I learned two things about the Philadelphia Eagles last night: There is hope in the City of Brotherly Love, and I will never pick them to win again.
I shied away from talking about Eagles’ RB Bryce Brown last week in his first start since he was a senior in high school three years ago. Yeah, he rushed for 178 yards, a team rookie record. He scored 2 TDs. So what? It’s gotta be a fluke. C’mon, it was against the Panthers.
Last night he proved that might not to be so true. Between rookies Brown and QB Nick Foles, the Eagles came out charging hard. Brown ran for 169 yards and two TDs. Foles passed a respectable 22-for-34 for 251 yards, a TD, and a QB rating of 96.6, the best of his short career.
But if this was a tale of numbers, it’s no wonder the Cowboys pulled this one off. QB Tony Romo, in a continued season of peaks and valleys, was at the summit of Mt. Everest last night. He was 22-for-27. He threw for 303 yards and three TDs. He had a QB rating of 150.5. He broke legend Troy Aikman’s record for third-quarter TDs with his 166th. He was incredible.
In a game of tug-of war, the Eagles took charge early in the first half with two Brown runs into the end zone. The Cowboys could only manage a field goal until, with 41 seconds left, Cowboy RB DeMarco Murray pounded one in for six and a PAT. The Eagles hustled into field goal range and went into the locker room with a 17-10 lead.
The third quarter saw a tit-for-tat trade of touchdowns, first Romo to Dez Bryant for 23 yards, then Foles to Riley Cooper for 15. Then the excitement really began.
In the fourth quarter, Romo went to the air twice to swipe the lead from Philly, 31-27. Late in the game, that same Bryce Brown that put 12 on the board in the first quarter lost the ball at midfield. Cowboy Morris Claiborne scooped it up and ran it down field to give the Cowboys a 38-27 lead.
While fans in Phiadelphia got up to lock the doors, put out the cat and get a glass of water before bed, with 31 seconds left in the game, the Eagles showed some high drama: Off a Cowboy punt, Eagles’ Damaris Johnson took it back 98 yards to put the score at 38-33. Hey, this is easy, right? Two point conversion, recover onside kick, take a couple shots to the sidelines to get into field goal range and bada bing, we’re playing in OT.
Unfortunately, Foles couldn’t complete the necessary pass to Jason Avant, and the game went into the record books.
If Romo played every game like he played this one, he would be the hottest commodity in pro sports. Unfortunately, he is now due a slump.
If Reid had put Foles and Brown in before sinking to 3-5, 3-6, who knows where the Eagles might be now? Foles showed exactly what he hadn’t in his last outings, confidence in the pocket. He is maturing quickly at his position. And Brown – who knew? Yes, on paper in seems like a joke, high school kid with limited college experience makes an NFL team, rides the pine for most of a season, then comes out with back-to-back explosions that make him look like a seasoned veteran, not greenhorn rookie.
And now Dallas is back to .500, and the Eagles are 3-9.
There’s always next year for both of these teams.