Westbrook: O-line 'won this football game'
Ten observations from the Linc, where the Eagles recorded their biggest win of the Chip Kelly Era, a thrilling 34-20 comeback against a pretty good Lions team (see Instant Replay).
Trailing by 14 in the third quarter, clearly hampered by the snow, wind, cold and poor field conditions, facing a first-place team, unable to get anything going on offense?
A true character win.
The fans who left missed a remarkable comeback. That’s five in a row and an 8-5 record a year after the Eagles lost 11 of their last 12 games and finished 4-12. Amazing.
OK, here we go!
1. There has never been a more explosive fourth-quarter tailback in the history of the game. With his 40- and 57-yard touchdown runs Sunday, McCoy extended his own NFL record of fourth-quarter TD runs of 40 yards or more to seven. Nobody else in NFL history has ever had more than four. McCoy is 25. Think about that.
2. McCoy is only the fourth player in NFL history with two TD runs of 40 yards or more in the same fourth quarter. Hall of Famer Marion Motley did it for the Browns in 1946, LeShon Johnson of the Cards in 1996 and Corey Dillon of the Bengals in 2000. Keep giving him the ball. He will make a big play.
3. One more on Shady. Think about his numbers against the Lions for a moment: 29 carries for a franchise record 217 yards, with 137 yards in the fourth quarter, including TD runs of 40 and 53 yards. Truly a historic performance. McCoy now has 1,305 rushing yards this year, on pace for 1,606. He needs just 208 to break Wilbert Montgomery’s franchise record, set in 1979.
4. Another massive performance by the Eagles’ defense, and obviously the conditions played a role in the Lions’ turnovers, but they held the NFL’s No. 1 offense to eight points, and that’s remarkable in any weather. Calvin Johnson? Just 1 for 9 after halftime and 3 for 49 overall.
5. Nick Foles’ numbers were not pretty, but this game shows why the Eagles like him so much. He couldn’t do a thing early and was clearly struggling with the conditions. But the Eagles love the way Foles responds to adversity, and he sure responded beautifully Sunday. First half: 4 for 10 for 35 yards and his first interception of the year. Second half: 7 for 12 for 144 yards with a touchdown and a two-point conversion pass. Most importantly, he won again. That’s 6-1 in seven starts this year, and that’s the only stat that really matters.
6. Once again, Riley Cooper really showed up when the Eagles needed him. Three catches for 74 yards, including a wild, tumbling 44-yarder that finally got the Eagles going on offense when they couldn’t do anything right. Cooper is now over 700 yards this year. Crazy.
7. I am dazzled by the Eagles’ resilience in the face of adversity – not just today but all year. And that’s something that goes right to the heart of the type of players the franchise has brought in over the past few years and to the culture that Chip Kelly has installed. They just don’t give up. Down 14-0 in your own stadium during a blizzard with nothing going your way? Would have been easy to just roll over and say, “Hey, it’s just not our day. Let’s go get the Vikings next week.” This team is so focused and determined. They just kept battling and fighting, and that’s what they do best.
8. Nice running by Chris Polk. Fifty yards on four carries, including the 38-yard TD. No clue why he’s not ahead of Bryce Brown right now. He should be. Very tough, straight-ahead, no-nonsense runner.
9. Let’s talk about adjustments for a minute. First half: Lions outgained the Eagles 140-90 and outscored them 8-0. Second half: Eagles outgained the Lions 388-88 and outscored them 34-12. That speaks so highly of Kelly and his coaching staff, especially considering that some of them had never coached in such extreme conditions.
10. Surprised to hear boos for David Akers when he came out to kick a fourth-quarter PAT. Not sure there’s ever been a classier Eagle.