For those who may not have noticed, the Philadelphia Eagles are on quite a roll. Now mind you, the NFL in 2010 requires the usage of phrases like “league parity” and “any given Sunday” and of course “we’re focused on this week’s game” but if you’re Andy Reid, even he can’t be too tight-lipped about his pleasure in beating teams like the Colts and the Giants. “Just enjoy the win.”
This week the Eagles hosted an NFC grudge match with the New York Football Giants with the division lead at stake. It is likely that an NFC wildcard team may not come from the NFC East so at this point, division winner makes the playoffs while second place stays home. That could change, especially as the NFC South beats up on one another but who doesn’t want bragging rights in the bruising NFC East?
Michael Vick had to return to Earth after his Moon Shot performance against Washington and the Giants defense proved that Virtuoso Vick has some weaknesses – but they are more like chinks in the armor than an Achilles’ Heel. So Vick doesn’t see the field as well when he runs to his right. Vick tends to focus on running and doesn’t see the field as a QB when he goes to his right and when he goes left he tends to scan the field for receivers and look to make a play. Big deal. New York continued to flush Vick out of the pocket to his right and Vick kept trying to run. You know what? Vick isn’t supposed to win every game. Football is a team game. Just enjoy the win!
The Eagles entered Sunday night’s 27-17 win over the Giants tops in the league in turnover ratio at plus-12. The Giants entered the game tied for 24th at minus-five. The Eagles had 21 takeaways; only the Bears (24) had more. The Giants had 25 giveaways; only the Cardinals and Panthers had more (both with 26). So what happened Sunday night at the Linc should have been no surprise. The Giants committed five turnovers. The Eagles had just two.
Two interceptions for Asante Samuel vs. the Colts. Two for Dimitri Patterson against the Redskins. And two more for Samuel vs. the Giants. Three games in a row now the Eagles have had somebody with a multiple interception game, and that’s something that happens, oh, about once every half century. This is the first time since 1960 that the Eagles have had somebody with a multiple-interception performance in three consecutive games. Samuel now has four multiple-interception games since joining the Eagles in 2007. Only Bill Bradley (seven) and Burroughs (five) have more in Eagles history. Including his days with the Patriots, Samuel has 8 multiple-INT games. Only Ed Reed, with 9, has more among active players. Samuel is tied for 14th in NFL history with those eight multiple-interception performances.
On Sept. 30, 1960, in a 27-25 win over the Cowboys at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Chuck Weber picked off two Eddie LeBaron passes. A week later, in a 31-27 win over the St. Louis Cards at Franklin Field, Don Burroughs had two interceptions off John Roach. Finally, seven days later, in a 28-10 win over the Lions, also at Franklin Field, Gene Johnson had two INTs against Jim Ninowski.
Besides the pass defense, the Eagles have improved their run defense. The Eagles’ biggest weakness has become their biggest strength. First four games: The Eagles were allowing 139 rushing yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry. They ranked 27th in yards allowed and 21st in yards per carry. Last six games: They’ve allowed 74 rushing yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry. During that six-game span, they’re third-best in the NFL in yards allowed and fourth-best in yards per carry. Sixth-worst to third-best. Almost overnight. No coincidence that they were 2-2 in those first four games and 5-1 since.
On the surface, two lineup changes seem to be responsible for the stunning turnaround. After the first Redskins game, when Washington gashed the Eagles for 169 yards on the ground – even with Clinton Portis missing much of the game with an injury – two things happened. First, Sean McDermott benched strong-side linebacker Akeem Jordan in favor of Mose Fokou – who had been benched for Jordan a couple days into training camp. Then, early in the Eagles’ Week 5 win over the 49ers, defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley hurt his elbow and was replaced by Antonio Dixon, an unheralded street free agent pickup last year. All of a sudden, the big runs stopped. All of a sudden, teams couldn’t play ball control against the Eagles. All of a sudden, the entire season turned around – not just on defense but firing on all cylinders. Offense, defense… well special teams could use some help.
Dominating the Giants
The Eagles outgained the Giants by 184 yards Sunday night, the biggest yardage margin they’ve had over the Giants in their last 30 games. The last time they outgained their NFC East rival by more yards was Dec. 1, 1996, when they had a 289-yard margin.
After outgaining the Redskins by 217 yards, the Eagles have now outgained consecutive opponents by 180 or more yards for the first time in 16 years. In 1994, they outgained the 49ers by 248 in a 40-8 win in San Francisco and then the Redskins by 205 yards in a 21-17 win at the Vet.
Shady makes history with 50-yard TD
LeSean McCoy’s 50-yard TD run combined with his 66-yarder against the Giants last year made him only the ninth player in Eagles history with more than one career TD run of 50 yards or more. Only Bosh Pritchard (five in the 1940s), Brian Westbrook and Wilbert Montgomery (three each) have more in franchise history. McCoy is the only fourth player with more than one TD run of at least 50 yards in his career against the Giants. The other three are Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith, Ollie Matson and Jim Brown, who also have two. McCoy is the third player in NFL history with at least 90 receptions and 1,300 rushing yards before his 23rd birthday. The others are Edgerrin James, Marshall Faulk and Ray Rice. Putting McCoy’s touchdown in perspective, it was only the eighth rushing touchdown of 50 yards or longer in NFL history in the fourth quarter that gave a team that was trailing the lead for good.
Back-to-back 100-yard games
Before the Redskins game, only seven Eagles running backs since 1950 had gained 109 or more yards in a game on 14 or fewer carries. Then McCoy and Jerome Harrison did it in the span of seven days. Harrison was 11-for-109 against the Redskins and McCoy was 14-for-111 against the Giants.
