A Surreal Night At the Linc

A Surreal Night At the Linc

The biggest storyline to me from last night's 38-20 drubbing wasn't DeSean Jackson's multitude of selfish displays, Tom Brady carving up the Eagles' defense like a cooked bird, a RAW-style confrontation between members of the coaching staff, or even the loud "Fire Andy" chants that broke out (watch video) as the last drips of hope for this season circled the drain. John Smallwood caught it:

[The fans] actually delivered a message to Lurie more powerful than any "Andy Must Go!" chant.

Eagles fans got out of their high-priced seats and left.

In the 17 years that I've been in Philadelphia, I've seen Eagles fans leave a game early when the cause seemed to be lost, but I don't ever recall them starting a mass exodus with more than 6 minutes left in the third quarter.

The sea of humanity that flooded the exits much earlier than usual actually began before the Eagles' horrendous 4th and 1 call from the Patriots' two-yard line. Quite a few had already seen enough after New England's previous possession, a 69-yard touchdown drive that ended with a nine-yard pitch and catch to Wes Welker, not to mention a lengthy, unnecessary review. Some left their seats one play before the score during an injury timeout.

In fact, a steady trickle had begun by halftime. A handful never returned to their seats at all to watch the second act.

For years, select fans have pitched this idea of boycotting Eagles games and merchandise. It's largely been met with disinterest, even among those who agree with the message being sent to the organization:

Fire Andy.

But on Sunday, Eagles fans had themselves an old-fashioned walkout. The streams heading up or down the steps were noticeable throughout most of the third quarter and into the fourth, until there were about eight minutes remaining. Then it stopped.

By that time, huge spans of seats were empty.

And the streams moving up and down the steps weren't heading inside to purchase food or beer, nor running to the bathrooms to vomit following such a sickening display. They were going to their cars to get far, far away from the mess this football team has become. Spending an hour stuck inside a congested parking lot was a more worthwhile use of their evening than watching Garbage Time starring Vince Young and Brian Hoyer.

As I filed out myself, I noticed a merchandise tent with exactly one customer and about 10 employees. Any other night, they would have been busy at work, perhaps with a throng of people pushing their way up front to hand their hard-earned money over to the Philadelphia Eagles football club.

Yesterday, the clerks stared straight ahead, the looks on their faces glossed over -- all but one anyway. A young man behind the counter leaned over and let out a short, uncomfortable laugh, seemingly unsure of his own reaction. This was a highly unusual shift... but it probably won't be for the rest of this season, and maybe beyond.

The mob has spoken. From the chants, to the mass exodus from the stadium, to the entrepreneurs in the lots and on the Internet hawking "Fire Andy" T-shirts, to the callers on talk radio and the commenters in our forums, one thing is clear: bringing back Andy Reid is simply bad business.

Jeffrey Lurie finally had a taste of that on Sunday, and I don't think he liked it.

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors certainly looked ready to trade some more blows with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come June.

The two-time reigning MVP hit five 3-pointers and had 20 points while matching his season best with 11 assists in Golden State's 126-91 rout of the defending champs Monday.

Klay Thompson scored 26 points with five 3s, and Curry made four steals. Draymond Green produced his third triple-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while matching his career best with five blocks -- and had another dustup with King James in the process.

James had 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds, and he and Green became the talk once more as their relationship turned even more testy.

Kevin Durant added 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks for the Warriors in a much-hyped matchup merely weeks after Golden State lost 109-108 in Cleveland on Christmas (see full recap).

Thomas explodes for 17 in fourth quarter to lift Celtics over Hornets
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night for their ninth victory in 11games.

It was Thomas' 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He's been putting up big final quarters of late -- scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday.

Al Horford had 22 points, while Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder added 15 apiece for Boston, which has won all three meetings with Charlotte this season.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Marvin Williams 21 for the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight -- all on the road.

Thomas scored 13 straight points, pushing Boston ahead 93-83 with his 3-pointer from the left wing with 7 minutes left.

Boston led 80-71 entering the final period (see full recap).

Wizards remain hot with win over Trail Blazers
WASHINGTON  -- Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall had 24 as the Washington Wizards took a page from the Portland Trail Blazers' playbook by hitting 13 3-pointers in a comfortable 120-101 victory on Monday afternoon.

The Wizards, who rely less on the 3-pointer than almost any NBA team, were 13 of 23 from beyond the arc in their 12th consecutive home victory. The 3-pointer-heavy Trail Blazers shot 8 of 26 on 3-point attempts.

After Washington coach Scott Brooks called Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as good as any backcourt in the league, Beal and John Wall outplayed them. Lillard led the Blazers with 22 points and McCollum had 12, but they combined to shoot 11 of 29 from the floor.

The Wizards have won four of their last five games (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

PITTSBURGH -- Conor Sheary scored 34 seconds into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins ended the Washington Capitals' nine-game winning streak with a wild 8-7 victory Monday night that included nine second-period goals.

Sheary had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Evgeni Malkin picked up his 11th career hat trick during a frenetic second period, and Sidney Crosby collected his NHL-leading 27th goal to go with two assists. Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored for Pittsburgh, and Matt Murray got the win despite allowing seven goals on 28 shots.

The Penguins trailed 3-0 before scoring six goals in less than 11 minutes in the second period, more goals than the Capitals had allowed in a game all season. Pittsburgh led 6-5 after 40 minutes.

Lars Eller scored twice for Washington, and T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky also found the net. Philipp Grubauer made eight saves after coming on in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled during Pittsburgh's second-period deluge (see full recap).

Eichel scores twice to give Sabres' 4-1 win over Stars
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jack Eichel scored two goals and the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday.

Tyler Ennis scored 19 seconds into the first period. Ennis returned after missing 30 games with a groin injury that required surgery.

Jake McCabe also had a goal and Robin Lehner made 31 saves after missing the past three games with an illness.

The Sabres snapped a two-game losing streak and beat the Stars for the first time in four matchups.

Radek Faksa scored for the Stars in the opener of a three-game road trip. Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 shots. Dallas has lost two in a row and six of eight (see full recap).

Bishop anchors Lightning to 2-1 win over Kings
LOS ANGELES -- Brian Boyle scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning opened a six-game road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

Ben Bishop made an early mistake that led to Kyle Clifford's goal for the Kings, but bounced back to make 31 saves in his second start back from a three-week absence with a lower-body injury.

Tyler Johnson scored in the first period for the Lightning, who won for just the second time in seven games.

Peter Budaj stopped 27 shots for the Kings.

Both teams played without stars due to illness. Kings captain Anze Kopitar missed his first game since Nov. 20, and All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman missed his first game of the season for Tampa Bay (see full recap).