Snow Job

Posted: December 8th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 90 Comments »

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.

* * * * *

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.

_


  • sprawl

    So many great quotes from this one:

    Cornerback Cary Williams: I couldn’t see (Lions quarterback Matthew) Stafford. You couldn’t see him at all. You just kind of hope that you’re close to the receivers when he throws the ball … I missed a tackle because I wasn’t able to see the guy. The snow was in my face and I just naturally kind of panicked because there’s water rushing in your nose.

    http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/article-1/Snow-Bowl-Described-By-The-Players/e9c44e55-0cd0-4c11-8ed6-33856f9cad78

    • Michael Jorden

      That guy is a great interview.

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    i just hope the vikings dont start joe webb… lol and smfh at the same time…

    • RobNE

      Joe Webb and the game gets moved to Tuesday b/c of the leak in the roof.

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    What a game tho… man… that one run by lesean was one of his best, i still have no idea how he stayed up… E-A-G-L-E-S —-EAGLES!!!!

  • Eric_Andreas

    Shady did start going N-S, but still, I have no idea how he made some of those cuts and jukes…you just shouldn’t be able to do that in 6 inches of snow. I fall on my butt just trying to get the mail after a dusting.

  • the guy

    There were some gift calls, some unforced errors by the Lions, and the weather conditions didn’t favor the visiting team. Who cares? That was one of the most entertaining games (well, quarter) I’ve ever seen.

    It’s really tough at times to remember this is a house money season, and not get upset when things don’t go their way. For that alone, I’m grateful to Chip Kelly.

    • Michael Jorden

      I’ve been struggling with that. I really didn’t have high expectations at all coming into this season – just wanted to see where CK was taking the team, some progress in that direction and individual player improvements. Didn’t figure on many wins. But damn, with the way this team has been playing you can’t help but take it seriously!

    • Always Hopeful

      Ha, ha halfway through the second quarter I texted my sister that I have to temper my expectations for this team…actually, no I don’t! This has been a great transformation right before our eyes. Let’s ride it ’til it can’t ride no more!

      • mark2741

        Gotta admit, I can’t wait to see the Eagles play one of the elite teams (Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers), just to see how they measure up. This team has improved every single week. They keep improving. The “it’s a building year” is long over – they are a legit team. This is not the ’95 Rhodes Eagles. Objectively, they are a legit contender now.

  • Lewwyn

    I hope the Redskins fire Shanny, and the team wakes up enough to play well/win against Dallas.

    /wishful thinking

    • Stormbringer

      I’d rather them keep Shanny and stay in mediocrity. If they can him, the scuttlebutt is they’ll hire Art Briles (RGIII’s college coach) and I think he is a good coach.

      • BlindChow

        Redskins fans aren’t too keen on Briles apparently, because they don’t think he’ll have the organizational wherewithal to make the NFL transition.

        • Stormbringer

          That is very surprising to me as he’s taken Baylor from nothing to the penthouse and he made Houston a very good program after they’d been down after the Ware – Klingler era.

          • Anders

            That is my fear, Briles is a program builder and offensive genius like Kelly and Baylor’s defense ain’t that bad either. Also remember Redskins will have a ton of cap space and if they are smart is going to flip Cousins for draft picks

          • Ark87

            Thank god their very high first round draft pick is going to the Rams

          • Anders

            True, but a great coach can still turn around that team. They got talent on offense in RG3, Morris, Williams, Reed and Garcon.

            Add a high draft pick WR, add maybe 1 good offensive player in FA and you can have a dominating offense

          • Stephen Stempo

            But espn tells me that mike shanahan IS a great coach and that none of this is his fault.

          • Ark87

            I think that O line is going to need some help, not to mention the D, but I agree that a great coach could turn it around pretty quickly. Chip Kelly turned around a team with arguably a similar talent level, and perhaps more hopeless on the defensive side of the ball. But I do think we have a much better organization than the Redskins to aid in that process.

          • theycallmerob

            for the most part, yes- if we’re discussing skill players. Similar to DAL, they’ll lose every game in the trenches. OL is old and bad, DL even worse. Not something they can rebuild in a year or 2. Plus, Morris may regress without Shanny’s blocking scheme, Reed is not yet a sure thing, and Garcon is the only talented WR they have in my book. Icing on the cake is the draft situation and their cap predicament
            I doubt even Lombardi could rebuild them before the ’16 season.

          • BlindChow

            That’s what I was thinking. They cited lack of NFL experience and seemed to think Chip Kelly was an exception.

