Sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom before you can bounce back up. For the Eagles, rock bottom found them being trounced by the Colts and from there, things have turned around.
When Donovan McNabb
went down with a torn ACL in his knee in a Week 11 loss to the Tennessee Titans, most people assumed the Eagles' playoff hopes went down with him.
The ugly 31-13 loss to the Titans and an even uglier 45-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts a week later dropped the Eagles to 5-6. But with 37-year-old quarterback Jeff Garcia and versatile running back Brian Westbrook leading the way, the Eagles have rebounded to win three straight games and can capture their fifth NFC East title in six year with wins the next two weeks over Dallas and Atlanta.
"After that loss to the Colts, we all needed to pick our game up," coach Andy Reid said. "I think everybody took that to heart. I mentioned it to our team. I mentioned it to our coaching staff. I mentioned it to myself. We all needed to look in the mirror and take care of business."
Garcia, who was signed last March to back up McNabb, has done an impressive job since replacing the four-time Pro Bowler. He's got a 96.3 passer rating and has thrown 9 touchdown passes and just one interception in 19 quarters.
That interception came in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 36-22 win over the New York Giants. It set up a Giants touchdown that gave them a one-point lead at the time. But Garcia came right back and engineered an impressive eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive that featured a 27-yard completion to tight end L.J. Smith and a 20-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Reggie Brown. The Eagles never looked back after that.
The Eagles signed Garcia at the urging of assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who was Garcia's offensive coordinator in San Francisco when he went to three Pro Bowls with the 49ers.
"He's playing like he did with Marty in San Francisco," Reid said. "If you ignore the last couple of years where he was in a little different system (with Cleveland and Detroit), he's not doing anything different. He's kind of doing the same deal we anticipated he'd do, getting back with Marty."
Notes From The 'Nest...
Running back Correll Buckhalter rushed for 48 yards on eight carries in the first half Sunday against the Giants, but kind of got forgotten in the second half. He didn't have a single carry in the final two quarters. "We probably could've given Correll some more touches in the second half because he really did a nice job in the first half," Reid said. "That was our mistake there."
Cornerback William James was expected to play a prominent role in Sunday's game against his former team, the Giants. But he ended up being a last-minute scratch after suffering a calf strain in pre-game warm-ups. "I was doing some 'W' drills, I didn't have cleats on," said James. "I went to break forward and I felt a pop. I felt like somebody hit me in my calf. I turned around; I thought it was either a player or somebody threw something out of the stands. I turned around and I didn't see anything. It was hard to walk after that. They put me in a boot. We'll see. Hopefully, I can get back. We don't play again until Monday." James was scheduled to have an MRI Monday afternoon.
As we talked about on the Marty & Miller show on KXNO radio this past week, there is some talk that the season finale against Atlanta could face a time change if the game is added to the national TV lineup as part of the NFL's flex scheduling. The decision must be made by Monday and will likely depend on how Atlanta does against Carolina on Sunday.
LB Shawn Barber missed Sunday's game with a neck stinger. Andy Reid said he's improving. There's a good chance he'll play Monday against the Cowboys.
S Michael Lewis suffered a sprained MCL in his knee Sunday. He was scheduled to have an MRI Sunday to determine the severity of the sprain. There's a good possibility he won't be able to play Monday against Dallas.