By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—It’s official, the Eagles 2013 season will come down to a nationally-televised Sunday evening contest in Dallas.
It’s win or your season is over.
“It’s going to be the biggest show on earth and it’s going to be a circus down there like always and we’re going to treat them like every other team,” said Eagles linebacker Trent Cole.
Actually next week’s matchup was decided before the Birds put a king-sized 54-11 butt-whuppin’ on the Chicago Bears in their final regular-game at Lincoln Financial Field when the Cowboys got a last-second win over the Washington Redskins.
Suffice it to say, the Birds are now in playoff mode.
“Playoffs just start a week early for both teams,” said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. “If you win, you get an opportunity to keep playing. You lose, you’re going home.”
Though the game was meaningless to them, a fired-up Eagles squad made quick work of a Bears squad who blew an opportunity to clinch the NFC North. The Birds played like a team with its season on the line.
“Very simply, we’re from Philadelphia and we fight. That’s it,” Kelly said. “If there’s a game on, we’re playing, end of story. All this stuff about backing in and not worry about things, I have no idea. There’s so many different scenarios. It could have been a tie. What if there’s a tie when we go to play Dallas next week and then we give a game away the last week?
“If we’re going to line up and kick off, you tell us what time to show up and we’ll be there.”
The Eagles jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter on a one yard by LeSean McCoy and pair of Nick Foles touchdown passes to wide receiver Riley Cooper and tight end Brent Celek.
In the second quarter, the Birds added a 49-yard field goal by Alex Henery. The Bears got on the board with time running out in the half on a 50-yard field by Robbie Gould.
The Birds ended the competitive portion of the game early in the third quarter on a safety forced by defensive end Cedric Thornton, who tackled Bears running back Matt Forte in the end zone. After the free kick, the Eagles drove 67 yards in six plays to McCoy’s second one-yard touchdown run.
That’s when Eagles fans starting chanting, “Dallas Sucks” and “We want Dallas.”
Speaking of Shady, the Eagles put the ball in McCoy’s hands early and often after giving him only eight carries against Minnesota last week. He gained 133 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns. McCoy is 37 yards away from Wilbert Montgomery’s club record for yard rushing in a single-season.
“Shady said early in the week that he wanted to put the offense on his back,” said Eagles center Jason Kelce. “I think that everybody saw on film that this was a team that can give up some big plays on the ground, so it’s exciting to see such a crucial player in your offense to be that enthusiastic about taking over a game.”
For the game, the Eagles rushed for 289 yards. Along with McCoy’s rushing totals, back running back Bryce Brown gained 115 yards, including a 65-yard run for a touchdown.
Defensively, the Eagles dominated Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, sacking him five times. Leading the Birds charge was linebacker Cole who had the pleasure of putting Cutler to the turf three times.
“Trent was lights out tonight and that’s what Trent is capable of doing,” said Eagles inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans. “He’s capable of taking over games, dominating the offensive tackles, getting to the quarterback. That’s what he’s capable of doing.”
The Eagles also forced two turnovers including a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown by nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin.