Here's ten observations from today's unforgettable action:
1) As my good friend Dave would say, you are never, ever done. It's not over until the final bell rings. Like everyone else in Philadelphia, I doubted our chances following the Redskins debacle. I should have learned my lesson during the Phillies' playoff run, in particular during Game 4 of the NLCS. The Phils were down 5-3 in the bottom of the 8th and the Dodgers were on the verge of establishing momentum by tying the series. And then...BOOM. Victorino and Stairs, just like that. Ladies and gentlemen, the tide may be turning in Philadelphia.
2) This 2008 Eagles team remains a mystery. You have ugly losses against Baltimore and Washington, a tie against Cincinnati. On the opposite spectrum you have impressive performances against Arizona, the Giants, and this Cowboy victory. Although I agree that nothing matters other than the upcoming Minnesota bout, we are still guessing as to which team will show up week to week. As The Inquirer's Phil Sheridan points out, the Eagles we saw tonight are capable of beating any team in the NFC playoff field. We just have to hope they come out each week with a balanced attack and intensity.
3) For God's sake, give Buckhalter the ball more often. You gotta love the guy, he is always ready to come in and contribute. His line for the night:
- 13 touches, 122 yards, TD
- 36 runs, 21 passes
5) Tonight's game cleared up two lingering questions:
- Tony Romo is the most over-hyped and overrated quarterback in the league. I love nothing more than seeing him wriggle around on the field, head in hands after another fumble. You know you've got a problem when you have more on-field crying sessions than playoff wins. Have a fun offseason, Jerry Jones and company! I'm glad we could send you back on the early flight to Dallas.
- Brian Dawkins may well be the greatest human being in the history of the world. Ok, maybe not, but he is the heart and soul of this team. How could you not have goosebumps watching Fox's cameras follow him prancing about the field, laying punishing hits and forcing multiple fumbles. The man loves to win and has fun doing it. A Hall of Famer in anyone's book, Dawkins can still play high-caliber football.
7) Believe it or not, this will be McNabb's first trip back to the playoffs since the 2004 Super Bowl run. For some reason, this feels more real than Jeff Garcia's cinderalla run in '06. Hey, that was great too, don't get me wrong. I guess a lot of us were just happy that we had made it and went on beat the Giants before falling to the Saints.
8) Every Eagles fan is now required to send a belated holiday gift to the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans. Thanks guys, we truly appreciate the effort.
9) Just for a moment tonight I caught myself feeling bad for the 11-5 New England Patriots. They won their final game, yet did not make it to the playoffs. They will sit and watch (the first 11-5 non-playoff team since the 1985 Denver Broncos) as the inferior Chargers and Cardinals participate for a chance at the title. There was a glimmer of "oh, that sucks," until I reminded myself that it was the cheating Patriots. Karma, Belichick, karma.
10) After a wild day, one for the history books, here's a few predictions for next week:
- Baltimore ends Miami's comeback season
- Manning and the Colts keep on rolling past the Chargers
- Matt Ryan pushes the Falcons by the slumping Cardinals
- As for the Eagles, it's simple. Take one game at a time. Slow Adrian Peterson and we can move on. I am thinking McNabb has a big game against the Viking's poor pass defense and the Eagles defense does enough to frustrate Peterson. I will take the Birds, 27-17.
One last note...
As FOX's cameras panned across the Eagles sideline in the final moments of the game, owner Jeffery Lurie could be seen embracing Donovan McNabb and motioning to his quarterback with four raised fingers. You could even make out the words by watching his lips: "Four more," he said.
After watching what transpired today, crazier things have happened. Like the Phils winning the World Series.
Let's go Eagles. This, now, is your time. Just win.