American Football

Eagles turn the ball over 4 times in loss to the Cowboys, 40 to 34

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Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Birds are 13-2.

The Philadelphia Eagles are 13-2 after losing to the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Eve. Final score: 40 to 34.

Ugh.

In the grand scheme of things, this loss isn’t a gigantic deal. They still have two more games to get one win in order to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture.

But they really should’ve been able to win this one. They blew multiple 10-point leads. They somehow allowed a 3RD-AND-30 to be converted. They turned the ball over four times.

They beat themselves. Which is definitely something you can’t do when you’re trying to win your third straight road game with a backup quarterback under center.

Gardner Minshew played reasonably well relative to expectation in this one. He completed 24 of his 40 attempts for 355 yards (8.9 average), 2 TD, 2 INT, and a 84.9 passer rating. He also had a rushing score on a sneak near the goal line.

Of course, the turnovers were very costly. Both of his picks came on targets to Quez Watkins, who had an awful game.

Minshew is clearly no Jalen Hurts. It would’ve been nice if the Eagles’ starting quarterback wasn’t dealing with a shoulder sprain.

On that note, it’ll be interesting to see if Hurts pushes to play with the Birds set to host the New Orleans Saints in Week 17. The Saints are still alive in the dreadful NFC South so they still have something to play for.

The Eagles need to manage protecting their starting quarterback while also finding a way to seal the deal and clinch the top spot in the conference. If/when they’re able to get that done, the Birds will be on a path to potentially face the Cowboys for a threematch at The Linc.

I’m sure the Eagles would love to get back at them after the bad taste in their mouth following this loss.

Read on for a recap and stay tuned for BGN’s postgame coverage, including the BGN Radio postgame show!

FIRST QUARTER

  • The Cowboys won the coin toss and elected to defer to have the Eagles start on offense first. The first play was a Miles Sanders run for eight yards. Then Gardner Minshew completed his first pass to A.J. Brown for a first down. Then Minshew hit Brown wide open down the field with the WR beating Trevon Diggs, who is certainly susceptible to giving up big plays in addition to making them, for a 48-yard gain into the red zone. The Eagles got to 3rd-and-9 after two straight runs basically went nowhere. Don’t love running on 2nd-and-9. On third down, Minshew took off running … but looked just a tad less fast than Jalen Hurts and only picked up three yards. The Eagles had to settle for a short Jake Elliott field goal. Not ideal but better than nothing. EAGLES 3, COWBOYS 0.
  • The Cowboys picked up two first downs but then Dak Prescott threw a pass RIGHT to Josh Sweat for a pick six! LOL. Very bad throw by Dak but also an incredible athletic play by Sweat to be able to score on the 42-yard return like that. Exactly the kind of play you need from your defense in a game when your backup QB is starting. EAGLES 10, COWBOYS 0.

  • The Eagles got the Cowboys to third down after a nice open field tackle from Avonte Maddox but Dak took off running into wide open space up the middle for a first. The Eagles should’ve sacked Dak on 3rd-and-5 with a blitzing Maddox having a grasp on him but the QB was able to somehow stay alive and get a pass off to Michael Gallup for a first down. Frustrating! Big missed opportunity to get a stop. The Cowboys methodically moved into the red zone and then into goal-to-go territory. Ezekiel Elliott punched it in from one yard out for the Cowboys’ first score. Again, the missed sack was a really big deal that would’ve forced a Dallas punt. EAGLES 10, COWBOYS 7.

SECOND QUARTER

  • Minshew threw a pick on an off target pass to Quez Watkins over the middle. Ugh. Not a good throw but also did not look like the best effort from Quez, who also was involved in an interception when targeted last week (looked like he didn’t get out of his break fast enough).
  • Maddox did NOT miss Dak this time on a play where the Cowboys tried to get tricky, sacking the Cowboys QB for a 10-yard loss. Dallas got to 4th-and-8 and went for it and Dak’s pass was incomplete … but there was an illegal contact penalty on Darius Slay to give Dallas a first. Of course. A few plays later, the Cowboys took advantage of a busted coverage (with Slay involved) for a CeeDee Lamb touchdown. Two straight drives where the Eagles should’ve had stops and instead gave up scores. EAGLES 10, COWBOYS 14.
  • Minshew had back-to-back completions to Dallas Goedert (welcome back!) and Quez for 25 and 16 yards. Then Minshew overthrew an open Watkins over the middle for what should’ve been a score. Another missed opportunity. Minshew made up for it with a good 3rd-and-5 completion to Brown for a first down. The Eagles ran Kenneth Gainwell four straight times (interesting to see no Sanders?) to get to to 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Weird decision by Kenny G to jump from too far out on a play where he might’ve been able to get in if didn’t leave his feet. No matter, though, with the Eagles able to score on a Minshew sneak on fourth down. Nice long response drive by the offense with 74 yards and a touchdown on 10 plays. EAGLES 17, COWBOYS 14.

