During Andy Reid’s 12 seasons as the Philadelphia Eagles head coach, the team has seen its fair share of incredible victories, with many of them coming against NFC East teams (which makes the victory even more satisfying).
There was the 59-28 dismantling of the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football last season. The 38-31 comeback against the Giants in the Miracle at the New Meadowlands.
The 41-14 blowout victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the 2000 season opener. The 49-21 destruction of the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football in 2004. The 38-24 victory over the Dallas Cowboys early in 2006, when Lito Sheppard returned an interception 102 yards for a touchdown in the final seconds. The 23-7 Christmas Day massacre in 2006.
And then there are the other unforgettable games, like the 56-21 victory over the Detroit Lions in 2007 (when the team wore their 75th anniversary jerseys), or the 42-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, or the 47-17 butt kicking of the Green Bay Packers in 2004.
I could list a hundred games. But there is no game that ranks up there with the 2008 season finale against the Dallas Cowboys, on December 28th, 2008.
The Eagles (8-6-1) entered Sunday needing a miracle to even reach the postseason. They needed the Houston Texans to beat the Chicago Bears, who were still fighting for a wild-card berth. And they needed the Oakland Raiders (4-11) to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were also fighting for a postseason berth. Oh, and the Eagles needed to beat the Dallas Cowboys, who they lost to earlier in the season.
Incredibly, the Texans came through, winning 31-24. And the Raiders somehow overcame a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to stun the Buccaneers and also win 31-24.
Both games ended around the start of the Eagles-Cowboys game. 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.
With everything on the line for both teams, it was just breathtaking watching the Cowboys season literally fall apart before a national audience.
Interestingly enough, the game was actually competitive throughout the first quarter, as both teams managed just a field goal.
But in the second quarter, the Eagles took a 10-3 lead on a one-yard rushing touchdown by Donovan McNabb. Then they completely took over the game.
In a little over one quarter of play, the following happened:
– Correll Buckhalter scored on a four-yard touchdown pass to give the Eagles a 17-3 lead
– Sheldon Brown intercepted Tony Romo and returned the ball 23 yards
– Brent Celek scored on a one-yard touchdown catch to make it 24-3
– 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 to make it 27-3
– Brian Dawkins stripped the ball from Tony Romo, which Chris Clemons returned for a 73-yard touchdown and a 34-3 lead
– Brian Dawkins stripped the ball from Marion Barber, which Joselio Hanson returned for a 96-yard touchdown and a ridiculous 41-3 lead
– Chris Clemons stripped the ball from Tony Romo, which Trevor Laws recovered
– and David Akers nailed a 41-yard field goal to increase the lead to 44-3.
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 quarter and a half of the game? 55 points? 60 points? 65 points?!
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.
That remains the greatest regular season game in the Andy Reid era. It might be the greatest regular season game in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles.
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.