The Philadelphia Eagles did a share of things backwards against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 8. Since the Eagles had to play during a blizzard, they couldn't do their business as usual regardless. Yet while Philadelphia still won by 34-20 anyway, it was the slow start and the hot finish -- instead of the other way around -- that made things different.
One of the Eagles' biggest issues in recent weeks was finishing with a lead, as they jumped out huge in their last two victories and then almost gave them up. Without going full throttle for 60 minutes, it seemed Philadelphia could not function or run out the clock. There was certainly no way they could be up tempo in the snow against the Lions, especially in the first half.
With Nick Foles throwing his first interception and Philadelphia facing an 8-0 halftime deficit, it didn't seem like there was any escape. After their terrible second halves in the past two games, the Eagles hardly looked like a team capable of a second half comeback. Once Donnie Jones returned a punt for another Detroit touchdown to make it 14-0, the damage appeared done.
But with about 21 minutes left in the game, the Eagles became even hotter in the second half than they were in their last two first halves. Foles led Philadelphia's first touchdown drive of the game, yet LeSean McCoy took over from there with a 40-yard sprint to start the fourth quarter. After Jones burned the Eagles with a kickoff return touchdown seconds later, McCoy had another 57-yard dash in short order, with a two-point conversion giving Philadelphia the lead for good.
The Lions' seventh fumble of the game - and third lost one -- led to a drive that Foles ended by taking the ball in himself. Soon after, yet another Philadelphia dash finished Detroit off, this time by Chris Polk for 38 yards. All told, the Lions were burned for 28 fourth-quarter points in the snow, and 299 rushing yards overall -- with an Eagles' record 217 yards from McCoy.
Philadelphia almost never won with rushing like that in the Andy Reid era. What's more, it had rarely finished this strong in the short Chip Kelly era either. But by switching their formula around, the Eagles proved they have more than one way to win after all.