Eight opinions from Sunday night, while wondering why Chris Christie has forsaken Jerry Jones:
1. The sweetest part of the 33-27 victory was watching domestic abuser Greg Hardy shrivel as Eagles linemen targeted him in the run game. Hardy is a bully who doesn’t like being hit back. So let’s raise a frosty one to Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson, who caused a 278-pound monster to wither into a worthless prune by game’s end. “We put a little extra mustard into those blocks,” Johnson said afterward.
2. Not sure if this game becomes a turning point, but I believe we just watched the most critical win of the Chip Kelly Era. A loss would have left the Eagles 1-1/2 games behind the Giants and reeling into the abyss. Now, they are well poised at .500, about to face three teams with a combined 7-17 record. It’s no great feat to beat the pitiful Cowboys without Tony Romo. But in the NFL, where 9-7 teams can win the Super Bowl, Sunday night’s victory could prove the defining moment.
3. Much as Eagles fans want more Ryan Mathews, I’m happy to see DeMarco Murray fed the ball 18-20 times per game. That’s been Chip Kelly’s call the last four (or Duce Staley’s, if you believe that canard.) Murray has responded with a 4.5-yard rushing average and three touchdowns. I said last week I’d still bet on Murray rushing for 1,000 this year – while conceding that’s not the accomplishment it once was. He’s got eight games, and needs 610 more. He’ll do it.
4. Happy to see Kelly twice go for it on fourth down. That’s the Big Balls Chip we signed up for.
5. Let us now praise Sam Bradford, who directed three sterling drives, found secondary receivers and had zero (!) turnovers. It’s something special to win an overtime game on the road against a divisional opponent – even one this inept. That said, am I ready to believe in Sam? I am not. It will take another two or three of these performances before I’ll stop scouting college games for next year’s replacement.
6. Eight games, 10 total points in the first quarter. Again Sunday night, the offense went three-and-out in the first drive. Actually, the Eagles got the ball back on a penalty, and stumbled to another three-and-out. Through a half season, the Eagles have gone 1-2-3-punt to start five games. And here’s the problem: They haven’t completed a pass longer than eight yards in any of their first three plays. Remember the days when Donovan McNabb would air one out to T.O. (or even Todd Pinkston) to put the defense on its heels?
7. Why, yes, I had total faith in Caleb Sturgis kicking that 53-yard, late-fourth-quarter field goal in a tie game. You mean, you didn’t?
8. Apropos of nothing, I loathe the McDonald’s ads with Jerry Rice and Mike Ditka in the jerseys of rival teams. Those men are the legends of their franchises and should respect their own status. Brian Dawkins would NEVER take the money grab to don a Cowboys uniform. Right?