Jason Avant would probably be the first Eagle you would choose to catch an easy, floating touchdown pass. And yet, the player often cited as having the best hands on the team dropped a gimme six-pointer late in the second quarter that would have likely given the Eagles a 17-3 lead.
The good news? No one on the Eagles is better suited to handle his "sickest man in America" moment than Avant.
"Adversity is where you see the character of a man," said Avant, who added that he felt like Jackie Smith, the Cowboys tight end who infamously dropped a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XIII. "I was on the ground thinking to myself, 'Are you serious right now?' ... The only thing I can do it lift my hands, because I'm the first one to lift my hands when things good happen. But my relationship with God gave me the strength to overcome it.
"That's not the time that you crawl into a hole. When things go bad, I think you really see what a guy is made of. My foundation is built on Jesus Christ, so whether good or bad, I'm going to give him thanks. That's what my life is about. It's not just something I say. So he gave me strength to overcome it and I just kept my mind in the right place and refused those thoughts of defeat and kept saying I can do all things through Christ."
And so, with help from his faith and his teammates' faith in him, Avant, like the Eagles on this victorious night, found a way to bounce back. Avant, who credited his teammates on both offense and defense with supporting him, made a critical, and difficult catch on a 3rd-and-9 in the fourth quarter. He then scored the two-point conversion that gave the Eagles a 24-17 lead after running back LeSean McCoy ran 50 yards for a touchdown - a play in which Avant helped block.
"I think that when a guy has something go bad for him early, for you to come back at the end of the game shows a lot," Avant said. "I thank (offensive coordinator) Marty (Mornhinweg) for that and I thank my teammates. They encouraged me so much tonight. The brothers are born for adversity, and they really showed me tonight that they have my back."
"Jason has amazing hands," said McCoy. "I think it was just that type of day for us."
Indeed. Sunday was a night for the Eagles to scrape out a victory, no matter the circumstances. Avant finished the day with two catches for 39 yards. And while those numbers won't knock you away, bouncing back from the dropped touchdown proved something to Avant about himself.
"It was definitely the most, as far as the football field, probably the most adverse thing that I've faced because God's blessed me with the ability to catch the ball," he said. "But we did a lot tonight because we won the game and we felt like we played absolutely our worst game of the year (on offense). For us to go out and come away with a win ... was huge."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 3:03 a.m., November 22