Eagles Trounce Titans, Improve to 8-3

It was a game the Eagles were supposed to win, and that they did, drubbing the Titans 43-24, ensuring a non-losing season.

For the first time since 1991, the Eagles have shut out their AFC slate of opponents, flattening the Titans 43-24 at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon. Despite parts of the game where Mark Sanchez played erratically, and with Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker looking like he couldn't be covered, the Eagles played a mostly complete battle, never once trailing. It's the first time the Eagles have defeated the Titans since their move to Tennessee in 1997, losing their last four match-ups against them. Prior to the win, the Eagles were 6-0 against their old incarnation, the Houston Oilers.

Sanchez threw one touchdown pass to James Casey (who now has more than Riley Cooper and Brent Celek combined) against two interceptions. Of those picks, one was on Cooper for getting out-played by Brandon Ghee, while the other was a jittery overthrow to Daimion Stafford.

In all, the offense moved well, going 10 of 19 on third downs, busting off monster runs, although they did settle for four field goals from Cody Parkey (who missed once just before halftime). The defense, aside from some spotty pass coverage, came up with the big plays that really steered the win.

HIT THE GROUND RUNNING

The day began with Josh Huff atoning for his awful outing against the Packers, returning the opening kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown. Huff stiff armed two on the coverage unit, including kicker Ryan Succop, en route to the coast-to-coast stride. The Eagles took a 7-0 lead and never once conceded it.

Huff's touchdown breaks the Eagles franchise record for longest kick return, set by Timmy Brown on September 17, 1961, when he broke a 105-yard return against the Browns. On September 21 of this year, Chris Polk returned a kickoff 102 yards for a score versus the Redskins.

The touchdown marks the tenth return touchdown from the Eagles this season, encompassing pick-sixes, fumble returns, kick returns, punt returns, and blocked punt returns. They have exactly two in each category.

UP DAY FOR SHADY

For the first time in 2014, LeSean McCoy produced both 100 yards and a touchdown in the same game. Fans waiting to see 'Shady' unload with a vintage performance got exactly that, as McCoy gashed Ray Horton's defense with 130 yards on 21 carries (6.19 YPA). One such run went for 53 yards, beating his previous long for the season, a 'mere' 28.

McCoy's touchdown came late in the second quarter, giving the Eagles a 27-14 lead, and quelling Tennessee's sudden surge of offense. A 17-0 lead had vanished, but McCoy helped silence the urgency, gaining his 100th yard on a two-yard end zone run.

Curiously enough, the touchdown was McCoy's first on a Sunday this year. His previous two touchdowns came in Monday night wins over the Colts and Panthers.

STRONG THIRD QUARTER

Succop nailed a low-liner, 20-yard gimme field goal to cut the deficit to 27-17 just before halftime. After Cody Parkey responded by doinking a 49-yarder off the post before the half, Philadelphia held only a 10-point lead, with the Titans getting the ball to start the final thirty minutes.

On the Titans first drive of the third quarter, Fletcher Cox pummeled Zach Mettenberger for a sack, losing six yards. Two plays later, lineman Brian Schwenke caught a pass deflected by Cox, and Mychal Kendricks forced a fumble (camera angles couldn't prove that Schwenke was down first). Four plays later, Sanchez found Casey at the side of the end-zone, a 14-yard score to build a 34-17 lead.

Sanchez would throw a pick to Stafford later in the quarter, and the Titans began their drive at the Eagles 41. On the first play, Bishop Sankey had the ball knocked loose by Bennie Logan, and the Eagles quickly recovered. With a chance to gnaw at Philadelphia's 10-point halftime lead, the Titans were shut out in the third, falling behind by 17.

DEFENSE MAKES MORE PLAYS

Mettenberger picked things up after a slow start, using Delanie Walker to the maximum (five catches, 155 yards). The rookie quarterback, however, was undone by five sacks; two from Connor Barwin (12.5 for the year), two by Trent Cole, and one from Cox. The Eagles now have 37 sacks after 11 games, tying their 2013 total on the year.

The running game was kept in a box, with Sankey gaining just 37 yards on ten carries. Back-up Shonn Greene could only muster 15 yards on six runs. Combined, the team managed only 52 yards on 19 carries, a mere 2.74 YPA effort.

Topping off the defense's mostly strong performance were the third downs, with which Tennessee managed to go just two for 12. Mettenberger did convert a fourth-down try, throwing a touchdown to Dexter McCluster in garbage time, but the fact remains that the Eagles buckled down more often than not, keeping the Titans out of reach for 60 solid minutes.

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