NFL Nation: Broncos-Eagles 122709

Rapid Reaction: Eagles 30, Broncos 27

December, 27, 2009
12/27/09
8:04
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- During a span of 49 seconds late in the third quarter, the Broncos somehow turned this into a close game. For much of the afternoon, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and the offense raced up and down the field. But a huge special teams play by the Broncos' Darrell Reid gave Denver an opportunity to trim the Eagles' lead to 27-24.

The Broncos eventually tied the score with a 46-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and they began to harass McNabb into sacks and poor throws. The Eagles got one more crack at it in the final two minutes and rookie wide receiver Jeremy Maclin came up with the biggest catch of his young career. He somehow kept his feet in bounds while hauling in a 27-yard throw from McNabb. It was immediately ruled an incompletion, but a booth review overturned the call.

The Eagles improved to 11-4 on the season and they will play the Cowboys for the right to host a first-round playoff game -- as long as Dallas defeats the Redskins on Sunday night. It also keeps the Eagles' slim hopes of earning the No. 2 seed and a bye.

The Eagles jumped out to a 20-7 halftime lead on the strength of tight end Brent Celek's four catches for 121 yards, including a career-long 47-yard touchdown. McNabb threw for 322 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. His throw to Maclin was obviously the biggest of the game.

The Broncos have made this a ballgame

December, 27, 2009
12/27/09
7:17
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Just when you thought the Eagles were about to put this one away, the Broncos came storming back on the strength of a huge special-teams play by Darrell Reid. He raced down the field and separated rookie Macho Harris from the ball, setting up another quick score for the Broncos.

It looked like the Eagles would hold on to a seemingly comfortable 27-10 lead when Asante Samuel intercepted a Kyle Orton pass late in the third quarter. But the Eagles were hit with two 15-yard penalties during the return, causing them to have awful field position at the start of the drive.

The Broncos now have the ball near midfield.

Miraculous TD catch by Avant

December, 27, 2009
12/27/09
6:36
PM ET
Avant
Avant
PHILADELPHIA --Even when the Broncos make a nice play on the ball, something bad happens to them. Donovan McNabb threw a bullet across the middle that was tipped by Broncos safety Renaldo Hill. The ball glanced hard off of Hill's arms and wide receiver Jason Avant reached out and snagged it with one hand while he had one knee down. It was a brilliant play -- and the touchdown put the Eagles up 27-10.

The Broncos have asked All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey to follow DeSean Jackson all over the field, and for the most part, he's done a decent job against the explosive receiver. But on the pass interference play on that drive, Jackson put three different moves on him before drawing the penalty. It was a borderline call because Bailey didn't make much contact with Jackson.

The problem was that Bailey never turned around and found the ball.

Stokley given the heave-ho

December, 27, 2009
12/27/09
5:10
PM ET
Stokley
Stokley
PHILADELPHIA -- Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley has been tossed from this game for making contact with an official. Stokley was arguing that interference should have been called on third down. And when he moved his arm in disgust, he appeared to graze the umpire's arm.

Sort of a weak call if you ask me. Stokley was just blowing off a little steam and it was obvious that he didn't intend to make contact with the official. He's now been escorted to the locker room.

Eagles up, 10-0, after David Akers' 39-yard field goal.

Dawkins gets a standing O at the Linc

December, 27, 2009
12/27/09
4:26
PM ET
Dawkins
Dawkins
PHILADELPHIA -- Former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins received a rousing ovation as he was introduced at the Linc a few minutes ago. The man known for his pre-game gyrations didn't disappoint when he did a somersault followed by a backward roll onto his feet.

Dawkins accidentally plowed over a cameraman who tried to get a close-up shot. Eagles fans stood and applauded throughout Dawkins' interpretive dance. He may be the most beloved athlete of the past 20 years in Philadelphia. Any arguments?

Former Eagles running back Correll Buckhalter gets the start for the Broncos.

Vick suits up as emergency QB

December, 27, 2009
12/27/09
3:32
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (quad) will serve as the emergency quarterback today against the Broncos. Kevin Kolb will replace Vick as the backup to Donovan McNabb.

The rest of the Eagles' inactives: CB Geoffrey Pope, S Quintin Demps, G/T Stacy Andrews, G Mike McGlynn, WR Kevin Curtis, TE Martin Rucker, DE Trevor Laws

Broncos inactives: Emergency QB Tom Brandstater, WR Eddie Royal, CB Ty Law, RB LaMont Jordan, S Vernon Fox, ILB/FB Spencer Larsen, G Seth Olsen, DL Chris Baker

Former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins will be introduced last for the Broncos. I'm sure there will be a huge roar from the crowd, but the Eagles haven't planned any formal ceremony to honor their former star.

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