EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 26, 2007

Two Minute Drill

By Hector Longo , Staff Writer

Big props to Reid

If you are an Eagles fan, you walk away from last night's matchup with pride in your team and your coach, Andy Reid. There was no whining about injuries, no fear of being obliterated. They played confident and loose football, took chances.

Reid countered Belichick. Each adjusted to adjustment. Philly's brash onside kick was the best coaching move we've seen from the opposition all year, even if it didn't yield points.

Belichick wasn't outcoached. But he was tested.

At 5-6 with a stomachable road ahead, it says here that Reid and Philly somehow steal a wild card playoff spot.

Rocky, Rocky, Rocky

It didn't happen, but the way Philadelphia talked in the locker room, it might not have been a surprise to see this encounter between Tom Brady and A.J. Feeley after the game.

Brady: "Ain't gonna be no rematch, ain't gonna be no rematch..."

Feeley: "Don't want one."

The Eagles acted as if they were journeyman pug Rocky Balboa after he just had lasted 15 rounds with the flashy champ, Apollo Creed.

They actually do believe in moral victories in the city of Brotherly Love.

Just like Balboa, in the original "Rocky." ... Of course, that was a movie, and the Eagles will now need to run off four wins in the last five to have a playoff shot.

"As an offense, this is the best we played together all year. We can definitely build on this," said right guard Shawn Andrews. "If we keep playing the way we did today over the last five games, we can win out."

Take 'em off the board

If Bill Belichick hears this, he might petition the folks in Vegas to take the Pats games off the board.

The Philly players queried yesterday said they weren't bothered at all by Tom Brady's words early in the week that the offense is out to decimate and punish and intimidate opponents the rest of the way.

What burned and motivated the Eagles was the 24-point spread.

"The fact that we were such big underdogs, and they like putting up so many points on teams," said linebacker Chris Gocong. "That puts a chip on your shoulder."

Gocong wasn't alone.

"We came out with that backs-against-the-wall mentality in knowing that people wrote us off so big," said guard Shawn Andrews. "Not by small, I'm talking about 23 points. We took that to heart, a lot of guys did, and know that we still have a lot to play for."

Five reasons for the pessimist to panic?

1. The Pats don't have a reliable running back, yet, that's healthy and money-in-the-bank.

2. The defense allowed 391 yards and couldn't get off the field, allowing the Eagles to hit on 8 of 13 third-down conversions, with their backup QB running the show.

3. Rosie Colvin injured his foot and, once again, the aging parts of the linebacking corps, Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau, looked a little old.

4. The offensive line allowed Tom Brady to be bounced around in the pocket as the Philly blitz got there often.

5. Randy Moss was neutralized: five catches, 43 yards, no TDs.

Five reasons the optimist can smile

1. Tom Brady converted when he needed on his way to a 380-yard passing night.

2. With Moss swarmed on, Wes Welker owned his one-on-one battle, catching 13 balls for 149 yards.

3. Asante Samuel (two picks) looks an awful lot like a young Ty Law, roaming freely in the secondary with no apprehensions, making every correct choice. His stock is soaring, right to the top of the game.

4. James Sanders is streaking up the charts at the safety spot, making people forget about injured Eugene Wilson.

5. Eleven down, eight to go, baby!

Dilemma of the night

Where is Ben Watson?

This Philly defense was born to exploit for a good tight end. Watson saw single coverage, nearly all night long, by 235-pound linebacker Omar Gaither and comes up with three useless catches for 17 yards. It's shocking.

Did you know?

The Pats are up to 442 points for the season, already a franchise record...

Wes Welker's 13 catches ties the Pats mark for most in a non-overtime game. Deion Branch had 13 at San Diego in 2002 and Terry Glenn had 13 at Cleveland in 1999...

The fourth-quarter comeback was No. 26 of Tom Brady's career, who also broke the 25,000-yards passing barrier ...

With 744 receptions, Randy Moss slid quietly in 25th on the NFL's all-time list...

James Sanders broke the ice with his first interception of the year, third of his career...

Big Shows

1. Wes Welker - The Eagles said, "anybody but Moss," and it was Welker, who stepped up repeatedly, winning the one-on-one against Joselio Hanson decisively. Welker caught 13 balls for 149 yards, both career highs.

2. Jabar Gaffney - His best effort of the season by far with five catches for 71 yards and a TD. Also delivered the back-breaker, a third-and-6 drive sustainer just before the two-minute warning as the Pats played keep-away over the final 3:52.

3. Asante Samuel - Philly threw at him five times all night. Reggie Brown caught two balls on him for 17 yards. That was it. He picked two passes off, one for a touchdown and the other to squelch Philly's final scoring drive.

No Shows

1. Every DB except Asante Samuel - Shredded by A.J. Feeley for 345 yards? The likes of Randall Gay, Ellis Hobbs, Rodney Harrison, James Sanders, Eddie Jackson and even the rookie Brandon Meriweather share in this shame.

2. Laurence Maroney - The Eagles played a defense ready to be gashed for big yards, And the second-year back carries 10 times for 31 yards. We'd panic here and think he was hurt, but the Eagles' players, off the record, said he seemed healthy and ran hard, albeit ineffectively.

3. Richard Seymour - Still working a part-time schedule, and you have to wonder why. He should be healthy enough to go the distance by now. Instead, it's platoon time with the immortal Mike Wright and Jarvis Green. One tackle from a five-time Pro Bowler does not get it done.