INDIANAPOLIS – It was bedlam, and then it wasn't. Cody Parkey's field goal to beat the Indianapolis Colts 30-27 was greeted with furious applause from the pockets of Eagles fans dotting Lucas Oil Stadium, and the celebration spilled into the Eagles' locker room, if only for a moment.
"This is one of those wins that stays with you," said linebacker Trent Cole, who has had more than a few of these kinds of wins in his 10 Eagles seasons. "We stuck together and we kept fighting and we practice for situations like this. It's paying off. We practice to be strong from the beginning to the end.
"That's a great team over there. I'm impressed with them and with (quarterback Andrew) Luck. He's a good quarterback. And we kept battling and battling and got it done in the end."
Did they ever. Coming back from another double-digit deficit at halftime – this time it was 17-6 and later 20-6 – the Eagles made some history as the fourth team in the last 30 years to win consecutive games after trailing by 14 points or more in the second half (according to the Elias Sports Bureau). And the way they did it epitomizes the heart of this team, and the way that every corner of the squad contributed.
The defense rallied after being gashed for 101 rushing yards in the first half to limit the Colts to 68 ground yards on 19 carries in quarters three and four. The Eagles took the football away twice, and both times the offense turned those takeaways into touchdowns. Quarterback Andrew Luck completed only 11 passes to wide receivers, and none of those completions put points on the board.
The offense? Explosive, as usual. Darren Sproles, the running back/wide receiver/kick returner who has done it all in two games, caught seven passes for 152 yards, including a 51-yarder to set up the touchdown that tied the game, and ran four times for 26 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown after the defense forced a Trent Richardson fumble late in the third quarter.
Cody Parkey, in his second NFL regular season game, kicked a 36-yard field goal to win it seconds after his first attempt was blown dead by a late Colts timeout. The attempt to ice the kid didn't work.
That's how hot the Eagles were in the comeback.
"We're 2-0 and that's what it means," said safety Malcolm Jenkins, who stepped up with a fourth-quarter interception to thwart a Colts drive and give the Eagles life, trailing 27-20 in the fourth quarter. "This team has a lot of character. That's very evident. You come together quickly when you face the adversity we've had In the first two games. We're going to keep battling and working together and fighting."
It was a brilliant win against a very good Colts team that dropped to 0-2 (it is the first time Luck has lost consecutive games since his sophomore year at Stanford). The Eagles have a short week to prepare for an NFC East rival, Washington, on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, but several things stood out in the wee hours of Tuesday morning as the Eagles flew home from Indianapolis.
- The offense isn't going to slow down, no matter who is playing up front. Right tackle Andrew Gardner was largely left alone in his blocking assignments and held up well, and left guard Dennis Kelly did a solid job inside against the massive Colts defensive interior, one of the biggest groups the Eagles will see all season. Despite the new offensive line that played for the first time together, the Eagles rolled to 458 total net yards and 24 first downs.
- Darren Sproles is special, and we saw him unleashed in the screen game on Monday night. He's so tough to cover, so tough for a defense to see and clearly is very difficult to tackle. Sproles was targeted seven times in the passing game and had seven receptions for 152 yards. He is the safety outlet for quarterback Nick Foles, and he's going to have a huge season in this offense.
- Foles wasn't perfect by any means, but he was cool, calm and collected to earn his second fourth-quarter comeback victory (the first was in his rookie season, at Tampa Bay). Foles completed 21-of-37 passes for 331 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Who really cares about numbers anymore, right? Foles had some pressure in the pocket, he missed a receiver or two, but he never flinched as the Eagles came back to win with 10 points in the fourth quarter.
- Indianapolis ran the football very well in the first half, using some "big" personnel and playing power football running at the right side of the Eagles' defense, using two offensive tackles on one side of the line of scrimmage. It was effective for the Colts until the Eagles figured out a way to stop the ground game.
"We made the adjustments on the sidelines during the course of the game and the guys really responded," said defensive coordinator Bill Davis. "We weren't surprised they ran because Pep (Hamilton, Colts offensive coordinator) was there at Stanford with Andrew Luck and when they played Oregon they used that quite a bit."
- Jenkins is making a difference, isn't he? He had six tackles, the big interception and two passes defensed and has really pulled the secondary together. The Eagles had quite a few chances to intercept Luck, and when Jenkins finally did, the momentum was squarely in favor of Philadelphia.
- Defenses seem to come into games against the Eagles intent on limiting LeSean McCoy, and it's been reasonably effective. McCoy had 79 yards on 20 carries and has 153 yards on 43 carries in two games (3.7-yard-per-carry average). He's running well, though. It's only a matter of time before he finds some consistent running room. In the meantime, Foles has 653 passing yards and is averaging a healthy 8.0 yards per pass attempt.
- Let's recap the final drive that produced Parkey's game-winning field goal. The Eagles had the ball at their 40-yard line with 1 minute, 56 seconds remaining and two timeouts to use. Kelly really uses his timeouts well, by the way. On first down, Foles saw that he had tight end Zach Ertz matched up on the left side of the formation against a linebacker and went to the second-year man for a 24-yard gain to the Colts 36-yard line. The Colts called timeout. Then Foles threw right with an easy pitch-and-catch screen to Sproles, who ran 17 yards to the Indianapolis 19-yard line. With the clock winding down, McCoy gained one yard on a run. The Eagles called their second timeout. Parkey then kicked a 36-yard field goal and players and coaches flooded the field. Waaaaaaiiiiitttttt a minute! The officials said that Indianapolis called time, and Parkey lined up for another kick. He was perfect again, and the Eagles captured the thriller.
"A great win and now we get ready for Washington," said linebacker Connor Barwin. "We need to start faster, we know that, but it's great knowing how much fight this team has. We're not going to give an inch. We're going to keep coming and coming."