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Eagles finally look like taking flight

Liam Quinn


Liam Quinn

Written on Wednesday, 02 November 2011 01:05

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It may have taken until the halfway mark of the season, but the Philadelphia Eagles are finally beginning to stir.

The Eagles began the season amidst a raft of glowing forecasts for the 2011 season, which led Cowboys defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, to label the Eagles as ‘the all hype team'.

In the weeks prior to the Eagles' meeting with Ryan's Cowboys, it seemed the outspoken defensive guru's description was near the mark. The Eagles had been immensely unimpressive in their opening six contests, managing only a pair of wins in that time.

The whispers from Eagles doubters had grown into a roar. According to most pundits, they were a cautionary tale for what happens when highly priced talent is assembled, but not worked into a team's system.

Philadelphia's title chances for 2011 appeared to be dead and buried.

Fittingly, on Halloween, they were resurrected.

The Eagles dominated their long-time rival Dallas Cowboys, storming to a 34-7 win. Mike Vick looked at ease when confronted with the Cowboys array of blitz packages - the same scheme that caused New England's Tom Brady to struggle just a fortnight ago - and LeSean McCoy was sensational from the backfield. Yet more importantly the Eagles defense finally came to play.

Cornerback Asante Samuel - who criticized the Eagles front office during the week - emphatically declared that his side was ‘back' after their triumph.

Philadelphia gave their success-starved fans a glimpse into how good they can be, and if they can sustain the same level of play for the rest of the season, they are going to be an incredibly tough side to beat.

The doubters are silenced - for the moment, anyway - and the NFL is on notice.

Philadelphia has finally arrived for 2011.

SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS

It's been a great week for St Louis sports fans.

Their Cardinals produced one of the finest displays ever to grace the World Series, en route to claiming the Major League Baseball crown, yet nothing from the Rams' opening six games would have given fans any hope of a title gracing the Edward James Dome any time soon.

The Rams have been dismal in the opening half of the season, reflected in their winless record after six games. The prospect of a red-hot New Orleans outfit - fresh from a 55-point win last week - coming to town, led many to think that the Rams could be on the wrong end of a heavy defeat.

But, as the saying goes, that's why they play the games.

St Louis - led by running back Stephen Jackson - produced one of the real surprises of the season, defeating the Saints, 31-21.

The Rams - a pre-season favourite to win the NFC West - seem to have fumbled away any potential playoff run for 2011, but if they can produce similar performances for the remainder of the season, fans will at least feel positive going into 2012 and beyond.

TEBOW TIME PUT ON HOLD

Such is the level of social reverence enjoyed by Denver Broncos quarterback, Tim Tebow, that his postgame moment of reflection last week created an internet phenomenon.

Move over planking; ‘Tebowing' is the new craze.

However, his army of fans couldn't protect Tebow from the vicious defensive unit of the Detroit Lions.

Tebow was sacked seven times, and his two turnovers on Monday led to Detroit touchdowns.

He was battered and bruised en route to a humbling 45-10 defeat, as Detroit seemed to rediscover its swagger, after stumbling to two straight losses over the past fortnight.

To put it simply, Tebow seemed out of his depth, an item on the menu during the Lions' feeding frenzy.

But that's not a knock on Tebow.

Detroit's defense - especially their pass-rushing unit - has the ability to make the most seasoned of NFL quarterback's lose their cool. Let alone a young star, who has started just a handful of games in his career.

Tebow needs time to develop, and even though that sentiment might not be popular in a ‘what have you done for me lately' league like the NFL, it's the only chance he has at growing into an elite starting quarterback.

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