            Looks like much of the fanbase wants to go the coordinator route; that strikes me as a low-risk, low-reward situation. Maybe it works out, but you’re much more likely to get the coaching equivalent of a game manager, or worse, a complete dud like Munchak in Tennessee.

        • holeplug

          Not even sure Snyder would go after another college coach after getting burned so badly with Spurrier

      • Anthony Hart

        Is Briles even interested in leaving Baylor? Especially to deal with a head case like Snyder?

        • Stormbringer

          Throw enough money at him (along with the RGIII factor) and I’m sure he’d be interested. Baylor isn’t one of the better gigs in the college football. It is only good as he is there.

          If he were at Alabama, USC, Texas, Ohio State or Florida I think his decision would be a lot harder.

        • BreakinAnklez

          Didn’t he just sign a massive extension?

          • Anthony Hart

            He did, but contracts aren’t always much of a barrier when it comes to coaching jobs. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Lane Kiffin to Washington.

    • BlindChow

      There’s precedent for teams playing better after an interim coach is appointed. The Cowboys in 2010, the Chiefs in 2011, so it’s possible!

      • Lewwyn

        Yeah that’s what I’m thinking of as a possibility. Getting rid of Shanny would IMO make Redskins better, but I have complete faith that Snyder could hire someone to replace him that was just as bad or worse.

  • SteveH

    Great win, I still hate “weather” games.

    I thought our early game plan was junk, trying to throw when the snow was still in near blizzard fashion seemed stupid. It wasn’t until things calmed down a little that the QB’s started delivering the ball a little better, they were both off bigtime early.

    • Maggie

      That is at least partly because game plans for the first half did not include snow as the weather forecast was for FLURRIES in the SECOND half. this was mentioned several times on the broadcast.

  • Matt

    I am freaked out by the Eagles getting calls and any help from the officials. I am so used to getting shafted by the refs all these years it makes these past two weeks feel bittersweet. As if the Eagles under-dog, against-all-odds, boo-santa claus culture is going out of style.

  • livingonapear

    One of the things Shady seemed to realize later in the game was that the tacklers would also be at a disadvantage, and so he had more hesitation moves instead of cut moves. So on the later runs, he was forcing them to tackle him from poor traction. He still made his cuts, but he was a lot more patient.

    • Maggie

      And he had the fantastic blocking, which made it possible to be patient. Not just from the Oline but other skill players as well.

  • NinjaP

    Good to see the redskins falling apart. Their fans were horribly annoying all off-season.

  • Maggie

    Just saw a quote on another board about how hard it was to see Detroit white uniforms through the heavy snow during first half. Hadn’t thought of it, but it makes sense that it would have given the Lions an advantage at first.

    • Baloophi

      Or a disadvantage in that it was harder to see their own receivers.

      • Jonathan

        The Lions should still be at an advantage because Stafford knows the routes his receivers will run, while the defense doesn’t.

        • Baloophi

          He probably forgot the routes in that he fumbled every other snap.

  • SleepingDuck

    After it was 14-0 I actually thought the game was already over seeing how the offense had been sluggish. But, the Eagles still managed to comeback even after the kick off return for the TD. If this was last year, no way in hell would the Eagles have come back. I know this is such a cliche saying, but this really showed the team’s heart and grit today during that comeback.

    • Mike Flick

      The announcers even made a comment about that being an insurmountable lead. It sure felt that way at the time, but in retrospect seems silly.

      • Adam

        If the snow didn’t let up 14 points might have done it.

  • Patrick

    I know he could have lost the record many times, but it kinda sucks that Foles threw that interception, especially considering the weather factor, when he had touchdowns later in the game. It would have been cool to have our QB have an amazing record, but he came so close only too see it gone because of a freakish situation.

    • T_S_O_P

      I’m glad that monkey is off his back.

      • Patrick

        But couldn’t it have been the first pass after throwing the record TD? It will be long forgotten by the draft, quicker if we make the playoffs, but still, i would have been cool to have Nick Foles being the quarterback in the NFL who threw most TDs without a interception, says a lot about Foles and his style.

        One thing I do like however: I don’t here anybody talking about college boy doing a Spurrier and running back to school anymore. Where da haters at? Whats next, Florio gonna stop hating on Roseman?

        • http://www.aceandson.com/blog Richard O’Connor

          It would have been cool to knock Manning out of the record books. Screw that guy and his crappy Papa John’s “pizza”.

