The Cowboys beat the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday, but it came with a price: Tony Romo broke his collarbone and will miss eight weeks – a crushing blow to the offense. Philadelphia, meanwhile, had just seven rushing yards on 17 carries and was a paltry 2-of-11 on third down in the 20-10 loss.
So, which offense is in worse shape going forward? Is it the Cowboys without Romo and Dez Bryant, or is it the Eagles, who have looked downright atrocious for six of eight quarters this season?
“Yeah, the Eagles looked awful,” CBSSports.com college football writer Will Brinson said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “DeMarco Murray is on pace for 88 rushing yards this season. He only had four games last year where he had under 88 in a single game. I think the Eagles average .4 yards per carry against the Cowboys. (That) is an unacceptable GPA to bring home after your freshman fall semester. It shouldn’t even be in the realm of possibilities of yards per carry in a professional National Football League game.
“But the Cowboy long-term, you have bigger concerns with Romo out and Dez Bryant hurt,” Brinson continued. “To me, the Eagles are dealing with an offensive line that’s got a lot of moving pieces with it. They’re not protecting Sam Bradford. They’re not blocking for DeMarco Murray. Ryan Matthews is struggling to run, too. You see Darren Sproles with some production, but it’s mostly in the passing game and mostly when he gets out to the outside.”
Murray ran 13 times for two yards on Sunday. Matthews and Sproles had one carry apiece for negative-4 yards. Dallas, on the other hand, rushed 33 times for 109 yards – 3.3 yards per carry. That’s not great, but without Romo and Bryant, it’s not bad.
“Let’s say Tony Romo is back in eight weeks,” Brinson said. “They can win. They get the Falcons, Saints, Patriots, Giants, Seahawks, Eagles, Buccaneers and Dolphins before the Panthers on Thanksgiving. If he can come back on Thanksgiving, they’re already 2-0 and I feel like they can win three or four of those games. And all of a sudden with Dez and Tony Romo coming back, they’re right there at .500. They can come back and make a playoff run. For the short term and for the long haul, while Tony’s out, their offense is in trouble, but I think the Cowboys can survive the season. The Eagles just have to figure out a way to get that offensive line clicking because until it does, that running game won’t function, and if that running game isn’t functioning, they’re going to struggle on offense as a whole.”
Sam Bradford was 23-of-37 for 224 yards, two interceptions and a garbage-time touchdown to Jordan Matthews on Sunday. Is the oft-injured Bradford struggling to get back into the NFL flow, or is Philly’s offensive scheme causing him problems?
“I think it’s a little bit of both,” Brinson said. “We saw how good he looked in the preseason. You’re playing against much harder defenses now in the regular season, clearly. I just think that offensive line is struggling to protect. If you limit the Eagles to negative rushing yards – DeMarco Murray has 11 on the season. If you’re running the ball (like) that, (there’s) just no balance. That makes it so much easier to protect in the secondary (and) limit what an offense can do in the passing game. We really saw them get on track in the second half against the Falcons. In Week 1, I thought that they would come back and do that the whole game against the Cowboys. Very disappointing. 0-2 is a big problem for Chip Kelly, but it’s not the end of the world in that division. Philly is not dead in the water. 0-2 is a terrible start but I think they can get it back together – and they’re in better shape because they’ve got a division that’s such a mess.”