10 plays that shaped Eagles' season: No. 2

January, 21, 2014
Jan 21
8:00
AM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- After the giddy high of the Eagles' season-opening victory in Washington, epitomized by LeSean McCoy's 34-yard touchdown run, came a three-game losing streak against teams from the AFC West.

There were some significant plays in those three losses to Kansas City, San Diego and Denver, but we're going with one play to symbolize that whole section of the Eagles' season:

Sept. 29 at Denver: Peyton Manning throws his 16th touchdown pass of the season, a 4-yard toss to Wes Welker.

That touchdown was significant for Manning because it tied Milt Plum's 1960 record for most touchdown passes in a season before throwing an interception. And that record was significant for the Eagles because after Manning set it at 20, Nick Foles got within one touchdown of tying him two months later.

But Foles' emergence and the Eagles' second-half run to a playoff berth were unimaginable when Manning and the Broncos finished their 52-20 humiliation of the visiting Eagles. The most vivid image of that game for Eagles fans was McCoy standing on the sideline, gasping for breath in the mile-high atmosphere.

It was also unimaginable that the Eagles defense wouldn't allow any opponent more than 21 points until mid-December. That third consecutive loss in Denver represented the deepest downward spike in any graphical representation of the Eagles' season, the moment when it was fair to wonder if Chip Kelly was out of his element.

At Oregon, he was used to scores like 52-20. Of course, he was used to being on the other side of them. Now he had a locker room full of embarrassed professional athletes to rally and lead into the Meadowlands for a divisional game against the New York Giants seven days later.

That game will provide the third season-shaping play in our series. Check back Wednesday for more.

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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