ARLINGTON, Texas — The Philadelphia Eagles skilled a dropping locker room for the second time this season. They additionally lamented 4 turnovers for the second time this season.

These occasions occurred on the identical nights.

“F—, man, that’s terrible,” offensive sort out Jordan Mailata stated, shaking his head. “That’s a crazy stat.”

There was a lot that went improper for the Eagles in a 40-34 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday — and far that went proper, too — however there was a easy message felt in all corners of the locker room on Christmas Eve.

“We can’t give a good team like that the ball four times and expect to win the game,” coach Nick Sirianni stated.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” quarterback Gardner Minshew stated.

“I feel like we beat ourselves,” large receiver A.J. Brown stated.

“We’ve got to get turnovers and we have to minimize our turnovers,” stated defensive sort out Linval Joseph. “They did what we’re supposed to do.”

This just isn’t how the Eagles needed to have a good time Christmas. They envisioned carrying T-shirts and hats to mark the NFC East crown, clinching the NFC’s prime seed within the course of. They’re now 13-2, nonetheless the perfect report within the NFL. And their magic quantity stays one with two video games remaining, the primary of which is subsequent week towards New Orleans. So the Eagles didn’t spoil something Saturday as a lot as delay the opportunity of clinching. But they gave oxygen to the Cowboys’ hopes of by some means outpacing the Eagles to the division crown, they usually confirmed vulnerability towards a group they may nicely see in a month.

The vexing half for the Eagles is that they made performs all through the sport, on either side of the ball. The offense didn’t punt and had two receivers prime 100 yards. The protection scored a landing and totaled six sacks. There was a lot they did that was spectacular, and never sufficient they did that was fundamental.

Minshew went 24-of-40 for 355 yards and two touchdowns plus a speeding landing, however he threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball on the mesh level on a handoff to Boston Scott. That was one in all two fumbles, with Miles Sanders coughing the ball up late within the fourth quarter when the Eagles trailed by three factors. Four turnovers for a group that entered the sport tied for the fewest giveaways within the NFL. There are actually 9 groups with fewer turnovers than the Eagles after Philadelphia had three fewer than some other group simply two weeks in the past.

And then on protection, the Eagles’ incapacity to get off the sphere on third downs was notably regarding. They allowed the Cowboys to transform 8 of 15 third downs, together with two touchdowns. Perhaps the most expensive got here within the fourth quarter when the Cowboys accomplished a 52-yard catch to remain on the sphere on a third-and-30. Yes, a third-and-30.

For all of the Eagles did nicely, it was straightforward to know why they misplaced. They turned the ball over they usually couldn’t get off the sphere.

“As good as we are, we can’t still mess up the little details, the small things. We can’t beat ourselves,” stated Haason Reddick, who had two sacks and a compelled fumble. “Turnovers, third-down defense, everything. The stuff we preach, we just let it get away from us today. It’s another reality check. You need that. We’ve been winning so much. You kind of get complacent. I’d rather it happen now than the postseason.”

This a lot is for certain: When the Eagles reconvene after the vacation, it received’t be the primary time Sirianni emphasizes turnovers. It’s a message to begin every week, and a selected level of satisfaction for Sirianni. He’s stated previously it’s not a coincidence when the Eagles have the fewest turnovers within the NFL due to the best way they drill it and talk about it. They have indicators all through the group facility outlining the basics of ball safety.

Yet it’s now been seven turnovers in two weeks for a group that has solely 17 on the season. The Eagles have had 47 p.c of their turnovers of their two losses this season and 65 p.c of their turnovers in three video games. They had two turnovers of their first seven video games of the season and 15 of their subsequent eight.

“We stress turnovers all the time,” Minshew stated. “That’s a big part of what we do and why we’ve been so successful. It was uncharacteristic of us today. That’s what really bit us.”

Minshew’s interceptions got here on focused passes to Quez Watkins. Sirianni credited Cowboys security Jayron Kearse for making a play on the ball on the primary interception, which got here on the second drive of the sport. Minshew took duty for the poor change with Scott on the fumble.

The Eagles nonetheless had a seven-point lead within the fourth quarter when the third-down points on protection and the turnovers collided without delay.

