Philadelphia Eagles Slam Cam, Panthers, 45-21


Nov 10, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin (98) celebrates after sacking Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It truly was a “Monday night party,” as Hank Williams Jr. used to say, at Lincoln Financial Field as the Philadelphia Eagles took on the Carolina Panthers.

Or, more accurately, it was a party at the quarterback for the Eagles’ defense.

Philadelphia punished Cam Newton in what felt like an old school Eagle defense kind of game, sacking the quarterback nine times and forcing five turnovers, giving Mark Sanchez and company ample opportunities in an absolute rout, 45-21, on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

In his first start as an Eagle, Sanchez was effective with 332 yards passing and two touchdowns. He spread the wealth, with eight different Eagles catching passes and took care of the football.

Oh, and the defense was unbelievably awesome in every facet, stuffing the run, stifling the pass and smothering Newton all night long.

It was the kind of complete effort Philadelphia fans have been waiting all season to see. The 27-0 Sunday night shutout of the New York Giants a few weeks ago was solid, but lacked the kind of offensive fireworks that’s been the Eagles’ trademark.

This one didn’t lack for anything, and the Eagles improved to 7-2 overall and remained ahead of Dallas in the NFC East.

The first half was about as much fun Eagles fans have had since the 54-11 thrashing of the Chicago Bears last season. Sanchez, Sproles and most importantly, the defense, led an onslaught that gave the Birds a 31-7 lead at the break.

Carolina’s first two possessions ended in turnovers, with Cedric Thornton and Casey Matthews forcing a fumble on the Panthers’ first drive and Cary Williams – yes, Cary Williams – intercepting a Cam Newton pass on the second possession.

The Eagles turned those plays into 10 points on offense, with Cody Parkey knocking through a field goal and then Sproles racing in for a short touchdown run off the next turnover.

Carolina answered with a touchdown on their next drive to briefly make a game of it. A big play from Newton to Greg Olsen set up the strike by Jonathan Stewart  that made it 10-7. The Eagles went nowhere on their next drive and it seemed momentum was shifting, but the defense forced Carolina into a three-and-out and left the Panthers punting from their own end zone. Enter Sproles, who took the punt and raced through middle of the field 65 yards to paydirt, electrifying the Linc and giving the Eagles a 17-7 lead.

Philadelphia seemed poised to punt from its own end zone on its next possession, faced with third-and-14 from their own 5. But Sanchez found Jordan Matthews for 23 yards and the veteran and rookie both went to work, connecting 17, 20 and 13 more yards on the drive, the final connection ending with Matthews in the end zone and the Eagles taking a 24-7 lead.

With the offense and special teams getting into the end zone, the defense apparently felt left out. On a second-and-four play from the Carolina 26, Newton threw right for our old friend Jason Avant. Newton missed his target and instead found Bradley Fletcher, who brought it back 34 yards to give Philadelphia a 31-7 lead.

Newton could be partially excused for the lackluster half, as he was under constant duress thanks to a relentless Philadelphia pass rush that sacked him five times, including a hat trick for Connor Barwin. The defense finished off the stellar 30 minutes with a final interception by Nate Allen, giving the unit four takeaways.

The party at Club Newton continued for the defense in the third quarter, when Barwin and Brandon Graham teamed up for a sack and forced a fumble that was recovered by Vinny Curry. Sanchez hit Brent Celek on the first play down to the 1 (it was initially ruled a touchdown, but overturned) and LeSean McCoy took it in a play later for just his second rushing touchdown of the season, making it 38-7.

Matthews caught his second touchdown pass of the game, an 18-yarder, from Sanchez in the second quarter, running the margin to 45-7.

The Panthers scored twice later but no one cared. Seriously. Why Cam Newton was still even on the field is a mystery. Apparently he was being punished not only by the Eagles, but by his own coaching staff.


1) For a variety of reasons I had to begin the game listening to the ESPN television broadcast rather than Merrill and Mike. I heard John Gruden say the reason LeSean McCoy’s yardage total is down this year is because of Darren Sproles (and not, apparently, the offensive line injuries) and then criticize the Eagles’ red zone offense when they weren’t even in the red zone. Needless to say, I was on mute until catching up to flip Merrill and Mike back on and restore order to the universe.

2) Part of me felt badly for Cam Newton. In the third quarter he looked like a guy who just wanted to go home. But then they kept throwing deep because Ron Rivera was apparently trying to get someone hurt. What an idiot.

3) How freaking awesome was that game? I mean, wow. That was so much fun.

4) ESPN might be worse than FOX when it comes to televising games. Brent Celek got hurt on a fourth quarter play and they didn’t bother showing him again until he was on the bench. Earlier in the game, we knew someone had been injured and all they did was zoom in on Jason Peters’ face, as Peters was looking at whoever was injured (it turned out to be a Carolina player). Perhaps showing the viewer what’s happening would be a better way to broadcast, guys.

5) We kind of thought that Jordan Matthews was primed to breakout in the second half of the season. Aside from the fact the rookie had been steadily improving, he’d developed a strong relationship with Sanchez in the preseason. Well, we were dead right with that one. Matthews had seven catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns. He’s the prize pick up in your fantasy football league this week.

6) If you want something to complain about (and let’s face it, we’re Eagles fans, so we need something) the Eagles’ kickoff coverage wasn’t exactly outstanding and the Birds did not run the football well (McCoy had 19 yards on 12 carries).

Aside from that, it was an awesome night and now the Birds have a short week before a showdown with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.