The Eagles clinched a playoff berth on the final day of the regular season by beating the Cowboys, and receiving help from a couple other teams. In what is easily one of the strangest seasons I can remember as a fan, the Eagles who finished the season 9-6-1, embarrassed the Cowboys 44-6. The Eagles game was only part of the story, as the Eagles needed the Raiders to beat the Buccaneers, and the Texans to beat the Bears, both of which happened.
To recap a wacky Sunday--
Raiders 31 Buccaneers 24 1:00 p.m.
Texans 31 Bears 24 1:00 p.m.
Those results made the Eagles game at 4:00 p.m. a "win and you're in" scenario for the Eagles and Cowboys, and the Eagles took full advantage. The Eagles kicked the Cowboys ass the entire game. The first quarter ended with the score 3-3, and then the Eagles just poured it on. The Eagles had a great game plan, and were well-balanced on offense ending with 21 passes from McNabb, and 34 rushes. The 34 rushes went for 139 yards, and clearly allowed the Eagles to control the game, and keep McNabb out of difficult situations in the passing game. Correll Buckhalter, who looked like he couldn't be tackled by the Cowboys defenders, ended up as the Eagles leading rusher and receiver. Brent Celek, also played well and scored a receiving touchdown. McNabb, Westbrook, and Jackson were solid on offense also.
On defense, the Eagles forced 5 turnovers, had 4 sacks, 1 interception, and scored 2 touchdowns. Brian Dawkins, who I will be naming my first born after, was amazing. Dawkins looked fired up from the beginning coming out of the tunnel, and didn't disappoint during the game. He was all over the field, and forced two fumbles, both of which were returned for touchdowns. Chris Clemons also stood out on defense, with two sacks, a forced fumble, and a long fumble return for a touchdown. The Eagles were able to shut down the Cowboys running game for the most part, and forced the Cowboys into passing situations, and thus were able to bring a lot of pressure, which Tony Romo clearly couldn't handle. Romo, T.O., and the rest of the Cowgirls looked like they couldn't wait for the game to be over.
It all resulted in a 44-6 victory over the hated Cowboys, clinching a spot for the Eagles in the playoffs, all while eliminating the Cowboys from playoff contention. It was a great day for Eagles fans, one we haven't had in a while. Rooting the Raiders on to an improbably victory over the Bucs, and needing the Texans or Giants to win, and having the Texans come through. The early games were only an appetizer as to what was to come in the Eagles game.
So we move onto the playoffs, playing very good football. Maybe more importantly, Andy Reid is actually calling running plays lately, excluding the Redskins game. The Eagles will go to Minnesota to play the Vikings next Sunday at 4:15 p.m. The Vikings are the #1 defense in the NFL against the run, and also feature the NFL's leading running back in Adrian Peterson, so the Eagles will have their hands full. We will have full playoff coverage as the week goes on.