To call this season turbulent for the Eagles would be a gross understatement. Their highest paid offensive and defensive players have both been lost for the season to injuries. They've lost three games on the last play of the game. It's been a rollercoaster, but now, after putting the Giants away 36-22 in the Meadowlands today, the Eagles are 120 minutes of football away from an NFC East title and hosting a playoff game.
The game got off to an inauspicious start when Tiki Barber scored on an 11 yard TD run in the first quarter, but the Eagles battled back from that deficit, and kept right on battling. Their much-maligned run defense stiffened, holding the Giants to 88 yards on the ground, and their defensive MVP, Brian Dawkins, pulled off a hat trick of huge plays to keep the momentum swung in the Birds' favor.
There are two reasons the Eagles won this game: defense, and their offensive line. The defense shut down the run, caused 4 turnovers and scored a touchdown to seal the win. The offensive line paved the way for 161 yards on 30 carries and 3 touchdowns. For once, the Eagles controlled time of possession, finishing with a slight 32:00 to 28:00 edge.
This game was not pretty. The Eagles should've won by about 5 touchdowns, but shot themselves in the foot time and time again with 12 penalties for 105 yards. Jeremy Shockey showed his true colors, yet again. He was flagged for a late hit after Brian Dawkins' interception, and continued to mouth off the entire game. Look for a quote in the NY Post tomorrow from Shockey blaming this loss on anyone other than himself.
If you have to look to one player as the impedus for this three-game winning streak, look no further than Brian Dawkins. His line from today's game is nothing short of amazing: 12 tackles, 2 forced fumbles and an interception. Player of the game, without a doubt. On offense, Brian Westbrook continued to improve upon what has been the best year of his career with 137 total yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Eagles Christmas day matchup with the Cowboys, and admitted spitter Terrell Owens, will be for all the marbles in the NFC East. If the Eagles win, they're in the playoffs and they take over the lead in the NFC East. The Eagles handled the Cowboys earlier this year and sent T.O. over the edge. He called for Drew Bledsoe's head, and the weak-willed Cowboys management obliged. Who's he going to turn on if the Eagles win on Christmas, Parcells? Tony Romo has breathed new life into the Cowboys, T.O. seems bound and determined to suck it right back out. Expect a media frenzy in the coming week, and expect the Eagles to plod along and be ready to play come gametime.
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