Rapid Reaction: Philadelphia Eagles
December, 8, 2013
By Phil Sheridan | ESPN.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Quick thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles' 34-20 victory over the Detroit Lions in snowy Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
What it means: If LeSean McCoy isn’t the best all-around back in the NFL, he made a case for being the best all-weather back in the game. In a game changed immeasurably by the measurable snowfall, McCoy’s fourth-quarter touchdown runs of 40 and 57 yards turned what looked like a dispiriting loss into a win with major playoff implications. The Eagles (8-5) scored 28 fourth-quarter points for their fifth win in a row. They took a half-game lead in the NFC East over Dallas -- which plays Monday night in Chicago -- and gained a tiebreaker edge over another possible wild-card contender.
Snow job: The forecast for Philadelphia called for a “wintry mix” of rain and light snow. Instead, a driving snow started about 90 minutes before kickoff and rendered both teams’ game plans useless. Lions quarterback Matt Stafford fumbled his first snap, one of six Lions fumbles in the first half. Visibility was terrible. Footing was worse. Field goals and PAT attempts were impossible. It was fun, in the way crazy-weather events are fun, but it wasn’t exactly NFL football.
Stock watch: Falling: Eagles special teams. The snow obviously had an impact on the footing, but the Eagles allowed two return touchdowns by Jeremy Ross. He returned a punt 58 yards and a kickoff 98 yards to account for all of the Lions’ second-half scoring. Ross also returned a fourth-quarter kickoff to midfield to give the Lions excellent field position.
What’s next: The Eagles continue their tour through the NFC North with a game at Minnesota next week. They host the Bears on Dec. 22. Those two games will have a huge impact on their season-ending showdown at Dallas on Dec. 29. If the Eagles can be tied or ahead of the Cowboys, a win would give them the division title without tiebreakers coming into play.