As the seconds ticked away on the game clock, the Metrodome echoed the theme song of HBO’s hit series “Entourage”.
“Wanna be my superhero?”
Eagles safety Brian Dawkins stammered up and down the sidelines, and for a moment, it almost seemed realistic that his uniform would split down the middle, his shoulder pads would explode and the Incredible Hulk would be revealed.
It never happened, although for a second it appeared he did turn green, but Dawkins and the rest of his defensive entourage brought their own version of the “mean green” on the Vikings throughout Sunday night’s wild card game victory 26-14.
For most of the night it was a game of chess, with defensive coordinator Jim Johnson matching the Vikings move for move defensively. Like many games this year, Donovan McNabb and the offense were slow to strike big early, so the team once again called on the Big-D and once again they delivered like UPS trucks.
Dawkins steamrolled into Sunday’s game picking up on his path of destruction after forcing two fumbles last week as the Eagles clinched a playoff birth against Dallas.
B-Dawk was once again fumble happy for the NFC’s No. 1 defense, sacking Jackson on Minnesota’s 47 then diving on his own forced fumble with 10:44 in the third quarter, slaughtering at that time any chance for the Vikings to take the lead.
Vikings quarterback Tavaris Jackson was less than barbaric, consistently scrambling from a defense that made him their lunch, sacking him three times. Although the freak without a leash Adrian Peterson scampered for two touchdowns, the defense kept the Vikings at bay allowing only 301 yards of total offense.
An impressive stat when you consider the Eagles, who have the No.2 rushing defense in the NFC, held Peterson, the NFL’s leading rusher, to only 83 yards on 20 carries, 40 of those on one touchdown carry.
Defensive back Asante Samuel also proved his worth, which is approximately $52 zillion according to Philadelphia play-by-play man Merrill Reese, with his NFL-record fourth career postseason interception, stepping in front of a short Jackson pass for a 44-yard return with 6:43 left in the first half to put the Birds up 16-7.
Samuel now holds the all-time record with 202 interception return yards and his six postseason picks are one behind Rodney Harrison (7) on the all-time list.
Despite Dawkins consistently exploding through the offensive line like a tank on the battlefront and with Samuel swarming Minnesota receivers like a bat out of hell, the unsung hero of the day was Trent Cole. The defensive end had a season best 14 tackles, a major reason why Peterson couldn’t overcome the attack of the Birds.
There was also more snow accumulation on the ground outside the stadium than the Vikings’ entire punt return game that gained a whopping one, yes, one yard as Philadelphia’s special teams joined in on the dethroning of the NFC North Kings.
The season long rampage shows no sign of stopping any time soon.
Look for Dawkins’ last stand to continue as the Eagles head north to battle the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants at the Meadowlands.
Philadelphia is 1-1 against New York this season. In the Eagles Dec 7, 20-14 victory over the Giants, the Eagles defense held the G-Men to a laughable 211 yards of total offense including a then season low 123 yards for Eli Manning. That was after Manning came off his season best 305-yard performance against Washington the week before.
From where Dawkins and the Eagles are flying right now, the Giants don’t look so giant.