I like to make up names for events in history. I call this day the “Sunday of Miracles.”
There will never again be a regular season that ends in such incredible fashion for the Philadelphia Eagles.
With their backs against the wall in the NFC playoff hunt, the Eagles needed the Houston Texans to beat the Chicago Bears, and the Oakland Raiders to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Then they needed to beat the Cowboys. In my article before the game, I calculated the Eagles’ playoff chances at “three percent. Maybe two percent.”
I’ll never forget all of my Eagles friends all week telling me that they thought we still had a chance; the feeling of despair I felt when I saw the Bucs had built a ten-point lead on the Raiders in the fourth quarter; the feeling of elation when I saw that the Texans had downed the Bears; and finally, the absolute chaos that erupted when Jeff Garcia was unable to lead the Bucs to victory after Michael Bush’s two touchdown runs.
What followed next were the greatest three hours of my life as a Philadelphia Eagles fan.
Eagles fans everywhere will recall the image of our hero, #20 Brian Dawkins, dancing out of the tunnel for the pregame warmups. He knew. The fans knew. We still had a chance. And we knew we were in for a show.
Not only did the Eagles win, they did so in such dominating fashion that it was almost like a dream.
Given the extremity of the rivalry and the situations surrounding the game, it might have been one of the ten biggest blowouts in the history of the National Football League.
I have watched the highlights for this game many, many times in the past two years. It never gets old and it never will. With everything on the line for both teams, it was just breathtaking watching the Cowboys’ season literally fall apart before a national audience.
In an 9:18 span:
Correll Buckhalter scored on a four-yard touchdown pass;
Sheldon Brown intercepted Tony Romo and returned the ball 23 yards;
Pacman Jones committed a 15-yard late-hit penalty on Reggie Brown that essentially summed up his career in the NFL;
Terence Newman committed pass interference in the end zone;
Brent Celek proved his worth as a future playmaker with a one-yard touchdown catch;
Omar Gaither recovered Pacman Jones’s fumble on the ensuing kickoff;
David Akers nailed a 50-yard field goal on the last play of the first half;
Brian Dawkins stripped the ball from Tony Romo, which Chris Clemons returned for a 73-yard touchdown;
Brian Dawkins stripped the ball from Marion Barber, which Joselio Hanson returned for a 96-yard touchdown; and
Chris Clemons stripped the ball from Tony Romo, which Trevor Laws recovered.
The image of Tony Romo lying facedown on the ground, arms covering his head, is one of the most priceless images in Philadelphia Eagles’ history.
44-3 with 6:04 left in the third quarter. 24 points in the second quarter, and 17 in the third quarter.
How many points could the Eagles have scored if they had tried for the last third of the game? 55 points? 60 points? 65 points?!
The game reached the point where, when David Akers missed a 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys’ announcer commented, “And the Eagles, for the first time today, don’t succeed at something that they try to do.”
The Eagles handed the Cowboys their ninth consecutive loss in the season finale. They beat up on Tony Romo and Company for the third consecutive December, sending the preseason Super Bowl favorites home for an early vacation.
I have never been prouder to call myself an Eagles fan that I was on this particular day. For one day, the Philadelphia Eagles (and their fans) were on top of the world.