Eagles Survive and Advance
I'm not sure where the Eagles season goes from here but I'm pretty sure it would have spiraled out of control if they hadn't managed to pull out the victory against a bad Saints team after losing to a bad Redskins team the previous week.
A win, is a win in the NFL, it's a week-to-week league.
"We had to win a football game," Eagles head coach Chip Kelly explained after his team's 39-17 win over the Saints. "It didn't matter if we were playing an AFC opponent or an NFC opponent. There's not more weight. I think at the end of the year, obviously, there is. But in our mindset as a team, we had to come out and we had to play on all three phases and win a football game, and that's what we were trying to do."
Yes, they have to play much better to beat the Giants on Monday night. But they got the win which is all that matters since there isn't a style points tiebreaker for a playoff spot.
(Listen to ESPN.com NFL Insider KC Joyner talk about the Eagles win over the Saints)
Its all about "survive and advance" and that is what the Eagles did and in turn, the saved their season and now have a shot to take over thew lead in the NFC East with a win over New York Monday night.
They survived because the defense was tremendous, making plays, forcing turnovers and pressuring quarterback Drew Brees, they gave the offense repeated chances, forcing four Saints turnovers, including three fumbles and an interception. Those four takeaways led to 19 points, the offense finally took advantage of these chances, scoring on each of their final seven possessions, including all six in the second half en route to 39 points and 519 total net yards.
Tell me you weren't having some nasty flashbacks to so many games we've seen from the Eagles the first four games of the season during the first 30 minutes. The offense moved the ball, but a pair of Sam Bradford interceptions gave the Eagles just a 10-7 lead at the half.
"I thought he did a good job," Kelly said about Bradford. " I think he--that stuff's going to happen, but a lot of it is your response after it. We're all going to make mistakes, and when you make them, do you continue to dwell upon them? Or do you learn from it? If he gets put in that situation, do you put the ball in the right spot? So, I thought he did a nice job, I thought he bounced back after those."
The awful first half is sadly becoming a trend for the Eagles. The team hasn't scored a touchdown in the first quarter of any games this year and failed to do so again on Sunday against the Saints.
“I think it was just the self-inflicted wounds with the two turnovers in the red zone," Eagles running back DeMarco Murray explained after the win. "You can’t do that and you can’t give [Saints QB Drew Brees] any more chances. I think the defense definitely played a great game. He’s one of the best quarterbacks, but like I said, it was more our players and not being able to get on the same page that shot us in the foot. But we were able to bounce back, the defense was able to make some key stops for us.”
That seems like its been the theme of the season, but maybe, just maybe the second half of the game and Kelly's slight changes in the game plan will allow this team to become more consistent on the offensive side of the ball.
"I think everyone is continuing to get a feel for each other," Murray stated. "But I think gradually you have to be confident, you have to continue to work hard and do the little things right. I think that will roll over, it’s a big thing for us and I think it makes us play well."
Hopefully they have a better feel for each other and can build on that - survive and advance, survive and advance.