Instant Replay: Eagles 34, Lions 20

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Instant Replay: Eagles 34, Lions 20

Didinger on Eagles win: 'It was astounding'

December 8, 2013, 4:15 pm
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Bryce Brown's two-yard, two-point conversion gave the Eagles their first lead of the day in a 34-20 win over the Lions. (AP)


Nick Foles had already proved that he could win a home game and a December game against a playoff-contending team.

Add this to his list of latest achievements: A December home win against a playoff-contending team in a snowstorm, and a comeback.

Foles and LeSean McCoy powered the Eagles to a 34-20 win Sunday over the Lions at the snow-covered Linc, as the Eagles won their fifth straight game. All 34 points came in the second half (see 10 observations).

Foles threw a touchdown and ran for a touchdown in the second half, and McCoy, who set a single-game franchise rushing record, peeled off two long touchdown runs after the break, as the Eagles, who didn’t score their first points until the third quarter, overcame a 14-0 deficit to keep their winning streak going.

The Eagles (8-5) have won five straight games for the first time since the 2009 season and kept their spot atop the NFC East with the Cowboys, who play Monday night in Chicago against the Bears at Soldier Field.

In a driving snowstorm that came way earlier than the forecasters predicted and had the field covered with several inches of snow by kickoff, the Lions -- who play home games in a dome -- adjusted faster to the elements.

Even without Reggie Bush, who re-injured his calf during pre-game warmups (see story), they went up 14-0 on a Joique Bell touchdown run and Jeremy Ross 58-yard punt return touchdown.

But as the game progressed, Foles and McCoy heated up. Foles, who completed just four passes in the first half, threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jackson and McCoy ripped off a 40-yard touchdown run, followed by a two-point conversion run by Bryce Brown that tied the game.

The Lions immediately jumped back when Ross returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, but McCoy answered with a 57-yard touchdown run, aided by a major Jason Avant block. Foles then hit Riley Cooper for the two-point conversion that put the Eagles up for the first and last time.

Foles added a 1-yard touchdown run late in the fourth and the Lions (7-6) had their comeback bid spoiled when a snap bounced off Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s chest and was recovered by Mychal Kendricks. The Lions fumbled seven times, five by Stafford, and lost three of them.

Chris Polk put an exclamation point on the win by rushing for a 30-yard touchdown. The Eagles rushed for 299 yards against the Lions, who carried the NFL’s third-best rushing defense into the game.

The defense kept up its streak of holding opponents to 21 points or fewer, a stretch that’s now reached nine games, most in the NFL.

QB report
Foles, who played his college ball in the desert at Arizona and never in a driving snowstorm, looked lost in the first half, when the heaviest snow fell. Many of his passes were off target, either very high or very low. He completed just 4 of 10 passes in the first half and had his franchise-long interception drought end when Chris Houston picked off his fifth pass attempt. It was Foles’ first pick in 238 passes, the eighth-longest streak in league history.

Second half, different story. He found Riley Cooper on a 44-yard pass to the Lions 19-yard-line, then hit Jackson for a TD on his next throw. He hit Cooper for 25 yards on the first play of the next possession and really got going.

Stafford struggled with ball security all game. He fumbled three snaps on the opening drive alone and and five times in total, losing one. He passed for a season-low 148 yards and, for the first time this year, didn’t throw a touchdown.

Offensive hero
Shady the Snowman put in an effort for the ages. His 217 rushing yards broke a franchise record that stood since 1949, when Steve Van Buren rushed for 205 on Nov. 27 against the Steelers. Of that 217, 137 came in the fourth quarter. He now has 37 career rushing touchdowns, tying him with Brian Westbrook for third on the franchise’s all-time list.

Offensive zero
All-everything wide receiver Calvin Johnson had just one reception for nine yards after a 2-for-40 effort in the first half.

Defensive hero
Connor Barwin turned in another all-around effort, forcing one fumble, recovering another and coming up with several tackles in run defense.

Defensive zero
The Lions got nothing from their vaunted front four, especially tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Fairley’s late hit on Foles in the fourth quarter on a third-down incompletion gave the Eagles a first down. On the second snap, McCoy rushed for a 40-yard touchdown that would help tie the game.

S Earl Wolff, QB Matt Barkley, CB Curtis Marsh, RB Matthew Tucker, LB Emmanuel Acho, OT Dennis Kelly, OT Matt Tobin (see story)

Looking ahead
The Eagles hit the road for the first time since their Nov. 10 game against the Packers at Lambeau Field when they play the Vikings at the Metrodome next Sunday at 1 p.m.