Today in Philly Sports History: "Groundhog Day," 1995

Today in Philly Sports History: "Groundhog Day," 1995

The Dallas Cowboys weren't exactly in the business of losing games in the mid-90s--they won three Super Bowls in four years, on their way to dynasty status and a recapturing of the "America's Team" moniker. But on December 10th, 1995, they were facing the Eagles at the Vet, and the Eagles had them tied at 17-17 late in the fourth quarter. With the ball on their own 29-yard line, coach Barry Switzer made the Belichickian decision to go for it on 4th-and-1, handing the ball to star back Emmitt Smith. Smith was stuffed and the ball turned over--except that the whistle had already sounded the two-minute warning, and the Cowboys got a mulligan.

Except that when the Cowboys re-assembled after the warning to run the play for real, they neglected to heed past mitsakes, and went for it once more--even running the same play by handing it back over to Smith. The Eagles D stopped him short of the marker a second time, and this time it was the Eagles' ball for certain. Gary Anderson ended up kicking a 42-yard field goal, and the Eagles won the game, 20-17, moving them to 9-5 for the season and giving the Cowboys just their fourth loss of the season.

Almost as famous as the play itself was of longtime Birds announcer Merrill Reese's recounting of the events. An incredulous Reese memorably referred to the play as "Groundhog Day"--referencing, of course, the Bill Murray comedy classic where the same day keeps repeating itself over and over again. (Merrill would eventually rank it as his #8 all-time most-memorable Eagles call, still apparently no competition for Wilbert Montgomery running for a 42-yard touchdown in the 1980 NFC Championship--another game against the Cowboys).

Of course, the 'Boys' revenge would be swift and merciless, as they soundly dispatched the Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs by a score of 30-11, on their way to their third Super Bowl. But the Birds would take their victories where they could get them against Big D in the 90s, and this was undoubtedly one of the sweeter ones.

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.