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January 01, 2017

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Cowboys game

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The Philadelphia Eagles' 2016 season is now in the books, and if you predicted that they would be 7-9, you were indeed correct, even if they didn't get there in a traditional way. The Birds closed their season with their third meaningless Week 17 win in as many years, this time against the No. 1 seed Dallas Cowboys.

As always, win or lose, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'Double-Digit Winning Team Slayer' Award: Doug Pederson

While I wouldn't put Sunday's finale against the Cowboys' backups in the "impressive win" column, the Eagles did win four games this season over teams with at least 11 wins.


MORE ON THE EAGLES: Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane ejected from press box during game | ‘Cowboy killer’ Jordan Hicks puts finishing touch on strong, healthy season | Eagles beat Cowboys' second stringers, finish season 7-9 | First-half observations: Eagles 10, Cowboys 10 | WATCH: After TD pass, Carson Wentz hands ball to Mike Trout


They often brought their best for their most talented opponents, which is something that will perhaps give the team some confidence heading into next season.

2) The 'Thanks For Nothing' Award: Sam Bradford and Matt Barkley

As he's wont to do in meaningless Week 17 games, Sam Bradford lit up the stat sheet, leading the Minnesota Vikings to a win over the Chicago Bears. Bradford went 23 of 33 for 250 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, and QB rating of 114.5.

Old friend Matt Barkley, who finished the season as the Bears' starter, had a chance to help the Eagles by doing something good but instead threw a bunch of interceptions, you know, as he's wont to do.

Still, the Eagles will pick either 14th or 15th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.

3) The Eagles' MVP: Pat Shurmur

So who's the real MVP of this season? Carson Wentz? Jordan Hicks? Malcolm Jenkins? Brandon Graham?

Nope.

It's former Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who has an undying love for Bradford, and who convinced the Vikings to trade for him, which resulted in the Eagles stealing away the Vikes' first-round pick.

4) The 'Late Game Hero' Award: Zach Ertz

Ertz caught 13 passes for 139 yards and 2 TDs in the finale. In the last four games, after he was called out widely for jumping out of the way of a block against the Cincinnati Bengals, Ertz has noticeably played harder. He has also put up big numbers, as he usually does this time of year.

In the final quarter of the season, Ertz had 31 catches for 364 yards and 2 TDs.

5) The 'Cowboy Killer' Award: Jordan Hicks

In his last three games against the Cowboys, Jordan Hicks has four interceptions, including a pick-six that was perhaps the biggest play of the Eagles' 2015 season. Hicks is a stud linebacker who makes big plays, and a player (along with Fletcher Cox and Malcolm Jenkins) that the Eagles can build their defense around.

6) The 'Mercifully Over' Award: Nelson Agholor's season

Heading into the Eagles' Week 17 game against the Cowboys, Nelson Agholor needed just 635 receiving yards to eclipse 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. So close.

Instead, Agholor injured his ankle without making a reception, and his season was mercifully over.

7) The 'Not Interested' Award: Nolan Carroll

Carroll had a rough afternoon, getting beaten several times by the Cowboys' competent quarterbacks (Dak Prescott and Tony Romo) before Dallas went into give-up mode with Mark Sanchez.

Earlier in the week, Mark Eckel of NJ.com reported that Carroll had begun contract talks with the Eagles

"(The talks) starting,'' Carroll told N.J. Advance Media Wednesday after practice of the talks. "I have a new agent so we'll see how it goes.''

While I certainly believe Carroll that his agent has spoken with the Eagles, there is no way the Eagles initiated contract extension talks. If Carroll were to sign a low, non-guaranteed deal with a chance to make the team in 2017, the Eagles may be amenable to that, but not much more.

Carroll turns 30 in January, and while he is a hard worker, he's simply not a good enough option at this stage in his career to start on the outside.

8) The Ejection Award: Jeff McLane

In one of the oddest things I've ever seen in a press box (from a distance), the Eagles had Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jeff McLane ejected from the stadium. We covered that ordeal here.

There was more intrigue in the press box today than there was at times on the field.

9) The 'Oh S***' Award: The Cowboys

The Cowboys took a calculated risk by starting Dak Prescott, but they got him out of there very quickly after Malcolm Jenkins clobbered him on a blitz.

10) The 'Schadenfreude' Award: Eagles fans

The playoffs will commence next week, and the Eagles won't be a part of them. As they've done the last two years, Eagles fans will have to watch and hope that none of their NFC East rivals goes on to the win the Super Bowl.

In Week 17, the Redskins were in a "win and in" situation, but they lost to the Giants, who had nothing to play for.

One down, two to go.


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