  • The Eagles got the Cowboys to 3rd-and-7 but Sweat jumped offside and then Dak threw to Lamb for a 26-yard gain into Philly territory on a free play. A few plays later, the Cowboys drove into goal-to-go territory. The Eagles got a stop when Michael Gallup seemingly lost a fade ball from Dak while looking into the sun (lol @ AT&T Stadium). The Cowboys settled for a 21-yard field goal to tie the game. Positive step by the defense … although kinda sad that that was only Dak’s second incompletion (16/18). EAGLES 17, COWBOYS 17.
  • The Eagles took over at their own 25-yard line with 1:49 remaining in the first half and two timeouts to work with. Goedert drew a pass interference penalty on a play where his facemask was grabbed as he was running a route. By the same crew that missed the facemask call in the Commanders game! Minshew overthrew an open DeVonta Smith over the middle and was nearly picked off by the Cowboys but they couldn’t hold on. BIG break there. On 3rd-and-4, Minshew had an accurate completion over the middle to Goedert for a 20-yard gain into Cowboys territory. The Eagles took their second timeout to leave 0:47 on the clock at the opponent’s 30-yard line. The Eagles got to 3rd-and-6 and Minshew completed a pass to DeVonta at the marker for a first. The Eagles went to spike it to stop the clock but they didn’t get properly set and it was a penalty that set them back five yards and caused them to burn their final timeout to avoid a 10 second runoff. Dumb, unnecessary mistake. Minshew threw a few passes away to bring up a 47-yard field goal attempt from Elliott. He made it to give Philly the halftime lead. EAGLES 20, COWBOYS 17.

THIRD QUARTER

  • KaVontae Turpin opened the second half with a big kick return that nearly went for a touchdown … but was called back due to a hold on K’Von Wallace. Phew. The Cowboys got to 3rd-and-4 and Dak’s quick pass to Gallup was not caught. No flag even though it looked like James Bradberry was a bit physical there. Finally, a punt forced by Jonathan Gannon’s unit. First punt of the entire game!
  • The Eagles took over at their own 23-yard line. Goedert made a BIG leaping catch that was thrown higher than it should’ve been and could’ve potentially been picked. He’s a beast, man. Minshew almost threw threw another pick on a throw to the sideline that went incomplete instead. Really playing with fire. On 3rd-and-9, Minshew hit a crossing Gainwell for a 21-yard gain into Cowboys territory. Minshew to Brown on an RPO throw went for another first down. Two runs by Sanders set up 3rd-and-2 at the 12-yard line. Sanders’ third down run lost a yard to bring up 4th-and-3. On fourth down, Nick Sirianni went for it … and MINSHEW LOFTED A PASS TO A WIDE OPEN DEVONTA IN THE END ZONE FOR A TOUCHDOWN. Awesome job by Sirianni to be aggressive there and awesome job on the Shane Steichen play call with the Cowboys getting sucked into thinking a motioning Goedert was the intended target on the play, allowing DeVonta to leak out wide open. Huge score to cap off a 10-play, 77-yard drive. EAGLES 27, COWBOYS 17.

  • The Cowboys got to 4th-and-1 from their own 35-yard line and went for it. On fourth down, a toss to Zeke went for 13 yards. Welp. The Cowboys got to 3rd-and-5 and Dak holding onto the ball allowed Fletcher Cox to pressure the QB into a third down incompletion out of bounds. The Cowboys settled for a 44-yard Brett Maher field goal that JUST snuck inside the left upright. Back to being a one-score game. EAGLES 27, COWBOYS 20.
  • The Eagles turned the ball over with Minshew and Boston Scott botching an exchange to allow the Cowboys to easily recover. UGH. Incredibly dumb and bad.
  • The Cowboys took over at Eagles’ 31-yard line. They quickly moved into goal-to-go territory. Ndamukong Suh and Brandon Graham combined for a sack to bring up 3rd-and-goal. And then Dak rolled right to throw another touchdown with Gallup able to get his feet in along the right sideline. Great catch. Ugh. Tie game. EAGLES 27, COWBOYS 27.

