Eagles' rookie running back Bryce Brown almost delivered the Eagles to a possible win in Dallas Sunday night. That was until he fumbled the ball at midfield after Nick Foles led the Birds down the field late against the Cowboys for what could have been a potential game-winning drive. A win could have kept the Eagles from their first losing season since 2005.
Instead, Cowboys’ rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne picked up the ball and scampered for a 50-yard return touchdown that sealed the Cowboys (6-6) 38-27 win.
Brown became only the second rookie in Eagles history (Charlie Garner 1994) to run for back-to-back 100-yard-plus rushing games as he carried the ball 24 times for 169 yards and two TDS after rumbling for 178 yards and two scores last week. But he also coughed up the critical fourth-quarter fumble.
The Eagles defense put the young Eagles offense in a tough position after allowing 21 second-half points before the late return TD. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo continued a streak of signal callers posting astronomical passer ratings against the Birds by putting up a 150.5 rating on 22-for-27 passing for 303 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Jason Witten had six grabs for 108 yards and wideout Dez Bryant collected two touchdowns on six grabs for 98 yards.
The Birds D also let the terrible Dallas rushing attack post 124 yards and a TD on 32 carries.
The bad defense overshadowed a late Damaris Johnson 98-yard punt return touchdown that put the Eagles (3-9) within five. Foles missed a wide open Brown on the two-point attempt however and the Cowboys recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal to win.
(On a side note: the Johnson punt return broke our own Vai Sikahema's team record that stood for more than 20 years -- something Vai pointed out on Twitter. It also, as pointed out by The 700 Level, it made winners of anyone who picked the Eagles to cover the spread. Johnson didn't punch the goalpost when he scored like Vai did against the Giants in 1992.)
Despite the late gaffe, Foles played well, completing 22 of 34 passes for 251 yards (a 96.6 passer rating) and a 15-yard TD pass to Riley Cooper.
On the defensive side, Brandon Graham made the most of replacing the departed Jason Babin by collecting 1.5 sacks. Nnamdi Asomugha also had a nice game compiling eight tackles including one for a loss. But the rest of the Eagles secondary -- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen -- got torched again and again as Romo connected for three second-half TDs.
The fire Andy Reid watch continues as the Birds, who have lost eight straight for the first time since Lyndon B. Johnson's administration, prepare to face the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay next week. It's been so long since the Eagles last win over the Giants on Sept. 30 that, as the guys on Monday Night Football pointed out, the Phillies have won (Oct. 1 over the Nationals) since the Eagles last won.