Right now we’re all super happy with the Eagles big win over the Lions. Great game, right?
Yes and no.
The Eagles trailed 14-0 with 6:37 left in the 3rd quarter. That means that 2 1/2 quarters of the game were not much fun. The Eagles were out-played. Luckily, the Lions were sloppy and unable to take advantage of the situation.
It was the middle of the 3rd quarter when the Eagles did come alive and they pounded the Lions with points and yards like Mother Nature did with snow. The beauty of this is that the Eagles didn’t get a bunch of fluke TDs. They weren’t running back Lions fumbles or INTs for crazy scores. The Eagles offense just took over.
A deep ball to Riley Cooper woke the team up. Once that happened, there was no stopping the Eagles. The Eagles didn’t punt the rest of the game. Kelly and the coaches made some schematic adjustments to the offense. LeSean McCoy adjusted his running style. And the Biggies up front started to take over.
I was highly frustrated with Shady early on. He loves to run E-W. That can be frustrating on a good day, but it was torturous on Sunday. You can’t go sideways in snow. Players can’t make quick moves or cuts so they end up being easy to tackle. I don’t know if anyone talked to Shady or he figured this out on his own, but he started to run more N-S. He mixed in some cuts, but ran downhill for most of the 2nd half.
Once McCoy got going, the game became fun. Very fun. He got into a rhythm and the Lions struggled to tackle him. Heck, there were times when they struggled to get a hand on him.
These were basic run plays. This had nothing to do with the option or any tricks. The Eagles just fed him the ball and ran downhill. The Lions had no answer. Understand that the Lions had been red hot, allowing just over 240 rushing yards in the last 6 games combined. McCoy went for 217 in one game against them. It was also great to see Chris Polk and Bryce Brown contribute. They combined for 10-69 and a TD. The Lions had not allowed a run of more than 13 yards in recent weeks. The Eagles had a slew of them. Even Nick Foles ran for 20 yards on one play.
Give the Eagles defense a ton of credit. They gave up yards in the 1st half, but only 8 points. They came up with takeaways at key times to kill drives.
As for STs…a mess. I don’t want to rip the guys to shreds because of the conditions. The Eagles have covered punts and kicks well for most of the year. Jeremy Ross just lit them up today. Great job by him and his blockers. I didn’t see any holds or illegal blocks.
This really was a huge win for the Eagles. It put them atop the NFC East. That puts the pressure on Dallas and forces them to catch up when they take on the Bears on Monday night. The Eagles also hurt a potential Wild Card foe, in case the Lions don’t win the North.
One thing I love about the win is that the team never panicked. I was pretty friggin’ nervous for the first 2 1/2 quarters. The Eagles offense was struggling and Joique Bell was running well. Megatron wasn’t killing the Eagles, but he was making some plays. The Lions had been sloppy and my fear was that the Eagles had blown chances to make them pay.
Chip Kelly has this team playing with a clear head. They stay focused. They live in the moment. That is very impressive. Let’s remember that this team last year had players who would say things like “I know we lost, but I still think we’re a great team.” Guys seemed to fixate on their potential and their highlights.
This Eagles team isn’t worried about winning streaks, QB controversies or losing by 14 points in the 3rd quarter. They just keep grinding away. That’s exactly what Kelly wants. He doesn’t believe in big games. He doesn’t want peaks and valleys. Kelly is all about consistent excellence.
The Eagles aren’t there yet, but they are headed in the right direction. They’re winning at home and on the road. They just beat winning teams in consecutive weeks. The Eagles have faced good defenses and explosive offenses. This isn’t a bogus winning streak built on good timing or favorable matchups. The Eagles have become a legitimately good football team.
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Life is especially good right now due to the rest of the NFC East falling apart. Exhibit A, the meltdown in DC. Enjoy this write-up.
The Giants were officially eliminated from the playoff race today. They lost 37-14 and Eli Manning had an up and down showing.
If Dallas loses to the Bears tomorrow night, life will be close to perfect. Keep your fingers crossed.