More Shady and Harrison
McCoy’s 50-yard TD came six days after Harrison had a 50-yard touchdown run against the Redskins. This is only the fourth time in Eagles history they’ve had a 50-yard touchdown run in consecutive games – but the second time McCoy has been involved.
It also happened last year, with the same opponents in the same stadiums – DeSean Jackson ran 67 yards at Washington and McCoy 66 yards a week later against the Giants at the Linc. Before that, you have to go back to 1985 for back-to-back games with 50-yard TD runs – Earnest Jackson had a 51-yarder at St. Louis and Herman Hunter a 74-yarder at Dallas. It also happened in 1948 (Pritchard’s 52-yarder against the Rams and Ben Kish’s 66-yarder against the Giants).
Maclin piling up the numbers
Jeremy Maclin continues piling up some of the best numbers in NFL history by a receiver before his 23rd birthday. Maclin now has 1,613 career receiving yards, sixth-most ever by anybody before turning 23. He’s only 16 yards behind David Boston. Jackson is third on the list with 1,888 yards.
Vick notes of the week
Michael Vick’s 24 completions against the Giants matched a career high set in 2002 in a 34-34 tie with the Steelers at Heinz Field. Vick’s 258 yards are the ninth-most in his career. He’s thrown for 258 or more yards in four of seven starts as an Eagle after doing it in five of 72 starts as a Falcon.
Asante one INT away from 50
With his 48th and 49th career interceptions (including postseason games), Samuel now has the second-most interceptions in NFL history by a player before his 30th birthday. Only Paul Krause, with 54, had more before turning 30. Krause, a Hall of Famer, still holds the NFL career interception record with 84 (including three in the postseason). Samuel ranks 38th in NFL history in total INTs, but at his current rate – he has 21 INT in 40 games as an Eagle – he’ll reach 70 at the end of the 2012 season, when he’s just 31. Only Krause, Ronnie Lott (72) and Rod Woodson (72) – all Hall of Famers – have 70 career INT.
This stat mentions Wes, Reggie, EA and B&E
Any time you can get Wes Hopkins, Reggie White, Eric Allen and Byron Evans into a stat, it’s a great day. The Eagles had 3 INT against the Redskins and three more against the Giants, making this the first time in 19 years they’ve had three or more INTs in consecutive games.
Last time it happened was 1991, when Hopkins (twice) and White picked off Boomer Esiason twice and Donald Hollas once in a 17-10 win over the Bengals on Nov. 17 at the Vet and a week later, Hopkins, Allen, Evans and John Booty intercepted Stan Gelbaugh four times in the Eagles’ 34-14 win over the Cards at Sun Devil Stadium.
Ellis Hobbs suffered a neck injury after a helmet-to-helmet collision with defensive end Dave Tollefson on the opening kickoff of the second half of the Eagles’ 27-17 win over the Giants on Sunday night.
X-rays on Hobbs’ neck were negative, and the cornerback was placed in a neck brace. He will undergo an MRI and hopes to return in 2011. The game was delayed for 11 minutes while Hobbs was tended to; he hasn’t lost mobility and gave a thumbs-up sign while being wheeled off the field.
The Eagles have agreed to terms with cornerback Brandon Hughes off the Giants’ practice squad. Hughes, 24, will fill the roster spot of injured cornerback Ellis Hobbs, who was placed on injured reserve.
In his first game after missing two games with a hip injury, Hobbs suffered a disc injury in his neck Sunday during the Eagles’ win over the Giants at the Linc. He was carted off the field and is out for the year, although it is not believed he’ll need surgery.
Hughes, 5-foot-11, 188 pounds, is a second-year pro from Oregon State. He was drafted in the fifth round last year by the Chargers and spent the year on IR with a knee injury he suffered during a preseason game against the Falcons. Hughes has been on the Giants’ practice squad since the Chargers released him in September. Hughes was a two-time All-Pac 10 pick as a cornerback at Oregon State after spending his freshman year as a wide receiver.
Thanksgiving causes Week 12 to begin early so the Eagles look forward to the Chicago Bears. Philadelphia Eagles @ Chicago Bears Sun. Nov. 28th 2010 4:15pm EST
With three straight wins against some good football teams in the Indianapolis Colts (26-24), Washington Redskins (59-28) and the New York Giants (27-17), the Philadelphia Eagles have become one of the best teams in the NFL this season with a legitimate shot at contending for a Super Bowl as long as Michael Vick is healthy and under center for Andy Reid. Coming into Week 12, the Philadelphia Eagles will have another tough task ahead of them in the form of the Chicago Bears and their lockdown defense.
Even though Michael Vick will be facing arguably his biggest challenge against Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers, the MVP candidate should be up to the task as he has proven time and time again this season that he is better than ever and ready to take this team to the next level.
One thing that will make this game intriguing and ultimately the difference in the matchup, besides Vick going up against the Bears defense, is the Eagles defense against the Bears offense. Even though the Jay Cutler and company have the ability to light up any opposing offense, they have played extremely inconsistent this season and will have their work cut out for them this week against the Philly defense.
There is a possibility that the Chicago Bears could pull off the upset in Week 12, but it would be tough for any team getting the best of the Philadelphia Eagles right now. This will be a defensive clash of the titans but the Eagles offense will outclass Jay Cutler and the anemic Bears attack.
EAGLES 24 BEARS 14
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About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me email@example.com