Revolution: Eagles Win in D.C. Can Jumpstart This Season

Revolution: Eagles Win in D.C. Can Jumpstart This Season

If you're looking for an example of how quickly things can change in the NFL, one need look no further than the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins.

Last November, the Birds demolished the Skins 59-28 in their second meeting of the season, a game that was not nearly as close as the final score. Michael Vick posted a historic performance that had many believing he was becoming the new quarterback prototype before our eyes, laying waste to an opponent that was playing at half speed and seemed to quit the moment they fell behind. The action on the field more closely resembled a top five college program rolling over some mid-major cupcake than the typically hard-fought NFC East rivalry.

Even right until this season started, Washington was a joke, electing to go with a turnover-prone signal caller whose best football was never very good, and narrowly beat out a 30 year old with four career starts for the job. The Eagles, as we know, were the prohibitive favorite coming out of the division, their summer of free spending still being celebrated as a major coup for the organization.

Now the Redskins are 3-1, and currently reside in first place, converting a few believers on their quest to shock the world. And Philadelphia, well... you get the idea.

For another example of how quickly things can change in the NFL, we jump back to present day, where a picture of the standings could shift dramatically before the afternoon is out -- that is if the Eagles actually finish a game. But with a win today, and at least a New York Giants loss, the Birds would dive right back into the postseason hunt, as no club in the East would have larger than a one game lead heading into the bye week. Plus, at 1-1 and four division sets remaining, they still control their own destiny

I don't suspect such a scenario would do much to energize a fan base that's lost almost all hope, many of whom would just as soon detach themselves from the whole operation, if they only knew how. And really, we're talking about getting to 2-4. There is a long way to go before most people are willing to seriously entertain the notion that this team has a run in them.

Every turnaround has to begin somewhere though. Win or lose, this may not feel like the biggest moment of the 2011 season today, but it is. A loss would be be surprisingly devastating, the Eagles not suddenly mathematically out of it as a result, but their path to the playoffs no longer clearly visible. On the other hand, a W breathes new life into the franchise and their faithful, and if something special should happen down the road, we'll look back on this victory when we talk about where it started.

It won't be easy. The defense is without Trent Cole again, and King Dunlap's injury has created another shuffling along the offense line -- with Jason Peters also out, Todd Herremans slides over to left tackle, while Winston Justice makes his first start since last year on the right side.

And the Redskins are a quality opponent to say the least. They have a well-coached offense that plays to its strengths, and a top 10 defense stacked with talent at every position. By no means will winning come easy today.

Regardless, we're about to find out what kind of character the Eagles truly have. The talent is not really what's in question here. Their will to win, will to scrap, will to fight for 60 minutes are in doubt. But if they can just get that one win, maybe we'll learn something about this team, and just maybe this season isn't over.

Let's hit the reset button.

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).