Philadelphia, PA (AP) - The Eagles jump out to a huge lead and hold on after a second half surge by New England to remain perfect on the year, beating the Pats in a 43-36 shootout. Offense cerrtainly wasn't an issue in what many believe was a preview of what's to come in the Super Bowl at the end of the season. The Eagles and Patriots combined for 750 yards of total offense.
In the end, it was Philadelphia's big first half lead that just proved to be too much for New England to overcome, as the Eagles defense made the plays when they needed to in the fourth quarter.
"Defensively, we definitely have some things to correct," admitted Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid. "Now, they have a pretty good quarterback that's made a lot of late game drives happen. If we are to meet up again, we've got to do better than we did today. It was more a matter of them running out of time than us stopping them."
|VIDEO HIGHLIGHT: McCoy's huge 75 yard TD run in the third quarter was just part of a big game on the ground for the NFL's leading rusher.|
Philadelphia's rushing attack really took center stage in this one, after taking a back seat the last few weeks as Michael Vick went wild with the passing game. This was LeSean McCoy's day, however, as the halfback gashed the Pats rushing defense time and time again for 210 yards on 28 carries.
"Give credit to the big guys up front," said McCoy after the game. "I have to take them out for some steaks or something. They opened up some huge holes and gave me a lot of great openings to bust through. Without their effort, I wouldn't have had nearly as good a game."
There were no shortage of big plays in this game, and that was what helped get Philadelphia on the board first. Both teams exchanged three-and-out drives to start the game. But, on Philly's second possession, it took just three plays to get into the endzone. It started at Philadelphia's 44 yard line with a 12 yard run by McCoy and a 15 yard face mask penalty added on. After a short pass play to Celek, Vick connected on a 29 yard pass to Jeremy Maclin for the early 7-0 lead.
|Maclin's catch along the sideline helped set up a TD to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead.|
The Birds didn't waste much time putting another touchdown on the scoreboard. Philly's defense stopped the Patriots again on a three-and-out. Then, the Eagles went on a 5 play, 55 yard drive that utilized the air attack once again. Vick was 3-3 for 54 yards on the drive, hitting DeSean Jackson for a 13 yard strike to cap the drive.
"Guys were getting wide open early," said Vick. "It was almost like pitch and catch out there at times. When you have guys like DeSean and Jeremy running all over the place making plays and getting open, it makes my job a whole lot easier."
New England finally got its offense going late in the first quarter. The Pats went on a 7 play, 80 yard drive to cut the defiicit in half. The Eagles actually had a chance to get off the field with a third and four at their own 48 yard line, and they stuffed Woodhead on the run. But, a face mask penalty gave the Patriots a first down, and they would eventually take advantage. Quarterback Tom Brady hit Chad Ochocinco for a 30 yard touchdown.
In the second quarter, the Eagles would turn great defense into quick offense. On New England's first play in the quarter, Brady threw a pass that was picked off by Nnamdi Asomugha, who would scamper 40 yards down the sideline for the pick 6 and a 21-7 lead.
|VIDEO HIGHLIGHT: Asomugha intercepts Brady for a pick 6 the other way.|
After three-yard touchdown run by McCoy gave Philly a 28-7 advantage, the defense would again make a play to score some points. With less than a minute left, Brady was sacked at his own one yard line, setting up a Danny Woodhead run snuffed out by Nate Allen. Woodhead was tackled in the endzone for a safety, and the Eagles seemed to be turning this into a laugher.
"We got a little too cocky after that. I think DeSean thought he could make another play on the return, and that really came back to bite us," said Reid.
On the ensuing punt after the safety, Patrick Chung knocked the ball loose from Jackson's grip. Dane Fletcher picked up the ball for the Patriots and ran it back 33 yards to make it a 30-14 game at halftime.
New England then grabbed more momentum out of the break. The Pats shredded the Eagles defense on an 8 play, 80 yard drive capped by a 21 yard pass from Brady to Edelman. Brady finally found some rhythm on that drive, going 6-7. The Patriots were also able to convert on the two point conversion, and suddenly they were back in the game, trailing just 30-22.
|VIDEO HIGHLIGHT: Nate Allen tackles Woodhead in the endzone for a rarity - a safety.|
Philadelphia seemed to calm things down a bit on the next drive, moving down to New England's 39 yard line. But, the drive stalled, and Reid decided to take a chance and go for it. Vick was sacked, and the Eagles turned it over on downs in what could have been a huge momentum shift. Once again, though, their defense came up big when it needed to. They held the Pats to a three-and-out. And then, there was a huge shift in Philly's favor. With 4:18 left in the quarter, McCoy took the handoff on the first play after New England's punt and ran 75 yards to pay dirt. His longest run of the season gave the Eagles some breathing room at 37-22.
But, the Patriots refused to go away. They ended the third quarter with another scoring drive that relied heavily on Benjarvis Green-Ellis. He busted into the endzone on a two-yard run that got the Pats back to within a score from Philadelphia.
"After that last touchdown, we knew we needed to hold on to the ball for a while," said Vick. "Coach called a lot of running plays, and Shady (McCoy) did a great job running the ball and helping us take time off the clock."
|McCoy's 2 TDs give him 21 on the season, just 7 behind the NFL record with 5 games to go.|
The Eagles embarked on a drive to start the fourth quarter that would eat up nearly 7 minutes of time on the game glock. They ran 16 plays on the possession, ultimately leading to an Alex Henery 21 yard field goal to take an 11 point lead. The Eagles converted on four different third down plays to keep the drive alive and continue to run time off the clock.
Philadelphia's defense again stood tall once the Pats got the ball back. They forced a turnover on downs with 4:26 left in the game. Another Henery field goal on the ensuing possession gave the Birds a two touchdown lead. The Patriots were able to drive down the field to get the game back to a one possession difference with just under two minutes remaing. But, McCoy made sure New England wouldn't see the ball again, picking up two first downs and forcing the Pats to use up all their timeouts. Vick was able to take a knee three times to run out the final 1:20.
"Teams are really starting to give us their best," said McCoy. "This was a big win for us. Those guys are really good, and I have a feeling we'll be seeing them again (in the Super Bowl). I'm just glad we've been able to continue to make the big plays when we need to."
The next challenge for the Eagles: a very short week. They have to turn around and play the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. As if the turnaround time wasn't hard enough, the team will be traveling to the west coast.
"We've got a lot of work to do in the next few days," said Reid. "But, we've got a good group of veterans here, so I think we'll be fine."
|New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles|
|Nov 27, 2011||1ST||2ND||3RD||4TH||SCORE|
|New England Patriots (8-3)||7||7||15||7||36|
|Philadelphia Eagles (11-0)||14||16||7||6||43|
|Punt Return Yards||0||25|
|Kick Return Yards||63||111|
|3rd Down Converstion||5-13 (38%)||7-14 (50%)|
|4th Down Conversion||1-2 (50%)||0-1 (0%)|
|Red Zone Touchdowns/Field Goals||2/0||2/2|