Friday, July 31, 2015

Dawk Provides the Punctuation

In a brutal, physical game, Brian Dawkins makes the last play for the Eagles.

Dawk Provides the Punctuation

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Brian Dawkins´ big play in the fourth quarter might have silenced a few of his critics from the Eagles´ loss in Dallas. (Tom Mihalek/AP)
Brian Dawkins' big play in the fourth quarter might have silenced a few of his critics from the Eagles' loss in Dallas. (Tom Mihalek/AP)


Through the looking glass, the Eagles stared down the Pittsburgh Steelers. Six days after getting involved in a shootout with the Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles found themselves in a street fight instead, an entirely different kind of game.

Their star running back, Brian Westbrook, left in the first half with an ankle injury of unknown severity.

Their starting quarterback, Donovan McNabb, missed part of the third quarter with some kind of a chest injury sustained during a first-quarter sack, and struggled thereafter.

Wounded, though, the Eagles never wobbled. Their defense, which came across as a little bit passive against a Dallas offense that lit them up, was ferocious against the Steelers. Their defensive coordinator, Jim Johnson, blitzed early, often and without mercy. The Eagles had nine sacks. It was a bludgeoning kind of game. But despite having a distinct advantage in yards gained, the Eagles hung on to only a 12-6 lead in the late stages of the fourth quarter.

Which is when Brian Dawkins happened.

He had objected to people wondering if he had lost a step in pass coverage -- objected strongly after getting beaten downfield a  few times against the Cowboys. He had breathed fire into the press conference microphone on Wednesday. And then, in the day's dying light, he made the play that essentially sealed the outcome -- a tomahawk sack of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, a sack and a fumble that he promptly fell on, giving the Eagles the ball and setting  them up for the put-away field goal. The final score was 15-6 -- odd, and oddly satisfying.

It was a day -- nasty, ugly, physical and hard -- that seemed destined to be decided by a final savage act. And Dawkins provided it.

Daily News Sports Columnist
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About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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