After DeVonta Smith’s second landing of the sport gave the Eagles a 34-27 benefit, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was sacked twice — as soon as by Reddick and as soon as by Josh Sweat. Reddick really stripped Prescott and Joseph practically recovered, however Cowboys heart Tyler Biadasz fell on the ball to retain possession. (As Joseph stated, the Eagles have to pressure turnovers and might’t flip the ball over. They had been minus-3 on Saturday.) The sacks compelled a third-and-30 on the Cowboys’ 29-yard line. Keep the Cowboys from gaining not less than 30 yards, and the Eagles would regain possession with a lead and an opportunity to place the sport away.

Instead, Cowboys receiver T.Y. Hilton by some means discovered a well past Eagles defensive again Josiah Scott, who was answerable for the deep half of the sphere. Scott stated it was a miscommunication on the play, with the Cowboys quick-snapping whereas the Eagles had been readying for protection.

“We didn’t make a play, the guy did,” Sirianni stated. “It was really as simple as that. T.Y. Hilton made a really nice catch, Dak made a really nice throw, and we didn’t make the play. They did, and we didn’t.”

The Cowboys took the lifeboat and turned it right into a landing to tie the rating. Then on the subsequent possession, Minshew’s move try and Watkins was wrestled away by Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland. The Eagles had been capable of restrict the Cowboys to a discipline aim, besides the offense had just one play to catch its breath. That’s as a result of the hope of a go-ahead drive began with Sanders’ fumble — his second in two weeks after he earned reward all through the season for his ball safety.

“Gotta hold the ball,” Sanders informed reporters. “Bad situation, fumbled at the wrong time. Take full responsibility. Nobody else’s fault but mine.”

Once once more, the protection held the Cowboys to a discipline aim. The Eagles offense regained possession with 1:41 on the clock needing a landing to win. Minshew drove the Eagles to the 19-yard line, however they couldn’t discover the top zone.

“Game on the line, we’ve got the ball in our hands? That’s what you dream of,” Brown stated. “So much to learn. … No need to be down. It’s not a loss. It’s a learning experience.”

Brown referred to as it a playoff ambiance Saturday, and he informed the Eagles between possessions that each drive mattered. That proved to be true; the Eagles both scored factors or turned the ball over on each drive earlier than their final try on the finish of the sport. The Cowboys turned the 4 turnovers into 20 factors.

“You can’t do that in the playoffs. You’ve got to put the teams away,” Brown stated. “When we do what we’re supposed to, good things are going to happen.”

GO DEEPER

Five takeaways from Eagles’ Christmas Eve loss to Cowboys

Fletcher Cox stated it was a “pissed off” locker room, as one would anticipate after a loss on that stage in that style. Sirianni stated the message was that all the things occurs collectively — they received 13 video games collectively, they misplaced Saturday collectively, they’ll study collectively. And Mailata urged that sentiment was obvious on the sideline between turnovers.

“When adversity strikes, it’s not like, ‘F— you!’ Guys are positive. We reinforce that,” Mailata stated. “That’s why I know this team is different. That’s why I know we’ll be all right. We’ll be all right for next week. It’s going to be a long plane ride home. … But with the locker room we have, I have no worries.”

The Eagles might want to monitor the standing of proper sort out Lane Johnson, who exited the sport within the fourth quarter, and defensive again Avonte Maddox, who was in a strolling boot after injuring his toe. And in fact, the Jalen Hurts watch continues. The quarterback made the journey to Dallas and was a presence on the sideline and within the locker room. Sirianni stated when Hurts is cleared, he’ll play. (That nonetheless won’t occur subsequent week.)

Sirianni praised the best way Minshew performed, and the coach and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen devised a recreation plan that may have been the overriding storyline had the turnovers not induced the Eagles’ unraveling. Minshew stated they used a lot of the identical ideas that the Eagles make the most of with Hurts, minus a number of the quarterback working recreation. There had been occasions Minshew was fast to throw the ball away and there was some rust to shake off — particularly in two-minute conditions — however he saved the Eagles in rivalry towards one of many prime groups within the NFL on the street throughout a brief week.

So it might be Minshew once more with an opportunity at clinching the NFC’s No. 1 seed at dwelling. Sirianni stated the eye received’t flip to the Saints till they repair the issues from Saturday, and there’s sufficient to evaluation to final the Eagles via the Christmas leftovers. But they nonetheless have the perfect report within the NFL, they nonetheless have a pristine path to the highest seed, and the sky wasn’t falling on their flight dwelling.

“Nobody said it’s going to be easy,” Brown stated. “I think we’re in a good place.”

(Photo: Sam Hodde / Getty Images)



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