Another stalled Eagles offense drive. Time for another Donnie Jones punt. Lions returner Jeremy Ross fielded the ball, made a move, and ran up field with little opposition in his way. Lions touchdown. Detroit Lions up 14 to 0 with 21:37 left in regulation. Game over. Or so some thought.
It was hard to blame the doubters at the time. The Eagles didn't really show much in the first half. Philadelphia produced a mere 90 net yards on 28 plays. 55 of those yards came on 18 rushing attempts (3 yards per attempt), with McCoy account for 51 of those. Nick Foles was 4/10 for 35 yards, 1 interception (his first of the season), and a 10.4 pass rating.
A lot of the Eagles' struggles seemed to attributed to the poor state of the weather. The snow was coming down hard and visibility was very low. Teams were fumbling the ball like mad and everything looked sloppy. Things started to turn later in the second half, though. The weather cleared up and visibility significantly improved. The Eagles running attack came alive and so did quarterback Nick Foles.
In the second half, McCoy rushed for 162 yards and 2 TD. He finished 217 rushing yards on the day, which set a single game franchise record. The honor was previously held by Hall of Fame running back Steve van Buren. Shady breathed life into a game that many thought was a lost cause. His trademark ability of making people miss wasn't lost in the snow. McCoy dodged tackles and out ran the defense down the field for two scores. His efforts really helped flip the switch. Eagles coach Chip Kelly reveled in McCoy's big performance.
I thought LeSean just did an outstanding job. We've been trying to preach here just hitting things downhill. It was very tough, especially with this defense to go lateral. We learned that with the weather it was very difficult to go lateral and we felt like we had to get a downhill game going. I thought the job of those three inside guys did was outstanding, Todd [Herremans], Jason [Kelce], and Evan [Mathis] against two really good defensive tackles and then we just started changing up formationally some of the looks so they couldn't chase us down a little bit from the backside.
What's especially impressive about McCoy's rushing numbers is that they came against a good defense. Prior to Sunday's game, the Lions were allowing an average of 83 rushing yards per game. That was good for third best in the NFL. The Eagles ran for 299 total yards. That's 3.6 times more than Detroit's average. In their last six games, the Lions had allowed 243 rushing yards combined. The Eagles rushed for that much and 56 more.
Foles also improved in the second half. He threw for 144 yards in the second half on 7/12 passing. His final line was 11/22 for 179 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. The second year quarterback didn't put up the flashy numbers he had in previous weeks, but he did good enough to get the job done. Foles' ability to bounce back from adversity was a positive sign. Unfortunately for him, his TD-INT streak is over, but as Foles said, he's more satisfied with the team's five game winning streak.
Speaking of the ability to bounce back, Kelly stated that he was proud of his team's resiliency in Sunday's win.
You know, that's why you've got to play a full 60. I think our guys understood that. There was no panic or anything at halftime, and [they] just came in, made the necessary adjustments. Obviously [Detroit] scored, but it was on a very short field, on Nick's first interception of the year, and then the other two came in the return game, which was a real difficult game from a return standpoint because it was almost like you out-kicked your coverage so they could get something started. A real credit to those guys on the offensive side of the ball, and I thought our defense played really well considering the [weather] situation.
The Eagles defense did play pretty well yet again. Along with only allowing 8 offensive points, they forced three three turnovers. Sunday marked the ninth straight game the Eagles defense has allowed 21 point or less. They are the only team to do so in that span.
The past two weeks, Philadelphia played with a lead. Those games featured the trailing team trying to make a late comeback but Philly would ultimately hold on for the win. This Sunday was hardly a complete game, especially due to the Eagles' struggles on special teams, but it was a character win for Philadelphia. They faced serious adversity but were able to overcome the challenge. Chip Kelly figured to be a prime target for criticism if the Eagles hadn't found a way to turn things around, but he didn't let that happen. Instead, Kelly proved the doubters wrong and showed he can command a comeback.
There are three games remaining in the Eagles' 2013 season. If this team can continue to stay hot down the final stretch, their playoff aspirations are looking very good.