Three teams played on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field -- the Lions, Eagles and Jack Frost. The game became less about two teams playing each other, and more about who could handle the conditions best. Ultimately, it was Philadelphia that better handled the conditions, surging in the fourth quarter to win, 34-20.
It became clear from the first kickoff that it was going to be a very different game. Players needed to change their approach to match conditions most have never seen in their careers. Special teams were most heavily affected, with kickers and punters struggling to plant correctly.
Fumbles became the biggest issue, especially for the Lions. Quarterback Matthew Stafford fumbled snaps three times in the first half, while running back Joique Bell dropped two of his own. Everything went under review, with referees trying to determine exactly what was happening -- which was easier said than done, even with video review.
Despite the early missteps, it was clear the Lions were better able to handle the conditions. Stafford was throwing better, and his tall receivers were better able to catch errant passes that were slipping out of the quarterback's hands. Two turnovers were mitigated by the first touchdown of the game, a two-yard Joique Bell run. This wasn't without weather-related shenanigans, with the Lions electing to try a two-point conversion, rather than trying to have their kicker plant on the icy field.
Nick Foles was clearly out of his element. With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, he threw his first interception of the 2013 season to a wide open Chris Houston, seemingly losing his receiver in the snow. His 0.0 passer rating was a far cry from the 125.3 rating he carried into the game on Sunday.
Philadelphia's only sustainable drive couldn't be converted into points when the Eagles elected to attempt a 4th-and-7 conversion, rather than send out the kicker to deal with the icy field. An end zone shot bounced off the head of Riley Cooper, ensuring they went to halftime scoreless.
It seemed oddly appropriate that the next breakthrough would come on special teams. Jeremy Ross of Detroit elected to field a punt, running it back 58 yards while the Eagles were unable to get enough traction to chase him down. It resulted in the longest play of the game, capped off with a snow angel -- naturally.
Philadelphia wasn't done yet. The Eagles quickly answered back with a touchdown of their own, then another. The comeback was on, and the Lions were stunned. Foles wasn't just completing passes, he was moving the chains for the first time.
It appeared the comeback would be short-lived, with Ross returning a kick 98 yards to regain the lead.
Enter LeSean McCoy. He soared on an afternoon when most stars struggled. Less than 1:30 had come off the game clock and he ran for back-to-back touchdown of 40 and 57 yards to have one of his best games of the season -- despite the weather. Everything started going wrong for the once-dominant Lions, allowing three fourth-quarter touchdowns and capping off a vital potential comeback drive with another Stafford fumble -- his fourth.
The game was over, the Eagles prevailed and won the snow-covered game in Philadelphia to push the Cowboys and assert themselves as a playoff team under first-year head coach Chip Kelly.
Fantasy studs and duds
There wasn't much offense from either team. Calvin Johnson was a fantasy dud, finishing with 49 yards receiving.
LeSean McCoy ran well in the snow, finishing with over 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Reggie Bush slipped in pre-game warmups and aggravated a calf injury. He did not take a snap, and there is no update on his status at this time.
Did they cover?
The Philadelphia Eagles were two-point favorites, according to OddsShark.
12/16: Detroit Lions vs. Baltimore Ravens
12/15: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Minnesota Vikings
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