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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Super Bowl XXXIX Diary (Part V)

The Eagles have got their back to the wall down 10. It's far too soon for the Gatorade shower, but the Eagles can't really afford another 3-and-out. Troy Aikman ominously commented that a win here would make, in his mind, this incarnation of the Patriots a greater team than his early 1990s Cowboys. One play later, Terrell Owens burned Randall Gay (perhaps the biggest mismatch since Michael and Lisa Marie.) And then....McNabb made a terrible throw and got picked off, just as the Eagles were nearing Akers' field goal range. The Patriots 3-and-outted, giving the Eagles life, albeit with two fewer minutes on the clock - nearing the point where the Eagles would need a successful onside kick to prevail if they didn't get some quick points. Definitely four-down territory.

New England, 24-14: Philadelphia lost 6 yards on their first drive of the 4th, and left New England with great field position with which to have the opportunity to really put the Eagles on the ropes. A great catch by Brady and an even better catch by Deion Branch, couple with a roughing the passer penalty (the hit on Brady was totally off-camera) on the Eagles, put the Pats in the Red Zone. The Philly defense stiffened up from there, showing why they are so well-regarding, and the Pats had to settle for a Viniateri chip-shot.

New England, 21-14: Dillon and the short passing game got it done for the Pats. Deion Branch, who was missing for much of the season and was missed even though they won most of their contests, is having an outstanding game. Every time one team got the upper hand, the other team answered in fairly short order; we'll see if the trend continues.


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