Sunday night wrap-up: Eagles can’t stop Bryant

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He can be a headache at times. But what a glorious headache he can be.

Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant did it again Sunday night, showing why the Cowboys have hugged him, coddled him, given him so many chances. Bryant took over at times during the Cowboys’ 38-33 win over the Eagles, with six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. The scores came at crucial junctures, when the Cowboys were desperate for someone to make a play.

That’s the best time for a playmaker to make them.

A win over a bad team is no reason to celebrate too much. The Eagles have now lost eight in a row to fall to 3-9. And the Cowboys themselves are 6-6. (Watch game highlights here.)

But the way Bryant has begun to dominate opponents is amazing. There were moments against a well-paid, if not good, Eagles secondary when it simply was not fair. But that’s been happening more and more often, as his physical gifts have been augmented by what appears to be knowledge of the game, and more polished routes.

Over the last four games, Bryant has 29 catches for 475 yards and six touchdowns. That’s the kind of production that will make a team make special rules, and make them glad to have to.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. Nick Foles may or may not be the Eagles quarterback of the future.

But he’s at least getting better, in a bad situation, and that’s a good sign.

Foles looks like a different guy than the one who made a mess of things against the Redskins, or stepped back out of the way and watched Bryce Brown run against the Panthers.

He has the ability to make throws from the pocket and on the move, and it would be interesting to see him in a good situation (i.e. with starting receivers and a real offensive line).

He’s not going to get that opportunity this year, but he might show enough to make them give him a chance.

2. It is very difficult, and sometimes unfair, to judge individual parts of a bad team when so many things have gone so poorly.

That said, Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha might be the biggest mystery in the league.

It is no longer a question of whether he’s worth the money. He’s not. The Eagles got sucked into the trap of paying for past performance. If you want to make a splash and sign big free agent names, that’s going to happen sometimes.

But he doesn’t look remotely like the same player who could shut down half a field in Oakland. If you peeled the names and numbers off the backs of jerseys, you’d never say, “Yes, that one, let’s give him a pile of money.”

3. That said, the Eagles’ safeties are horrible.

It’s unclear if they’re simply not talented enough to play in the NFL, or are so poorly coached they’ve been rendered useless, or both.

But after watching Panthers backup tight end Gary Barnidge torch them last week, an actual player like Cowboys star Jason Witten was bound to get in the highlight reel.

4. The Cowboys are simply a different team with running back DeMarco Murray on the field.

That’s easy to say when they’re last in the league in rushing and get their best runner back on the field.

But Murray runs differently than anyone else they have, and that makes every part of their offense better.

He gains the yards, but he also creates space for the guys on the edges, and can make an opposing defense pause a beat before coming straight at Tony Romo.

The Cowboys quarterback is a different player when he has a moment, and Murray can help buy him a few.

5. The Eagles releasing defensive end Jason Babin was viewed as a white-flag move by some, clearing the books of a big number in a season gone awry.

But Brandon Graham, who replaced him in the starting lineup, had 1.5 sacks in the first half, and showed good burst.

When you’re faced with inevitable change, it makes sense to look at all the young parts you can.

Graham looks like the kind of player the next administration will enjoy, provided they run a system he fits into.

34 responses to “Sunday night wrap-up: Eagles can’t stop Bryant

  1. Just Dez? are you trying to make cowboys fans happy? this team has stopped ANY QB or WR this season.

  2. and our safeties ARE horrible. Nate Allen was one of Andy’s worst picks, EVER! He’s undersized and benefitted from a great defense and defensive coach at USF that made everyone on that team look better than they were. And Kurt Coleman??? I deserve an NFL contract if this loser has one. He literally has no clue what he’s doing.

  3. Ends up going 10 for 10, 169 yards, 3 TDs in the second half and the only mention Romo gets is how having Murray back gives him some extra time? Still spent most of the game scrambling. He doesn’t take care of business very often….give him this one!

  4. The Cowboys just did what every team has done to the Eagles secondary. Romo perfect in the second half? RG3 has been there and done that. A 150 quarterback rating? Get in line with the five quarterbacks before him that did the same.

    The Eagles pass defense is historically bad, DRC got punked by Bryant all night long he’s another matador.

    The good news for the Eagles is that they have some young talent at a lot of positions but I think the secondary needs a complete overhaul. The Eagles will have a top five pick and they should drat Manti Teo a leader a hard-nosed tough guy that can be the new leader of their defense.

  5. I like the way the Offense played,but the D giving up 38 points is unacceptable.I would like to see my team win against a division rival,but oh well it is just another spot higher in the draft.

  6. not an Eagles fan, but you gotta give some credit to Bryce Brown. 169 yards and 2 tds isn’t too shabby.

  7. Where was Dez Bryant at the start of the 2nd Half? He was still in the lockerroom with an IV pumping whatever into his body. Then he came out and made those crucial catches in the 4th QTR. Did anyone else notice? How is that legal?

  8. Even though the Eagles lost, there was a lot of good that came out of this game (offensively). Bryce Brown looked really good (except for the costly fumble) and Foles looked very improved. I think that Eagles offense is going to be solid next year as long as the line stays healthy and they RUN THE DANG BALL!!

    As for our defense, we need to blow up the whole system and hopefully we get a good coach signed. Washburn needs to go and take his pathetic Wide 9. We have enough talent on our D-Line that we don’t need to do anything in the offseason.

    We need a whole new secondary and another solid linebacker and we will be competitive again.

