Thank you, Orlando Scandrick.
Thanks for flapping your gums to Skip Bayless on national TV (if blubbering to Skip Bayless on FS1 counts as national TV). Thanks for spewing venom — some truth, mostly lies — at the last NFL franchise that would have you. Thanks for your takedown of Eagles players, coaches, leaders, system, GM and everyone that ever wore green.
I can’t prove Scandrick’s polluted invective was the spark that woke up the somnambulant Birds Sunday, as they pounded the Bills, 31-13.
But after a tumultuous week capped by Scandrick taking a flamethrower to his short-term employer, the Eagles answered with a dominating win in Buffalo. This one should ease nerves inside the organization and the fan base, at least for the next six days.
“The guys in our locker room understand that enough is enough,” head coach Doug Pederson said Monday on the WIP Morning Show. “Nobody likes the distractions. But sometimes that can help a team come together. I’m proud of the leaders on this team for taking it upon themselves to make that happen.”
Indeed it did. The offense rushed for 218 yards Sunday, or 5.3 yards a crack. The analytics geeks insist you win these days only through throwing the ball, so it was a thing of beauty to watch Jordan Howard (Thunder) and Miles Sanders (Lighting) lay waste to what was ranked the NFL’s No. 3 defense going into the weekend.
Give credit to an embattled offensive line that had been confused and overpowered in blowout losses at Minnesota and Dallas. The 8.5-minute drive to open the fourth quarter and ice Sunday’s win rode on the backs of those big uglies.
Give credit as well to Pederson, who just endured the worst week of his coaching career. Each season since he has been here, Pederson has endured a do-or-die game during the season. Each time, his team has won.
Pederson must have searched through the franchise archives to discover the screen pass, and used it to counterpunch Buffalo’s aggressive pass rush. Coach Doug also unveiled a two-back formation, most notably on Sanders’s 65-yard TD sprint, where Howard served as a fullback.
And let us all applaud the embattled QB. Carson Wentz’s stats were not flashy (172 passing yards and one TD). But he made no mistakes Sunday and helped win the game as much with his legs as his arms.
Wentz ran for 35 yards — again not glossy numbers. But in that deciding fourth-quarter drive, he scampered for two first downs on third-and-forever. The best came on a busted screen play that could have been disastrous if Wentz didn’t scurry past a half-dozen flailing Bills.
Sunday’s win didn’t do more than keep the Eagles’ season alive — but that is no small thing. They return home for a three-game stretch against the Bears, Patriots, and Seahawks. No breathers there.
Then they finish with a long-awaited five-game stretch that includes the Dolphins, Giants, Harriton High School and the Bux-Mont Pop Warner All-Stars.
Oh yeah, the Cowboys rematch fits in that stretch, three days before Christmas. Dallas will soon be embarking on the tougher part of its schedule – including a six-week campaign against opponents who currently own a collective record of 30-14-1.
There’s a great chance the Dec. 22 rematch winds up determining the NFC East, where only one team is likely to make the playoffs.
Here’s hoping we get Orlando Scandrick back in the TV studio with Skip Bayless that week so those two jabbering ninnies can fire up more deep thoughts on the Eagles. That could prove to be a good holiday present for all of us.