Last season, Frank Gore accused the Eagles of folding when the 49ers got physical with them.
“I think playing that second half and the way we came out, the Eagles didn’t want to play no more,” said Gore. “We just kept pounding and kept pounding and making plays and we kind of knocked the fight out of them.”
Their will power was further put into question as a result of blowing five fourth-quarter leads in 2011.
Sunday’s game against the Ravens was a step in the right direction away from that reputation. Not only did the Eagles win in come-from-behind fashion for the second straight week, but did so while playing a nasty brand of ball.
“They wanted to come out and push us around but we weren’t having that,” said DeMeco Ryans. “We had to fight back, bring the intensity and bring the fight to them.”
There were extra-curriculars all over the field Sunday in what felt at times like a playoff atmosphere. The replacement refs had their hands full as shoving matches (and at times more) broke out all over the place. DeSean Jackson and Ravens corner Cary Williams came to blows at one point.
“If I could look back I wouldn’t do it — Coach Reid got on me a little bit — but heat of the moment, go out there and getting into it, and you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do,” said Jackson.
Added Jeremy Maclin: “I’m not going to just let somebody slap my helmet or put their hands in my face. I’m a man.”
Cullen Jenkins was also mixing it up. He and a Ravens defender were called for offsetting unsportsmanlike conducts on Vonta Leach‘s five-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
“We want people to know what we’re about. We want people to know we’re going to fight,” said Jenkins. “You’re not going to intimidate us. That’s pretty much it. We’ve still got a lot to improve on and have to clean up our play, but that’s stuff that we can work on. But the fight in this team is definitely there.”
As you might imagine, Baltimore felt it was the Eagles that were going over the line.
“They take a couple of shots,” Ravens tailback Ray Rice said, via CSN Philly. “That’s just how they’re coached and stuff. They play dirty and stuff. They take shots after the play, lot of dirty stuff after plays.”
No matter who you assign blame to, you can say that the Eagles were at the very least up for the challenge.
The Eagles weren’t coming off as overly-cocky afterwards despite improving to 2-0 by beating a quality Ravens team. For one, they exited with some significant injury concerns, and they were well aware that they have now turned the ball over nine times in two games. But there was a feeling of accomplishment that they were able to stare down the league bully, and a late deficit, and overcome them both.
“It just takes fight,” said Ryans. “That’s what it’s all about. In the fourth quarter you have to pull out everything you’ve got. It’s going to take everything you’ve got to fight to make that play, to get off the field, to score that touchdown. Everybody has to have that mindset and that want-to. That’s what you’ve seen from our team last week and again this week, is that will and that fight to win.”
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