The forecast called for light snow showers and an inch or two of snow on the ground for Sunday afternoon. The Eagles were told snow wouldn’t start until about 2 pm in the Philly region. Instead at least three inches of snow coated the field at the start of Sunday’s contest between the Eagles and the Lions. It was so bad during warm-ups Lions starting running back Reggie Bush slipped in the snow and re-injured an existing calf injury which resulted in missing the game. That was just the beginning of what would be one of the craziest afternoons ever at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles roster is packed full of players from warm parts of the country such Florida, California, and various parts of the southwest. For most, it was their first time playing in snow. They dreamed about playing in such a scenario. Little did they realize they were in for a dog fight Sunday at the Linc. Most expected the weather conditions to favor the Eagles since they were the team with an outdoor stadium regularly playing in the cold weather. The Lions, who play inside the comforts of a dome, usually aren’t exposed to such conditions yet during the first half of the game they looked like the team with the outdoor experience.
The site of stadium workers clearing lines away with snow blowers was a constant Sunday afternoon. It was a real life winter wonderland playing out right before our eyes. The sights of Snowbowl 2013 were about the only thing entertaining in the first half of action. At the early stages of the game I was excited to watch a game being played in such conditions. As the first half went on though and I realized the Eagles weren’t a team prepared to play in such conditions I began changing my attitude towards the snow. Many scenarios began crossing my mind, what if they lose and miss out on the playoffs because of a freak storm that decided to roll through the Philly region on a Sunday afternoon. What if Dallas runs the table and it’s this one game that costs everything for us because a forecast that supposedly called for 1-2 inches of snow turned into an all out December blizzard.
The Eagles fell behind 14-0 and fans all across the Delaware Valley were frustrated. During the shipwreck that was the first half Eagles QB Nick Foles was just 4-10 passing and finally threw his first interception since last year. LeSean McCoy only averaged 3.9 yards per carry in the first half. No one could have predicted the 2nd half he’d have based on his first half performance. The Eagles high octane offense only managed 6 first downs, 0 third down conversions, and only 90 total yards in the first half.
Then it was time for the 2nd half and Chip Kelly and the Eagles came out with an adjusted game-plan. All of a sudden the Eagles were moving the ball through both the air and on the ground. Chip Kelly buried the original game plan which consisted of the usual read-option, shotgun schemed plays that are usually the backbone of the Eagles offensive attack. Instead the Eagles opted to lean on the power running game and mixed it up with some deep passes. The strategy worked like a charm. Foles hit Riley Cooper on a 44 yard strike than DeSean Jackson on a 19 yard touchdown and all of a sudden the Eagles had life.
Once the 4th quarter began it was the Shady McCoy show. McCoy exploded for 166 yards in the 2nd half and 2 touchdowns. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Each time McCoy touched the ball it was like magic. Through the first 3 quarters McCoy ran the ball 18 times for 72 yards. Then on his first carry of the 4th quarter he ran for a 40 yard TD. Then on his third carry of the 4th he ran a 57 yard TD. McCoy went on to set the single game rushing record for Eagles running backs with 217 yards rushing. That surpassed the 205 yard record set by Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren back in 1949. It was an unbelievable performance by McCoy who looked like he wouldn’t have a chance to do much at all based on his first half performance.
The win puts the Eagles at 8-5 and guarantees them to stay in first place for at-least another week. Three games remain on the schedule as the Eagles set off for Minnesota next week to face a Vikings team that’s struggled all season and may be without star running back Adrian Peterson who suffered an ankle injury Sunday against Baltimore. Snow Bowl 2013 will be remembered by many as an afternoon full of exciting, entertaining football. The Eagles/Lions game was 1 of 5 games that kicked off in snowy conditions Sunday afternoon. No other stadium though had the amount of snow that fell at the Linc on Sunday. Whatever happens the rest of the season you can guarantee the Snow Bowl will be remembered for years to come.