          • sprawl

            Do you think Philly fans would ever put up with Nick Foles trying to sell crap pizza like that?

            I suppose I could live with another QB selling canned soup but fake pizza is something I will not put up with.

  • 1PissedAmerican2

    Great game, fun win. I haven’t heard/read any comments from the team about their ability to see the calls on the sidelines in the first half. That must have been a problem, even with a back up plan.

  • GermanBird

    Tommy, can’t wait to read your DGR, especially regarding the influence of Jason Peters on Shadys special day. I just saw the highlights and it seemed as if most of the big runs came to Peters’ side. On some of the runs he simply acted like a snow plow, pushing everyone alive to the inside….

  • BlindChow

    I hope both McCoy and Kelly remember the success they had with downhill run plays and can run it like that the rest of the season. They even had a QB sneak!

    • McNabbulousness

      maybe even get some more downhill running from BB and Carlos (i think that’s his name) polk

      • qwerty uiop

        *Kurtis Polk

        • Corry

          *James K. Polk

          • ICDogg

            Well, his middle name was Knox, so there’s precedent for a guy named Polk to run a “Ground Chuck” offense.

    • Corry

      They need to show that film to Shady over and over again. I get that he has defenders in the backfield sometimes, but there are many other times when the hole is there, but he still bounces it outside.

  • mheil

    this is a game Reid would have lost. keep firing and forget the run wouldn’t have worked in the snow

    • P_P_K

      Everyone I watched the game with said this same thing.

    • Ark87

      He did call runs 33 times for 186 yesterday in similar but much less severe conditions. Can we all just move on? He’s gone now.

  • GaEagle1023 – Tom

    My favorite quote after the game….Shady said “I like running North and South.”

  • Mike Flick

    This game shows where Nick Foles turned the corner.

    He is now protected under the Brady rule! Touch the highest ranked QB in the league and it is 15. We have seen it for years where touching Peyton was keeping drives alive. Now you even lay a hand on St. Nick in a winter wonderland how can you not expect to not only get 15, but a fine.

    It ended up costing the Eagles though. It would have tacked 15 yards to McCoy’s running total giving him 230 yards and push the whole team over 300.

    • bentheimmigrant

      We were over 300 for a while there. BB went backwards and the the kneel downs ruined it for us.

  • ICDogg
  • ICDogg

    Snowballs were flying in Washington and Baltimore, but I haven’t heard any reports of snowball throwing at the Linc.

    • A Roy

      But that cannot be, as ignorant as Philly fans are. The twitter feed you provided must’ve been nothing but snowballs being thrown all over the field. And that sound muffled the booing of Mr. S. Claus, no doubt.

  • Corry

    Relevant football in December is awesome.

    Go Bears!

    • Mike Flick

      It has just been an enjoyable season.

  • Dave

    Tommy, what do you make of the field not being plowed at halftime? I was sure when the 2nd half started that we would see the field completely plowed. Do you think Chip had any say in not plowing the field or was it more of a logistics reason? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it wasn’t plowed, but I wonder if Chip used the snow as a way to slow the Lions passing game down.

    On another note, it was pretty apparent listening to Foles after the game that he was trying to lob balls to the receivers to make them catchable. Stafford, on the other hand, seemed to throw it with velocity and his receivers couldn’t hold on to the ball. Just one more way Nick impresses me. He seems to adapt to the situation, instead of dictating the game on his owns terms.

    • Iskar36

      No idea how true it is, but according to the announcers during the game, outside of clearing the lines so you can see things, the team isn’t allowed to plow the field during halftime.

      • Corry

        That comment came from Mike Pereira who said it wasn’t permitted. The announcers were passing it along.

        • Dave

          Thanks, I didn’t hear that during the broadcast.

          • ICDogg

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowplow_Game

            As a result of the Snowplow game, plowing the field is no longer permitted, with very narrow exceptions such as clearing the goal line if it is not visible. They can also clear yardage lines as long as they are behind the offense.

          • TheRogerPodacter

            interesting. the wikipedia article makes it sound like they only banned the use of plows. if thats the case, the home team could still trot out an army of guys with snow/leaf blowers to clear a spot for the kick, right? (would that be similar to how the lions called a timeout and sent in half the team to clear a spot for their one kick attempt?)
            i’m curious to know the extent of this rule…

          • ICDogg

            They cannot use anything external to clear the snow. They can move or kick it with their own hands and feet.

