Philadelphia Eagles News

Offense Starts Slow, Comes Up Short In Loss To Cowboys

Facing a fourth-and-7 at the Cowboys' 35-yard line with 1:17 left in the game, the Eagles trailed 27-20 and needed someone to make a play.

Quarterback Carson Wentz took the snap out of the shotgun and dropped back. He quickly stepped up and delivered a strike to his top target tight end Zach Ertz, who made a difficult catch over a defender and stretched the ball forward. The ball appeared to be at the first-down line when Ertz was hit. He was marked short.

The play was reviewed and the call stood as the Eagles turned the ball over on downs in a critical situation. The offense would have one more chance with 40 seconds left and no timeouts, but it ended with another Ertz completion inside the 10 as time expired.

Ertz was close. But on both occasions, it just wasn't enough.

"It hurts. There's not another way to put," Ertz said. "It seems like right now when the offense plays well, the defense is kind of struggling and when the defense is playing really well, the offense is struggling. We just can't really put 60 minutes together now."

It was a tale of two halves for the offense. The first two quarters saw a total of 132 yards, seven first downs, and one third-down conversion in six tries. The Eagles gained 289 yards in the second half with 16 first downs and found the end zone twice.

The Eagles were unable to find the end zone in the first quarter against the Cowboys for the seventh time in their nine games this season. While they did erase a 10-point halftime deficit in the second half, the hole dug in the first half made it a constant game of catch-up.

"I'm not sure," said left tackle Jason Peters on why the offense keeps starting slowly. "We just miss a block here, not keeping Carson clean enough. I don't know what it is, but we have to fix it."

The first drive of the game went three-and-out and the second ended with a Wentz interception on the first play. The third drive resulted in one first down and the fourth ended in a turnover on downs after the Eagles were stuffed on fourth-and-1 at the Dallas 20-yard line.

The Eagles got in position for a 56-yard Jake Elliott kick that made the score 6-3 Dallas with 1:14 to play in the first half. The Cowboys responded with a quick-strike touchdown drive and the Eagles trailed 13-3 in the locker room.

"It's something we talk about each week, trying to start fast, and obviously, it's not getting done," head coach Doug Pederson said. "We've just got to continue to evaluate it and see why we're coming up a little bit short, whether it's a yard or two."

The offense began to click in the second half.

After the defense opened with a three-and-out, the Eagles drove and tacked on a field goal. The Eagles then scored on the next two drives that both ended with game-tying touchdown passes to Ertz in the red zone. He said after the game he felt like they were "rolling."

But the Eagles' offense took the field down a touchdown once again with 3:19 remaining. When it mattered most, the offense couldn't convert on the final two possessions.

"We just didn't execute," Wentz said. " We came out in the second half and I thought we were moving the ball well. The slow start really hurt us only putting three points and the turnover I had. … We started off slow and that really hurt us and at the end of the game, we just didn't get it done."

The Eagles spread the ball around quite in a bit on offense. A 51-yard bomb to Agholor set up the latter of the two second-half scores. Completions to wide receivers Jordan Matthews and Alshon Jeffery set up the first one.

Agholor finished with five receptions for 89 yards, while Jeffery added four receptions for 48 yards. Matthews had three receptions for 40 yards and running back Josh Adams led the way on the ground with 47 yards on seven attempts. In his Eagles debut, Tate totaled two receptions for 19 yards.

In a theme that has become familiar for the Eagles this season, Ertz had an outstanding day in the loss. In addition to his two touchdown receptions, Ertz totaled 14 receptions for 145 yards. It was his fourth game this season with more than 100 yards and he now ranks third among NFL players in receptions.

But Ertz has said time and time again that personal stats mean nothing when the Eagles are not winning games. His effort was not enough to win a big one.

"First half, they executed a lot better than us. We couldn't find a rhythm in the first half," Ertz said. "We have too many weapons to not score touchdowns in the first quarter. It's not like we're going into a game and getting surprised with what the defense is doing. We just need to find solutions because we have a really big game this weekend. No other way to put it."

Check out the best photos from the Eagles' Sunday-night clash against the Cowboys.

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