The Westbrook screen was a thing of beauty both as a play and a play call. Listening to Reid after the game it sounded as if the Eagles had been setting them up for the play all game long. Looking back, it was frustrating how they weren't using the screen against such an aggressive defense, especially when they were successfully using the screen against us for the same reason... But as Brian Westbrook said, they waited until just the right time to unleash the screen.
"I think a lot of teams have focused on trying to take our screen-game away," Westbrook said. "We kind of lulled [the Vikings] to sleep, I think.
"For the most part, they had been pressuring us the whole game with their linebackers and defensive linemen. We called that play at exactly the right time."
Nick Cole ended up playing an important part in the anatomy of that play as well
Nick Cole, the right guard, was late off the mark and had some catching up to do, but he moved with the kind of alacrity one seldom sees in 6-foot, 350-pound men, and before Westbrook knew it, Cole was taking out a defensive back, giving him a seam to cut back inside to wide-open spaces.
"I felt somebody was in front of me. I realized it was Westbrook," said Cole, who knew right away that this was not an optimal arrangement. "I was supposed to have been gone . . . I took off running. I saw he made that cut, I just kept trucking upfield. Once Westbrook breaks, he's pretty much gone."
Vikings DE Jared Allen knew that play was a killer blow
"You don't want to give up a 71-yard screen, but if that happens in the first quarter or first half you can recover from it," defensive end Jared Allen said. "If it happens in the fourth quarter when you're down by two ... I thought we were dominating. We were taking away what we needed to take away. The sad part is I thought we played well enough to win until that screen play."
Desean Jackson said he knew he'd have chances to make big returns against the Vikings after watching film of Reggie Bush
"[Bush] broke two returns and tripped on the third or he would have had another," Jackson said. "That punter out-kicks their coverage and that makes things really tough on them. But my punt return team also did a phenomenal job."
Jackson also said he spoke with McNabb after the poor game he had against the Redskins and Donovan encouraged him
"I went up and told Donovan not to stop throwing my way," Jackson said. "He said, 'I'm gonna need you,' and he turned out to be right."
Asante Samuel, being more qualified than most to speak on the subject, talked about coming up big in big games
"That's the biggest time," he said after the Eagles' 26-14 victory over the Vikings. "That's what it's all about, the postseason and trying to get that big win. I just try to step my game up to another level every time I have an opportunity in the postseason. I helped my team out today and we got the victory."
"You've got the preseason, the regular season, the postseason and the Super Bowl. You've got to step your game up. The preseason, you take it another notch to the regular season, [then the] playoffs and so on. That's what I try to do."
Ask him and Samuel says, "It's definitely important: Pulling out the big ones shows the good signs of a champion."
Stewart Bradley talked about facing the leagues' leading rusher, Adrian Peterson
"He's a special back,'' said middle linebacker Stewart Bradley. "The cut he had on that one run, we blitzed the 'B' gap. He burst through [the 'A' gap]. I went a little too fast in the 'A' gap. You give him an inch and he'll bust it. And that's what he did.
"At halftime, we made some adjustments. We had to slow down on the backside. Stay in our gaps. We were overpursuing a little bit. After we made the adjustments, we were OK.''
Speaking of Adrian Peterson, he talked about how tough it is lose a playoff game.
"I don't think a playoff game compares to any other game. Since training camp, that wake-up call, this is what it's about, getting the opportunity to be in the playoffs. It hurts. I'm hurting right now.
"There were opportunities out there that I felt I left on the field and I'm sick about it," Peterson said.
Finally, the Vikings players gave Donovan McNabb his due.
"We harassed him all day," Kevin Williams said. "He couldn't get his feet set. He was getting away from a lot of sacks that we should have had. ... Whoever thought the guy is immobile or falling off is sadly mistaken."
"We ran a lot of zone blitzes, which is similar to what their defense does," Winfield said. "He knows where the weaknesses are and he hit a few today."