Cowboys 29, Eagles 23: Standout plays

Cowboys 29, Eagles 23: Standout plays

Reviewing the key moments in the Eagles' how-did-that-happen? loss to the Cowboys?

1. First quarter: Marcus Smith sack
Smith, the Eagles' first-round pick in 2014, entered the game with 1.5 career sacks -- and none this season. On the fourth play from scrimmage, Smith sacked Dak Prescott, and then on the next play stopped Ezekiel Elliott for a 2-yard gain.

2. First quarter: Caleb Sturgis 30-yard field goal
The acting job after the kick was worth mentioning. Sturgis drew a running into the kicker penalty on the Cowboys but should have been whistled for a flop.

3. First quarter: Dez Bryant 53-yard catch
Bryant simply beat Leodis McKelvin down the right sideline for a 53-yard reception. No other Eagles' defender was in site. After Elliott burst up the middle for 15 more, Prescott got the 'Boys on the board with an easy 7-yard touchdown.

4. Second quarter: Three runs by Sproles
This guy is really 33? On the Eagles' first touchdown drive, Sproles cut on a dime (sorry Shady) to make a guy miss before getting stopped for two yards. So then on 3rd-and-1, he zipped down the field for nine. Then two plays later, he jitterbugged his way for 19 to convert a 2nd-and-15.

Those runs — and a holding penalty on Dallas — set up Ryan Mathews' easy run for the Eagles' first touchdown.

5. Second quarter: Sturgis 55-yard field goal
He made this one twice, but the first one didn't count because Jason Garrett called timeout. They have to change that rule. 

Great job by Sturgis, and it wouldn't have been possible without the bullet to Dorial Green-Beckham with four seconds left. Green-Beckham did a great job to get both feet in and get out of bounds with just one second left, giving Sturgis a shot.

6. Third quarter: Jordan Matthews 5-yard TD catch
Easy pitch and catch, and notable because Doug Pederson mixed things up on the Dallas D, which wasn't ready for a sudden change in tempo. The Eagles put their foot on the gas, eschewed the huddle and drove 69 yards in 12 plays to take 10-point lead. 

“Did Chip Kelly come back in the building? What happened here?" NBC analyst Chris Collinsworth exclaimed after Matthews' TD catch.

The Eagles once again had their share of drops, but both Matthews and Agholor had nice third-down catches this series to keep the drive alive. 

7. Third quarter: 30-yard run by ... punter Chris Jones 
Kudos to the Cowboys on this one. The Eagles had all the momentum after going up 10 and forcing a 3-and-0ut ... but Jones on a fake punt took some back. It resulted in a Dan Bailey field goal, which came after Terrance Williams prevented Dak Prescott's second interception in the end zone by taking down McKelvin. 

8. Third quarter: Josh Huff 53-yard kickoff return
The Eagles' special teams weren't going to be outdone. Huff took the ensuing kickoff 53 yards to set up a 34-yard field goal.

Only Bailey prevented Huff from his second kickoff return for a touchdown in as many weeks and the Eagles' third straight week with a kickoff return for a TD.

9. Fourth quarter: Wendell Smallwood fumble
You're up 10. With the ball. There's 13:05 left to go. Sproles has been great all night. And you give the rookie his first touch of the game now? 

Easy to say after a fumble, hindsight being 20-20 and all that, but still.

Thanks to the Eagles' D, Smallwood's fumble cost the Birds only three points, as Bailey squeezed in a 49-yarder.

But when the Eagles look back at how this one got away, this is step No. 1.

10. Fourth quarter: Sean Lee throws Sproles for 6-yard loss
And here's No. 2.

It was 3rd-and-8 at the Dallas 30. Wentz tossed it to Sproles, but Lee flew right by a hobbled Jason Kelce, swallowed up Sproles, and moved the Eagles out of field goal range. 

Dubious play-call when staying in field-goal range had to be the priority. Instead of attempting a 54-yarder, the Eagles played it safe, punted and pinned the Cowboys back at their own 10.

