The Eagles played their best game of the year last night. The offense was explosive and efficient. The defense was aggressive and stingy. Even the STs units came up big. Was that a fluke or did the Eagles finally reach the level they want to play at on a regular basis?
As a skeptic or non-Eagles fan, it would be easy to point to the game as a fluke. But that might be wrong.
The Eagles have looked great for parts of games since Nick Foles took over as the full time starter. They led GB 27-10. They led WAS 24-0. They led ARZ 24-7. The Eagles were dominant in those games up to the middle part of the 3rd quarter or until the 4th quarter. The team let up and won closer games than they should have.
Last night the Eagles finally put all the pieces together and turned the good 2nd half lead into a huge blowout. They showed just how good they can look when the team plays at a high level. There was no let-up. The Eagles weren’t satisfied with a good lead. Chip Kelly pushed them to want more. The Eagles might have scored 60 if the defense could have gotten the ball back with 3 or 4 minutes left.
I think the score of 54-11 will throw people off. That’s just not an NFL score. People are going to think of that as a game full of fluke plays and crazy events. I get that. Heck, I might feel the same way if say the Bengals had beaten the Vikings by that score. I know I’d be highly suspicious.
But this Eagles team has flirted with greatness since the calendar flipped to November. They weren’t able to play a complete game until last night. Prior to that, the Eagles couldn’t sustain excellence for 60 minutes. Something would go wrong on offense, defense or STs. The key is that the Eagles would look great for about 3 quarters of a game. The potential for this has been there all along.
I’m not saying this is a great team. It isn’t. The Eagles still have definite flaws. I do think this team at its best is capable of beating anyone in the league. And I don’t mean in the “any given Sunday” kind of way. The Eagles are legitimately dangerous. You can bet the rest of the NFL will be pulling for Dallas next Sunday. Nobody wants to face the Eagles in the postseason (except maybe the Vikings).
When you think about the win over the Bears, didn’t it feel like an Oregon game? The team built up a lead. They forced the opponent to play catch-up and were able to get a pick-6 from that. Then the team got a long TD run to close out the game. Even the final score of 54-11 feels like an Oregon score.
Kelly got his Oregon teams to maximize their potential. Last night was the first time he’s had the Eagles maximize their potential. Can Kelly get the Eagles to take this from being a one-game event to a regular performance level? That’s what he’s shooting for. Kelly wants the Eagles to achieve excellence on a regular basis, not just occasionally. Great teams do that.
I’m really curious to see how the team plays next week. Will the Eagles enjoy the win over the Bears too much and get sloppy? Will Kelly be able to sell them on the idea that’s how they should play on a regular basis?
The last time we saw a game like this it was the Starship 7 game when the Eagles beat the Skins 59-28 back in 2010. Michael Vick had a phenomenal showing. He was 20-28-333 with 4 TDs. He ran 8 times for 80 yards and 2 TDs. Jerome Harrison ran for a 50-yard TD in the 1st quarter. Dimitri Patterson had a pick-6 late in the game.
That game felt like an anomaly. Vick opened the game with an 88-yard TD pass to DeSean Jackson. There was a 48-yd pass to Jeremy Maclin that set up another TD. The Eagles didn’t physically dominate that game. They made huge plays. The Eagles ran for 260 yards, but 80 of that came on Michael Vick runs.
Also, the Skins were a 4-5 team. They finished the season 6-10. Beating them wasn’t a big deal at all.
Last night the Bears had a chance to win their division. They had everything on the line. They were the #2 scoring offense in the NFL. The defense was bad, but that team had been moving the ball and scoring on everyone. That game was anything but a gimme.
The Eagles dominated the line of scrimmage. The OL gave Shady McCoy and Bryce Brown tons of room to run. Both backs went for over 100 yards. The Eagles ran for 289 yards. Only 17 of those came from the QB running. Foles didn’t have any huge plays in the passing game. He was more methodical than mesmerizing. We’ve seen Foles play like that already this year. Heck, he’s played better than that. We’ve seen McCoy run better than he did.
The defense is the one group that performed surprisingly well. Even they have been headed in the right direction. 10 of the last 11 opponents have been held to 21 points or fewer. 3 of the last 4 opponents have been held to 350 yards or less. The Eagles matched up well with the Bears so the performance isn’t some total fluke. I just figured the Bears would be held to 24 points or something like that. I didn’t see them being held to 11, but I didn’t anticipate another disaster like the Vikings game.
Can this performance be repeated? Don’t suddenly expect the Eagles to start shutting teams down like that. But the defense can be a lot better when they don’t miss tackles and when they sack the QB as opposed to getting near him and then letting him move in the pocket to complete a big pass.
Sunday night is going to be one interesting game. I really can’t wait to see how the Eagles play. If they are able to have another big game, maybe this team will be a major factor in the playoffs.