Eagles prove nothing certain in NFL
Sep. 22, 2014
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles are as unpredictable as possible.
Also as predictable.
The 2014 version of the Eagles does several things consistently, most notably falling behind, then rallying. They did it again Sunday in a 37-34 victory over Washington, becoming the first NFL team to fall at least 10 points behind in each of their first three games, then come back to win.
"It's a family," said quarterback Nick Foles, who threw for three touchdowns and was the recipient of a blind-side block on an apparent interception that sparked a brawl. "We stick together and there's a great camaraderie. In the locker room during games like that, we lean on each other instead of blaming each other. That's what football should be about. You go on the field of battle and play a football game and you want to have each other's backs. Today we had each other's backs."
They can score with anyone, too: 101 points in their three victories.
"We can score quick and we can score in bunches," said Jeremy Maclin, whose 27-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter put Philadelphia on top of Washington (1-2) to stay.
A look at what happened at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday:
ROOKIE'S BREAKTHROUGH: The Eagles drafted Jordan Matthews from Vanderbilt in the second round in May, ostensibly to replace DeSean Jackson, who was cut last winter after six strong seasons in Philly. Matthews made his mark for the first time against the Redskins with two touchdowns receptions and eight catches overall.
Matthews immediately credited Foles.
"Absolutely Nick Foles in the red zone. He put the ball in a perfect place for me to make a play," said Matthews, who doesn't have Jackson's speed, but has good size (6-foot-3, 212 pounds) and strength. "I hadn't done too much in the first couple of games, so I got a bit sneaky and they forgot about me. Nick was able to find me and hit me in the end zone."
JACKSON'S RETURN: The exiled receiver wasn't going to let Philadelphia forget him. He caught an 81-yard touchdown pass to tie it 27-27 and added a Rockettes-style kick to his celebration as his former fans loudly booed. He gained 117 yards on five catches.
"Honestly, it's a new time. It's a new era," said Jackson, who was one of the first players to leave the field after the game. "I don't see them worrying about me, and I don't worry about them. I'm happy where I'm at."
THE BRAWL: The nasty game was marred by a fourth-quarter melee near the Washington sideline after Foles was blindsided by defensive lineman Chris Baker during an apparent interception return by Bashaud Breeland. Baker and Eagles left tackle Jason Peters were ejected — and then the interception was overturned by video replay.
Baker insisted he did nothing wrong, while many Eagles called his block a "cheap shot."
"I saw our guy had an interception, and I went to do what we are taught to do, and that's to go get a block," Baker said. "I didn't look to see if it was a quarterback or not. All I saw was someone going to pursue the ball, and I got my head in front, and I leveled my shoulder, which is a legal football hit, what I've been taught to do.
"The whistle had not been blown. He was going towards the ball; the ball carrier was still running, and he could make a tackle. I didn't even really hit him hard. I just hit him with my shoulder and he happened to fall. He's a quarterback, so I guess that was the reason for the ejection."
Peters saw it otherwise.
"That wasn't scripted or planned. The guy just cheap-shotted Nick Foles and I reacted," Peters said. "I shouldn't have done what I did, but I was just trying to protect my quarterback."
COUSIN KIRK: Kirk Cousins, Robert Griffin III's backup now in the spotlight with RG3 sidelined by an ankle injury, had a big game. He went 30 for 48 for 427 yards with three TD throws. His favorite receiver was Pierre Garcon with 11 catches for 138 yards.
"He did a lot of great things, things we can build off of," Garcon said. "Kirk got a lot of experience today and he will continue to get better."
UNSTOPPABLE OFFENSE: Philadelphia isn't just scoring on offense, but that offense has been quite special. Washington was ranked No. 1 in total defense and Philadelphia tore it apart, particularly when cornerback DeAngelo Hall went out with an Achilles tendon injury.
Even as LeSean McCoy, a 2013 All-Pro, was held to 22 yards on 19 carries, Philly found lots of ways to prosper through the air. And Chris Polk returned a first-quarter kickoff 102 yards for a TD, the first Eagle to do so at the Linc, which opened in 2003.
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