Coming close against Dallas not good enough

September 18, 2008 11:02:25 AM PDT
The Philadelphia Eagles gave the Dallas Cowboys fits and entertained a record-breaking audience. They legitimized themselves as an NFC contender, nearly upsetting the early-season Super Bowl favorites on the road. That's no consolation for a team that stopped taking pride in moral victories a long time ago.

"We don't measure ourselves by how we play against Dallas," running back Brian Westbrook said Wednesday. "We measure ourselves on wins and losses. We want to win every game. That's our goal."

The Eagles had Dallas on the ropes Monday night, leading 34-31 and driving for what could've been a clinching score. But Donovan McNabb fumbled a handoff to Westbrook on first-and-10 from the Cowboys 33 with under 9 minutes left. Dallas then drove for the go-ahead touchdown, the seventh and final lead change in a back-and-forth shootout filled with big plays and critical mistakes.

McNabb couldn't rally the Eagles in the final minutes, taking two sacks after the offense reached its 49 at the 2-minute warning.

"Mentally, you have to have a short-term memory," McNabb said. "There were some positive things in that game, but when it comes down to it, we just didn't win. I don't think anyone would say that they played great, because we didn't play good enough to win the game."

Coming off a last-place finish, the Eagles were eager to prove 2007 was a mirage. A 38-3 rout over the woeful Rams in the opener was a good start. Beating the Cowboys - 13-3 last year and the popular choice to win it all this season - would've been more impressive, of course.

"The main thing is everyone expected to win," coach Andy Reid said. "I don't think anyone was happy that we lost the game. That's the bottom line. When all is said and done, we didn't come out on top."

There's no time to dwell on missed opportunities. Now the focus shifts to a tough matchup against the intrastate rival Pittsburgh. The Steelers (2-0) visit Philadelphia on Sunday for the first time since 1997.

Despite a short turnaround, players couldn't wait to return to the practice field and erase the bitter taste of losing to the Cowboys.

"When you're a mentally tough football team, it increases the hunger because you don't like to lose," Reid said. "You want to make sure that you maintain that each week and prepare yourselves like you did last week, and if you need to add a little bit to it, then you add to it. There's no way you hang your head about it or get down about it. You make sure that you keep pushing forward and stay hungry and aggressive."

Notes: Two-time Pro Bowl RG Shawn Andrews is questionable this week with back spasms. Andrews was injured in the second half against the Cowboys. Max Jean-Gilles would get the start if Andrews can't play. "I don't think it's that much of a difference," McNabb said. "We have the same confidence in Max." A third-year pro, Gilles has started one game. ... WR Reggie Brown (hamstring) practiced and is expected to return after missing the first two games. "We'll take it slow with him and see how he does," Reid said.


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