Eagles Report Card Week 14: Philly Wins in Winter Wonderland Battle Against Lions

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This one will be understandably different.

The Eagles are on a five-game winning streak after a 34-20 victory against the Lions. While a lot will be said about the first half of the game, the Eagles dominated when it mattered and closed the game. A lot of fans and pundits wanted to see Chip Kelly and Nick Foles play from behind and they got to witness it in this miserable snow game.

The Eagles play in a cold weather city and compete outdoors, but the Lions were able to own the first half, despite several fumbled snaps and loose balls in favor of Philadelphia. Detroit led the game at halftime by the score of 8-0, with Foles throwing his first interception of the season to Lions cornerback Chris Houston on a terrible floating pass. The Lions looked to be shutting down the Eagles, while Foles struggling to gain any ground.

There are no excuses. Foles played poorly in the first half of the game. Matt Stafford played in those same conditions and played well as a passer, despite several fumbled snaps. Foles went 4-of-10 and failed to move the ball until the final possession of the first half and looked like he could not play in snow. Boy, were those perceptions wrong.

Foles and more importantly, LeSean McCoy, turned on the jets in the second half. The Eagles scored 34 points in the second half with 28 coming in the fourth quarter. McCoy set an Eagles record with 217 rushing yards against the NFL's third-leading rushing defense. He was flat out shifty as he cut through Lions defenders.

Foles rebounded as well with a few really solid passes and a touchdown throw to DeSean Jackson. Fellow wide receiver Riley Cooper was also important on several late drives by blocking and his work as a pass catcher. Backup running back Chris Polk was also tremendous in relief of McCoy and rushed for 50 yards on just four carries.

The defense continued its sensational effort by only giving up 8 points on the day. That score came off a Foles interception that had the Lions already in the redzone. The Eagles forced multiple fumbles and kept the Lions out of the end zone. It was an impressive performance by all involved.

With the snow playing such a factor, we will avoid the typical Eagles report card. Frankly, there were several players on offense and defense directly impacted by the weather and circumstances. For the most part, the Eagles played well given the situation and/or recovered when it was necessary. It was a statement win for Chip Kelly, Billy Davis, Foles, McCoy and the team in general.

Miscellaneous Musings

  • The refereeing in this contest was poor, but understandable given the lack of vision. Both teams got away with blatant holds and other penalties. The one awful no-call in the game was the lack of a pass interference on a Foles pass to Cooper in the second quarter. It happens.
  • Lions fans will complain about this game, probably for years. However, they have little to complain about as both teams played in the conditions. If anything, the weather played in the Lions favor, taking away the Eagles speed.
  • It was refreshing to see how great Kelly's second half adjustments were. He literally schooled Jim Schwartz on how to play in a snow game, after looking rough in the first half. This team has talent, but nothing supersedes the intelligence of Kelly.
  • Chris Polk got some carries and looked fantastic out there. It stands to be questioned whether Polk should get more carries moving forward. He has played better in his two games of regular carries than Bryce Brown has played all season. It is not an opinion, it is a fact. Brown has tons more potential, but right now, Polk is the better football player.
  • There were no field goal attempts in the game, except for a blocked extra point of David Akers by Bennie Logan. The rookie is seriously making a move over the last few games. The defensive front has tons of potential.
  • The special teams suffered from poor tackling and the snow in this game. Kick returner Jeremy Ross returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns. I am not a fan of Dave Fipp, but the weather was definitely a factor in this game on special teams.
  • The Eagles play three more winnable games moving forward. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles react to this game and if Adrian Peterson will play on Sunday.

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