After a glorious 35-28 win over the New England Patriots, here are the 5 Things to Know Today for Monday, December 7. Our live coverage begins with head coach Chip Kelly's day-after press conference at 1 PM. At 5 PM, Eagles Hall of Fame running back Brian Westbrook joins Dave Spadaro on Eagles 360 to recap the victory. All of our shows are streamed on PhiladelphiaEagles.com and our app.
1. Eagles Surge To Keep Playoff Hopes Alive
Dave Spadaro wrote from Foxborough, Massachusetts on what Sunday's win meant for the Eagles from a big-picture standpoint.
"It's OK to be dramatic, because that's the way Sunday was for the Eagles. Edge-of-the-seat stuff. Big plays everywhere. A heart-attack final few minutes. And in the end a massively important 35-28 win over the New England Patriots that, really, saves the season for the Eagles," Spadaro noted.
"The Eagles couldn't afford to fall to 4-8, even in the really-bad NFC East. Now they're 5-7 with three consecutive home games ahead.
"But there is no sense wondering if this win will vault the Eagles into A-plus mode the rest of the season. It was a waste of time thinking about it after the win in Dallas. For now, we'll just relish a huge win, an unexpected one in the eyes of those outside the NovaCare Complex and one that gives the Eagles some confident vibrations heading back to Lincoln Financial Field."
2. Chip Kelly Pushed The Right Buttons
A big question heading into the week was how Chip Kelly's team would respond to the adversity of losing three-straight games. This Eagles team showed toughness and resiliency, falling behind 14-0 before rattling off 35 straight points before holding on with a final stand on defense. Max Rappaport has more.
"I've always been proud of (this team), and I told those guys that, that sometimes they don’t see in them what I see in them," said head coach Chip Kelly after a much-needed victory that brought the Eagles to within a half a game of the lead in the NFC East. "I know we have a good football team, and they showed it today. And they've shown it at other times during the season, and the last two weeks we didn't show it, and that's what was disappointing for them."
Entering Sunday's game, the Patriots were 27-1 at home in the past three seasons, including playoffs.
3. Huge Day For Special Teams
Dave Spadaro looked at the two-touchdown impact from the Eagles' special teams unit on Sunday.
"It was perfect, from the jump Chris Maragos got off the line of scrimmage, to the way he timed his body and arm extension to block Ryan Allen's punt, to the way Najee Goode scooped up the bouncing football and sprinted 24 yards for a late-first half touchdown to give the Eagles a 14-14 tie with New England heading into halftime on Sunday at Gillette Stadium," Spadaro wrote.
"It was more than Maragos and Goode, of course, as special teams came up huge just before halftime in a 35-28 win over New England. And the play was only part of a pretty awesome day for the special teams, which also contributed a Darren Sproles 83-yard punt return for a score, a recovery of a strange onsides kick and the smart play by Riley Cooper to knock a late-game onsides kick out of bounds after the Patriots had recovered one onsides kick and turned it into seven points."
"It takes big plays by everyone to beat this New England team," Maragos said. "In this game, there were huge plays that helped turn the game around."
4. Jenkins Takes It To The House
The defense also got in on the scoring action as safety Malcolm Jenkins recorded the Eagles' first-ever interception against quarterback Tom Brady and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown. Jenkins' touchdown broke a 14-14 tie in the third quarter. Julie Bacanskas has the details.
"The interception, I probably owe a Christmas gift," Jenkins joked following the game. "I'm on (Patriots wide receiver Danny) Amendola and he did a good job of really just beating me inside. I knew I had some help in there but it wasn't a true double team, but Walter saw the position I was in and he took it and was able to tip the ball up and I'm right there to catch it. He really, in my mind, made that play. I just kind of, I guess took the glory for it."
"The interception, which marked the team's 13th of the season, was the first takeaway for the defense since Jordan Hicks' pick-six in Week 9 against Dallas. With their recent struggles, the Eagles wanted to get back to their ball-hawking ways and were able to do just that.
"Later in the game, Byron Maxwell added to the total, grabbing another interception of Brady and helping the quarterback record his first two-interception game of the 2015 season. Prior to the game, Brady had only four all year."
5. Bradford Returns; A Change-Up At Running Back
When Sam Bradford last played for the Eagles, the team held a 16-13 lead over the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter of the Week 10 matchup. Well, we don't need to rehash what happened in the last two-plus games. Bradford returned from his concussion and left shoulder injury. The numbers were efficient. Bradford was 14-of-24 for 120 yards with two touchdowns, both in the red zone, and no interception for a 99.3 passer rating.
"I don’t think you can say enough about the guys in that locker room," Bradford said. "Obviously, I think the last three weeks were tough on us all. I'm not sure anyone outside that locker room gave us a chance to come in here and win today, but we believed in ourselves. We knew we had a chance and we had a great week of preparation. Then to come in here and get the contributions from all three phases tonight, I think this is the definition of a team win."
Bradford wasn't the only difference on offense. The Eagles utilized Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner more out of the backfield. Sproles, who had the punt return touchdown, led the Eagles with 66 yards on 15 carries, while Barner had 39 on nine opportunities. Kelly said that the matchup with the Patriots' linebackers was the reason to give the duo more chances.