11. Fourth quarter: Bryant 22-yard TD catch
Problem is, the Cowboys drove 90 yards in 11 plays, and the drive ended when Bryant beat Nolan Carroll with a superstar catch to tie it. Not much else to say.

12. Fourth quarter: Wentz sacked ... but doesn't fumble
On 3rd-and-19 from the Eagles' 11, Wentz escaped pressure, wound up to throw ... and was walloped from behind by corner Orlando Scandrick. Everyone was looking for the ball to fly out ... but somehow Wentz held on, and the Eagles punted.

13. Overtime: Jason Witten 5-yard TD
How did Witten get so wide open? Rodney McCleod and Malcolm Jenkins collided at the goal line, allowing Witten to easily catch his first score of the season. Game over.

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie isn't often very outspoken on football or political matters. 

He has apparently made an exception. 

Just a few days before Lurie is tentatively scheduled to speak to Philadelphia reporters while in Phoenix for the league's annual meetings, the Eagles owner authored a story for Time Magazine railing against political polarization in Washington.

Lurie has not spoken to reporters publicly since last March in Boca Raton, Florida, at the 2016 owners meetings. 

The owner's essay was published just hours after House Republican leaders pulled legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Friday afternoon. Lurie, for the record, donated money to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year.

Lurie, the Eagles' 65-year-old billionaire owner, in the story, uses football as an example for which Washington should strive. 

Here's how Lurie begins the piece:

"What do football, political polarization and autism have in common? They all illuminate aspects of the human condition, explaining who we are, where we are headed and the hurdles along the way. As a sports team owner I rarely publicly discuss politics, but as a member of a family touched by autism, I often think about the unspoken millions of people who live with the daily challenges of this disorder."

Lurie then goes on to explain why football can act as a guide for Washington when it comes to united for the common good:

"What I have learned from football can be applied to society at large. Just as we intensely game-plan against an opponent in sports, we need to game plan for the reality and consequences of polarization. Extreme polarization is the opponent -- not each other. A football team is made up of players from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and political viewpoints. What unites them is grit, determination, and the desire to win. They join in a common goal and do what is necessary to transcend their differences for the greater good of their team.

"What unites Americans is far more negative. We are now in an age where communicating verifiable information becomes secondary to the goal of creating a common enemy that unifies people in fear, negativity and opposition. This masks our inability to solve serious domestic problems (poverty, violence and institutional racism to name three current examples) and diverts our attention from obvious suffering."

Lurie then writes that we, as Americans, have the "necessary resources" to tackle serious problems, like autism, but lack the leadership to put aside differences. 

The whole piece isn't very long and is worth reading in full to gain a better understanding of its context. 

Next week while in Phoenix, Lurie will surely be asked about what motivated him to write the piece. 

Eagles withdraw all but 1 rule proposal for owners meetings

Eagles withdraw all but 1 rule proposal for owners meetings

As the annual NFL meetings get set to kick off next week, the Eagles originally proposed four playing rule changes and a resolution that could have eventually led to bringing back Kelly green uniforms as an alternate option. 

But after getting feedback from the NFL's competition committee, the Eagles are withdrawing all but one proposal, according to league sources. 

The only one left would prohibit players from leaping over the line of scrimmage on kicking plays. For now, players are allowed to leap line as long as they don't make contact. That proposal, which the NFLPA has previously supported, seems likely to pass. 

That means the other three playing rule changes and the proposal to allow teams to wear helmets that would match their alternative jerseys won't be specifically discussed. 

Translation: No Kelly green jerseys yet. 

Among the 15 proposed playing rule changes the league released on Friday, teams were responsible for seven of them and the Eagles accounted for four of the seven. 

Just because a specific proposal won't be directly discussed, it doesn't mean that topic won't be discussed by the committee in Phoenix during next week's annual league meetings. 

For instance, one of the Eagles' proposals would alter the current replay system. While the Eagles' individual proposal won't be discussed, replays will be a topic of discussion during the meetings.