Mission Improbable

So about a month ago, I stopped really writing about the Eagles.  After a demoralizing loss to the Ravens, the Birdz were at 5-5-1.  They’d benched Donovan McNabb after two really egregious performances.  After “earning” a tie with the hapless Bengals, I wrote:

On Sunday November 16th, we are finally able to put this Eagles season to rest.  The end came in the unexpected form of a 13-13 tie (yes, a tie) against the hapless (1-8) Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

I decided that for my sanity, I just had to let the season go.  Too many “what ifs” is not good for the psyche.  And so, I noted with pleasure that the Eagles crushed the NFC West Champion Cardinals on Thanksgiving night – McNabb back as starter and playing great.

I watched them grind out a tough win against the NFC East Champion NY Giants (who may have been distracted by their own version of T.O., Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg…).  I watch with interest as they demolished the Browns on Monday night a few weeks ago.  Improbably, they pretty much had their playoff destiny back in their hands and under control.  Their next game was against the reeling Redskins.

The result:  a colossal dud, where they scored 3 points.  See?  I shouldn’t have gotten excited right?  They had the playoffs and redemption in their sites and they blinked.

So they entered this last game of the season needing a TON of help (some combo of losses by a couple of teams, including a very unlikely home loss by Tampa Bay to the awful Raiders) and facing the Dallas Cowboys – a soap opera of a team also fighting for its playoff life after a fairly disappointing season of their own.

Amazingly, the Raiders won, and the Bears lost and suddenly the Eagles weren’t playing Cowboy-spoiler, but they knew that if they won, they’d be in as a playoff team.  A second chance to control their destiny.

The result: a colossal wipeout of the Cowboys – of a sort that still leaves you scratching your head (albeit happily).  The Eagles broke open a 10-3 game with 17 points in the last two minutes of the first half – the result of a good drive and a couple of Cowboys turn-overs.  They left little doubt about the game’s outcome by scoring 14 points in 3rd quarter before the offense ever took the field.  The Cowboys were terrible, coughing up the ball 5 times and having maybe two good drives the whole game.  The implosion from Jerry Jones should be fun to watch.

And so, most improbably, at 9-6-1 they find themselves a wild-card team and headed to Minnesota next week to play the NFC North Champion Vikings.

Clearly, I counted them out too early.   I should have looked back to my first post on them this season, where I wrote:

Here’s my prediction for the season: End of Regular Season: 10-6, probably wild-card team

Hey, even I couldn’t have guessed that tie.

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23 thoughts on “Mission Improbable

  1. Yay for the Eagles. As you know, I'm not a huge NFL fan (unless there's a Manning involved), but I loathe the Cowboys. So I'm glad they got beat, and that your team beat them. :)

  2. You have learned that to expect little means you are occasional pleasantly surprised. Good for them. Aren't you glad you are not a Lions fan???? Of course, when Rob heard about their historic record he was **happy**. He claims "if you are going to be bad, you have to be colossally bad". He got colossal this year.

  3. While I was gleefully watching the Dolphins eliminate the Patriots from the playoffs, I was flipping to this game every few minutes and watching the score get more and more out of control, and I thought "Yikes Steve Betz was right, the Eagles are gonna make the playoffs" I did not see that one coming. And if watching the Vikes struggle against the Giants bench was any indicator, willd card week may work out in your favour as well.

  4. Yesterday I was a MONDO Eagles fan by virtue of the fact they were playing the easily hate-able Cowboys. So congratulations to Eagle nation for your personally enjoyable victory. I'm only sad that it wasn't broadcast in my area so I only had the benefit of highlights. Also, after watching quite a bit of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I like the Eagles a bit more.

  5. Well, I was happy for you yesterday, but today I kind of wish that Dallas would have won because judging by their performance, they'd be a lot easier to beat next week…….. :)
    Maybe I'll send some glue up there to AP, then we should be good.

  6. Yes – there was much discussion about you as the Eagles absolutely sucker-punched-spanked the Cowboys. Since I am married to a Cowboys fan, I am occasionally 'obliged' to root for them, but it hurts, it really does. My teams are the Titans and the Falcons (though I'm growing fond of the thigh-shootin' Giants)….my 'birds' have amazingly made it to playoffs (we'll see how long that lasts), but I'm still betting on a Giants/Titans superbowl.

  7. ashbylane — I almost gave ashbychick a shout-out as the nicest Cowboys fan that I know, but I didn't want to feel like I was gloating… :DI think the Falcons have done a fantastic job of shedding the Bobby Petrino-Michael Vick bad karma. And the Titans are still pretty much a mystery to me because we so rarely get to see them out here. NYG-TT is not crazy at all. I think the Giants' weak finish was an aberration and they'll be ready for their first game.

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