Eight inches of snow enveloped Lincoln Financial Field during the course of Sunday's huge game against Detroit and the Eagles slogged through the wintry conditions through the first half, trailing 8-0 and unable to find the spark to turn the game around.
It was 14-0 midway through the third quarter after Detroit's Jeremy Ross returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown and, well, maybe it was going to be one of those days to forget.
Then again, maybe not. The Eagles found a spark -- a 44-yard Nick Foles completion to a twisting, turning Riley Cooper could have been it -- and then went off, outscoring the Lions 34-6 the rest of the way, piling up 388 total net yards in the second half (371 of them after the Ross punt return) and watching running back LeSean McCoy rush for a franchise-record 217 yards (Steve Van Buren rushed for 205 yards in 1949) and two touchdowns on 29 carries.
Remarkable, in every way.
"I've never played in these kinds of conditions. It was the worst for me," said McCoy, smiling. "Also the best."
McCoy was unstoppable, taking control of the game with his north-south running after the Eagles coaching staff bailed on the perimeter offense. The offense had minus-2 yards in the first quarter and only 90 in the first half -- 74 of which came on the final drive of the first half -- and then the offense made adjustments, the offensive line destroyed Detroit's vaunted front four and McCoy and his backfield mates Bryce Brown (6 carries, 19 yards, 2-point conversion) and Chris Polk (4 carries, 50 yards, 38-yard touchdown run) did the rest.
There is credit to go around, and around, and around. The defense limited Detroit to 20 points, the ninth straight game the defense has allowed 21 points or fewer. All-World wide receiver Calvin Johnson caught just 3 passes for 49 yards. Quarterback Matthew Stafford fumbled five times, losing one at a critical time in the fourth quarter. The coaching adjustments, lauded on the offensive side, were just as critical on the defensive side of the ball.
As for the offense, well, it was amazing how the Eagles turned it on. Trailing 14-6 the Eagles went 80 yards in 4 plays, the clincher a 40-yard McCoy run 26 seconds into the fourth quarter. Brown converted the 2-point conversion to tie the game at 14-14.
But Jeremy Ross, who had a fantastic game returning kicks for Detroit, busted a 98-yard kickoff return up the gut to give Detroit a 20-14 lead. Bennie Logan blocked the David Akers PAT, which turned out to be important.
The Eagles were not nearly finished with their offensive assault. McCoy came back on the next drive and scored on a 57-yard run and the Eagles converted the 2-point play to lead, 22-20.
Then it was a matter of finishing business, something the Eagles had struggled to do in recent wins. Not this time. As the team roared to its fifth straight win (the first five-game winning streak since the 2009 season), Foles scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak to cap a 7-play, 71 yards drive to go ahead 34-20, and then Polk burst between the tackles for 38 yards and a score to ice the win.
The Eagles are 8-5 now, and anything is possible. They believe in each other and they have proven their mettle with some late-game wins.
And as long as the Eagles can run the football, and they can behind a strong offensive line with a deep and talented group of back led by McCoy, who is going to some day very soon own every franchise record for running the football, the offense can score points in the final three regular-season games.
Sunday was just a memorable, amazing, fantastic and fun day. The snow came down in buckets after a pre-game forecast of some light precipitation midway through the afternoon, intensifying later in the day. In fact, the opposite was true. It was awful from the start. The ball slipped out of hands, visibility was low and all of a sudden Detroit held a 14-0 lead in the third quarter and things did not look good for the Eagles.
Showing more high character, the Eagles were undaunted. They turned the tables on Detroit and rolled with one of the most incredible fourth quarters in the history of this football team.
Now the stretch run moves to Minnesota, which lost superstar running back Adrian Peterson to a sprained foot in Sunday's loss in Baltimore. The Eagles will be watching Monday night's game at Chicago intently, as a Cowboys loss moves the Eagles into sole possession of first place in the division.
In the meantime, we're going to savor this victory. The Eagles showed a lot, and as Davis stood on the field prior to kickoff, little did he know what he was able to witness.
The beat goes on. The Eagles have handled every obstacle thrown their way this season with confidence and trust and the approach has paid off handsomely.
"It's what we all believe," said Foles, who threw an interception on his fifth pass, ending his streak at 237 of consecutive passes thrown without an interception. "It's knowing that somebody is going to step up and make a big play. We're playing that kind of football, team football. That's why we're winning games."