Wednesday, January 29, 2014
10 plays that shaped Eagles' season: No. 8
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA -- As players took the field for warm-ups before the Eagles played the Detroit Lions on Dec. 8, there were some snow flurries. By the 1 p.m. kickoff, the field was completely buried under a blanket of thick snow.
The Eagles’ 34-20 victory that day might not have defined the 2013 season. It was almost certainly the game fans will best remember, however.
Perhaps the most memorable moment came late, when tight end Brent Celek gathered in a fourth-down pass and, with nothing between him and the end zone, opted to slide like a school kid through the drifting snow. It was a great moment, with Celek forgoing an easy touchdown so the Eagles could hold on to the ball and run out the clock.
But the truly big play, the play that changed the game and helped shape the entire season, came early in the fourth quarter.
Dec. 8 vs. Detroit: LeSean McCoy runs for a 40-yard touchdown.
The Eagles were losing, 14-6, after three quarters. Quarterback Nick Foles had thrown his first interception of the season. Neither team could even think about kicking extra points, let alone field goals, in the conditions. Players had trouble getting traction, until the Eagles' offensive line hit on a smart strategy.
Slow down. Keep their feet under them and use their strength to get the Lions' big front seven off balance.
On the fourth play of the fourth quarter, Foles handed the ball to LeSean McCoy. He burst through an enormous hole created by his linemen, hurdled one Lions defensive back and shook off the tackle of another. McCoy got to the left sideline and cruised for a 40-yard score.
McCoy ran 57 yards for another touchdown three offensive plays later. Foles ran a quarterback keeper for a score and running back Chris Polk ran 38 yards for a final touchdown.
In the fourth quarter alone, the Eagles scored 28 points and amassed 224 rushing yards. McCoy’s 217 yards broke the single-game franchise record set by Steve Van Buren in 1949.
It was an avalanche that buried the Lions, and the first boulder was McCoy’s 40-yard dash through the snow.
On Thursday, we’ll look at No. 9 in our series of plays the shaped the Eagles’ 2013 season.