Philadelphia Eagles News

What A Win! A Chronicle Of Victory ...

MINNEAPOLIS --It was not easy, and it's not supposed to be a cakewalk in the playoffs. The Eagles went back and forth with Minnesota for three quarters and then pulled away in the fourth quarter Sunday in an exhilarating Wild Card playoff win at the Metrodome. Here is how I saw the game from the comfort of the press box ...

  • A big play on special teams, a DeSean Jackson 62-yard punt return, set up a David Akers field goal, and then a 27-yard Correll Buckhalter run set up another Akers field goal, a 51-yarder, that was an Eagles playoff record.
  • Minnesota is very tough up front, even without tackle Pat Williams and end Ray Edwards. They are stacking the line of scrimmage and putting a lot of pressure on the offense.
  • The Eagles after one quarter: 9 passing attempts (including a sack) and 5 running attempts. Tough sledding so far.
  • Really nice block by Nick Cole on the Buckhalter big run.
  • The Eagles are stacking the line of scrimmage and going after quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. I smell an interception or three.
  • Good start against Adrian Peterson, but he is the kind of back who goes 70 yards in a blink. To this point, though, I think the big hit from Brian Dawkins on Peterson is keeping the star back off the field just a little bit. He has to be groggy.
  • Quintin Mikell is having a terrific start to this game, but I wanted to see him with an interception in the first quarter.
  • The crowd here is very loud. The dome makes it really tough on the visiting team.
  • Minnesota has done a nice job on third downs so far. They are 5 of 7 early in the second quarter, having just converted a third-and-2 play in Eagles territory. Peterson's run for the touchdown was just something he does. Great player. Poor defense. The defense is not playing well right now.
  • Interesting stat: Prior to Peterson's 40-yard touchdown run, the longest run the Eagles defense allowed this season was 27 yards. All season. Sixteen games.
  • Minnesota is crowding the line of scrimmage. I don't know how well the Eagles can run the ball in this game. I expect to see a lot of three-step drops from the Eagles here.
  • Beautiful throw from McNabb to Jackson down the right sideline. And an equally nice catch by Jackson, who blew past the cornerback with the safety help coming too late. The Eagles took advantage of the absence of safety Darren Sharper there.
  • No touchdowns. All field goals. The Eagles need touchdowns to win this game, don't they?
  • Anybody have any questions about why the Eagles went after cornerback Asante Samuel so hard? Any doubters? He timed the Jackson throw to Sidney Rice just perfectly on the sidelines and then returned it 44 yards for a touchdown. Big-play maker in big games. Good pressure from Trent Cole on the play and Samuel broke on the pass before it came out of Jackson's hand. Nice block from Chris Clemons on Jackson, too. Bogus penalty on excessive celebration in end zone, by the way. Samuel has four interception returns for touchdowns in the post-season, an NFL record.
  • Injury update: Darren Sharper has an injured ankle and his return is questionable. If he can't play, that would be a big blow for the Vikings secondary.
  • Minnesota deserves credit for its drive immediately after the Samuel TD return. The Vikings are moving the ball much more effectively than I expected. It's been frustrating to watch the Eagles on defense so far, other than the Samuel interception.
  • I hated the play call on third and 1 at the end of the first half. Hated it. Why throw down the field for Kevin Curtis? The Eagles were at midfield with one timeout remaining and a minute-plus on the clock. Keep the driving moving. The Vikings were in an all-out blitz and Curtis had single coverage, but, geez ....
  • Lousy start to the second half. Brad Childress called some plays to stunt the Eagles' blitz. I say that is a product of knowing what Johnson wanted to do to get the defense off the field.
  • OK, so it wasn't *lousy *on that first Minnesota offensive drive, but I'm getting nervous here. It's the second half. It's a two-point game. And the Eagles are backed up to the 5-yard line to start offensively in the second half.
  • Brent Celek had a nice drive as the Eagles moved the ball after taking over on the 5-yard line. The running game is going nowhere. Why isn't Buckhalter playing?
  • Vikings ball at their 10-yard line with 3:41 to go in the third quarter. Huge. This drive sets up everything. The Eagles need a three-and-out series on defense.
  • Huge play from Chris Gocong on third down.
  • And another nice punt return from Jackson, a 30-yarder. Eagles ball on the Vikings 40-yard line with 1:31 to go in the quarter. Give me an Eagles touchdown right here and let's go win the fourth quarter.
  • The offense can't get anything going. Jared Allen beat Tra Thomas and forced a fumble that Minnesota recovered at its 46-yard line. Ugh ...
  • Dan Klecko has a shoulder strain and is questionable to return. Forty-four seconds to go in the third quarter. The Eagles have no momentum at all in this game.
  • Big challenge here by Childress. I think he wins this challenge and the Eagles take over on their 4-yard line, rather than the 20-yard line after what the officials ruled was a touchback.
  • First down, 4-yard line. Oh, boy. It's unbelievably noisy here.
  • Clutch catch by Jason Avant. Four of his 5 catches so far have gone for first downs.
  • Clock is under 10 minutes. Third and 7 for the Eagles at their 46-yard line. Crowd is crazy here. Too much pressure on McNabb.
  • Nine minutes, 10 seconds remaining and the Vikings have the ball on their 19-yard line after a good Sav Rocca punt. Again, this moment is on the defense. Need a three-and-out series and then good field position. One touchdown and the Eagles win this game.
  • Who doesn't feel like throwing up now? So much pressure and tension. Sheldon Brown, oh boy. OK, get the next one. Very good defensive series by the Eagles.
  • Six minutes, 53 seconds left and the Eagles have the ball at their 29-yard line. Touchdown for the Eagles and it's over. Touchdown. Touchdown. Touchdown.
  • Westbrook has 14 carries for 18 yards.
  • NOW we're talking! Great set up and execution of a screen pass for a 71-yard catch and run by Westbrook, who has 3 catches for 83 yards. Buckhalter lined up at fullback and the Eagles did it right. Nick Cole made a crucial block. So did Jamaal Jackson. So did Kevin Curtis and Jackson down the field and, yeah baby, just like that the Eagles lead 23-14 and the clock is ticking.
  • The defense is pinning its ears back now. Chris Clemons, who is coming on every week, nearly had a sack and Dawkins nearly had an interception and oh, just keep this clock winding down. Six minutes, 7 seconds left. The Eagles have a first down at their 26-yard line. Pockets of fans are leaving. I love this.
  • Dumb penalty by Akeem Jorddan, but I would also say that the personal foul call was a bit random. No need to even touch Jackson at this point. Clock at 3:24 now ...
  • Ballgame!! Juqua Parker recovered the Jackson fumble and, well, it's over. All over but the shouting, as they say. Just for good measure, the Eagles fashioned a first down offensively on a sweet completion to Celek, who has 6 catches for 56 yards. Excellent game from that young man, his best in the NFL considering the circumstances.
  • Time to go down to the field. Can't wait to see the Eagles fans! They are chanting loud and proud as the Vikings fans stream to the exits.
  • I lied. I'm still here. And I've posted an "Eagles win" story at the two-minute warning. Not what a superstitious person does ...
  • Akers is so money right now. OK, now it's time to go down to the field.
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