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December 31, 2017

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Cowboys game

Eagles NFL

Well, that was gross. In a completely meaningless game, the vulnerable Philadelphia Eagles lost to the disinterested and equally listless Dallas Cowboys by the scintillating score of 6-0.

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

1) The 'Feast on the Goo' Award: Nick Foles

For the second week in a row, Nick Foles looked horrendous. On the day, he was 4 of 11 for 39 yards, with no scores, and a QB rating of 9.3 on four drives. He struggled fielding shotgun snaps that weren't that bad and threw probably the ugliest interception of the Eagles' season. If the Eagles were hoping to find a reason to be confident in Foles heading into the postseason, they didn't get it.


2) Donnie J'owns

That's less of an award and more of a fact. In the second quarter, Donnie trotted onto the field with his sweatpants on, stripped, then hit a 55-yard punt. In the 3rd quarter, he hit a punt that went out of bounds inside the 1.


3) The 'Recovery' Award: Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills, Jay Ajayi, Nigel Bradham, Brandon Graham, Timmy Jernigan and Derek Barnett

With nothing to play for, the Eagles did indeed rest some of their starters, a number of whom have been banged up recently. The above players were all on the inactive list for the game. That would be six starters and one additional key player on defense. It's also noteworthy that Fletcher Cox and Malcolm Jenkins didn't even play a full quarter, and the starters on offense only played four series, despite looking like complete and total crap. Doug Pederson opted to rest his guys after all.

4) The 'Underdog' Award: The Eagles in their first playoff game

I don't care who the Eagles end up playing in their first playoff game. They are almost certainly going to be the underdog. If they play a team like the New Orleans Saints, for example, I would expect that line to be a touchdown or more.

5) The 'Everyone's Favorite Player' Award: Nate Sudfeld

There's a saying that 'everyone's favorite player is the backup.' That certainly wasn't true when the Eagles lost Carson Wentz for the season with a torn ACL. It really only applies when the starter is playing like crap. Well, everyone's favorite player this week on sports talk radio is going to be Nate Sudfeld, who clearly outplayed Foles, but was still unable to put any points on the board.

Sudfeld displayed better arm strength, better mobility, and better accuracy than Foles has over his last two games. Personally, I don't think it's the craziest idea to consider starting him in the playoffs, though I highly doubt Doug Pederson would.

Still, let's go ahead and update the NFC playoff picture:

6) The 'Cold Weather Advantage My A**' Award: Lincoln Financial Field

After the game, Foles stated that the Eagles will have a "huge advantage" in the playoffs because of the cold weather. In the cold weather against the Raiders, Foles had a QB rating of 59.4, while the Eagles' offense scored 13 points and managed just 216 yards. Against the Cowboys, his QB rating was 9.3, the Eagles were shut out, and they managed just 219 yards. Foles was so bad today that on one incompletion, his QB rating actually rose from 5.1 to 9.3. 

The Eagles were 7-0 at home this season prior to their loss Sunday, and to be fair, they played their JV team most of the day against the Cowboys' starters. However, over the last two games, the Eagles' offense doesn't look at all like they're suddenly poised to dominate warm-weather or dome teams in the playoffs because it's cold. 

7) The 'Pay the Man' Award: LeGarrette Blount

Blount needed just 21 rushing yards to reach 750 on the season, which would trigger a $300,000 incentive. Doug Pederson made sure Blount got his carries early and often so that Blount could get his money.

8) The 'Welcome to the NFL' Award: Sidney Jones

Jones played his first NFL game on Sunday, and while he didn't have a perfect game by any stretch, it was good for him to get a little taste of playing time. In my view, you won't see him in a game again this season, but there's reason for optimism in 2018 and beyond.

9) The 'Silver Lining' Award: Uh, everyone's ACLs?

Nobody got hurt, that I know of anyway, so that's good, right?

10) The 'Silver Lining' Award, Part II: The Cowboys

For as bad as the Eagles looked, at least it was their JV team all day. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott and this Dallas team looked terrible, managing just six points all afternoon. The Cowboys did shut out the Eagles' offense, so I guess that's something... maybe.

But I wouldn't exactly be thrilled if I were a Cowboys fan after this game.

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