The Bucs had to lose—at home—to the Oakland Raiders, the Bears or the Vikings would have to lose and finally, the Eagles would have to beat a Cowboys team that would be as desperate as their opponents.
And once those pieces fell into place, the Eagles made sure there was no way they would miss the opportunity. In trouncing the favored Cowboys 44-6 in a game that was as bad as the score shows, Philly proved it is never over ‘till it’s over.
Much of the credit should go to the Eagles’ D for pressuring Tony Romo constantly and creating points off turnovers deep in their own territory. Also, this will not be said much around the talk shows, but Andy Reid’s play calling on offense was great, mixing run and pass plays (36 and 21 respectively).
Now the Eagles must travel to Minnesota and face the Vikings for the first round of the playoffs.
Now, here are some more observations from more games around the league.
- Sticking with the Eagles-‘Boys game, do you really think Jerry Jones will stick with his statement that Wade Phillips is safe? Really? After this debacle? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he will do a 180 and find one (or more) scapegoats.
- How ‘bout them Lions? Okay, I won’t beat on a team on its worst time, and that’s saying something considering the Lions’ recent history, but think about it, a 0-16 finish isn’t as bad as a 2-14 record. No, really, think about, every year it seems a team finishes 2-14 (I’m looking at you Herm) but it doesn’t really bring change, but a 0-fer? Now that will bring change, and that is a good thing for the Lions. Also, this was as bad as you can get right? This is rock bottom, so to all Lion’s fans, it’s all uphill from here, smile.
- That was scary stuff seeing Ben Roethlisberger lying on the turf for as long as he did, in a meaningless game to boot. It’s great to hear he will be well, it would be a shame for the Steelers to lose such an important player heading into the playoffs in a game where it seemed as if the Browns couldn’t even beat the Steelers’ third stringers.
- Speaking of the Browns, I do not agree at all with their decision to fire Phil Savage. One 10-6 year and you think you are the elite of the league? And you fire your GM moments after a 4-12 season? That’s a panic move that shouldn’t have been made; it is stuff like this that can derail a team going in the right direction.
- It must feel horrible to be a Patriots fan watching the Sunday Night game; an 8-8 or 9-7 team will make the playoffs while their 11-5 Pats will sit at home and watch. And congratulations to Matt Cassel for stepping into arguably the hardest QB spot in the league and improving week after week. I guess college is overrated.
- 16 yards, that’s how much Drew Brees needed to pass Dan Marino’s single-season record and his last second pass fell just short of a wide open receiver, a microcosm of the Saints season, almost, but not quite. Saints fans are nodding in disappointment.
- I will, however, dedicate one paragraph to the Buccaneers. They were 9-3 at one point, looking like Super Bowl contenders, then they lost four games and will be on the outside looking in. And losing four games isn’t the worst part, it’s how they lost it.
The last two games in particular were back breakers, the loss to the Chargers was humiliating but it wasn’t anything compared to the loss to the Raiders. The team’s identity, their tough defense, was run over, literally. From their Sunday Night matchup against Carolina, they couldn’t stop the run, and that was their demise.
- The worst part for the Bucs may not have been their loss to the Raiders, but the loss of Carnell “Cadillac” Williams to another knee injury, this time the other one. It was really heart wrenching to hear that doctors fear he has a torn tendon, horrible news.
- Congratulations to Mike Singletary for the way he took a once deadbeat team and took it to a respectable 7-9 finish (hey, the way the Niners have been the last few years, 7-9 is very respectable).
- If you think LaDanian Tomlinson has lost it, you clearly didn’t see him against the Broncos. He was explosive, running strong and determined, but then against, you could say that about every Chargers player. Congrats to the Chargers on pulling the near impossible.
Bring on the playoffs, and to everyone I wish you a very happy new year.