  9. This giants fan has always had an irrational hatred for the eagles. Similar to how I feel about the Boston Red Sox. As I watched the game tonight, I felt something I never felt before. It only occurred whenever I saw Andy Reid on the screen. It first started as I started to feel pangs in my stomach. But I had been eating so I dismissed the hunger pangs. I also noticed that my adrenaline levels quickly dropped when hearing his name or seeing his face. By the end of the game, I was rooting for the eagles to win. And I was disappointed when they did not. I have heard about his personal family tragedy this year and that he is likely to be fired, imminently. I’ve been watching sports like football and baseball for over 40 years. This was a unique experience. Maybe my cholesterol went up? Perhaps a visit to the Dr’s office is in order for a check up?

  10. Too bad Costas had to bring politics into the halftime show. I watch football to get away from that stuff. Didn’t Hank Williams get fired by doing the same thing?

  11. Graham looks good, yes, but when they made the trade in the first round to get him, they moved ahead of the Seattle Seahawks, who took Earl Thomas after the Eagles drafted Graham.

    Gotta wonder if that one’s been re-thought in the Philly front office, given their safeties are currently hot garbage.

  12. Their collapse reminds me of the Vikings in 2010. But they aren’t quite there yet. They need a star wr cut. a coach fired midseason, a stadium to cave in, and pictures of their star quarterbacks wiener to go all over the internet. Did I miss anything?

    until that all happens, the Vikings still have title of biggest collapse of all time.

  13. Bharr170 – is that what he was talking about? I always just mute it whenever I see him on screen. He takes the most boring aspects of sports and spends 10 minutes talking about it. Tries to make every story into a ‘touching moment’ – I’m no hater of reporters, but Costas makes me understand why people do.

  14. “He was still in the lockerroom with an IV pumping whatever into his body. Then he came out and made those crucial catches in the 4th QTR. Did anyone else notice? How is that legal?”

    It’s legal because 1) saline solution is NOT a PED and 2) without it you can dehydrate and, 3) untreated, dehydration leads to death. I can’t stand either team, but what Dallas did with Bryant is perfectly legal, legitimate, done by every team in the NFL, and, frankly, is the exact thing each team should do. Sorry if common sense medical procedures “caused” your team to lose.

  15. Eagles fan here. I attended the game. I was actually impressed that they played as well as they did, and was actually thinking, before the fumble that let the game get away, that it might save Reid. I have never been a big Reid fan, but I don’t see what firing him will do, especially in allowing him to go to another team. I do wish he had taken a personal LOA given his family’s troubles.

    I still think Lurie needs to step up and affirm the guy. then force him to make changes to coaching staff, hire an experienced GM/football ops guy, bring in an experienced DC and maybe a new OC too, and then focus on personnel makeover.

    If you let Reid go, it would not make sense to keep Roseman. So if one goes, both should go. I’d not like to see him wind up in Dallas, notably.

    All in all, even though they lost, I was pleased with their performance, and it gives me some encouragement that Reid maybe hasn’t lost it completely, and with forced changes I do think he would be fine. He’s not well liked by the Philadelphia media because he doesn’t play the game, and that has played into the strong negative vibe against him lately. He is a competent coach, though, and I doubt the Eagles will be able to improve on that in letting him go. And then eating a contract is not good fiscal policy.

  16. No question that Nick Foles is a future Hall of Fame QB … who will lead the ‘Dream Team’ Eagles to multiple Superbowls.

  17. One thing Foles does that Vick doesn’t do is go through his progressions.

    Vick is one read and then panic.

    Foles actually turns his head from one read to the next.

  18. If the Eagles don’t pick up their game, they are going to be out of the playoffs.
    I have a lot of respect for Andy Reid, and most of the Eagles players except for Vick. I can’t stand most of their fans, with just a handful of notable exceptions including one friend that is from Philly.
    It couldn’t happen to a better fanbase, unless it was the cowgirls.

  19. dallas may be a different team with demarco murray,but they still ain’t that good! the eagles gave the pukes all they can handle,and they have lost 8 straight games,cowboys beat a team they should have,big deal!

  20. I thought the most telling part of the game was when Bob Costas came on at half time and pushed for gun control. Goodness gracious Bob Costas is a joke as is NBC News and NBC Sports. Yea Bob he would not have killed the mother of his child if the founders had not determined that we do have a freaking right to defend ourselves.

  21. Cowboys fans should see the bigger picture of this game, yeah they won but gave up alot of yards to a beat up eagles team.

  22. Nothing to do with the game but I have to vent. Bob Costas was WAY out of line with his comments about guns. He was talking out of his ass. That tragedy was going to happen one way or the other. The NFL should fine him and NBC over the editorial. Those were heartless comments made when the focus needs to be on the families involved.

  23. I’ll take the win, but the Eagles had their way with our defense all night, Foles looked like a stud against them.

    We could barely stop any drive and our tackling is very poor. Our O line was not much better, even with Murray in, Tony was still ducking and dodging sacks left and right, all night.

    On the other hand, I just love watching the Eagles implode year after year.

  24. Our defense is kind of beat up ourselves ccjcsr.

    I was impressed with Foles, especially when Ware was coming after him and instead of stepping forward like most QBs do, he stepped back making Ware eat turf. As a life long Cowboys fan it took a lot for me to say that.

  25. The Eagles can’t stop anybody. Everybody always seems to have a career day against the Eagles, and then they come crashing back to Earth the following week.

  26. I have to agree with a couple of the posters above. If I wanted left-wing political garbage, I’ll turn to MSNBC (what a coincidence) – I don’t want it forced into the football game I’m watching. Maybe Costas can sub for Chris Matthews a couple of times a week and get this kind of stuff off of his chest.

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