Being an Eagles fan has been frustrating the last two seasons being that the for the past two years we have watched the Eagles seasons be complete and total flops. Since Andy Reid has finally been ousted from the coaching job, the Eagles are enjoying some of their greatest successes since their last playoff run in 2010. All of this frustration and impatience within the Eagles passionate and die-hard fanbase can finally be unleashed onto the playoffs again now that the team is back to being NFC East Champs.
In the biggest game of the Chip Kelly Era up to this point the Eagles showed up and delivered a 24-22 victory over the much hated, Dallas Cowboys. Nick Foles wasn’t amazing in this game but he answered the bell from his awful game against the Cowboys this year throwing for 264 yards, 2 touchdowns. and ending with a passer rating of 124.4. Foles seemed to be slowed down in the second half as the Cowboys dialed up their pass rush, which made for an unnecessarily exciting game. Foles finished the regular season with 27 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Running back LeSean McCoy just kept on rolling as he piled up 131 rushing yards on 27 carries in the victory. LeSean McCoy broke some franchise records in this game as he passed Wilbert Montgomery for rushing yards in a single season, McCoy broke Brian Westbrook’s record for yards from scrimmage in a season, and McCoy was also the first Eagle to win an NFL rushing title since Steve Van Buren in 1949. McCoy is only 25 years of age and is fourth on the Eagles all time rushing list. McCoy was seen celebrating on the field after the game holding a replica World Heavyweight Championship, wearing it through post game interviews.
The defense wasn’t at its best against the Cowboys on Sunday but the biggest playmaker on the defense was cornerback and savior, Brandon Boykin. The 23 year old corner made the game ending and season saving interception in the game’s most pivotal minutes. When asked about the interception Boykin simply said, “He threw it a little bit to me. It was awesome.” it seemed that the team had collapsed and were about to give up the most important game of the season, Boykin swooped in and saved the season.
Another record was set in this game as the interception was Boykin’s sixth on the season. The last corner to have more interceptions was Eric Allen with 8 interceptions in 1989 and that was 24 years ago. Boykin just seems to have an uncanny ability to make big, game saving, plays at crucial times. Boykin’s fellow member of the secondary Cary Williams had some praise when asked about Boykin saying, “I think he’s a guy who works hard, man, and it’s just showing up on Sunday. Whether he’s in the right position or he’s using great technique, he’s playing with tremendous confidence.”
This Saturday will be the first the time since 2010 that the Eagles will host an NFL playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles take on the high powered New Orleans Saints. The talk of the town has been that this game should favor the Eagles because of the Saints road troubles but Chip Kelly, not letting his team underestimate the enemy, downplayed the Saints struggles on the road. Coach Kelly used a painful playoff loss from the 2002 season to remind us how dangerous overconfidence can be,
“Tampa Bay didn’t win a game in cold weather until they came in here and did it (in the 2002 NFC Championship Game), so we are not going to get really caught up in that one. I can tell you that.”
As the Eagles head into the playoffs you can tell in Coach Kelly’s quotes that the demeanor of the team should not be affected no matter how big the stage. The team is playing level headed and confident games, bringing out the skill in the whole team. This team has given the city of Philadelphia and Eagles fans something to cheer about. Here’s hoping that the Eagles keep this unexpectedly successful season going and you better believe we’ll be rooting them on against the Saints!