There was a hint of pep in Andy Reid's voice – as much as one can notice from the head coach – at his day-after game press conference on Monday, and the reasons are obvious.
His Eagles recovered from what would have been a near-fatal blow with a 23-point fourth-quarter explosion in San Francisco on Sunday, sealing a 40-26 must-win with a point of authority. In doing so, they answered one of their biggest challenges so far this season and capitalized on a series of fortunate events around the NFC East and gained some valuable ground.
"That's the name of this league right now. There's so much parity in this league," Reid said. "On any given Sunday, man, anybody can get anybody." Andy Reid PC: October 13
To consider Dallas' loss at Arizona and Washington's fall to winless St. Louis both surprising might not be an understatement, but calling them timely for the Eagles certainly wouldn't be. And instead of slouching into the bye week – a typical turnaround point for Reid's teams – 2-4, the Eagles stand even, just one game behind both the Cowboys and Redskins with a perceived favorable stretch of games ahead.
Don't get Reid wrong, though. To sustain a run, things need to improve, and a shoddy third quarter once again prevented his team from putting together a complete game on both sides of the ball. But the dominant fourth quarter (23-0) allowed both the Eagles' offense and defense to finish on a high note for the first time since, arguably, Week 1.
"It works hand-in-hand. Both (units) work together on that," Reid said. "If you're dealt poor field position, you dig yourself out offensively. If you're dealt poor field position defensively, you buckle down and you stop them."
The fourth quarter put the pistons into motion for a big dose of momentum. And what happened around the division, Reid said, "doesn't hurt."
But what's important is that the Eagles can carry the momentum on through Week 8.
"I'm glad that we were able to pull this one off. I think there were some things that weren't real pretty, but I also think that there were some things that you can see a little bit of the character of the football team," Reid said. "When we had a chance to fold, we didn't do that. Our guys kind of rallied."
Reid said that most of his injured players, including running back Brian Westbrook (ribs), are making progress and could be back in action when the Eagles return to practice next Monday to begin preparations for the Oct. 26 home game against the Falcons.
But the biggest cause for concern remains with Pro Bowl guard Shawn Andrews, who has made little improvement since leaving midway through the Week 2 contest at Dallas with a lower back injury.
Reid said Andrews is scheduled to see his fourth different specialist Monday. The offensive lineman will be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins in Marina Del Rey, Ca. Watkins, an orthopedic surgeon, has worked with tackle Tra Thomas in the past, among others.
"We'll see what (Watkins) says," Reid said. "It wasn't getting better like we kind of anticipated. But that's the way this thing works. I'm not putting it on the (other three) doctors and criticizing them."