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10 observations: Eagles-Cowboys

Here are my 10 observations from yesterday's 44-6 win over the Cowboys:

A lot had to happen yesterday for the Eagles to even play a meaningful game. Let's start out with the Thank Yous.

Thank you to

for 27 carries, 177 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yarder in a wild fourth quarter that put the Raiders back in it. Thank you

for six catches for 52 yards, including a 12-yard score in the third quarter. And thank you for setting Oakland up with great field position all day. And well, thanks for just being you. Thank you

. We now see why you were drafted with the top selection overall (kind of). You turned it over just once and kept your team in the game. Most impressive, maybe, was your drive at the end of the first half that gave Oakland a 14-7 lead. Thank you to

for choosing to go for it on fourth down and coming up short. Thank you to

for that timely interception. Thank you to

. And I never thought I'd say this, but thank you to

. Thank you to

, for announcing the game like it was the Super Bowl. And thank you to

for 10 catches, 148 yards and two scores.

Local ties all over the place yesterday. At one point in our early chat, a reader said he/she would root for

as hard as ever yesterday. Huh? I had to look it up, but it was true. The former Eagles draft pick had been with the Texans since Week 8. I guess this is something an NFL blogger should have known. Anyway, yesterday he had 12 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, local products

(27-for-36 for 328 yards and two touchdowns) and

(128 total yards and a TD) also came up big for Houston. In the Bucs game, did you catch who was in at linebacker? Another former Eagles draft pick.

. He was released in October after a DUI arrest but then re-signed. And not a moment too soon.

What a game for Eagles who we thought might be playing/coaching in their last games.

was seen waving his hands to the crowd throughout the game asking for noise. I wonder if he ever thought about flipping everyone the bird. Lord knows we probably deserved it.

. One more opportunity. No turnovers. Efficient.

. All over the place. A couple of forced fumbles. Leading "Fly Eagles Fly" with all his power.


. What Cowboys pass rush? Just an unbelievable performance all around.

Some thoughts on the Cowboys. Take a look at some of Dallas' signings over the past couple years.

absolutely killed them. There was the 15-yard penalty for hitting

late and the fumble on the kickoff return.

. Final numbers on the season: 34 catches for 426 yards and two touchdowns. Yesterday? A whopping two catches for 4 yards. By the way, did you notice

waving off the punt unit in the third quarter and

just having a confused look on his face? "Who's running the show down there?" they asked on the broadcast.

The optimist says:

The pessimist says:

We often criticize Reid in this space so at least one point should be dedicated to him. With everything on the line, his team had one turnover and zero penalties. Other than the McNabb benching, there was little drama involving the players. Loss after loss, mishap after mishap, Reid took the blame. It annoyed all of us, but all he was worried about was his players and his coaching staff. And maybe that's how it should be. I'm not saying he's perfect, but take a look around the league this morning. Coaches getting fired left and right. A Bucs team collapsing. A Bears team failing to take care of business with the door wide open. A Cowboys team self-destructing. A Jets team letting it slip away. You could do worse than Reid.

It's funny how little things can change the numbers in this game. Going into Week 17, the stat we heard a hundred times over was that the Eagles would miss the playoffs for the third time in four years. Now? They've been below .500 just once in the last nine years and missed the playoffs just twice. Before yesterday, the defense had 24 takeaways, pretty good, but not great. Now? 29. Only three NFC teams had more. Before yesterday, this was a franchise stuck in mediocrity, needing an offseason overhaul. Now? The national media is tabbing the Eagles as one of the teams you don't want to play in the postseason.

When the game was still a game, the Eagles came up huge on third down to the tune of 7-for-8 in the second quarter. That included the big 59-yard gain to

. McNabb's QB sneak for a touchdown. McNabb's 34-yard strike to

. McNabb's touchdown pass to Buckhalter. And McNabb's 13-yard pass to Brown and the subsequent Pacman penalty. Third-down conversions. It's been the stat to look at down the stretch in determining this team's success.

Thanks to everyone who joined one of our chats or read the blog Sunday. It was a record-setting day here at

. I anticipated coming up with offseason ideas this week and breaking down the other playoff games, but instead we get more football in Philadelphia. I'll be blogging like a madman this week so be sure to check back throughout the day for updates, and let me know if there's anything you'd like to see covered.