Celek's offensive burst was a whiff of fresh air

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(Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Throughout the season's first six weeks, Brent Celek reached over, slapped the snooze button on the sounding alarm and fell back to sleep. Once a cornerstone of the Eagles offense, Celek had appeared to fall out of favor and his production continued to sag.

The tight end woke up Sunday night, erased those ringing doldrums and returned to form as a cog in the Eagles offense.

In the 34-7 rout of the visiting Dallas Cowboys, Celek hauled in seven passes for 94 yards and set the tone for the rushing game with several key blocks. He fell just 6 yards shy of his first 100-yard game since Dec. 27, 2009.

Before Sunday, the five-year veteran had just 13 catches on the season for 115 yards and just one touchdown. He had yet to record a 50-yard game and had just twice hauled in more than two passes in a game.

To make it worse, his slow start this season came after a disappointing 2010 campaign. The Sunday outburst was a breath of fresh air on an awfully chilly night.

With 10 minutes, 43 seconds left in the second quarter, Celek provided the exclamation point for the Eagles' rampant offensive production. Quarterback Michael Vick found a wide-open Celek in the middle of the end zone for the team's third touchdown and a cushy 21-point lead.

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In the second half, Celek barely missed out on his second touchdown. As Celek ran a crossing pattern across the goal line, Vick tried to squeeze in a pass to the tight end. But it was tipped away by a diving Frank Walker.

If not for Walker's effort, Celek would have recorded the first two-touchdown game of his career.

With the lead beginning to appear out of reach, Celek helped strengthen the advantage by helping to stifle any confidence that remained in the Cowboys. Nearing the end of the third quarter, Celek's 12-yard catch and run helped set up an easy first down dive by LeSean McCoy.

Two plays later, Vick continued the Eagles march as he found a kneeling Celek for a 9-yard gain, once again leaving just a yard for the first down. Again the Eagles turned to McCoy, as he sprinted off Celek's left side and into the end zone untouched for an easy score.

Celek caught all five of his passes in the first half and entered the break with a team-high 73 passing yards. Celek's first-half production was exactly equal to his combined receiving yards in the season's first-five games.

Celek, along with fellow tight end Clay Harbor, assisted the offensive line in creating wide gaps for Vick and McCoy. Against the NFC's top rushing defense, the Eagles had their way.

McCoy rushed for 93 yards in the first half and a touchdown, while Vick added 45 more. Both averaged more than 7 yards per carry as the large holes produced by Celek and the line resulted in big gains.

 


Contact staff writer Matt Breen

at mbreen@phillynews.com or on Twitter @matt_breen.