The Philadelphia Eagles will not be heading to the playoffs for a fourth straight year. Their 2020 campaign ended on Sunday following a 37-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Better days are coming, according to one player.
Second-year running back Miles Sanders stood at the post-game podium and boldly declared that “better days are coming.” He took it one step further by saying the team owes it to both the city and the fans. He ran for 57 yards on 15 carries in the Week 16 loss.
“2020, we found ways to lose. In previous years, we found ways to win,” said defensive end Brandon Graham. “The mistakes, the self-inflicting stuff, that’s what hurt us this year. We can’t have the penalties, the pre-snap stuff … you don’t always win them all but I know we’ll learn from this.”
Jalen Hurts finished 21-of-39 for 342 yards and one touchdown, but the rookie quarterback was also responsible for three total turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles — one recovered by the Eagles, plus a very controversial one that went to the Cowboys).
He also ran nine times for 69 yards. His 81-yard scoring strike to DeSean Jackson was a thing of beauty that put the Eagles up 14-3 late in the first quarter. It was all downhill from there, especially after Fletcher Cox left the game with a neck stinger.
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Hurts Played Second Half with ‘Lower Body Tightness’
Hurts was noticeably less effective in the second half than the first one. The rookie took a beating from a frenzied Cowboys defensive line and looked hobbled at times, especially following a vicious second-quarter sack by Randy Gregory.
Hurts had a brief conversation with head coach Doug Pederson on the sideline at one point but stayed in. After the game, Pederson revealed that Hurts was dealing with some “lower-body tightness” but refused to come out and battled through it like a “warrior.”
“I got a little nicked up in the second quarter there,” Hurts told reporters. “The will to win is so hard for this team, having the opportunities that we had to win the game, and putting ourselves in the position to win the game, but obviously we came up short. It’s a “so what, now what” mentality — something you learn from. It’s not a loss, it’s a lesson.”
Hurts also struggled with his “cadence” at times, according to Pederson, and the quarterback admitted to it contributing to some false starts. The Eagles committed 12 penalties for 115 yards.
“I’m the commander-in-chief on the field and I got to do a better job,” Hurts said. “That’s something I can get better at.”
NFC East Division Still Up for Grabs
The Eagles may be eliminated from the playoffs but the NFC East is still up for grabs with one week remaining. The playoff scenarios are pretty straight forward, too. If the Washington Football Team beats Philadelphia in Week 17, then they win the division for the first time since 2015. Ron Rivera’s team controls its own destiny despite losing to the Carolina Panthers.
Wait, there’s more. The New York Giants host the Dallas Cowboys next week and the winner of that game could win the division if the Eagles beat Washington. This will be the 16th straight year there will be no repeat winner in the NFC East. Unbelievable.
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