The Philadelphia Eagles extended their winning streak to five games in the snow in Week 14, battling back from 14 points down to beat the Detroit Lions, 34-20, in a pivotal NFC clash.
Fly Eagles Fly...in the snow. LeSean McCoy rushes for a career-high 217 Yds, 2 TD as PHI beats DET, 34-20. pic.twitter.com/XPdLaicIw2— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 8, 2013
LeSean McCoy rushed for a career-high 217 yards to power the Eagles past the turnover-prone Lions. With the win, Philadelphia keeps the pressure on the Dallas Cowboys, who can retake the NFC East lead with a win in Chicago on Monday night against the Bears.
On the other hand, Detroit's loss keeps the door open for Chicago and Green Bay in the NFC North.
The inclement weather was the star in Philadelphia on Sunday, as thick, fast-falling snow blanketed Lincoln Financial Field and made for some tricky playing conditions to say the least.
The weather made an impact early on as Detroit's Joique Bell fumbled on the game's first threatening drive. Bell lost the ball again on the Lions' very next possession to put Detroit in an early hole in the turnover department. What's more, the fumble once again came deep in Eagles territory.
NFL Films could do an entire “Football Follies” on this Lions-Eagles game.— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) December 8, 2013
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford talked about the conditions afterward:
Stafford: “It was a little icy in the second (half) but there is no excuse. We had opportunity to make plays and we didn’t make them.”— Detroit Lions (@DetroitLionsNFL) December 8, 2013
However, Philadelphia wasn't able to capitalize on Detroit's mistakes early on, going three and out on its first three possessions before Nick Foles threw his first interception of the season early in the second quarter.
The second-year signal-caller had began the season with 19 touchdowns passes and zero picks prior to that errant throw.
Foles spoke about the interception after the game and was sure to point out he wasn't concerned about his impressive streak coming to an end:
Nick Foles: It's an interception. I couldn't wait to get back on the field and make a big play to show everyone how I respond. #FlyEaglesFly— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 8, 2013
Nick Foles: When you play the game of football, you're in the zone. You don't pay attention to the streaks.— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 8, 2013
The Lions took advantage of the excellent field position and scored on a two-yard touchdown run from Bell five plays later. With the snow continuing to fall, the Lions attempted a two-point conversion and succeeded when Stafford connected with Bell to make it 8-0 Detroit.
Philadelphia's poor play on offense continued the rest of the first half, as the Eagles' only promising drive ended with them turning it over on downs deep in Lions' territory moments before halftime.
The most explosive play of the game would come midway through the third quarter, when Detroit's Jeremy Ross returned a Philadelphia punt 58 yards for a touchdown. The Lions led 14-0 after their two-point conversion attempt failed.
Sensing that the game was starting to get away, Foles and the Eagles offense finally began developing a rhythm on the very next possession, covering 74 yards in five plays and scoring on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Foles to DeSean Jackson to pull within eight points at 14-6.
Philly failed on the two-point conversion; however, McCoy broke free for a 40-yard touchdown run on the Eagles' very next possession to make up for it.
A Lions penalty on the ensuing two-point conversion try gave the Eagles a second crack at the end zone to tie the game. Bryce Brown took full advantage, breaking the plane to draw Philly level at 14-14.
But Ross only needed eight seconds to put Detroit back on top as he returned the kickoff 98 yards to the house.
David Akers' missed extra point kept it a six-point game at 20-14. However, the big plays wouldn't end there.
McCoy took advantage of the challenging conditions and sloppy field to shake loose for a 57-yard rushing touchdown on the Eagles' ensuing possession. Foles found Riley Cooper on the two-point conversation attempt to give Philadelphia its first lead of the game at 22-20.
Following the game, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz acknowledged his team's struggles stopping the run:
Schwartz: “Our defense couldn’t stop the run and our offense couldn’t get anything done.” #DETvsPHI— Detroit Lions (@DetroitLionsNFL) December 8, 2013
The Eagles began piling it on at that point, and Detroit had no answer for Philadelphia's ground attack and continued to shoot itself in the foot with turnovers.
Eagles have run for 227 yards in fourth quarter. Lions have zero. Wow.— Eric Karabell (@karabellespn) December 8, 2013
Philadelphia scored touchdowns on four consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Key Player Grades
Jeremy Ross, KR, Detroit Lions: A+
If not for explosive return man Jeremy Ross, Detroit would have likely been blown out on the road on Sunday. Ross took not one, but two kicks back for touchdowns, accounting for 12 of Detroit's 20 points.
Ross finished with 243 total return yards on six attempts.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: A+
LeSean McCoy took a little while to get going, but when he did, there was no stopping him. Shady was fantastic in the second half, ripping off big run after big run en route to a career day on the ground.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions: C-
To be fair, Stafford didn't get much help from his running game. Still, there's no ignoring the fact that Detroit's signal-caller struggles in the snow. Stafford fumbled late in the fourth quarter and completed just 10 of 25 passes for 148 yards and zero touchdowns.
Stafford was only able to find Calvin Johnson three times for 49 yards.
Philadelphia won't have too much time to celebrate the win, as it is set to face the Minnesota Vikings on the road next weekend.
Meanwhile, Detroit will hop on the plane and head back home to gear up for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15. The good news is that the Lions will have an extra day to prepare for the defending Super Bowl champions with their matchup scheduled for Monday night.
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