On a day when the Eagles sported throwback uniforms from the 1933 season, the season when the Philadelphia established a professional football franchise, the 2007 Eagles had a day for the ages. With their backs against the wall starting the season 0 – 2, the Eagles dominated the 2 – 0 Detroit Lions from the beginning, on their way to a 56 – 20 route.
During the week when many were making their predictions about this game, the Eagles may have been favored, but the consensus was that the Lions would win because they had a high-powered passing attack – an attack that featured Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson going up against a depleted Philadelphia secondary that was without Brian Dawkins and Lito Sheppard. This seemed to be a situation the Lions could take advantage of, but in the end, it was the Philadelphia offense that exploited the Detroit secondary.
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb went through a week of controversy after he made comments suggesting that African American quarterbacks are criticized more than their white counterparts. McNabb’s not a stranger to controversy, and on this day he proved all the critics wrong once again.
McNabb struggled with his accuracy in the first two games of the season against Green Bay and Washington, but against Detroit he was threw with excellent precision. McNabb completed 21-of-26 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns.
A huge benefactor of McNabb’s huge day was the Eagles biggest offseason acquisition wide receiver Kevin Curtis. He’s been held in check the previous two weeks, but had a career day against a shaky Lions secondary. Curtis hauled in 11 receptions for 221 yards and three touchdowns. He had touchdown receptions of 68, 12, and 43-yards.
Brian Westbrook was huge for the Eagles offense as well. Westbrook only participated in practice on Friday of this past week, as he was nursing a knee strain. A player as special as Westbrook showed that he only needs one day of practice, as he torched the Lions defense for 221 all-purpose yards. He carried the ball 14 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns and caught five passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.
The Lions were led by Jon Kitna (29-of-46 passes for 446 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception) and Roy Williams (9 receptions for 204 yards and a touchdown).
The Eagles were dominant from the beginning. The Lions started the game on offense, but the Eagles held them to a three and out and forced a punt. On the Eagles first offensive series, which started at their own 44-yard line, McNabb led them down the field after he completed two passes to Curtis that covered 27-yards. Westbrook finished up the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run that put the Eagles on top 7 – 0.
After the Eagles went up by seven, the Lions struck back quickly. Facing a 3rd and 13, Kitna found Williams cutting across the field. Williams took a ten-yard pass and turned it into a 54-yard gain up the near sideline giving the Lions a first and ten from the Eagles 23-yard line. Kitna, on first and ten, completed a 21-yard strike to Shaun McDonald over the middle pinning the Lions down on the Eagles two-yard line. Then, Chester, PA native Kevin Jones rushed it in from two–yards out tying the score at seven.
On the ensuing drive, Philadelphia went on a 10-play, 77-yard drive that took over six minutes off the clock, and concluded with a Westbrook 5-yard run that put the Eagles up 14 – 7. The Eagles scored again later in the quarter when McNabb connected with Curtis on a 68-yard touchdown bomb. Curtis caught the ball in between two defenders at the 21-yard line and dashed into the endzone to give the Eagles a commanding 21 – 7 lead.
A high-scoring second quarter got started with two Eagles scores from McNabb to Curtis. The two hooked up on a 12-yard touchdown, followed by a 43-yard touchdown strike just 1:13 apart to give the Eagles a comfortable 35 – 7 lead early in the second frame. But with an explosive Lions offense, nothing is too comfortable.
The Lions scored the next two touchdowns of the quarter. Kitna found McDonald for an 11-yard touchdown that was set up by a leaping 39-yard highlight reel reception by Calvin Johnson. On the Eagles next drive, the Lions got a huge turnover when defensive end Cory Smith forced a fumble on McNabb at the Lions nine-yard line to give the Detroit possession. On 2nd and 10 of the Lions drive, Kitna found Williams again sprinting up the field and connected on a 91-yard touchdown to narrow the Eagles lead to 35 – 21.
On the next offensive possession by the Eagles, they moved right down the field. McNabb dumped a screen pass off to Westbrook, who broke a few tackles, and took off for a 43-yard touchdown that gave the Eagles a 42 – 21 lead at halftime.
The Eagles dominated the second half; the offense continued to put up points and the defense shutout the Lions offense and as a whole recorded nine sacks (Trent Cole had four sacks).
The Eagles got two touchdowns in the second half, both being one-yard runs. Correll Buckhalter scored late in the third quarter to extend the Eagles lead to 49 – 21, and rookie Tony Hunt scored his first NFL touchdown halfway through the fourth quarter to give the Eagles a 56 – 21 breakthrough victory.
Philadelphia travels to New York to take on the Giants next Sunday evening at 8:15 p.m.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber is the Editor in Chief of WarNest.com and an NFL Analyst for Scout.com. Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. If you have any questions for Chris, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.