to week. There's gonna be highs. There's gonna be lows," Cox said. "I've been on a 1-2 team before and we went on to win some games, so we just got to take this one on the chin and do something about it."
Jason Kelce gets emotional about Isaac Seumalo's injury
During his postgame press conference following Monday night's game, center Jason Kelce needed a moment to compose himself after he was asked about his teammate Isaac Seumalo. The starting left guard was carted off in the fourth quarter with what the team termed a foot injury.
"That's tough. That's a guy that's been really underappreciated for a long time. He does a lot for our room, our unit. He's a special player, a special person. He's having a great year. I know he'll bounce back and be a tremendous player again. It was hard to watch him be carted off," Kelce said.
Head Coach Nick Sirianni said that he would not have a further injury update until Wednesday. Nate Herbig replaced Seumalo at left guard. The Eagles were already without starting tackle Jordan Mailata (knee) and right guard Brandon Brooks (pec) entering Monday night's contest due to injury.
Kelce expressed confidence in the depth of the offensive line because of Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland.
"I think Stout does a tremendous job," Kelce said. "Part of it is because of his time in college and having to develop players, getting guys able to come in and play in the game and be ready."
Zach Ertz: We got to 'get back to the basics'
Tight end Zach Ertz has been a part of tough defeats in the past, so when things go awry, like they did Monday night in Dallas, it's critical to just "get back to the basics."
"They're too good of a football team to play behind the sticks, have three-and-outs, and put our defense in bad situations over and over," said Ertz, who had four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. "On offense, we just got to be efficient on first and second down, not have penalties, and keep it in third-and-manageable and a lot of it just comes down to focusing on the small details. As an offense, I know it's cliche, but you just got to get back to the basics."
Ertz points to the season-opening win over Atlanta as proof that the offense has the pieces to put it all together.
"We just got to put it together for 60 minutes as an offense. That Atlanta game, I think, was a glimpse of what we could be as an offense, but the past few games we just have not played well and that's just a matter of fact," Ertz said.
"It's still early. We're still young. We just got to grow fast. I mean, it doesn't get any easier obviously this week with the Chiefs. I feel like we can play. We can have a dynamic running game if we're playing ahead of the sticks. We can have a dynamic passing game if we're playing on time."
Ertz is confident in the team because of what he sees on the field during practice. The veterans are setting the tone and the practice sessions are spirited and competitive. The Eagles must now get the results on the practice field to carry over to gameday, especially next Sunday in front of the fans at Lincoln Financial Field against the defending AFC Champion Chiefs.
"The standards are what they are in the city for a reason, because that's what the fans deserve," said the ninth-year veteran. "That's what the city deserves."
• Fletcher Cox now has 3 career fumble recovery TDs (last: 9/10/17 at Washington), which ties Seth Joyner (1986-93) for the most in franchise history.
• Javon Hargrave, who leads the Eagles defense with 4.0 sacks this season, recorded his 2nd career strip-sack (last: 11/10/19 vs. L.A. Rams with Pittsburgh). He also produced his 2nd multi-sack performance of the season (also posted 2.0 sacks against the Falcons in the season opener). Hargrave is the first Eagles player to register 2.0+ sacks in at least two of the first three games of the season since Trent Cole in 2006.
• Zach Ertz moved into sole possession of 7th place on the Eagles' all-time list with his 37th career receiving TD and surpassed Brian Westbrook (67, 2002-09) for the most receptions ever by an Eagle against the Cowboys (entered the game with 66).
• Jason Kelce started his 108th consecutive regular-season game, which is the longest active streak among NFL centers (longest by any Eagles center since the 1970 merger) and the longest by any NFL center since Chris Myers from 2007-14 (123 games). The next closest active streaks among NFL centers are held by Tampa Bay's Ryan Jensen and Cleveland's J.C. Tretter (67 games each).