By Tom Ignudo
It wasn’t the Bounty Bowl, The Pickle Juice Game, or the 1980 NFC Championship game.
It was a game during which the Philadelphia Eagles lost their fourth consecutive home game to the Dallas Cowboys for the first time in 37 years.
A game when the Eagles rushed their fewest number of yards in a game since they ran minus-12 yards against the Washington Redskins in 1961.
“It’s execution,” Chip Kelly said in a press conference after an embarrassing 20-10 loss against the Cowboys Sept. 20. “It’s execution and it’s coaching. We’re not doing a good enough job. We’re not putting those guys into positions to make plays.”
Under Kelly, LeSean McCoy placed top three in rushing yards both years, but the Eagles’ new starting guards have restrained their ability to move the ball effectively on the ground.
“Yeah, oh yeah,” DeMarco Murray said after losing to his former team in a post-game interview.” “I think we got the right guys, the right coaching staff, the right players offensively, defensively, and in the kicking game to be successful.”
Murray, 2014’s NFL Offensive Player of the Year only piled up 2-yards on 13 carries against the Cowboys.
Because the Eagles only rushed the ball for a total of 7 yards, it forced Sam Bradford to make plays through the air.
Unfortunately, fans didn’t witness second half Bradford, who went 21/25 while running the offense against the Atlanta Falcons last week.
Even with the Cowboys missing Greg Hardy, Orlando Scandrick, and Randy Gregory on defense, the Eagles only moved the ball for a total of 22 yards in the first half.
Bradford told reporters the offense couldn’t find its rhythm, and they’ll watch the film to improve from this game in a press conference after the game.
Despite struggles on offense, the Eagles defense got pressure on Tony Romo after Connor Barwin picked up his first sack of the year on the Cowboys’ first series.
The Eagles started from their own 40- yard line, but it was only the beginning of five consecutive drives all lasting less than two minutes.
Against the Cowboys the Eagles only converted 18 percent of the time on third
down. Plus, the only first down in the first half came off a pass interference call on Morris Claiborne.
Dallas’ third series featured Romo connecting with Terrence Williams, who burnt Byron Maxwell in the seam for gains of 15 and 19-yards.
They marched down the field to the goal line, but plays from Beau Allen and DeMeco Ryans forced Dallas to kick the field goal, which made it 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Unfortunately, midway through the game Kelly’s personnel moves this past offseason created a hole in their defense.
First, Kiko Alonso, who was swapped for McCoy left the game with an undisclosed knee injury. Then Mychal Kendricks left the game with a hamstring injury.
Kelly said he had no update on the status of either linebacker on Sept. 21.
With Ryans and rookie Jordan Hicks playing, the Cowboys targeted Jason Witten seven times on their final drive.
Dan Bailey ended the drive by booting in a 28-yard field goal, making it 6-0 heading into halftime.
After an ugly first half, a Donnie Jones punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown on the Eagles’ first possession, making it 13-0 at the start of the third quarter.
On the Cowboys’ first possession in the second half, Hicks sacked and forced a fumble on Romo, which was recovered by Fletcher Cox.
Luckily for the Eagles, an offense already without Dez Bryant lost Romo after he broke his left clavicle on the play.
Meanwhile, the Eagles’ offense reached the red zone midway through the third quarter, but Bradford threw an interception consequently due to Kelly’s play calling.
Again the offense was given another opportunity after Malcom Jenkins recovered a fumble and returned it for 34 yards.
However, on the very first play Jason Kelce snapped the ball to Bradford, who wasn’t ready, and Nick Hayden recovered the fumble.
Even with Romo out, two drives later Brandon Weeden tossed a 42-yard pass to Williams to make it 20-3 towards the end of the fourth quarter.
Bradford finally found Matthews for a touchdown with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough in a 20-10 loss at home.
Bradford finished by going 23/37, for 224 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in the Eagles home opener.
It’s the first time since 2007 the Eagles have started the season 0-2, but Kelly is optimistic the team can move past this win.
“We we’re here two years ago to be honest with you,” Kelly said. “We lost 17-3 to the Cowboys and then we lost 15-7 to the Giants. Then we went 7-1 down the stretch. I just think we kind of got back to basics – it’s still a fundamental football game and we’ll evaluate everything. But we evaluated then and fortunately for us we straightened things out.”
Kelly is right but back in 2013, Nick Foles left the Cowboys game with a concussion, and he was forced to finish the game with third string quarterback Matt Barkley.
In the past two games he has not been playing with a third string quarterback. He’s played with Bradford who has looked uncomfortable in six out of the eight quarters so far this season.
Since 1990 only 12 percent of teams have made the playoffs after starting out 0-2.
Kelly has also lost five of the last six games as the Eagles head coach, dating back to 2014.
After starting out 0-2, the Eagles secured their first victory over the New
York Jets 24-17 Sept. 21.