Justin Boylan

Justin Boylan...Game 13 Eagles beat the Giants 45-38... 12-14-09

I hate the Cowboys. I'm sure you feel the same way. Now, that doesn't mean we don't love to watch them. Watch them suffer. Going into Sunday's NFL action, the Cowboys and Eagles were locked up in first place of the NFC East at 8-4, and the Giants were looming at 7-5. The Eagles would know, before their night game with the G-Men, whether or not a victory meant sole position of first place. First the Cowboys had to lose.

My college roommate is a Cowboys fan. Don't ask me how, I don't know. He grew up in this area, loves the Phillies, and loves football. However, for some reason his father raised him to be a Cowboys fan, what a shame (my theory is that his dad jumped on the Dallas bandwagon in the 90s when they were running Super Bowls like Kobayashi. Unfortunately for my roommate, the Cowboys haven't had the same success in the 00s). Living with a Cowboys fan is truly like playing with fire. If they are good and the Eagles aren't, what can you do? You have to sit there and take the ridicule from a rival fan. When things fall like they did on Sunday? Oh how sweet it is.

In the second quarter the Chargers made a defensive stand to keep Marion Barber from scoring three times from inside the 1-yard line. The resident Cowboy is upset, and rightfully so. Barber should be able to power himself into the end zone from a few inches away (good news for Eagles fans, I don't think Barber has the same command on the field as he once did. He's not an unstoppable force anymore he's struggling. Trust me; he was on my fantasy team). The Cowboys score a touchdown at the end of the fourth quarter to make it a three point game, but run out of time. My roommate is not going to want to hear this, but Wade Phillips should have kicked a field goal two or three plays before they scored the touchdown. It would have been a seven point game with time to recover an onside kick, rather than game over. Hey, I'm not complaining, Cowboys lost. Now it's time for the Eagles to make it matter.

The Eagles came out blazing hot. They took the opening drive of the game 67 yards for a touchdown, Michael Vick came in and completed a 32 yard pass to DeSean Jackson and Donovan McNabb hit Brent Celek for the score two plays later. Sometimes things just fall your way, like a Brandon Jacobs fumble that bounces right to Sheldon Brown on his way to the end zone. While the Eagles scored in nanoseconds, it took the Giants 15 plays and over 7 minutes of game time to put their first points on the board, a field goal, Birds up 14-3 after one.

I missed the first 13 minutes of the second quarter. My excuse? Dexter , the season finale, if you watch the show you might be able to grasp the internal conflict I faced at the start of the second quarter. If you don't watch the show, you're missing out. Bottom line: I felt comfortable enough up 14-3 to watch Dexter without checking my phone every five minutes (which I did anyway). As for the show, I don't want to say too much because there are Dexter fans that chose to stay on the Eagles game, but wow. This was the fourth season, and every time before this a season ended with closure. Ice Truck Killer, Bay Harbor Butcher, the Skinner, there are cliffhangers within the seasons, but they always ended with a solution. I felt something different with this finale approaching, I was right. The episode goes rather smoothly and all the while you're just waiting, and waiting. You want it just end so nothing bad can happen, but damn those last four minutes, and that's all I'm going to say. And WOW, again.

Okay, so what did I miss from the Eagles game? (Let me say, if the Giants went on some crazy scoring run during Dexter that led them to a victory over the Eagles I would feel directly responsible. The price of following Sunday shows.) Eli Manning hooked up with Hakeem Nicks for a 68 yard touchdown, courtesy of awful tackling by Asante Samuel and Quintin Mikell (but I'm not even watching, so can I blame them for not tackling? Yes). David Akers kicked a field goal after the Eagles came up short from the 2-yard line. The Giants had to punt and the Eagles made them pay, correction, DeSean Jackson made them pay with a 72 yard return for a touchdown. The Giants scored another touchdown on a 3 yard run by Ahmad Bradshaw, giving the Eagles the ball with a minute and a half before halftime. A technical fumble call on McNabb put the offense in 3 rd and 20, when he completed a 44 yard pass to Jackson. ( Dexter is over, I'm back.) The Eagles were back where they settled for a field goal, but this time they brought in Mr. Red Zone himself, Michael Vick. He easily ran around the left side for the score (consecutive games with a rushing touchdown for the first time since November 2002).

The second half would answer one question: Up 30-17, can the Eagles hold on to win this game?

Early on in the third the Giants tried to take control of the game. They scored 14 straight points and took a 31-30 lead. A lead that lasted literally fifteen seconds, McNabb answered on first down with a 60 yard bomb to who else? DeSean Jackson. Both teams then punted their way into the fourth quarter.

The Eagles took seven and half minutes off the fourth quarter clock with their opening scoring drive. Battling Vick for the title of Mr. Red Zone, Leonard Weaver powered himself into the end zone for the 1 yard score. They needed to go for 2, but you can't always get what you want. Luckily, McNabb found Jason (gets what) Avant to make up for the blocked extra point before halftime. The Eagles held on. Manning added another touchdown, this one to Kevin Boss, before the final buzzer, but it didn't matter. Eagles win 45-38, first place is lonely, we don't mind.

What's there to say? The Eagles have won four straight games, and two of them completed season sweeps of division rivals. The offense was electric Sunday night. Jackson had 178 yards receiving to go with his two touchdowns. He has scored eight TDs of 50 yards or more this season, which tied the NFL record. McNabb was 17 for 26 with 275 yards, he missed a couple passes (a wide-open Reggie Brown behind coverage) and threw a bad interception, but he stepped up when the Giants took the lead, making throws when he needed to. The run-game kind of goes by the wayside when a team is scoring in flashes, but Weaver continues to be a reliable option backing up LeSean McCoy in short yardage situations.

The defense obviously needs to play better than they did Sunday night if the Eagles want to make a run in January. Manning had 391 yards passing to go with three touchdowns. But sometimes two offenses are going to light it up no matter what the defenses try to do. Last night turned into a shoot out.

No time to hit the brakes, the Eagles return home this week to play the 5-7 (5-8 pending my MNF prediction) 49ers. Don't look now, but Week 17 looks like it'll be a one-game playoff for the division. Hopefully the Eagles can keep this up; otherwise I'll be looking for alternative housing.






Justin Boylan



Copyright 2008. Jules Pilla

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