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Morning Roundup: 'You don't win without some type of adversity'

Haason Reddick
Haason Reddick

Before you dive into the latest edition of Morning Roundup, presented by DraftKings, make sure to check out ...

• Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro's 10 takeaways from Sunday night's game.

Owen Boyle's in-game recap, updated in real time.

'You don't win without some type of adversity'

The Eagles have not lost two in a row with Jalen Hurts at quarterback since the 2021 season, his first full year as a starter. Even with the back-to-back losses, the Eagles still share the best record in the NFC at 10-3. But with another prime-time matchup next Monday night on the road against a Seattle team trying to salvage its playoff hopes, it won't be easy. Nothing in the NFL is.

"You don't win without some type of adversity," said Hurts, who threw for 197 yards, rushed for 30, and had one of the three costly fumbles against the Cowboys on Sunday night. "That's just the name of it. We'd love to come out here and be perfect. But perfection is only an illusion. It's about challenging yourself, learning from your mistakes, and getting better. We all have to be better. That starts with me. That starts with me, the quarterback. That starts with me as a leader. The tone that I set. I embrace that challenge."

The Eagles know that if they win their final four games (at Seattle, vs. Giants, vs. Cardinals, at Giants), they win the NFC East and, worst-case scenario, host a first-round playoff game. Head Coach Nick Sirianni knows, however, that you don't win four games at once. It's about getting back to Philadelphia and making the corrections. Honestly, it would have been the same process if the Eagles won these last two games.

"That adversity has made a lot of us in that locker room where we are today, and we've got to remember that," Sirianni said. "We've got to internalize that, and we've got to make sure that they have adversity that we're facing right now we're able to get through and make sure we get better from it."

At times like this, Sirianni leans on his veterans like Hurts and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, one of the cornerstone players in his 12th season as an Eagle, who has seen pretty much everything in that time.

"I think the biggest thing for this team now is really find out who the dudes are. And that's always the case," Cox said. "And I've been part of teams where the dudes in the locker room do something about it. And I've been a part of the team where, you know, it kind of crumbles. But now it's time to see the
real leadership. The real players. The guys that elite on this team, myself included, step up and do something about it. Get this team another win."

The good: Jalen Carter scores his first career touchdown

The moment many players dream of is scoring their first touchdown in the NFL.

Many defensive players have to wait years if they even get the opportunity to score in their careers.

For example, defensive end Brandon Graham, the franchise's leader in games played, scored his first career touchdown in 2017. So far, the fumble return touchdown in a Week 14 road win against the Los Angeles Rams is the only score of the former 2010 first-round draft pick's illustrious 14-year career.

Rookie defensive tackle Jalen Carter, who was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, scored his first touchdown just 14 weeks into his career.

With 10:52 left in the third quarter, the Eagles' defense was looking to force a punt, something they did once all game.

Instead of forcing a punt, they forced a turnover.

Veteran defensive tackle Fletcher Cox got the better of All-Pro guard Zack Martin, pushing him backward and shoving him away. This allowed Cox to chase down Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, using his left hand to punch the ball free at the Dallas 39-yard line.

Carter found himself in the right place at the right time to scoop up the loose change and take it to the house for a 42-yard touchdown.

The defensive tackle used a quick burst of speed to help power his way down the right sideline with linebacker Haason Reddick running alongside.

Carter is the first Eagle to record a fumble recovery touchdown since cornerback Darius Slay on November 24, 2021, in a road win over the Denver Broncos.

He is the first Eagles rookie to do so since Derek Barnett on Christmas Day in 2017 when the Eagles beat the Oakland Raiders. Carter is one of only two Eagles rookie defensive tackles to accomplish the feat since 1950. Kevin Johnson was the other, doing so on October 29, 1995, against the St. Louis Rams.

Carter's fumble recovery turned out to be the team's only touchdown of the game. – Written by Owen Boyle

The not-so-good: Fumbles prove costly in loss to Dallas

The Eagles fumbled three times in a three-score loss to the rival Dallas Cowboys.