  • DeVonta made a great catch in the air between two defenders while knowing that a big hit was coming. Impressive that he was able to hold on. That catch brought up the end of the third.

FOURTH QUARTER

  • The Eagles got to 3rd-and-10 around midfield and Minshew was able to buy time, roll left, and hit an open DeVonta. Huge conversion. The Eagles got to 3rd-and-6 and Minshew hit Brown on a slant for another huge first down, this one into the red zone. Brown took a big hit to the knee and was down after the play. The Eagles went 13 personnel on two straight running plays and only picked up two yards each time. On 3rd-and-6, Minshew hit DeVonta on an out route for the TOUCHDOWN. Another HUGE drive by the offense. Credit to Minshew for making some big third down completions. 7-point lead with 9:59 left in regulation. EAGLES 34, COWBOYS 27.

  • An awful missed tackle by Kyzir White allowed the Cowboys to move the ball to midfield instead of having a two-yard gain. Haason Reddick knocked the ball out of Dak’s hands … but the Cowboys BARELY recovered for an 11-yard loss. SO CLOSE. Then Sweat sacked Dak to set up 3rd-and-30. On third down, Prescott completed a 53-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton. Lol, COME ON. Cannot happen. Looked like Josiah Scott did not get enough depth on that play … WHEN GAINING DEPTH WAS AT A PREMIUM. The Cowboys drove into goal-to-go territory. On first down, Tony Pollard wasn’t ready for a ball his way that would’ve been a wide open walk-in TD. Pathetic to allow a TD on this drive. EAGLES 34, COWBOYS 34.
  • DeVonta made HECK of a toe-tapping sideline catch from Minshew to get to the Eagles around midfield. The offense did a good job of getting the next play off quick to make sure Dallas could not challenge. The Eagles got to 3rd-and-4 and Lane Johnson went down with an injury. Not good! Then Minshew threw another pick on a target to Quez. STOP THROWING THE BALL TO HIM! Wasn’t even a terrible throw, Quez had the ball wrestled away from him. Come on.
  • The Cowboys moved into field goal but failed to convert a 3rd-and-5 after Dak was unable to connect with Gallup. Big break following the turnover. The Cowboys settled for a 48-yard field goal make to take the lead. EAGLES 34, COWBOYS 37.
  • Sanders fumbled for the second straight game after having zero this season and Jack Driscoll was unable to recover for a Dallas recovery instead. Lol. Really cool to just totally give the game away.
  • T.J. Edwards made a big tackle to stop Prescott from running into the end zone to bring up 4th-and-goal. On fourth down, the Cowboys lined up to go for it … but ended up just trying to draw the Eagles offside. Dallas took the delay of game penalty and kicked the field goal to take a six-point lead. EAGLES 34, COWBOYS 40.
  • The Eagles took over at their own 25-yard line with 1:41 on the clock and only one timeout left. They moved into Cowboys territory with a Minshew sideline completion to Brown. Minshew to a leaping DeVonta, who made a finger tips catch on a HIGH ball, put the Eagles at the 19-yard line with 0:33 remaining. On 3rd-and-10, Micah Parsons pressured Minshew into a throwaway to bring up fourth down. On 4th-and-10, Minshew faced pressure and threw the ball up for an incompletion. Game over. Tough.

FINAL SCORE: EAGLES LOSE, 40 to 34


LINEUP NOTES

  • Josiah Scott was the nickel cornerback when Maddox went out.
  • Jack Driscoll came in to play right tackle.

INJURY NEWS

  • A.J. Brown had his ankle taped after the turf monster tripped up him on his first catch.
  • Milton Williams got banged up with under six minutes remaining in the first quarter. He was able to walk off the field on his own power. He was able to return not too long after leaving.
  • Avonte Maddox (toe) got hurt by the turf monster after his second quarter sack on Dak. He was originally ruled questionable to return. Maddox was later ruled out.

  • Jordan Davis and Josh Sweat went down with a little under six minutes in the second quarter with the two colliding. Yikes. Sweat was able to stay in the game while Davis had to come out due to a head injury. Davis was later ruled out.
  • A.J. Brown got banged up early in the fourth quarter after taking a big hit to his knee. He was able to come back in a few plays later.
  • Lane Johnson went down with an injury late in the fourth quarter. He did not return.

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