      • FairOaks

        Except of course they plowed the field in Baltimore at halftime. They have a turf field though… not so sure how well plows would do on grass. When they cleared the lines it looked like they were more using snowblowers which didn’t actually touch the surface — probably can’t clear areas of snow with that.

  • eagleyankfan

    Win a few games earlier in the season against hurting teams with losing records — it was exciting but still and “eh”. Back to back wins against winning teams — people take note. I wasn’t worried down 14-0. It’s still a “no expectation season”. That will never change. I enjoyed the game to the fullest from first snap til the last snap.
    What did bother me — were the “pro’s” talking about all the important games yesterday and how great they would be to watch but they never mentioned the Eagles as an important game. Even Madden got in on the talk about how nobody can beat Seattle at home. People around the league should take note.
    I’m not going crazy and yelling superbowl. All I’m saying is — The Eagles are playing as well as any other team — therefore — can beat any other team on any giving day.
    The ship is still pointed in the right direction…..

    • OregonDucker

      And the Ship is still afloat!!! Unlike last year.

  • AnirudhJ

    I hope the Vikings enjoy watching the All-22 from yesterday when they try to prep for us. What a nightmare.

    • eagleyankfan

      and probably no AP…

  • Always Hopeful

    Am I wrong for wanting Dallas to win out too so that it’s “do or die” in the Carnival Tent that Jerry built, so we can watch Jerry squirm and fret in his press box when the Eagles win the division in his tent?

    I wouldn’t mind that scenario, but what am I thinking, it’s DALLAS!…I’m all in for the Bears tonight :-)

    • iceberg584

      Well we won’t think about how well that went in 2009..

    • P_P_K

      Yup, you would be wrong. If it was any other team we could discuss the matter but, c’mon, it’s the Cowboys.

    • phillychuck

      I want Dallas to lose so that we are guaranteed AT LEAST a do-or-die in the final game. If we’re up one game and we lose, they still win the tiebreaker.

    • ACViking

      I thought that, in the final game, if both teams are tied — or Dallas trails by a game — the the winner goes to the playoffs?

      Bottom line, it seems the Eagles control whether they qualify for the playoffs.

      • Ark87

        right, them losing just gives us some wiggle room to also lose a game. I’m very much hoping Dallas manages to lose a game, in case the Vikings or Bears manages to beat us.

        • TheRogerPodacter

          best case scenario – Washington beats Dallas. then, they could lose the advantage of the division record.

  • Andy124

    I don’t think it’s fair to evaluate a team’s ability in conditions like that. Too anomalous, too far removed from normal conditions. Rushing and passing offense and defense and how they match up with Detroit, I don’t think we learned anything about that.

    But you can evaluate the team’s adaptability, ability to learn in-game, toughness and heart. The intangibles. The Eagles graded out aces in all of that. Great team win.

    Credit due to Detroit as well. They came out and didn’t look like a dome team at all. Had some ball handling issues, but didn’t let that rattle them. Granted, they have a lot of practice dealing with those kinds of blunders.

    And while Arizona cried foul over a poorly officiated game where calls were missed in both directions, my impression is that Detroit is the team that actually has something to complain about… not that I mind.

  • nicolajNN

    Something I thought about during the game. The way we had some trouble on kick-off’s couldn’t we have used a punt kick instead, like after a safety?

    It seemed like the cover team had trouble getting down the field quickly on the longer kick-off’s giving the returner more space to work with. Then we used squib kicks giving Detroit a starting position at around the 40. Wouldn’t a punt give more distance than the squib kick, and give the cover guys more time to get down field?

    • goeagles55

      You can’t punt on a kickoff. Only a placekick or dropkick is allowed.

      Once we realized they were going to get to at least the 35 anyway, we should have kicked it out of bounds. I would give them the ball at the 40 to eliminate the chance of a return.

      • phillychuck

        I believe the receiving team can opt to have you re-kick 5 yards back. They might do that given how good their returns were.

    • ACViking

      On a kickoff, by rule, the ball must be in contact with a tee. So on an onside kick, the tee is in contact with the ball because it must be, not because it helps get that high bounce (though it may).

      After a safety, the kicking team may punt, a conventional placekick (with a holder), or a dropkick.

  • OregonDucker

    “It felt like a bunch of big kids out there,” Johnson said. “It was funny seeing guys slip. Bunch of big bodies out there. It was like cows on ice. This will be a game I will always remember.”

    “Cows on ice.” LOL heeeheeee God that’s funny!!

    http://espn.go.com/blog/philadelphia-eagles