Cornerback Ronald Darby had the toughest time, in the craziness of the postgame locker room scene at Lincoln Financial Field, finding his shoes. Surely he wasn't going to walk out without them. They weren't in his equipment bag, in his stall, anywhere.
"Let's do this," he said. "I'll find them."
It's been that kind of year for Darby, who was traded by Buffalo to Philadelphia, injured in his first regular-season game, sidelined for nine weeks, and then up-and-down and all around like a roller coaster in the last six games.
But here Darby stood after intercepting a Derek Carr pass with 57 seconds remaining in Monday's game, the fourth defensive takeaway for the Eagles on a night the offense went cold. Darby's interception, his third of the season, put the offense in favorable field position and quarterback Nick Foles drove the Eagles 21 yards in six plays to set up Jake Elliott for the field goal to give the Eagles the lead in the 19-10 victory.
"Adversity. It's one of the craziest years I've ever had as a football player and I've been playing since I was 8 (years old)," Darby said. "Being traded, getting hurt first week, sitting out two months. It almost felt like I was coming back off the couch. It was just a lot."
Darby played the Carr pass, intended for Amari Cooper, absolutely perfectly. He had inside position and got a clean break on the football and made the catch. It was nice redemption for a poor performance against the Giants, after which Darby took to Twitter to take exception to those who criticized his performance.
Consider it a lesson learned. Darby admitted that he "downplayed" the quality of the Giants' receivers and "it came back to bite me in my (butt)."
Darby said he played "like trash" against the Giants. He certainly stepped it up against the Raiders.
"I played it perfect. I got my eyes on the ball and I was telling myself, 'If I get my hands on the ball, I'm catching it.' That's what I've been working on," Darby said. "I saw that opportunity there. It was all or nothing. If I had dropped it, I would have been in here like last week, mad at myself."
As Darby got ready to leave, shoes on finally and eyes twinkling, he was in a much better place than after that game against the Giants.
"I feel good," he said. "First-round bye. Every game at home where we can play in front of the fans. Everybody has to come to us. We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish at the end of the day. I'm glad I was able to contribute."
The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Oakland Raiders, 19-10. This win clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.