Yesterday, via my ESPN Sports Center app, I rooted for #DaBears over Dallas. There were reality TV singing shows on I needed to watch– plus, I don’t have cable. I get all my TV via antennae, so I would have had to leave my house any way to watch the MNF game. But I checked the score periodically.
The Dallas loss puts the Philadelphia Eagles at the top of the NFL East after a a game on Sunday that was one for the books. My husband and I started off the day purchasing a Christmas tree, sawing off its bottom, and putting it in a bucket of water before I got dressed to go to my Dad’s house in Jersey to watch the game. We live in Philly, and we opted out of taking I-95 to the bridge when we saw the bumper to bumper traffic. We were headed towards another bridge, and very suddenly, looking up from my phone, I realized two things simultaneously: We weren’t going to make it to my Dad’s before opening kick-off and it wasn’t just flurrying anymore–in fact, it wasn’t even merely snowing. It was a full (expletive) blizzard outside that we were driving through. We turned around and went home.
The game was hard to watch on TV for the first half for a few different reasons. I imagine it was difficult to watch actually at the Linc as well, but I can only imagine the energy that coursed through that stadium. There were numerous turnovers, pretty much no first downs for the Eagles, and no score at the end of the first quarter. Additionally, the game itself was difficult to see despite my excitement at the completely unexpected blizzard-like conditions–weatherpeople had predicted a light snowfall starting at 3pm, not the storm we got that began as flurries as early as 11am and turned to a heavy downfall by 12:30pm, thirty minutes before game time. HD didn’t matter. I may as well have been watching on a 20”x 20” analog TV for as well as I could see. FOX eventually figured out a way to superimpose the numbers on the field in a ghostly gray so that viewers at home had an idea of where the players were on the field. Crews shoveled the five yard lines at every opportunity they got so that spectators, coaches, and players could have a better idea at what was what. But no one worked harder on Sunday than the Eagles.
Detroit scored first in the second quarter, and rather than trying to kick an extra point in the insane conditions– wind, wet, and wild– they went for and got a two-point conversion. As though the TD wasn’t already depressing enough for fans after two quick quarters of a game that seemed more like a circus, the two-point conversion was the battery on the inside of a snowball to the face Eagles fans did not need going into the half. Not to mention Nick Foles had thrown his first interception of the season before this half was to end.
In the second half of the game, the snow had lightened– as in, it had stopped falling so heavily from the sky. It had piled up in drifts, some nearly a foot tall, on the field. Mike Periera tweeted to let us know that the snow was the ground now, not the ground-ground. This had been an issue in the Baltimore/Minnesota game, which was on the at same time and also involved snow– though significantly less than accumulated in Philly.
Neither team attempted to kick for the extra point after Detriot tried once and had it blocked, Bradley Fletcher running the dead ball back to our endzone in vain, as only on Field Goal attempts is the ball live after a blocked kick. Hey, learn something new every day.
The fourth quarter of this game was one of those quarters of football whose plays fans will recall for the rest of their lives. DeSean Jackson catching one in the back of the endzone. Shady McCoy’s explosive runs for record-breaking numbers in Eagles history– in fact, a fourth quarter total run yardage of over 200 yards, something unimaginable under Andy Reid. The missed Eagles two-point conversion that turns into a redo closer to the goal line due to a Detroit penalty. Matthew Stafford in the shotgun not even looking forward as the center snaps him the ball, which the Lions’ QB can’t fall on in time, and the Eagles D recovering their third fumble of the game. The Foles quarterback sneak for a TD on fourth & goal from the 1 yard line. And of course the Brent Celek slide for a first down to end the game, rather than taking it into the endzone to score. A selfless move for Celek, illustrating true team spirit.
When my Dad called me post-game, I said hello & then held the phone away from my ear, expecting the loud “E-A-G-L-E-S! EAGLES!” cheer that I got. The Eagles, under first year NFL coach Chip Kelly are in a “rebuilding” year. In their opening game against the (now X-X) Redskins, ESPN Magazine predicted a 44-0 Eagles loss; Philly won 33-27. They’ve won five straight games against teams that many feared we would struggled against. I just saw on twitter that the 12/22 Eagles/Bears game has been flexed to Sunday Night Football over the Patriots/Ravens game originally scheduled for that slot. An article about the flex says something like “the Eagles are a hot team that have captured the nation’s attention.” I’m proud to say they still and always have had mine. With an 8-5 record, we’re on top of the NFC East. I have faith we’ll stay on top. FLY EAGLES FLY! As always, I can’t wait until next Sunday!