"Today was a lot about the turnovers," said Head Coach Nick Sirianni.

On the team's opening drive of the game, quarterback Jalen Hurts fumbled at the Dallas 21-yard line. Hurts gained 11 yards on first-and-20, but as the quarterback was headed for the ground, safety Donovan Wilson forced the ball loose and recovered it.

The play before was wiped out by an offensive pass interference call on wide receiver A.J. Brown after tight end Dallas Goedert gained 14 yards to the Dallas 7-yard line.

This was Hurts' fourth lost fumble of the season.

"I have to do a better job of protecting the ball and creating that energy for us," Hurts said. "I just have to be better with that."

With the Eagles trailing 24-6 at halftime and desperate for points to start the third quarter with the ball, wide receiver A.J. Brown fumbled on the opening drive. Brown caught a quick slant over the middle from Hurts at the Dallas 47-yard line. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore was quickly on the scene, knocking the ball out just before Brown's knee hit the ground. Linebacker Damone Clark recovered the loose ball.

The third fumble occurred with just under seven minutes left in the game and the Eagles trailing 30-13.

Hurts found wide receiver DeVonta Smith across the middle. Smith broke numerous tackles before having the ball punched out by linebacker Markquese Bell. Safety Malik Hooker pounced on the ball at the Dallas 12-yard line.

"I feel like we put ourselves in good positions to get to the high red-zone area, and we turned the ball over when we got there," Hurts said.

The Cowboys scored just six points off Eagles turnovers, but the three fumbles prohibited the offense from putting points on the board.

The Eagles now have nine fumbles this season and 19 total turnovers.

Philadelphia has lost the turnover battle in six games this season. – Written by Owen Boyle

Wrapping it up before another prime-time showdown next Monday night

• Edge rusher Haason Reddick recorded his 10th sack of the season when he brought down Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in the second quarter. Reddick has double-digit sacks in each of the last four seasons (career-high 16.0 in 2022). Reddick became just the seventh player in franchise history to produce 10.0+ sacks in back-to-back years, joining Reggie White (eight, 1985-92), Trent Cole (three, 2009-11), Dennis Harrison (three, 1982-84), William Fuller (two, 1995-96), Clyde Simmons (two, 1991-92), and Greg Brown (two, 1984-85). Reddick added his 11th sack in the fourth quarter, marking the third consecutive season that he has notched at least 11.0 sacks.

• Cowboys kicker Brandon Aubrey became just the third rookie in NFL history to connect on a field goal attempt of at least 60 yards last night. It's notable because the kicker on the Eagles' sideline was also one of the three if you recall the thrilling win over the Giants in Week 3 of the Super Bowl season of 2017.

Elliott was no slouch last night, nailing his two field goal attempts with a long of 52 yards. Jake the Make is the Eagles' all-time leader in field goals of 50-plus yards with 27, including a single-season record of seven this year. He also surpassed the 100-point mark for the third year in a row and the sixth time in seven NFL seasons.

• D'Andre Swift and Olamide Zaccheaus celebrated St. Joseph's Prep winning the Pennsylvania State High School Football Championship – both Eagles played there together and won back-to-back state crowns in 2013-14. Swift eclipsed 1,000+ scrimmage yards for the second time in his career. Swift previously totaled 1,069 scrimmage yards with Detroit during the 2021 season. Zaccheaus was on the receiving end of a pass from punter Braden Mann for 28 yards as the Eagles opted for a little trickery with a fake punt early in the second quarter to spark a field goal drive. Former college quarterback and current practice squad wide receiver Greg Ward was the last non-quarterback to complete a pass for the Eagles in 2021. You've got to go back to David Akers in 2006 for the last true specialist to complete a pass for the Eagles.

The Eagles are 10-2 and have the best record in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys enter just one game behind with a 9-3 record. The Week 9 showdown between these two teams went down to the final play. What will happen this time around? The Eagles are in Dallas to take on the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football!

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