How to view the Eagles’ unconvincing 14-point win over Cowboys originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles beat the hated Cowboys by 14 points in a nationally televised Sunday Night Football game to maintain sole possession of first place in the NFC East with half the season gone.
When you put it like that, it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
But if you saw the way the Eagles scraped together their 23-9 win over the hapless Cowboys at the Linc, you’re probably left with a much different opinion of the current state of the Birds. Because that was about the least convincing two-touchdown win we have ever seen.
“We're going to have to figure some things out,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “Obviously, we're happy and excited with the win and all of that, but yeah, we've got some things we've got to figure out here in the next week.”
At the end of the season, if the Eagles win the NFC East, we might look back at this game and think, “Who cares?”
Who cares that it wasn’t pretty? Who cares that the Eagles managed just 222 total yards of offense against the worst defense in the NFL? Who cares that their quarterback can’t seem to stop turning the ball over?
A win’s a win and all that.
At least that’s what Pederson tried to sell on Sunday night.
“Yeah, I mean, a win in this league is a win, man,” he said. “They are hard to come by. There's never a pretty win. There's never an ugly win. A win's a win. We've got to start stacking them together.
“Guys are excited in the locker room. We know we've got to play better. We're also optimistic we can get some players back here in the second half of the season that can help us and try to get back to full strength.
“But it was good to get the guys back tonight that were out there, and go into this bye, get healthy and see what happens.”
While there’s no asterisks in the win column for Sunday’s game, it certainly didn’t seem like a cause for celebration. Because if the Eagles weren’t playing a team in complete disarray with a seventh-round draft pick making his first career start at quarterback, do they really win this one? Probably not.
That’s not to take anything away from the Eagles’ defense, which did its job on Sunday, holding the Cowboys out of the end zone. But the Eagles’ offense needs to get better quickly. When they come back from the bye week, the offense needs to be better.
They know they can’t continue to win games playing like this. They especially know they can’t win games if they keep turning over the football the way they did on Sunday night. They coughed up the football four times against the Cowboys — two Carson Wentz interceptions, two Wentz fumbles.
The Eagles are now 32-91-1 in the modern era when they turn the ball over four or more times.
And it’s incredibly rare for the Eagles to win by two touchdowns in a game where they turn the ball over four or more times. Sunday was just the sixth such game since the merger.
It might not have felt like a two-touchdown win for the Birds on Sunday night, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was. They’ll take the W, but also realize there’s work to be done.
The Eagles are looking at it like this: They got a win, they’re getting healthier and they have time to correct their problems.
“We've got to get better. We've got to fix it. We've got to fix it in a hurry,” Pederson said. “We've got a chance to sit back and look at the first eight games and evaluate and try to come away with some ‘whys’. But we just can't keep turning the ball over and shooting ourselves in the foot, things we've got to clean up in the second half of the season.”