Dear Santa Claus:
All I want for Christmas this year is to see the Eagles win a game in Lincoln Field. But it cannot be any win. It has to be a win that has LeSean McCoy rushing for over 200 yards. It has to be a come from behind win against a dominating defense. And it has to have a touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson. But most of all Santa, can you please give us a moment where a player is as unselfish as Brian Westbrook was on December 17, 2007? I know I am asking a lot, but I will have milk and cookies out for you on Christmas Eve.
– An Eagles fan
Here’s the big man’s reply:
Dear Eagles fan,
Try this game on and let me know what you think.
– Santa Claus
On the snow filled Sunday of December 8th, in an NFL game that had huge playoff implications, the Philadelphia Eagles gave their fans an early Christmas present. Despite the ravages of winter’s worst, the Eagles continued their winning streak by besting the Detroit Lions 34-20. With this win, the Birds have doubled their wins from a year ago, have taken sole possession of the NFC East (albeit until the outcome of the Dallas Chicago game on Monday night), and have a new rushing record courtesy of LeSean McCoy and the dominating offensive line.
The game was predicted to be a clash of high powered offenses, but it did not start that way. In fact, little about this game met expectations. The weather forecast called for a mix of rain and snow, with an inch or two eventual accumulation. By kickoff, the field was already blanketed under a coating of snow. The game started off in the worst of ways for both teams. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford struggled to maintain possession of the football, but the Lions moved the ball well in the snow. Meanwhile, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was unable to overcome the snow and the Lions defense throughout the first half. After intercepting Foles, the Lions did score on a two-yard run from Joique Bell and made the two point conversion.
By halftime, the outlook for the Eagles was pretty bleak. The weather and the Lions defense stopped the eagles in the first two quarters, and the lone Foles interception of the year led to the Lions TD. With Chip Kelly’s offense cooling off in the second half of recent games, the forecast was fairly gloomy. But again… remember those missed expectations? They continued to play a factor.
After a punt return by Jeremy Ross had the Lions up by two touchdowns, the game began to feel as though it was getting away from the home team. The second-year quarterback out of Arizona finally found his rhythm however, finding Riley Cooper for a 44 yard reception which took the Eagles deep into Lion’s territory. A 19-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson finally put the Eagles on the scoreboard with just over 6 minutes remaining in the third quarter. By the end of the third quarter, the Eagles offense had the ball but were down by a touchdown.
The fourth quarter has been the period where fans watched big leads disappear and had to hope that the defense would hold on for the win. But today was a day of opposites. Just when the Birds looked to be stopped and even at risk of losing the game, the snow let up and the offense revved up. The Eagles scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to cap off an incredible effort, capped by McCoy’s boasting touchdown runs of 40 and 57 yards. Sealing the victory on a day where kick and punt returns seemed to allow the Lions to score at will – Brent Celek took a pass down the open field and slid to give the offense a chance to run out the clock.
When the snow cleared, Shady had set an eagles rushing record for an unofficial 217 yards in one game. The defense had held the formidable Detroit offense to one touchdown and only 228 yards (two touchdowns came at the hands of the Lions special teams).
So what can you take out of this victory? Well, certainly the team has even more confidence and have beaten several good teams in recent weeks. The defense continues to play hard. The offensive line over-matched the renowned Lions front four. And the Eagles won a game that they needed to win to remain in post season discussions.
Oh, and one more thing you can take out of this victory. Eagles fans have gotten an early dose of Christmas magic.