The sense all along was that the Eagles were going to have to win a shootout Sunday if they were to beat the San Diego Chargers. The sense was right even if the result was wrong for the Eagles. Final score: Chargers 31, Eagles 23.
It was a wild, wild, wild game. The Eagles' defense, decimated now by injuries, would have its hands more than full all day with the Chargers. LaDanian Tomlinson, thought to be dead, awakened. And the Eagles' secondary, already missing its third and fourth cornerbacks, lost starter Sheldon Brown with an apparent hamstring problem. There was every reason to believe it was going to be a shooting gallery, and it was. The Chargers held a 28-9 lead at the end of the third quarter and it all seemed to be over by the body count.
And then the Eagles resuscitated themselves. Their offense would go for almost 500 yards for the day, as Donovan McNabb led them back. They had moved the ball between the 20's all day, only to be stymied in short-yardage situations and red-zone situations; yes, this is a recording. Still, the Eagles kept coming. A touchdown pass to a wide-open Jeremy Maclin was followed, with 7:12 to go, by a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brent Celek. The extra point brought the Eagles back to 28-23 and the thousands of Eagles fans who made the trip to Qualcomm Stadium made themselves very much heard.
But then the Chargers had the ball and ate the clock. The Eagles' defense, truly beleaguered now by injuries, just couldn't get off of the field. The Chargers ended up kicking a field goal with 30 seconds left. After the kickoff, McNabb and the offense had 24 seconds to drive 66 yards for the potential tying score (and two-point conversion).
Didn't happen. The game ended with an interception by Antonio Cromartie in the end zone.
And this sad addendum: Brian Westbrook suffered another concussion in the second half and watched the end of the game wearing a baseball cap. We can only guess when he might play again. Tough, tough trip.