2009/01/12

Eagles Back in NFC Championship

The Eagles beat the Giants 23-11 to advance to the NFC Championship game... again. The Eagles were in the NFC Championship game in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and now 2009, which makes five times in the past eight seasons. Impressive? Very. Unfortunately, this team and the players on it will not be judged by how many NFC Championship games this team plays in. The fans are also not interested. We want a Super Bowl, and the Eagles trophy case is currently devoid of this hardware.

As far as the game goes, it was a nerve racking, intense, back and forth game, in which the Eagles finally pulled away in the 2nd half. The Eagles went into halftime with a 10-8 lead, and actually showed signs on a successful two-minute drill at the end of the first half, which resulted in a field goal as time expired. Both teams exchanged field goals in the 3rd quarter, but then the Eagles finally launched a 10 play, 63 yard drive, which resulted in a touchdown to Brent Celek on the first play of the 4th quarter.

The Eagles offense was average, but the Giants defense really played well. McNabb again had a lot of pressure on him throughout the game, and even though he threw 2 INT's, he moved around well which allowed him to convert some big plays, and ultimately played a good game on the road in cold weather, and a hostile environment. McNabb had a touchdown pass, and also rushed for a touchdown. Brian Westbrook, who the Giants were obviously keying on, only ended up with 36 yards rushing on 18 carries. The Eagles did a good job however of continuing to rush the ball even when it wasn't working, just like they did against the Vikings. DeSean Jackson led the receiving corps with 81 yards receiving, and a huge 48 yard reception down the sideline late in the 4th quarter to ultimately put the game away.

The story of this game on the Eagles side of the ball was the defense. The defense has really been playing well all season, and continued to do so in this game. If you look at the Giants 4th quarter possessions you will see, Turnover on Downs, Turnover on Downs, INT, Fumble Lost. That's four possessions in the 4th quarter, and four times the Eagles defense gave the ball back to the offense. And that doesn't count the 1st quarter INT by Asante Samuel, which he returned back to the Giants 2-yard line. That is exactly why they brought Samuel in this offseason. We saw him make a big play against the Vikings, and he did it again this game. The Eagles had not one, but two four down stands in the 4th quarter on defense. They stuffed Eli on 4th and inches, and then stuffed Jacobs on 4th and 2. To keep the Giants offense out of the end zone in their own stadium in a huge playoff game is amazing.

To certain veterans, getting this far in the playoffs is nothing new. McNabb, Westbrook, Runyan, Tra Thomas, Dawkins, Sheldon Brown, Akers and others have been this far before. Let's hope that the Eagles, and the entire city of Philadelphia can keep this sports momentum we have going.

McNabb booking his trip to Arizona

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