Like shooting a wounded Duck, Dallas put the Eagles out of their misery last night by showing them door in an early exit from the playoffs. I think we can all agree that the better team won last night. The Eagles had no answer for either the Cowboy's offense or defense in their third and most disheartening loss of the year to Dallas.
Philly was completely man handled on both sides of the line. Their big play offense was held in check by a persistent pass rush and excellent coverage in the secondary. Their defense was shredded for 198 yards on the ground as for the second week in a row the Dallas RB's ran rough shot through the Eagles' defensive backfield. They did dial up a bit more pressure on Tony Romo, but he was still able to make the plays when he had to completing 23 of 35 attempts for 244 yards and two TD's.
It is hard to figure out whether the Eagles just played bad or if the Cowboys are that much better. One thing is for sure, as of now the balance of power in the NFC East has shifted and if the Eagles want to keep up they are going to need to address some pressing concerns, such as the offensive line and the defensive secondary in this sooner than expected offseason.
When they needed their running game and shutdown defense the most, they all but disappeared. Donovan McNabb will be another year older and Brian Westbrook's best days are behind him. Right now, Sean McDermott is no Jim Johnson and I'm not sure he ever will be. As far as their line backing core they may need to start from scratch to correct that weakness. Looking back I hope they realize that not resigning Brian Dawkins was a colossal mistake as his presence was sorely missed, especially in these last two meltdowns against Dallas.
The positive side of the situation is there is a ton of young offensive talent on this team, but that is also part of the problem. Until they learn to play as a cohesive unit against the better teams in the league they will continue to come up short in the big games. I still think that McNabb has a championship season in him, but it may not be with this team. Sometimes a change in leadership on the field is needed to get the most out of everyone else on the team.
To borrow a line from former Arizona head coach Dennis Green, this team is not who we thought they were. They are good, but at this point not good enough to compete for a championship. Dallas simply did them a favor by exposing some glaring weaknesses that we as fans chose to ignore. Weaknesses that would have been uncovered sooner or later by someone else down the road.