The Eagles Have Some Thanks to Give Out Heading into the Playoffs

Ryan CallahanAnalyst IDecember 31, 2008

Let's be honest, the Eagles were very lucky to make the playoffs this year. With a 10-3 loss to the Redskins in Week 16, many people wrote them off. They needed to beat the Cowboys, have the Raiders beat the Bucs, and have either the Bears or Vikings lose. Well, the Raiders beat the Bucs, and the Texans beat the Bears and now the Eagles are playoff bound.

But some people deserve some thank you's from the Eagles for allowing our trip to the playoffs happen. So here is a list of players that were not on field for the Cowboys' turnover fest and the Eagles' blowout victory Sunday night, but still greatly helped the Eagles make the playoffs.

1. Shayne Graham- The Cincinnati Bengals' kicker missed a field goal at the end of the Eagles–Bengals tie earlier this season. If Graham had made the field goal, the Eagles would not be going to the playoffs because that tie would have been a loss.

2. Monte Kiffin- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive coordinator proudly announced midseason that he would be leaving after this season to go coach with his son Lane Kiffin at his new job for the Tennessee Volunteers.

His defense suffered after that decision, part of the reason for the Bucs collapse from 9-3 and contender for a bye, to 9-7 out of the playoffs. The Bucs' defense allowed 30 or more points three times in the final four games, a feat they performed zero times the rest of the season.

3. Michael Bush- The Raiders' third-string running back came into the game after Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas were out with injuries. I would say he filled in nicely.

He had 27 carries for 177 yards and two touchdowns. He had a 6.6 average yard per rush. His totals for the season prior to Week 17 were 242 yards and one touchdown. Bush gained 129 yards on 13 attempts in the fourth quarter to help ice the game. He stepped up valiantly to help the Eagles make the playoffs.

4. Andre Johnson- The Houston Texans' wideout had another big game in Week 17, catching 10 balls for 148 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first two-touchdown game of the season as he destroyed the Chicago Bears' defense en route to a victory for the Texans.

5. Ryan Moats- The former Eagles running back now plays for the Texans. And he still came up big for the Eagles despite not being on the field for their win Sunday. He racked up 50 total yards and a touchdown, gaining more yards in Week 17 than the rest of the season combined.

6. Al Davis- The Raiders' owner missed his first game since 1979, and his Raiders won! I sense there is a strong correlation between the absence of the sea monster and his team's stellar play.

7. Rashad Baker- The Raiders' safety came up with a big interception off Jeff Garcia. Baker followed Garcia's eyes the whole play and knew exactly where the ball was going when it left Garcia's hand.

Thanks to everyone that helped out, you are now all named Honorary Eagles. Be proud of your new titles, and have fun golfing in the offseason while the Eagles move on to the playoffs. Hope to see you in Week 17 next season, because we all know the Eagles never make getting to the playoffs easy!