Are the stars aligning for an unbelievable, mad dash to the postseason?
Eagles did their part today, roughing up the New York Jets 45-19, thus
moving to 6-8 and keeping their slim playoff hopes intact. Can we still
describe their chances as slim? All they need to do is beat the Cowboys
and Redskins -- two teams they dispatched earlier this season -- and
hope the Giants lose to the Jets next week, then defeat the Cowboys Week
17. Suddenly, it doesn't sound so far-fetched, particularly if they have more efforts like today.
For the second consecutive week,
defense ruled the day, only this time against an offense with a healthy
offensive line and quarterback. The Eagles held the Jets to 241 yards of
total offense, forced four turnovers, and sacked quarterback Mark
Sanchez four times. Three of New York's four scoring drives began in
Philadelphia territory, and all of them prior to garbage time setting
The Birds' D even got the scoring started. The Jets were
marching down the field, with Shonn Greene finding running lanes the
size of those on I-95. As soon as New York started testing the passage
through the air, their luck changed. Santonio Holmes turned up field
after a short reception, and was quickly swarmed by Kurt Coleman and
Claysey Matthews. Coleman's helmet knocked the ball free, and Juqua
Parker recovered, running the ball back 47 yards to paydirt.
was Parker's second touchdown of the season, his first coming on a
fumble recovery against the Rams in Week 1, and it was the defense's
fourth TD on the year.
The Eagles would run their first-half lead
all the way up to 28-0. Another unfortunate miscue by Curtis Marsh on
the punt return team gave the Jets the football on Philly's 14-yard
line, but a Sanchez pass went through the hands of Holmes, and wound up
finding a waiting Asante Samuel for his third INT of the season. The
Eagles answered with a 77-yard drive, capped with Mike Vick finding
Brent Celek for the 26-yard score. Vick stook in the pocket and took a
sick shot, and Celek made a juggling grab for what turned out to be a
It wasn't long before the ball was back in
Vick's hands. A few minutes later, he was racing the Jets defense to the
pylon from 11 yards out for his first rushing TD of the season.
Overall, it was a strong game for Vick, who was 15 for 22 passing with
274 yards and a score. He added 32 more ticks on the ground, and a
meaningless pick to end the first half could not mar the quality of his performance.
plays later, Sanchez was scrambling for a first down -- and his life --
and had the ball poked free by one of the massive paws of Mike
Patterson. LeSean McCoy did the rest of the work, blowing the game wide
open on a nine-yard touchdown run, one of his three for the game.
Jets threatened briefly with 13 unanswered points to go into the locker
room, but the Eagles and McCoy quickly added seven more out of the break. By the
time Shady punctuated the fourth quarter with his third score, a shifty
33-yard dash with the game already well out of reach, we had officially
reached garbage time. Once the offense stepped back out on the field, Vince
Young was under center.
McCoy finished the afternoon with 102
yards rushing on 18 carries, and of course, the three scores to shatter
the Eagles' single-season franchise record for rushing and total
touchdowns, previously held by Steve Van Buren (more on that here). It
was also a milestone performance for defensive end Jason Babin, whose
three sacks put him atop the NFL leaderboard with 18. It was Babin's
second three-sack effort in back-to-back weeks, the first Eagle and 10th
player in history to accomplish such a feat, and he is sneaking up on the
single-season franchise record for sacks held by the great Reggie White,
who had 21 in 1987.
It's fun to see these records falling, but
even more fun that it's occuring during what very well might be an
improbable postseason run. There are fans who wish this weren't
happening, and a lot more who still believe it will all be for nothing,
but for the time being, we have life. Can a team just barely squeak into
the playoffs at 8-8 and win a Super Bowl? Sure, it could happen. So,
for now, we're just going to enjoy it, and hope it doesn't come back to haunt this franchise.