By Art Beitchman
Sometimes in sports it is best when a team has its back against the wall.
It brings out the character of the players and coaches, and like the hanging in literary lore, it focuses the mind.
The Eagles desperately needed to beat the New Orleans Saints on Sunday and they did 39-17, playing their most complete game, with the offense, defense, special teams in unison for the first time this season.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s true these new players on both sides of the ball needed, and continue to need more snaps with each other to play at a winning level of NFL competition on a weekly basis, if so, it’s a good start.
The much maligned, and beat up offensive line showed amazing grit and determination, opening up holes and getting NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray’s 2015 season jump-started: He had his best game with 83 yards on 20 carries, and 1 TD (above).
Ryan Mathews also had another productive game battering Saints defenders for 73 yards, and a TD. They also controlled the clock, winning the TOP battle 34:02-25-58.
The defense came up big once again, sacking Saints QB Drew Brees five times; DE Fletcher Cox had his finest NFL game, recording 3 sacks, 6 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovered! Quite a day at the office for Cox, who should walk away with NFC Defensive player of the week honors, the Birds also won the turnover battle, 4-2.
Sam Bradford had a productive day with 215 yards passing, had two bad interceptions, but kept on grinding to engineer the Eagles to their biggest point total of the season. With the run game going, Bradford had more time, and appeared to finally be getting more in sync with his new receivers.
The NFC East remains wide open for the taking, with the Birds getting prepared for division-leading New York Giants on Monday Night Football, October 19 at the Linc. 8:30pm/ESPN