Before scaring the hell out of Erin Andrews and setting social media ablaze with his unfiltered thoughts on Michael Crabtree, Richard Sherman made the play of the game. Despite the corner’s assertions, Crabtree is far from mediocre. Yet Sherman stayed stride-for-stride with the receiver down the right sideline, turned his body, leapt into the air and stretched out his left arm to deflect a would-be go-ahead touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick. Malcolm Smith came up with the interception, securing the Seahawks’ spot in Super Bowl XLVIII.
“There are not many guys who can make a play on this ball,” said Troy Aikman as the Seattle crowd boomed in the background.
Chip Kelly frequently calls the NFL a player’s league, and that sequence with under 30 ticks remaining Sunday night demonstrated his point. The fate of two franchises came down to a one-on-one matchup. If Sherman doesn’t get his paw on that ball, the Niners are playing for the title in New Jersey in two weeks. But he did, so the Seahawks advance. Read more »
Before we get started: DeSean Jackson was named to the Pro Bowl on Friday. He replaces Andre Johnson, who is not participating because of an unspecified injury, according to the league.
Jackson is the fifth Eagle selected to this year’s Pro Bowl, joining LeSean McCoy, Jason Peters, Nick Foles and Evan Mathis. Peters has opted not to play in the game.
Now onto the mailbag: Read more »
Brandon Boykin fractured his leg in the 2012 Senior Bowl while playing special teams. He needed surgery and had a pair of screws inserted. That was in February. The injury prevented him from participating in the combine or holding a pro day, but the Georgia product received no indication that the injury would negatively affect his draft stock.
Speaking with some NFL teams leading up to April’s draft, he was told that he was projected to go between No. 26 overall to early in the second round. Instead, he slipped all the way to the fourth round before being selected by the Eagles with the 123rd pick.
There were 12 corners taken before him, and he knows the names of each and every one of them. He sees them every day when he wakes up. Read more »
Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin (22) celebrates with his teammates on the field after making an interception in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The Eagle beat the Cowboys 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis met with the media today. Here are three things that stood out from the session.
1. Since the day he was hired, Davis has talked about how defensive coordinators have to call games against the opposing quarterback and the opposing play-caller.
This week presents one of the best duos in the league in that respect with Drew Brees and Sean Payton. I asked Davis what makes Payton, specifically, so good as a play-caller.
“He’s probably one of the best in formations and matchups and adjustments,” Davis said. “He’s got a great mind as far as, again, he makes you defend the width and the depth of the field. And I think him and Drew are really one and the same person. They have worked so much together that their understanding together that no matter what is in Sean’s head, Drew can execute. And that’s the key to great offensive football is when the quarterback has the same understanding as at coordinator or the head coach in this case.” Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ defensive performance against Dallas after having watched the coaches tape.
* This group limited DeMarco Murray to 51 yards on 17 carries (3.0 YPC). Cedric Thornton probably had the best game of any of the linemen. He combined with Bennie Logan to stop Murray after a 3-yard run in the first half. In the third, Thornton and Brandon Boykin dropped Murry for a 4-yard loss, putting Dallas in a tough third-down spot. Thornton finished with two tackles.
* Fletcher Cox was quiet – one tackle, no sacks, no hurries. Logan had three tackles. He pressured Kyle Orton and helped force him into a bad throw in the second.
* All three starting defensive linemen jumped early once, drawing flags. Read more »
When the Cowboys took over with 1:49 remaining and trailing by two, owner Jerry Jones believed the stage was set for his team to finally get over the hump.
“I thought, not that it was ordained, but that it was going to be our time,” he said, “and the way [Kyle] Orton had been playing, he went to his receivers well, he went to the right people, receivers most of the time, and I was very surprised. Their back made a really great play on (the interception).”
That back was Brandon Boykin, who came up with an interception on first down to stamp the Eagles’ ticket to the postseason.
“It was happiness,” said the second-year corner out of Georgia. Read more »
Normally we use this space for a thorough recap of the previous day’s game, and there will be some of that.
But it’s a playoff week for the first time in three years in Philadelphia, so let’s lead off with 10 things you should know about the next opponent: the Saints.
1. New Orleans took care of business Sunday, crushing the Bucs 42-17 to improve to 11-5 on the season – that’s 8-0 at home and 3-5 on the road. The Saints won four of their last five and were 2-3 overall against teams that are in the postseason. Going into Week 17, Football Outsiders had New Orleans as the No. 7 team overall – fifth on offense, 11th on defense and 24th on special teams. Read more »
With 1:49 left, Kyle Orton and the Cowboys took the field from their own 32-yard-line with a chance to put together a game-winning drive.
But instead of moving into field-goal range, Orton was picked off by Brandon Boykin. And just like that, the Eagles had a 10-6 record and an NFC East title during Chip Kelly’s first season.
“It’s an awesome feeling when you can work as hard as they’ve worked and to see it pay off and the result is 10-6 and you’re division champs,” Kelly said. “It’s a real credit to those guys. They didn’t flinch. That was an interesting fourth quarter to say the least, but this group keeps battling, and they just found a way.” Read more »
The consensus within the Cary Williams circle of trust was that the cornerback wasn’t playing with the same type of edge that he had in Baltimore. Sounds strange, seeing as the feisty corner always seems to be an inch away from throwing haymakers on the field, but this has more to do with what’s been going on between the whistles. His brother said something about it. His best friend. Even his pastor felt he needed to be a bit more ferocious.
But when his wife, Amanda, broached the subject, that was the tipping point.
“When my wife said it, it really kind of sunk in,” said Williams. “I listened because she has been following me for a long time and watching how I played, and she said I just didn’t have the same aggressiveness like how I used to,” said Williams. “I gave a bunch of excuses why, but then when I look in the mirror it just is what it is. I am what I put out there on the field.
“I just wanted to get back into character.”
The defense as a whole was trying to do the same thing. Read more »
Here is the Eagles’ injury report for Sunday night’s home game against the Bears:
Out: S Colt Anderson (knee), S Kurt Coleman (hamstring)
Probable: CB Brandon Boykin (concussion), LB Najee Goode (hamstring), LB Mychal Kendricks (knee), WR Brad Smith (hamstring), S Earl Wolff (knee)
The most significant piece of news is that Boykin made it through the concussion protocol and is expected to play against Chicago. That’s big, particularly because standout wide receiver Brandon Marshall will line up in the slot from time to time.
Also of note is that Wolff will likely make his return after missing several weeks with a knee injury. Billy Davis plans on easing Wolff back in, so don’t expect him to be taking all the reps at safety opposite Nate Allen. He will likely rotate with Patrick Chung. Read more »