DALLAS — The obnoxiously obese screen that stands in the middle of Jerry Jones’ palace called Cowboys Stadium read as follows ” Champions start here… and end here (referring to the Super Bowl).”
Perhaps that message was meant for the Philadelphia Eagles, who are now 9-4 after pulling out a 30-27 victory over the most disappointing Dallas Cowboys (4-9).
After Sunday night’s win, the Eagles are well on their way of securing a NFC Playoff spot; which the Birds hope leads to their third franchise Super Bowl appearance at – yeah that’s right – Cowboys Stadium.
If the Eagles’ Sunday night performance is any indication though, the Eagles will be watching the Super Bowl on a big screen of their own – AT HOME.
The Eagles did come out firing. The now prototypical Michael Vick to DeSean Jackson stretch the field play went for 60 yards on the first play from scrimmage.
The Cowboys defense showed exactly why they will be golfing in mid-January. Surely, even Tom Brokaw (who was in attendance) knew that Eagles would look to go Jackson on the first play.
Jackson was just getting started. This would be a night he would not forget.
The Birds took an early lead a few plays later when Vick scored from the 1 yard line.
Just as the Eagles offense gave, the Eagles defense gave away. They allowed the Cowboys to march down the field and immediately tie the game.
That was no problem! The Eagles’ offense can out-shoot any team; except Sunday, when they were grounded just like their quarterback Michael Vick.
In fact, at times being grounded was literally Vick’s reality. He took vicious hits from DeMarcus Ware and company throughout the night. Some of the cheap variety – at least in the eye of coach Andy Reid.
Reid became enraged when Vick ran out of bounds and still took a powerful body shot from Anthony Spencer without drawing a flag. It was as if Reid took a year’s worth of frustration with the officials – throwing his headset off in fury.
In addition to the physical pounding, Vick was at times inaccurate and only completed passes to three receivers, one of which was his running back. Vick threw two interceptions in the process.
Vick and his counterpart, Jon Kitna (who threw two picks of his own), both kept busy by throwing balls to the other team.
In between the turnovers, Todd Herremans, yes – GUARD Todd Herremans scored his first career touchdown. 14-7, Eagles.
David Buehler booted a coupled of field goals in the second and third to make it a 1 point game.
Interception number two from Vick slipped through the hands of Jeremy Maclin in the third quarter.
That interception led to the Cowboys first lead of the game. Felix Jones ran in the end zone from the three yard line to make it 20-14, Boys. Cowboys Stadium had awakened! But it would be short-lived.
David Akers leg tied it at 20 with two field goals.
The game was still too close for comfort. Could the Eagles actually lose to the now lowly Cowboys? True, they are talented but the reality is that they are football team that won’t sniff the postseason this year.
That all changed when the DeSean Jackson, as he puts it, “(stung) they ass.” Vick and Jackson connected on a pass from the 9-yard line. Jackson raced 91 yards to the Blue and Silver Cowboys’ end zone. He did in his own flatly D-Jack style, landing on his back with a backward dive.
Jackson, in total, had 210 yards receiving, a career-high, third all time in Eagles’ history.
The Eagles added another Akers’ field goal to push their lead freshly recovered lead to 30-20. Akers – a perfect 3 for 3.
The Cowboys didn’t back down however. They made it interesting by cutting the lead to three with 4+ minutes remaining.
Enter LeSean McCoy. McCoy and the Birds’ offensive line simply dominated as he just ran down the clock with ease.
McCoy, who had done virtually nothing in the first half, ended up with 149 rushing yards, a career-high.
To be frank the Eagles were mediocre at best, but still proved why they and the Cowboys are going in opposite directions.
They pulled out an ugly one.
Despite Vick’s average play (16 -26 for 260 yards – 210 with Jackson’s aid) the Eagles offense was good enough to win.
Yet, Sean McDermott’s defense looked inadequate for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Jon Kitna had all decade, it seemed, to throw. The Asante Samuel-less secondary couldn’t cover – though it’s doubtful Kitna could throw 20 yards down field.
Now, the Eagles could be without Stewart Bradley, who was injured in the second quarter.
Flaws and all, it was a gutsy win for a young Eagles team, which could set up another showdown for first place with the Giants, who play Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings in Detroit (confused – don’t be – just watch the news).
But, the Eagles need to get it together and fast if they want to play in Cowboys Stadium one more time this season.
For Super Bowl XLV.