Are the Philadelphia Eagles the Luckiest 2-0 Team Ever?
In beating the Baltimore Ravens by the final of 24-23 Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles became the first NFL team in history to win each of its first two games by a single point. It's an achievement, in theory, that can't be bested.
But does that fact make the Eagles the "luckiest" 2-0 team in NFL history?
Not a chance.
First, we must define what would make a football team lucky.
The official definition of luck, as stated by Google:
"Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions."
That definition would assume that the Eagles have won their first two games because of random chance, rather than Philadelphia actually winning games by its own actions.
Using that mindset, the 2012 Eagles are far from the "luckiest" 2-0 team in NFL history.
For starters, calling the Eagles lucky would overlook the fact that their defense has played surprisingly well in 2012, allowing the fourth-fewest yards and eighth-fewest points through two games.
While part of that was facing an overmatched Cleveland Browns offense in Week 1, luck doesn't explain how the Eagles held the Ravens offense to just six second-half points as Philadelphia completed its inspired comeback.
The Ravens scored 44 points in their Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, including 27 in the second half.
The Eagles simply have a talented, attacking defense that makes life very, very difficult on opposing quarterbacks. In neither game, Cleveland nor Baltimore, was the Eagles' defense overmatched in talent or execution. In fact, quite the opposite was true.
Overall, the offense has actually made things much more difficult on the defense by turning the ball over.
Speaking of offense, luck also doesn't explain how Michael Vick has led the Eagles on game-winning drives under two minutes in each of the first two games, including a 10-play, 80-yard marathon Sunday against what many consider to be one of the NFL's best defenses.
Are the Philadelphia Eagles 2-0 to start the 2012 season more because of luck or talent?
The Ravens simply didn't have an answer as Vick willed the Eagles down the field.
Maybe luck would have come into play had Vick actually fumbled inside the 10-yard line on the final drive (the initial call was a fumble, but the replay showed Vick's arm was going forward) and the Eagles still kept the ball.
That wasn't the case.
Philadelphia didn't even need the roughing the passer call on a second-and-14 play on the final drive, as Vick had already found tight end Clay Harbor for a 19-yard gain. The Eagles would have still been on the six-yard line with a first-and-goal had the penalty not been called.
I know the two arguments you're thinking of right now. What about the dropped interception in Cleveland and the offensive pass interference against Baltimore?
Maybe Browns undrafted free agent linebacker L.J. Fort should have picked off Vick in the end zone during Week 1's rally, but it was a tough, over-the-head catch for a rookie linebacker who was spinning around to make the play. Trained receivers drop this very play every week in the NFL.
The offensive pass interference call was also ticky-tack, but by the book, it wasn't a terrible call. Jones extends his arms and makes contact with cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha high. The action didn't create the touchdown, but the ref was in perfect position to make his decision.
For the most part, this is a football team that has overcome its own self-inflicted wounds—including an NFL-high nine turnovers—and a myriad of injuries across the offensive line to become one of just five teams (a sixth will be added Monday night) to start the season 2-0.
Luck is always in the equation when it comes to sports, but the Eagles have simply had the talent on both sides of the ball to overcome what has ailed them through two games.
You'll sometime hear the old saying, "It's better to be lucky than good." Through two games in Philadelphia, it's far better to be good than lucky.
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