The Philadelphia Eagles made everyone panic last week despite winning their season opener. Although the Eagles beat the Cleveland Browns by 17-16 on Sept. 9, fans like myself just saw the negative. We saw doom and gloom in how they barely survived five turnovers, blew countless chances to finish things off earlier, and needed a last-minute drive just to survive.
Yet the same thing happened against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 16, but this time the Eagles have to feel much better about it. Once again, they beat an AFC Central team by one point, needed a last-minute drive, committed four turnovers and did almost everything possible to blow a certain win. However, this 24-23 escape was by far the most impressive one-point win of the season for Philadelphia.
It certainly helped that the Eagles pulled off an upset instead of being upset. Barely beating the Browns was only barely better than a loss, given how pathetic Cleveland is likely to be this season. But barely beating the Ravens is easier to live with, given how Baltimore may well represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. For once, the Birds were able to beat an elite team - and probably should have beaten them by much more.
The four turnovers hurt even more than the ones last week, since they all killed drives in Ravens' territory. The Eagles were down 17-7 at halftime, but could have been up by that much if not for their first three giveaways. But unlike in Cleveland, Philadelphia actually got stronger as the game went along instead of weaker.
In the second half, the Eagles' defense clamped down and cooled off Joe Flacco, who never got going like he did against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. Meanwhile, Philadelphia stormed back on offense to tie the game, only turning the ball over one more time. But due to two Baltimore drives for field goals, it was the Ravens who were in position to steal a win in this case.
However, one more last-minute drive let the Eagles escape. Like in the last one, they almost turned the ball over at the goal line, only to get the winning touchdown on the very next play at third-and-goal. For all of the fumbles and missed opportunities, Philadelphia narrowly won on the scoreboard despite blowing out Baltimore in most other stats.
Once again, the Eagles racked up almost 500 yards of offense - which looked more impressive against one of the most feared defenses in football. Yet again, Philadelphia's defense came up big - which looked more impressive when facing Flacco than rookie Brandon Weeden. And Michael Vick overcame multiple turnovers at the last minute - but at least this time he only threw two interceptions, only had to throw 32 times, and completed most of his passes.
On paper, nothing really changed from last week, as the Eagles got lucky to pull out another one-point win. However, the difference between the first great escape and the second was incredibly obvious. Unlike the last one, Philadelphia can breathe a sigh of relief and have hope for the future at the same time.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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- Sports & Recreation
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- the Eagles
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cleveland Browns