10 observations from Eagles-Bears

10 observations from Eagles-Bears

Didinger reacts to Chip Kelly's 'we fight' comment

December 22, 2013, 11:45 pm
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Brent Celek celebrates his first-quarter touchdown, which put the Eagles ahead 21-0 Sunday night. (USA Today Images)


This is why you play the game. Because now the Eagles go into a crucial game in Dallas for the NFC East title coming off an overwhelming 54-11 win over the Bears instead of a terrible loss to the Vikings and then an off day with the subs playing (see Instant Replay).

Remember when Phil Simms called the Eagles’ offense one of the five worst in the NFL?

Yeah. Ha.

Here are 10 instant observations off the Eagles’ ninth win, which clinched their first winning record since 2010:

1. I told LeSean McCoy before the season that he was going to have a better season than Adrian Peterson, and he told me I was crazy. With one week left, I like McCoy’s chances. Simply, McCoy is the best running back in the NFL. He’ll go into the final weekend of the season with a 189-yard lead over Jamaal Charles for the NFL rushing lead.

2. Just another day at the office for Foles: 21 for 25 for 225 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 131.7 passer rating. Foles completed 84 percent of his passes, breaking Rodney Peete’s franchise record for accuracy (83.3 percent vs. Lions in 1996). That’s 25 touchdowns and two interceptions this year for the 24-year-old out of Arizona. The most TDs in NFL history by a quarterback throwing two or fewer interceptions? Boomer Esiason had 13 TDs and two INTs in seven games in 1997 after replacing Jeff Blake. Insane.

3. This is incredible: Donovan McNabb was a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback and is considered a borderline Hall of Famer. Yet he had only two seasons with more touchdown passes than Nick Foles has in the equivalent of 9½ games this year. In about 60 percent of a season, Foles' 25 touchdown passes are sixth-most in franchise history. Insane. The five ahead of him: Sonny Jurgensen (32 in 1961), McNabb (31 in 2004), Randall Cunningham (30 in 1990), Norm Snead (29 in 1967) and Ron Jaworski (27 in 1980). Just insane.

4. Chip Kelly handled Sunday night perfectly. This team didn’t need a night off, especially on the heels of an embarrassing loss to the Vikings. They needed to play football, they needed to regain their confidence, they needed to continue developing that winning culture. I certainly feel better about the Eagles going into Dallas on the heels of 54-11 win Sunday night over a Bears team with everything to play for than if Matt Barkley had played the whole game and the Bears won 20-12. A veteran team with playoff experience? Sure, give 'em the night off. A new team with a new coach that’s still finding its way and coming off a 48-30 loss to a 3-9-1 team? They needed this.

5. Brandon Boykin is such a playmaker. I’ve said this all year, but this kid is going to be a Pro Bowl corner before he’s done. So athletic, instinctive and smart. That’s five interceptions this year, and he’s not even a starter. He’s Lito all over again. But better against the run.

6. Cedric Thornton has been playing very well all year, but this was his best game yet. This is a kid who two years ago was on the Eagles’ practice squad -- any team could have signed him -- and he’s just been a beast. Has to be the most surprising guy on this defense. He’s smart, physical, active, relentless and as good a run defender as we’ve seen around here in a while.

7. How about Trent Cole continuing his renaissance? I have to give him a ton of credit. First half of the year, it really looked like the transition to linebacker wasn’t going to work out for him. He had no sacks through Week 8 and that’s on the heels of a disappointing 2012 season, when he had a career-low three sacks -- just 1½ the last 13 weeks. So going into the Oakland game, Cole had 1½ sacks in his last 21 games. Since then? He has eight in seven games, including seven in his last five. He never stopped playing hard. He never stopped being a force against the run. He never stopped working and learning. And for a 31-year-old guy in a new system learning a new scheme under a new coach, that is really a lot to ask. Cole is an all-time great Eagle, and he’s proved it all over again the last couple months.

8. And how about some love for the Eagles’ offensive line. It's just gotten better and better every week this year, and that’s given Foles, McCoy, DeSean Jackson and everybody else the opportunity to shine. The last three weeks, the Eagles have netted 478, 475 and 451 yards of offense, the first time in 60 years (!) they’ve netted 450 or more three straight games. They’re only the second team in NFL history with 10 games in a season with 425 or more yards. They look unstoppable right now, and it all starts up front. Those guys just took the fight right out of the Bears Sunday night.

9. I’ve been doing this since 1988, and I’ve never seen a team give up like the Bears did. That was pathetic. That’s a proud organization. Everybody on the field ought to be ashamed of their effort.

10. Finally ... the Eagles are not losing in Dallas Sunday night. Period.