As beautiful as Lincoln Financial Field looked covered with eight inches of snow, the product that the Eagles put on the football field was not so pretty in the first half. They scored no points. They had a grand total of 90 yards of offense. The defense did their part capitalizing on the Lions' inability to hold on to the football, recovering two fumbles.
Yet, a different Eagles team emerged in the second half.
The Eagles scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to tie a franchise record thanks to 223 rushing yards, an NFL record for a single quarter. Running back
“I think it showed everybody what we know about them, and I don't think this group gives up," head coach Chip Kelly said. "I think they've got way too much invested, and I think the more you have invested in something it's a lot more difficult to quit. It's an extremely hard working group, and they understand that it's a long game, and you've just got to keep plugging away, and you can't get discouraged when you're not successful early because in this league there's a lot of times you're not going to be able to just go out there and say, 'Hey, this is what we choose to do.'
"There are so many good players on the other teams that it's always going to be a battle, and they just know if we kind of hang in there and keep fighting and keep banging away that good things are going to happen for us.”
Kelly has learned to adjust throughout the course of his first season in the NFL. He had plenty of changes to make on Sunday. The snow was not supposed to arrive until around halftime, but instead the turf was covered and visibility was extremely limited at kickoff. Kelly had to change the playcalling.
"It wasn't that complicated. Obviously from a playcalling standpoint, we kind of narrowed down what we were going to select from, but it was trying to get a feel of, and it's weird because you go in after you warm up, so what was it going to be like when we came back out," Kelly said. "I know when I turned the corner, I was like, 'Oh, this is interesting. Seemed like it got worse.’ In those situations, they have the same exact experience. When I think we're similar teams in what we do. We're both a lot of 11 personnel, we are quarterback in the shotgun, (Lions quarterback) Matt (Stafford) can throw it around a little bit, they've got arguably the best receiver in the league, so it affected both of us about the same way."
Not only did Kelly have to pull back from the amount of passes that he wanted to do, but he also had to tweak the running style. McCoy is arguably the most explosive running back in space, but instead of trying to get to the perimeter the Eagles knew they had to get their backs going downhill.
"I know LeSean is a very talented back, can do some things, but this wasn't going to be a day when we were going to get to the perimeter. I'd be hard pressed to see," Kelly said. "I don't think they did the same thing, either. I think if you started going east and west, you're going to continue to go east and west because you couldn't stick your foot in the ground and make that hard cut, which is what you want to try to do sometimes when you're running those flat plays."
That put more pressure on the interior of the Eagles offensive line, but they were up to the challenge.
“ I thought the job those three inside guys did was outstanding, Todd (Herremans), Jason (Kelce) and Evan (Mathis) against two really good defensive tackles and then we just started changing up formationally some of the looks so they couldn't chase us down a little bit from the backside,” Kelly said.
At the end of the day, it was a satisfying result as the Eagles won to maintain at the very least a share of the division lead.
"It was a very, very difficult day and a lot of people contributed to it, but we're excited to be where are right now," Kelly said.