Occasionally a blind squirrel will stumble upon a nut. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. From time to time, the Eagles will actually fail to fall apart in the fourth quarter and actually come up with a victory. All hope would have been dashed with a loss to the New York Football Giants. As it stands it may take nothing short of a series of improbable upsets and divine intervention but this team does still have a pulse.
This time it happened against the Giants but without the likes of Michael Vick or Jeremy Maclin. The defense stepped up to pressure the Giants – holding New York to a mere two dozen rushing yards on the game. Moreover, the pressure from Jason Babin and Trent Cole kept Eli Manning (18-35, 264 yards) off-balance and really nullified the Giants aerial attack.
The true test of the Eagles midnight green mettle was when Vince Young (23-36, 258 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT), the modified offensive line and a cadre of lesser-known receivers managed to put together an 80-yard march lasting nearly 8 minutes on the game clock (connecting with 8 different receivers). This, more than anything salvaged the second half for the verge-of-armageddon Eagles (now 4-6 on the season).
Other highlights included a DeSean Jackson 50-yard catch that was penalized for DeSean flipping the ball at Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Another was Jackson’s seeming punt return for a TD – not as good as the Miracle at the New Meadowlands last December but impressive nonetheless. Sadly that was pulled back because Jackson stepped out of bounds.
Eventually the Eagles did score behind backup QB Vince Young and Riley Cooper (5-75, TD) and the job was good enough for a 17-10 Eagles victory. LeSean McCoy (23-113) broke one off for 60 yards late in the game but ran well enough to commit to a clock management offense (36:18 to 23:42). Maybe someday the Eagles will put together four quarters of solid play in all three phases of the game, but this time it was good enough against a weakened opponent. Even ugly wins count in the NFL.
Eagles have split their tiebreaker with the Giants but own victories against Dallas and Washington with one game each to play. Assuming they can make some sort of Herculean run over the remaining 6 games (needing to win at least 5 of them but preferably six) it is still mathematically possible for the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East.
Believe it or not, the Birds have a better shot at the division because they trail wildcard contenders such as Chicago or Atlanta, as well as division leaders such as Green Bay and San Francisco. Last year’s Green Bay Packers made the playoffs as a sixth-seed wildcard, beat the Eagles (NFC East champs) in Philly and eventually won the Super Bowl.
Certainly it is conceivable that the Eagles might go 5-1 or 6-0 to finish 10-6 and make the playoffs. While 9-7 could win the very weak NFC East, much higher caliber teams would probably stand in their way (New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and perhaps San Francisco) in subsequent rounds of the NFC playoffs. Upcoming opponents for the Eagles include the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and rematches with both Dallas and Washington.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org