This has been an amazing year for this Eagles team which started out with a 2-5 record in their first seven games. No one would have dared to even imagine this team was going to make the playoffs. Despite that start, this season’s Philadelphia Eagles football team has secured a spot in the playoffs with a regular season game still remaining.
They came into the weekend knowing that they needed a few things to occur in order to secure a playoff spot for this year’s NFC Playoffs. First of all, they needed to handle their own business by beating the Washington Football Team. Secondly, they needed the 49ers to come out on top over the Houston Texans. Thirdly, on Sunday evening they needed the Green Bay Packers to beat the Minnesota Vikings.
On Sunday afternoon, the Eagles started out very slowly, much like they have done the last two weeks in victories over Washington and the New York Giants. Washington went into halftime with a 10-0 lead after their offense had totally outplayed the Eagles defense by moving the football up and down the field.
The Birds were scoreless at the half despite having put together a couple of long drives. One drive ended with Washington stopping Jordan Howard on fourth down on an inside run attempt and the other drive ended on a missed field goal attempt by Eagles kicker Jake Elliott.
Nick Sirianni’s football team took over the game after halftime. They were able to put together a number of long scoring drives with Jalen Hurts having an outstanding game with his legs and with his arm. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 226 yards and he ran 7 times for 44 yards. His favorite targets were tight end Dallas Goedert (six catches 71 yards) and wide receiver DeVonta Smith (three catches for 54 yards).
With Miles Sanders sidelined due to a broken hand, the little guy, running back Boston Scott came through for the Eagles. He scored the team’s two touchdowns, both on fourth down plays in order to put the Eagles in position to win the game. He carried the ball 14 times for 47 yards and also caught four passes for 39 yards.
The defensive hero of the game was Eagles safety Rodney McLeod. With seconds to go in the battle, Washington on the Birds 20 yard line and the Birds protecting a 20-16 lead, he intercepted a pass into the end zone by Washington Football Team quarterback, Taylor Heinicke. It was a great interception by McLeod, as he got his left hand under the football on an overthrow by Heinicke. The interception ended the drive by Washington and put the Birds in position to secure a playoff spot.
The Eagles got some outstanding performances from other defensive players. Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat, who had one and a half sacks in the game. Sweat also deflected two or three passes, as the Birds defense took over the game in the second half. I thought defensive tackles Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Milton Williams, both played well as they helped in putting pressure on Heinicke.
Defensive end/linebacker Genard Avery, who is a part of Jonathan Gannon’s five man defensive line front has been playing well during the Eagles winning streak. He got his first quarterback sack of the season on Sunday, when he sacked Heinicke on a key third down play in the second half. Avery made a number of huge tackles in the second half, while doing a good job of rushing the passer.
Let’s get back to the dominos falling for the playoffs. In the Sunday afternoon battle between San Francisco and Houston, the 49ers were playing without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, so they needed a good game from their back up quarterback, rookie Trey Lance, in order to beat the Texans. They got a quality performance from Lance, who completed 16 of 23 pass attempts for 249 yards for 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Despite his outstanding play, the Niners were trailing the Texans at the half, but they came out in the second half and really dominated the game. The Niners wound up cruising to victory with a 23 to 7 win.
The Sunday night game between the Packers and the Vikings in Green Bay was over before it even started. Minnesota went into the game without starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins, who had tested positive for Covid. Backup Sean Mannion started for the Vikings and he was no match for the Packers Aaron Rodgers and the explosive Green Bay offense.
The Packers went into halftime with a 20-3 lead. Rodgers was having fun throwing to his favorite target Pro Bowl wide receiver Davante Adams and handing the ball off to Green Bay’s two outstanding running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. The final score of the game was Packers 37 and the Vikings 10.
The Green Bay victory secured the Eagles position in this year’s playoffs. Yes the team that started out the season with a 2-5 record has gone 7-2 since then and wrapped up a playoff spot with a 9-7 record with one game remaining. The Birds will finish their regular season with a battle against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night rather Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. They’ll go into the game with the confidence that they’re going to the playoffs. It’s been an amazing year.