Philadelphia Eagles Top LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills 23-20 In Thriller


The Philadelphia Eagles edged out the Buffalo Bills 23-20 today, winning their second consecutive game and breathing life into their playoff hopes.

The Eagles entered Sunday in dire need of a win, and although there were a few bumps along the way, ultimately delivered in the purported “Shady revenge game.” Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy took the field and literally kissed the turf, but left it kissing the very same turf in quite a different way, as the Bills stumbled out of Philly with a loss.

For the second straight game, Philadelphia Eagles running back DeMarco Murray played a minimal role in Chip Kelly’s offensive game plan, compiling a mere 13 touches and ceding snaps to running backs Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. Altogether, the backs had a fairly mediocre game, averaging 3.64 yards on 31 carries. Sproles, however, consistently found room and managed to maximize his carries, often finding tough yards and showing impressive balance on his way to 41 yards and a TD on the ground.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford continued his marked progression, playing mistake-free football (save for a boneheaded sack late in the game), and making several impressive throws en-route to his 6th win in the last 8 games he’s started and finished. Bradford’s highlights included a 57-yard strike to Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor, and a number of plays where he showed good pocket movement and accuracy. This isn’t including a drop on a dime to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper on the opening drive, and another beautiful ball that Buffalo Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin stripped out of the hands of Eagles tight end Brent Celek late in the game. Bradford went 23 of 38 for 247 yards with a touchdown and an interception. It isn’t anything to marvel at, but it hardly told the whole story today; Bradford played well, took shots downfield, made some key plays, and helped propel the Eagles to their second straight win.

The receivers had yet another inconsistent day, committing several key drops and struggling to gain separation. Eagles tight end Zach Ertz led the way with 5 catches for 98 yards, including a physical 41-yard catch and run late in the 4th quarter to put the Eagles in position to kick the go-ahead field goal. Nelson Agholor made the best play of his young career, hauling in a Bradford pass for the aforementioned 57-yard score, but had several bad drops along the way.

The defense had a very good showing in this one, led by the indomitable force, Eagles tackle Fletcher Cox, who lead the way with 8 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles-for-loss, and a QB hit. Cox might have had even more, had it not been for the fact that he was egregiously held on a heinous number of snaps. Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham, who did a great job of setting the edge today, by the way, had said earlier in the week that the Bills offensive line holds a lot.

He wasn’t kidding.

It was borderline laughable with how many holds the Bills got away with, one of which occurred on a play where a lineman tackled Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry on a key 3rd down conversion, and a LeSean McCoy run where Cox was bear-hugged from behind. The league should be embarrassed by the product they put on the field today.

Officiating aside, the Eagles defense was resilient and made a number of big plays on the day. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins was his usual impressive self, while rookie cornerback Eric Rowe played another excellent game in his second career start. The Birds cornerback Byron Maxwell was burned badly by Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins early on, but recovered nicely down the stretch and came up with an impressive PBU later on.

And then there’s the Eagles special teams, who came up with the recovery on a muffed punt, putting the Eagles in great field position on the drive that resulted in the big Agholor touchdown.

Overall, the Philadelphia Eagles played a good game on both sides of the ball and came away with a great team win.