Philadelphia Eagles flashbacks: Andy Reid’s Birds win NFC title game

Donovan McNabb (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Donovan McNabb (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

It’s been 16 years since Andy Reid led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl. Did you realize that? Now, many moons later, the Birds have ushered in a new era (again) as they’ve hired Nick Sirianni as their new head coach, but again, this week is special as it marks the 16 years anniversary of a January 23rd win in 2005. Philadelphia would win its first NFC Championship in 25 years by defeating the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 27-10.

Good ol’ Andy Reid would finally get the monkey off his back with this win, as the Birds had lost in three straight NFC Championship Game appearances before this one.

Think about it. The Eagles defense shut down Michael Vick (in his prime) and held him to 26 yards rushing that day. Donovan McNabb showed that he was the better quarterback on that day as he finally brushed off some of the criticism that he was taking in Philly. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles offense embarrasses the Falcons’ D.

The Eagles began the NFC Championship Game with a four-yard rushing touchdown from Dorsey Levens, which gave the team a 7-0 lead after one quarter. The big play on this touchdown drive was a 36-yard scamper from Brian Westbrook. In the second quarter, the Falcons would reach the Eagles’ 23-yard line but only scored three points.

On the next Philadelphia Eagles possession, McNabb found his tight end, Chad Lewis, for a three-yard touchdown with 5:05 left in the first half. The highlight play on the drive was a 45-yard completion from McNabb to wide receiver Greg Lewis. Atlanta would score prior to the two-minute warning thanks to a ten-yard Warrick Dunn rushing touchdown. That cut the Birds’ lead to four (14-10).

In the third stanza, Philly’s offense slowed some but still managed to get two David Akers field goals to push the score to 20-10. Then, it happened. With 3:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Eagles sealed things with another McNabb touchdown toss to Chad Lewis again. That extended their lead to 27-10, and victory was almost all but assured.

McNabb went 17 of 26 on the day, tallying 180 yards passing and two touchdowns. His leading wide receiver was Greg Lewis, believe it or not, who racked up 65 receiving yards in the win. The rushing game was spearheaded by Brian Westbrook, who added 96 yards rushing. The offense did their thing, but Philadelphia wouldn’t have gotten their win without a stout showing on defense.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense shut down Vick and the Falcons.

Michael Vick was never really a factor in this one as the defense refused to let his speed beat them. Instead, he’d have to beat Philadelphia with his arm. He couldn’t do it.

Vick completed a mere 11 of 24 pass attempts, giving him 136 yards passing in the game. He also threw one interception. Hall of Fame safety Brian Dawkins snagged an interception in that one. He also forced a fumble in the win. The rest of the Eagles defense was just as menacing as they brought the heat all game, culminating in four sacks and an NFC Championship Game win.

Atlanta couldn’t sustain most of their offensive drives and went two for 11 on third down as the Birds would make sure those ‘three and outs’ were fast and furious. It was a total team effort, something that we didn’t see often in 2020.

Unfortunately, Super Bowl XXXIX didn’t produce the desired result. Philly lost to New England Patriots, a loss they’d avenge 13 years later, but on a day where there’s no Philadelphia Eagles game to watch and no clear direction for where the franchise might head, we thought you needed a reminder of the good old days.

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Don’t worry if you’re a Birds fan. The new norm’ might still happen. We’ll just allow ourselves to believe that it’s been delayed. In the meantime, we’ll all be waiting to see if former Birds head coach Andy Reid can hoist a Vince Lombardi Trophy for the second-consecutive season.