December 22, 2019
Ding dong the witch is dead. Well, almost. After four straight losses to the Dallas Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles finally broke through with a huge win over their hated rivals for sole possession of first place in the NFC East, with one regular season game to go.
As always, win or lose, we hand out 10 awards.
On the day, the Eagles ultimately only scored 17 points, but with a couple of made field goals and Miles Sanders running in for a TD instead of sliding, they'd have put up 30.
Wentz was 31 of 40 for 319, a TD, and 0 INTs, while throwing to practice squad players. At one point, he lost his security blanket in Zach Ertz, but just kept chugging along, putting the offense on his back and carrying his team to the brink of an NFC East crown.
He also made several highlight reel throws, namely a beautiful touch pass in the turkey hole to Greg Ward, and a pin-point window throw to Dallas Goedert in the end zone.
A look at the traffic around Goedert on that throw:
A look at the Wentz to Goedert TD, via NextGen. Wentz 9-of-11 for 107 yards and a TD so far. Best he's looked all year. pic.twitter.com/rgdFrnne1U— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) December 22, 2019
That throw comes a week after Wentz's heat-seeking missile to Miles Sanders. It's almost like when you play a full season with receivers who get no separation, you become really good at throwing into tight windows, out of necessity.
Sanders ran 20 times for 79 yards and a TD, though obviously, he would have had significantly more, plus another touchdown if he didn't slide with a clear path to the end zone, securing the win. Fantasy football players won't be happy, but Sanders showed maturity and awareness beyond his years on that play.
Additionally, he chipped in 5 catches for 77 yards, putting him over 500 yards as a rusher and a receiver in his rookie season.
Miles Sanders (@BoobieMilesXXIV) has become the 5th rookie since 2000 with 500+ rush yards and 500+ receiving yards in a season.— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 23, 2019
He joins Reggie Bush, Giovani Bernard, Alvin Kamara and Saquon Barkley.#DALvsPHI | #Eagles
If you go back even further than 2000, here is a full list of rookies with 500+ rushing yards and 500+ receiving yards as rookies.
Sanders is the exact type of back the Eagles were missing a season ago, when they were rolling out guys like Josh Adams and Wendell Smallwood. If he's doing what he's doing with defenses keying on him, it will be fun to see what he can do if the Eagles can add some threatening receivers.
We mentioned Goedert above, but that wasn't the only play he made on Sunday. He also had a key third down pickup on a well-run fade route, and another nice throw by Wentz.
Huge third-down catch by Dallas Goedert.pic.twitter.com/OQPJPWL8lX— Sporting News NFL (@sn_nfl) December 23, 2019
On the day, Goedert had nine catches for 91 yards and a TD on a day in which Zach Ertz had to leave because of a vicious shot that he took to the ribs.
Xavier Woods hit that has sidelined Eagles three-time Pro Bowl TE Zach Ertz pic.twitter.com/1nHgo0UsdK— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 22, 2019
Goedert hasn't taken his game as a receiver to the next level in the way that some hoped this season, but he came up big against the Cowboys when the Eagles needed him.
All season long, we've made the claim that the Eagles' slow, plodding, 10-plus play drive offense isn't sustainable. Well, they're getting pretty good at it. Add two more 10-plus play scoring drives to the season tally:
That's now 23 10-plus play scoring drives on the season, and 10 in the last four games.
It was another week, and a new litany of injuries. On the agenda for the reporters this week will be asking Doug Pederson about the statuses of Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Fletcher Cox, and Ertz. Just add them to the pile alongside Lane Johnson, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Howard, Malik Jackson, and, well, you know the list.
If you have a Cowboys fan friend and he tries to tell you that the Eagles only won because Dak Prescott hurt his shoulder against the Rams, kindly remind them that they don't know what injury carnage is, and then ask him/her who their new favorite basketball team is now that the Warriors suck.
That said, if we're being honest, Prescott did not look like himself, as he was inaccurate when he tried to push the football down the field. So, you know, he/she may be right, but whatever.
13 carries, 47 yards, 7 catches, 37 yards, no TDs.
Did he even do that stupid eating thing once?
Kudos to Jim Schwartz for simplifying the defense and shutting down the run in a game that called for exactly that.
For the second time in three weeks, Jones entered the game late and had a huge pass breakup.
He's not really good when you need him to be your every week starter, but he'll come through in the clutch. He's kind of like the Nick Foles of cornerbacks.
Of course, the Eagles still have one more win to go before they can claim their NFC East crown. They have not yet clinched. Here are the scenarios in which the Eagles can clinch the NFC East next Sunday:
• The Eagles beat the Giants.
• The Eagles lose to the Giants and the Cowboys lose to Washington.
Super complicated, right? I'm sure there's stuff with ties and whatnot, but I'm not figuring that out. Cool? Cool.
Assuming the Eagles do indeed win the division, if there was any doubt that Jason Garrett would be fired at the end of the season, there no longer is. You know how when you hold down an app icon on your phone, and it starts shaking like it's scared it's going to get deleted? Well...
The Cowboys' offseason is going to be very interesting. They'll have a new head coaching search, and plenty of contract decisions to make with some of their best players, notably Prescott and Amari Cooper. (Insert popcorn-eating gif of your choice.)
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