Oct 5, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper (14) catches a 9-yard touchdown against St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins (21) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Eagles took a laugher and turned it into a heart-attack game against the St. Louis Rams.
Up 34-7 late in the third quarter, suddenly with 1:47 to play on Sunday the Rams had the ball at their own 7, trailing by six points. A tired Philadelphia Eagles’ defense was back on the field, trying to hold on.
After Bradley Fletcher got burned – again – and the Rams dropped a pass that would have put them deep in Eagles’ territory, Brandon Boykin came up with a huge defensive play on a third-down pass to set up a fourth-and-long from near midfield.
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Billy Davis dialed up a blitz, Austin Davis overthrew everyone, and the Philadelphia Eagles held on to win, 34-28, and move to 4-1 on the season.
Nothing, it seems, will be easy with this team. So do yourselves a favor and get some cardio in during the week. The Philadelphia Eagles are hazardous to your health.
Once again, the Philadelphia Eagles’ special teams unit came to play. After the game’s opening series, and the Rams were forced to punt, James Casey came flying up the middle to block the kick Chris Maragos picked up the spinning ball and ran 7 yards into the end zone and it was 7-0.
The Philadelphia defense played perhaps its most complete half of football, pressuring Austin Davis, stopping Zac Stacy and making plays on the football in the passing game. St. Louis scored one touchdown late in the first half, when Davis found Brian Quick on a third-and-goal play that temporarily cut the Philadelphia Eagles’ lead to 13-7. Even that score was a broken play, as the Birds got great pressure on Davis, who managed to keep the play alive until coverage broke down.
The offense, meanwhile, continued to sputter. Two solid drives ended with two short Cody Parkey field goals and LeSean McCoy couldn’t get anything going in the running game. What should have been a 21-0 lead was instead a tight game, made tighter by the Quick touchdown.
But then, it happened.
LeSean McCoy turned back into Shady. Riley Cooper remembered how to catch the football. Foles looked decisive. Touchdown.
The Philadelphia Eagles took over with 3:23 left in the first half, and quickly chewed up the field. McCoy took the ball on first down, went up the middle and 19 yards later had an Eagles’ first down. A pass to Jeremy Maclin again moved the chains into Rams’ territory.
Solid runs by McCoy and later Darren Sproles pushed the ball to the St. Louis 20, and two plays later the Birds were set up with a first-and-goal on the 6. Foles took the snap and fired a fade to the corner, where Cooper leaped into the air, battled a defended and caught the football, hanging on as he crashed to the ground for six points.
Yes, folks, this happened. The Philadelphia Eagles led, 20-7, at halftime.
The score helped partially erase what had at times been an ugly first half offensively, highlighted by a play in which Foles threw a short pass to McCoy. The frustrated running back ran all over the field, well behind the line of scrimmage, looking for room before fumbling the ball and setting up the Rams in great field position. The defense bailed him out, with Vinny Curry forcing a fumble on a third-down sack of Davis.
The Philadelphia Eagles added to the lead with another defensive score in the third quarter, as Trent Cole came free and destroyed Davis inside the 5, forcing another fumble. Cedric Thornton won the race to the ball and recovered it in the end zone, making it 27-7.
Thornton nearly scored again later in the quarter, when Brandon Graham forced a fumble and he returned it deep into St. Louis territory. After missing a wide-open Jordan Matthews on first down, Foles hit a streaking Maclin on second down for the touchdown. Parkey’s point after made it 34-7.
Of course, this being the Eagles, the game was far from over. A 14-yard run by Benny Cunningham with three seconds left in the third quarter pulled the Rams within 34-14. Then in the fourth quarter, Davis kept another play alive and found Kenny Britt for a long touchdown pass that made it 34-21. And then after another short Eagles’ drive, Cary Williams and the Birds were beaten down the field again. Davis fired to Quick in the end zone, he beat Williams, and it was 34-28.
But all of those things don’t matter now. The Eagles won. Bring on the Giants.
QUICK SIX OBSERVATIONS:
1) How much fun is this special teams unit right now? You have Chris Polk running back kicks for touchdowns, Sproles taking punts to the house, and no opposing punter is safe. This unit has been garbage ever since some guy named Harbaugh left. What a wonderful, wonderful change.
2) Here’s the thing with McCoy – you need to keep giving him the ball. Call runs for between the tackles, hammer away and eventually there will be cracks in the defense. When the guy carrying the ball is a player like Shady, they’ll take those cracks and eventually break the big one.
3) Riley Cooper sighting. That was fun.
4) How many times do you think Cedric Thornton has come that close to scoring two touchdowns in one game? The big man recovered one fumble in the end zone and then returned another (forced by Brandon Graham, who played very well, by the way) deep into St. Louis territory to set up the Maclin touchdown. I’m thinking a guy like that, with that size, has been a lineman all his life. What a day.
5) Just terrible coaching by Chip Kelly on the third-and-6 play with 2:06 to go in the game. Running the ball with Sproles to the left lost a yard and the Eagles had to punt. Because of the two-minute warning, only six seconds ran off the clock. Have some confidence in Foles and throw the ball there. Absolutely no reason not to give your quarterback a chance to end the game there. Poor, poor coaching.
6) Remember when Eli Manning scrambled for a big first down against the Eagles, dived head first like an idiot, fumbled and cost the Giants the game? Someone needs to show Foles the film on that. That play turned the game around. It can’t happen again.