On a cold Sunday evening that was part history (because LeSean McCoy set the Eagles’ club record with his 18th, 19th and 20th touchdowns of the season), part comedy (because the Eagles and New York Jets combined for eight turnovers) and part impossibility (because their playoff chances somehow remained intact), the Eagles roared out to a 28-0 lead and coasted to a 45-19 victory.
Which was pretty much how everyone drew it up beforehand.
In the shabby NFC East, the 6-8 Eagles indeed remain alive with two games remaining. Their path to winning the division title and making the playoffs goes like this: winning their last two games (at Dallas, home against Washington), having the Giants lost next week to the Jets, and then having the Giants beat the Cowboys at the Meadowlands in the season finale. With Detroit’s win over Oakland, there is no longer a chance for the Eagles to get a wildcard playoff berth.
But on a day when the Giants cooperated early in the afternoon by getting smoked by the Redskins, the Eagles continued to play with the kind of defensive vigor and offensive efficiency that was absent for far too long. If they do not make the playoffs, the Eagles will look back at the way they played on the road last week at Miami, and at home against the Jets, and kick themselves for months on end.
There were notable accomplishments all over the place -- including Juqua Parker’s 47-yard fumble return for a touchdown (his second of the season), and Jason Babin’s second consecutive weeks with three sacks, giving him 18 for the season, and Bren Celek’s five catches for 156 yards, a career high.
Still, McCoy had the greatest day. His three touchdowns gave him 17 rushing touchdowns for the season and 20 touchdowns overall, both of which broke club records held by the legendary Steve Van Buren since 1945. Overall, McCoy had 18 carries for 102 yards against the Jets.
That this 2011 Eagles team has been a maddening piece of work goes without saying. They have thumped teams on the fringes of the playoffs like the Jets and Cowboys, but also managed to lose to John Skelton and the Arizona Cardinals. They have played so well the last two weeks but also managed to blow all of those four quarter leads early in the season.
Figuring them out gets harder ever week.
Still, they live.