I'M PRETTY SURE we saw the turning point to this Eagles season long before Sunday, though I'm willing to be proved wrong about that.
So I guess I have to take the "blip" side of this argument, though I think calling such a gut-check win a "blip" is unnecessarily harsh, unless the Birds go on to lose out, or something.
There was nothing more annoying Sunday evening than listening to people on social media fatuously "fansplain" to others how this was not the formula for sustained winning — a blocked-punt touchdown, a punt-return touchdown, and an interception return for a touchdown, while nearly coughing up a three-score lead in the final 10 minutes. No kidding. The rest of us are new to this thing you call "football." Please tell us more.
I think fans should be cheered that the team showed a pulse, showed some fire, after giving up 45 points in back-to-back games to teams far inferior to the Patriots. The Eagles can keep their NFC East title hopes alive a while longer, and hope is seldom a bad thing.
But if they're going to have to win out to take that title, well, that's not happening. The offense, you probably noticed, had its moments Sunday, but far too few of them to win a "normal" game. The defense got pass-rush pressure and rediscovered its run-stopping mojo, but the Patriots still rang up 427 yards and 28 points, without Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. Some of the pass-rush pressure came because Tom Brady might have been feeling Sam Bradfordish, waiting, waiting, waiting in vain for receivers to come open who weren't capable of doing that.
The Eagles still can't defend a slant, and their offensive line spent the entire first half taking penalties. But they showed they haven't quit on Chip Kelly, that there are things — Eric Rowe! — they can build on for the future. Maybe even Sam Bradford.
That's really all I'm comfortable declaring. But if they win again this week, I might change my mind.
"@LesBowen Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian
SOMEBODY, I can't remember who other than I'm pretty sure it was one of the TV talking heads, actually asked Chip Kelly Sunday whether his team's win over the Patriots sent a message not only to his players, but to the rest of the league.
We're talking about a 5-7 team, people. The 35-28 win over Tom Brady and company was unexpected and it was nice and it means there will be a lot of smiling faces in the locker room this week.
But was the victory a turning point? We obviously are not going to know the answer to that for a few more weeks and I'm probably not the guy to ask since I predicted they would lose Sunday, 45-10.
My gut and my eyes say it isn't, though what's really the definition of a turning point in a division whose champion might end up with a 7-9 record?
Getting Sam Bradford back is a big plus. But with the exception of that one 19-yard run Sunday, DeMarco Murray still looks like he needs a guide dog to locate creases and lanes.
And while it was neat seeing little Darren Sproles carry the ball 15 times against the Patriots, there will be nothing left of him but a puddle by season's end if they try to give him that kind of workload every week.
They also continue to get next to nothing from their outside receivers. Tom Brady can win a Super Bowl just throwing to his tight ends and slot receivers, but I'm not sure Bradford and the Eagles can do that.
The defense intercepted Brady twice, got pressure from the pass rush and did a decent job against the run in the second half. But it's still a very flawed unit.
The inside linebackers are a major concern. DeMeco Ryans is a warrior, but he's running on fumes. Kiko Alonso looks completely lost, and Mychal Kendricks makes two bad plays for every good one.
They've given up 18 touchdown passes in the last five games. Patriots running back James White caught 10 passes for 115 yards a week after the Lions' Theo Riddick and Joique Bell caught seven for 119.
Big win? Most certainly.
Turning point? Put two wins together and then get back to me.
Email: email@example.com "@Pdomo Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian.com
HOW MANY times have the Eagles been at this point?
First, it was the win over the New York Jets that was supposed to kick-start this Eagles season; then the back-to-back wins over the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants; and then the win at Dallas.
Three supposed restarts, yet the Birds still took a 4-7 record into Sunday's game at New England.
So, no, not even an upset over the Patriots means things have swung for the Eagles and they are going to roll to the NFC East title, and the playoffs, by winning their four remaining games.
This team's longest winning streak has been two games, so to believe it can cap a season on a five-game run is ridiculous.
That 35-28 victory over the injury-riddled Patriots was the biggest nugget of fool's gold in a season filled with fool's gold.
The Birds did not so much beat New England as they accepted a gift handed to them by the Patriots. The opposition had as much to do with preventing the Eagles from having a four-game losing streak as they did.
From the incredible blunder of Bill Belichick to call an onside kick with a 14-0 lead to Tom Brady throwing an improbable, 99-yard pick-six, to the horrible play of special teams that yielded touchdowns on a blocked punt and a punt return, the Patriots were giving early holiday gifts.
Ultimately, the final score is the only statistic that counts, but the others from the New England game show the Eagles are still the same team that has bumbled its way through most of the season.
New England outgained the Eagles, 427 to 248 yards, and had 12 more first downs. The Patriots were done in by not-so-special teams play.
Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford was adequate but hardly awe-inspiring.
Coach Chip Kelly keeps saying a big win is meaningless if you lose the next game.
If, on Jan. 4, the Eagles are preparing for a playoff game instead of the 2016 draft, this game against the Patriots might be considered the turning point.
Until then, however, it is just a blip among a couple of other blips on the Eagles' radar.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Columns: ph.ly/Smallwood Blog: ph.ly/DNL
CAN I AT LEAST wait to see what happens Sunday against those Buffalo Shady McCoys in South Philly?
Just joshing, I think.
For a lot of NFL teams, it's pretty much a week-to-week proposition anyhow. If it weren't, that prognostication stuff would be pretty easy, which we know it's not. Just ask the sports books in Vegas how they've been doing lately.
I don't think one performance/result, no matter how implausible, changes much as far as now getting on some kind of roll. The Eagles' only constant has been their inconsistency, almost from series to series. How else would you explain many of the things that have happened to them? Other than maybe Jordan Hicks, tell me what or who you could point to who hasn't left you shaking your head at some point.
They have no identity. What they mostly have going for them is their division. Because they somehow upset the Pats, are we supposed to dismiss the losses to the Bucs and Lions? Or the one before that against the Dolphins, which was actually more frustrating?
Still, it's amazing what three non-offensive touchdowns can do for a cause. Yet I'm guessing that probably doesn't happen many other weeks the rest of the way. I look at them and still see an awful lot of reasons not to be all-in. But by all means, feel free to get carried away if you must, since it's been such a barren landscape around these parts.
Let's put it this way: Realistically, do you think they have a better shot of finishing 4-0 or 0-4? Chances are they won't do either. But if your life savings were on the line, which direction would you lean? The way this is evolving, 2-2 might be enough to get them into the postseason. With a home game. If that constitutes a turning point, so be it. And please tell the folks at Merriam-Webster to update their definitions.
Who knows? Maybe then the Eagles will even figure out a way to get past a wild-card team, whoever that turns out to be. Just make sure to remind Chip not to give the ball to Kenjon Barner if they're protecting a late lead.
Ed Barkowitz...Turning point
Marcus Hayes...Turning point
Rich Hofmann…Turning point
Drew McQuade...Turning point
Bob Vetrone Jr...Turning point