With the hole the Birds have played themselves into in the first quarter of the season every Sunday has turned into a must win. Sunday night the Eagles hosted the hated Dallas Cowgirls in what was no doubt another must win. It had all the makings of a playoff type of atmosphere, both teams fighting for division relevancy. The thing is only one team came out fighting. The Eagles manhandled a lost-looking Dallas team in all facets of the game en route to a 34-7 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
For the first time all season the “Dream Team” looked as if it was worthy to hold that distinct title. The Eagles took their opening possession and drove the ball seamlessly down the field against a Dallas defense that had no answers for Michael Vick and LeSean “Shady” McCoy. Vick led the Birds on a 79-yard drive to score the first touchdown of the game on a screen pass to Jeremy Maclin on third and nine.
“We started fast,” Vick said. “That was our mindset. We wanted to set the tempo. We didn’t want to let up.”
After all was said and done the Eagles offense racked up 495 yards with 239 yards on the ground against the NFL’s best rushing defense who had previously allowed only 69.7 rushing yards per game. With arguably the best running back in the NFL and the all-elusive Michael Vick the Eagles continue to prove why they have the best rushing attack in all of football. The Birds also dominated time of possession holding the ball for 42 minutes and 9 seconds compared to 17 minutes and 51 seconds for Dallas.
Shady ended up with a career day carrying the ball a beastly 30 times for 185 yards and two touchdowns. It was McCoy’s fourth 100-yard game of the season. The Birds had 115 rushing yards in the first quarter, 80 of those provided by McCoy.
The offensive line with a healthy Jason Peters absolutely dominated the front 7 of the ‘Girls. On several occasions Peters, driving the pile to the right, opened up gaping holes for McCoy to easily scamper through. With Barry Sanders-esque moves and quickness Shady is turning into a handful for any defender to put a hit on, or bring down. It was downright laughable watching 36-year old LB Keith Brooking grabbing for air as he attempted to bring down the much younger and too elusive #25. As if 30 carries were not enough McCoy was seen riding the stationary bike on the sideline with under 2 minutes to go in the game, still filled with enough energy to run for another 30.
“He’s got a smile on his face when he comes to work,” Head Coach Andy Reid said post-game. “He loves to play the game and he wants to be the best. I take him off but he just runs back on the field, he makes me mad but he just loves to play."
At this point of the 2011 season it is hard to argue against LeSean McCoy being one, if not THE best running back in the NFL. Through 8 weeks (7 games) of the season McCoy is averaging 107.7 yards per game, the highest total in the league. He is averaging 5.6 years per carry which is also the best in the league (minimum 60 carries). He has eight rushing touchdowns, and 1 receiving touchdown, scoring in every single game so far this season. And as shocking as it seems Big Red is actually giving Shady the opportunity to run with 28 carries vs. Washington and 30 last night vs. Dallas.
Not to be outdone Vick led the offense with proficiency leading the offense to points on their first six possessions. Vick ended up with 275 passing yards on a 21 for 28 night, adding in 50 yards on the ground. His uncanny ability to keep the chains moving with his feet kept several drives moving strong on Sunday night. TE Brenk Celek, again highly involved, turned in another great performance with a team high seven catches for 94 yards and a touchdown.
On the flip side Tony Romo looked like the Romo we love to see. The Eagles harassed Romo all night long ending up with four sacks and one INT from Nnamdi Asomugha. With constant cover from the defensive backs Romo looked lost and confused throwing several balls in the dirt and over the heads of his receivers. The Cowgirls looked like a team wanting no part of the wrecking ball that was the Philadelphia Eagles.
As Reid said post-game there is still a lot of improving to do and we are still 3-4. With all that being said let us relish in this downright booty whoopin’. It is clear that the train seems to be on the right track and the Birds are playing like the team we believed they could be. There is still a lot of work to be done but this was another step in the right direction.
On a night when the Eagles inducted the late, great Jim Johnson into the Eagles Honor Roll it was fitting to coincide it with a Cowgirls beat down. I’m sure Jimmy J is still smiling. I guess the “All-Hype” team finally proved what the hype is all about.