Sunday's 38-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was an exhibition in how quickly things can change within a football game. The Eagles, riding rookie third-round pick Nick Foles, had all the momentum after consecutive third-quarter scores that gave them a 17-10 lead. It looked as if Andy Reid's team was primed to get back on the winning track and improve to 4-5, bringing them within a game and a half of the division-leading New York Giants.
It took less than three minutes of game time for that outlook to flip completely, as the Cowboys scored three consecutive touchdowns; one on offense, one on special teams, and one on defense. Tony Romo's 30-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant was the final play of the third quarter and tied the score at 17. After an Eagles' three-and-out, Cowboys punt returner Dwayne Harris took the return back 78 yards to make the score 24-17. Three plays from scrimmage later, Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr intercepted Foles and returned the ball 47 yards for another touchdown, all but putting the game out of reach as the Eagles would fall to 3-6.
"The obvious is too many big plays in a very short period of time there," said Reid following the game. "We went from the lead to being behind by a couple touchdowns. Between the special teams and the big plays on defense, we have to do a better job there and figure this out. The guys are battling.
"I take full responsibility for our play. I'm going to do a better job. They're going to do a better job. We'll get it right."
Indeed, there wasn't much separating the Eagles and Cowboys other than the big plays. The Eagles actually outgained the Cowboys 369 yards to 294. The Eagles also had the penalty advantage, with 50 yards of penalties against the Cowboys' 75. Both teams rushed for 4.0 yards per carry. But in the end, the Cowboys took advantage of their opportunities for game-changers.
"Right now, we are what we are," said Reid. "We have to change that around and I believe we have the players to do that. So we've got to get that taken care of."
As for the quarterback position, Reid saw his starter, Michael Vick, leave in the second quarter with a concussion after leading the Eagles to their first opening-drive touchdown of the season. In Vick's place, Foles was 22-of-32 for 219 yards, one touchdown and an interception for an 85.3 quarterback rating. Altogether not bad for his first regular season action, though the interception, coupled with an end-of-game fumble that was recovered for a touchdown, stands out as an area of improvement.
"For not having practiced at all with the first group there, I thought he came in and did some good things," Reid said. "There were some plays he'd like to have back. He kept battling. He kept his eyes downfield. There were some positives there, but you can't have the turnovers.
"I thought he handled himself well. He saw things. He made some great checks in there. Again, for a guy that hasn't taken the reps with the first group, I thought he did some nice things as far as managing the game. It looked like he went to the right place with the ball when he had pressure. There were some positives there."
Reid was asked if he plans to stick with Vick as the number one quarterback.
"He's the quarterback, yeah, but he's hurting," Reid said. "I just have to see how he's doing."
Reid will update Vick's condition throughout the week ahead of next week's game against the Washington Redskins. Wide receiver Jason Avant also left the game with a hamstring strain.
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