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Exhale!! Eagles At 6-5 And Rolling

In the course of a remarkable afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field in front of a rabid crowd hungry for a victory after 10 consecutive home defeats, the Eagles raced out to a 24-0 lead and then held, thanks to the Brandon Boykin interception in the end zone, to win a 24-16 decision for their third straight victory and one that gives them a 6-5 record and first place in the NFC East.

A bye week couldn't have come at a better time for the Eagles, who are banged up and bruised and despite missing three defensive starters contained Washington's powerful offense just enough to capture the win.

"It feels great," said wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who had 4 catches for 80 yards. "It's all coming together. We've all accepted our roles and we're doing what Chip (Kelly, head coach) asks us to do. You're seeing a team that is working together as a team. It's a great time for us."

It wasn't easy against the Redskins, although for three-plus quarters the Eagles were cruising. As they did in the season-opening win at FedEx Field, the Eagles raced out to a big lead, this time 24-0, and hung on for dear life to complete the season sweep.

What happened on Sunday? Well, the Eagles put together a great three quarters, leading by 24 points and making Lincoln Financial Field a party spot. The fans, who had not enjoyed a win since September, 2012, were clearly rocking and reveling in the experience.

And then ...

Griffin threw a pass to fullback Darrel Young, and he turned it into a 62-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Washington converted the two-point conversion to make it 24-8. No biggie. Not yet.

Washington took another possession 85 yards in seven plays in less than three minutes and scored on a Griffin pass to Aldrick Robinson from 41 yards out and made the two-point conversion on Griffin's quarterback draw and, gulp, with 5 minutes, 57 seconds left to go, the Eagles' lead was down to 24-16.

The Eagles had a three-and-out series on offense, and then Donnie Jones (who averaged 50.7 yards per punt in both gross average and net average) did his part, rocketing a 70-yard punt that went out of bounds at the Washington 4-yard line. From there, it was hold-on-to-your-seat time as Washington used 15 plays to drive from its 4-yard line to the Philadelphia 18-yard line. With 40 seconds to play, Fletcher Cox pressured up the gut on Griffin, who threw a pass up for grabs in the middle of the end zone. Boykin grabbed it and Lincoln Financial Field erupted.

Here are the Eagles, then, at 6-5 and leading the NFC East. They won on Sunday despite missing three defensive starters. They swept the Redskins and virtually knocked Washington (now 3-7) out of the race in the NFC East.

It's been a fascinating rush to 6-5. Nick Foles had another efficient day at quarterback, completing 17 of 26 passes for 298 yards. He ran 9 times for 57 yards and scored on a 4-yard touchdown. Foles didn't throw an interception, once again, and compiled a passer rating of 104.3. Outstanding.

LeSean McCoy carried 20 times for 77 yards and a pair of scores. The Eagles threw four screen passes and completed all four for 77 yards.

Meanwhile, the defense dominated the Redskins. Linebacker Trent Cole picked up a pair of sacks and was outstanding all day. Connor Barwin ended a Washington drive in the red zone with a sack and forced fumble that Fletcher Cox recovered. Cornerback Roc Carmichael ended a drive by knocking a pass away from wide receiver Santana Moss. Cox and Bennie Logan led the charge at the line of scrimmage.

The Eagles gave up a lot of yards, but many of them came late and, ultimately, those yards led to only 16 points. It was the seventh straight game in which the Eagles allowed 20 points or fewer, a terrific defensive turnaround after some rocky early times.

This is a team that has gone from the rebuilding phase to the "believing" phase. The Eagles have trust in one another and in the system and in the idea that they are playing meaningful games in December.

The bye week comes and we'll reflect on the 11 games played to date in the days ahead. One thing is for certain right now: The Eagles are on the rise. There is no denying that. They've rallied from a 1-3 start and then a 3-5 sag and they sit atop the NFC East, as damaged as it may be. There is a lot of football to go, and we know that, so it's going to be telling how this young team responds to pressure in the weeks ahead.

The playoffs are here, in a sense. And the Eagles are in the thick of the picture in the NFC East and in the NFC.

"We're all having a lot of fun," said Boykin, who has been outstanding in his versatile role as a nickel cornerback, return man and special teams ace in coverage. "You get a taste of winning and it becomes contagious. I think we're feeling it a little bit right now."

Who isn't? This team is fun, fun, fun and Chip Kelly is in love with a roster that is full of energy and vim and vigor, not to mention a ton of emerging talent.

The Eagles won one at home on Sunday, and we can now forget all about the troubles at Lincoln Financial Field. It took some doing, and it was nerve-wracking, but a win is a win is a win, and the Eagles have three of 'em in a row and are feeling the good vibe heading into the bye week.

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