I would rather have enjoyed a nice relaxing blowout win like the Eagles had over the Bears a week ago, but apparently, the Chipster and the boys in green thought it would be more fun to give me a heart attack. Hey, at least they won, and I will not be the first - or last - to say that I definitely didn't see 10-6 and the divisional title coming.
Stud of the week: Should I go with Mychal Kendricks, who had a forced fumble AND a pick? What about Connor Barwin who batted down the 4th-and-1 conversion AND, if I recall correctly, also batted down the two point conversion pass attempt that would've tied the game? Or Brandon Boykin, with the pick that sealed the game for the Birds?
Yeah, those are all good choices, but on a night when he took the rushing title and TWO Eagles
franchise records (most rushing yards from Wilbert Montgomery and most all purpose yards from Brian Westbrook), I think I'm contractually required to go with Shady. Who actually didn't have a huge night - 131 rushing, 3 receiving, 1 TD. The Cowboys game planned well for him, keeping him pretty well contained for the most part. But he's had an OUTSTANDING season, and definitely deserves his 2013 three-peat as SotW.
The game was a nail-biter. The Eagles didn't play all that well. Nick Foles was running for his life all night and was sacked about 1,434,536 times (actual number: 5, which is still a lot). Kyle Orton? Sacked ZERO times. The Birds' smoking hot offense had an uncomfortable number of three-and-outs. The Cowboys clearly cast some sort of miasma over Nickfolesian Dynamite. He was not great, but he was good enough. The defensive scheming was not good, and BGN explains why really well.
On the up side, Brent Celek made a few key plays, including a TD. Jason Avant (Jason Avant sighting!) had a critical catch. Bryce Brown also had a few key plays on the series that led to his TD that put the Birds ahead for good. Donnie F-ing Jones AGAIN with the clutch punting. DeMarco Murray only had 51 yards. (Let's not talk about Jason Witten, OK?)
As Tommy Lawlor put it:
The Eagles made more plays than Dallas. The Eagles protected the ball better than Dallas. The Eagles were smart.Yep.
Finally, you know I'm not one to fuss about the officiating, but I have a hard time believing that the Cowboys didn't commit a SINGLE penalty all game long. Oh, I didn't forget the muffed play clock loss of five yards for delay of game mess. Believe me. Cris Collinsworth wouldn't SHUT UP about it. He's probably still whinging. I actually had to leave my Eagles womancave and go watch the rest of the game on a different TV with the sound off to keep from putting my foot through a wall. Let's not even talk about the two personal foul hits out of bounds (on Celek and Avant), the (at least) one pass interference (Celek again), the blow to the QBs head after he'd given himself up, holding all over the damn place (pretty sure Riley Cooper would have something to say about that), or the spearing call (isn't that a FINEABLE offense you committed there, DeMarco Murray?) that weren't made on the Cowboys. Oh no - none of that matters. All that matters was the TRAVESTY that led to a FIVE YARD PENALTY. You know Cris, despite your apparent belief that the delay of game was a worse miscarriage of justice than Dred Scott, OJ Simpson, and George Zimmerman combined, it was FIVE MEASLY YARDS. So no, Cris, that doesn't mean the Cowboys are automatically owed a TD (although apparently Patrick Chung thought so, too). Stabby. Very, very stabby.
On to hosting a playoff game!
And really, a year after 4-12, the firing of a head coach with 14 years' tenure (and the entire rest of the coaching staff, pretty much), a change of QBs, a change of offensive schemes, a change of defensive schemes, new players, new culture, new everything (Tommy has a good summary of exactly how much is new), at this point, everything else is icing. We already got the cake last night, and oh baby, did it taste good!