The Eagles won a game at the Meadowlands in a way that they never win. They played pristine defense. Because of that, they ran the ball and ran it and then they ran it some more -- more than 40 times overall. And they kept their still-slim playoff hopes alive with a 20-14 victory over the Giants.
The reaction in town will be universal: where was this all season? They had run the ball so ineffectively for so long this season, and now they have suddenly found the magic. Last week against the Cardinals was dismissed as an anomaly against a weak defense. This week, though, cannot be so easily explained. Because the Eagles, on a windy day, ran the ball persistently if not outrageously well. Brian Westbrook had 30-plus carries and scored twice, once on a 30-yard run and the other on a 40-yard catch and run at the start of the fourth quarter. And at the end, the Eagles ran and ran and ran and held the ball for more than 7 minutes on the fourth-quarter drive that effectively ended the game.
I did not see this coming -- not the win, and certainly not the style of the win. I don't know anybody who mapped it out this way in their head in the days leading up to the game. It came from nowhere, but it happened.
And now the Eagles are 7-5-1 and can begin their scoreboard-watching with a clear conscience.