THE SNOW got deeper Sunday and the Eagles seemed to get stronger. The Detroit Lions, impenetrable defensively and able to do everything but score offensively through nearly three-quarters of the game, suddenly seemed frozen in place.
It was an amazing turnaround.
"This front seven for the Detroit Lions is just starting to take this game over," said Fox play-by-play voice Kevin Burkhardt, with 6 minutes left in the third quarter, and Detroit leading 14-0.
Ah, not so much, Kevin.
As the Eagles rebounded from that 14-0 deficit to a 34-20 victory, it was hard not to wonder if this wasn't Chip Kelly's "sports science" emphasis at work, especially when over-30 linemen Evan Mathis, Todd Herremans and Jason Peters started pushing around Detroit's younger, star-studded defensive line.
But how, exactly?
Kelly won't let his sports science coordinator, Shaun Huls, talk to reporters. Kelly also won't talk in more than very general terms about what the Eagles do in this area, not wanting to lose a possible edge over other teams. Players, when interviewed, also stick to the broad outlines - eating healthier, getting more sleep, and so on.
"Our players have taken care of themselves and really understand what we're trying to get accomplished, and I think it showed," Kelly said yesterday. Kelly said it wasn't necessarily that they are fresher in December than other teams - "I think it showed earlier in the year, too . . . I believe we're fresh when we go play games on Sundays."
Asked specifically about Mathis, Herremans and Peters, Kelly said: "I think one of the things about those three guys is, they take care of themselves, and they did before I got here, too, so it's not like it was a revolution for those guys."
Asked if some of the effect could be psychological - players expect to feel fresher, so they do - Kelly pretty much avoided the question, saying he doesn't talk to players about that sort of thing.