Sunday, December 18, 2011
Wrap up: Eagles 45, Jets 19
By Dan Graziano
Some thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles' thrashing of the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia:
What it means: Well, technically, and amazingly, the Eagles are not eliminated from the NFC East race. They are 6-8 with two games to play. If they beat the Cowboys on Saturday and the Redskins in Week 17, AND if the Giants lose to the Jets on Saturday and then beat the Cowboys in Week 17, the Eagles will be an 8-8 division champion. There is still an awful lot that needs to go right, and they're still paying for their miserable start and a series of inexcusable losses to teams they should have beaten. But they are not mathematically eliminated yet.
Individual seasons glitter: Eagles running back LeSean McCoy scored three touchdowns, bringing his season total to a team-record 20 with two games left to play. He is in a race for the league rushing title with Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew, and if the Eagles are going to win their final two games, they would do well to help McCoy win it. On the defensive side, defensive end Jason Babin had three sacks for the second week in a row to bring his season total to a staggering 18. Babin is thriving in his second season with defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who coached him last year in Tennessee and has been very effective at uncluttering Babin's mind and allowing him to focus on the thing he does best -- attack and sack the quarterback.
Vick hurting but effective: Eagles quarterback Michael Vick continues to take hits, and I have no idea why he was in the game as long as he was with the lead as big as it was. But he threw for one touchdown and, for the first time this season, rushed for one to go along with 274 passing yards. His lone interception came at the tail end of the first half and meant nothing. He's clearly still hurting from those broken ribs and took a number of shots, but he seems determined to stick it out and make good on his pledge to help the Eagles win their final four games.
Defense showing up late: It was the Eagles' second straight very good defensive game as they collected four sacks, forced four turnovers and held the Jets under 300 total yards. The defense is finally playing the way the Eagles believed it could play all year. And while it seems as though it will turn out to be too little too late, you never know. It's not as though the Cowboys and Giants look indestructible.
What's next: The Eagles travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys in a late afternoon game on Saturday. They beat the Cowboys 34-7 in Philadelphia in Week 8.