Eagles Shock The World, Stun Patriots

In what just might be the biggest upset of the 2015 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles went into Foxborough and beat the New England Patriots 35-28 on Sunday. The 9-10 point-underdog Eagles were coming off three straight embarrassing defeats, the last two of which saw them give up a combined 10 touchdown passes and a whopping 90 points. The Patriots, on the other hand, were coming off their first loss of the season, after starting a perfect 10-0, and were an incredible 38-4 following a loss since 2003, according to ESPN. This is one that few saw coming.

The Eagles rose to the occasion on the road after disappointing losses to inferior opponents like the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Detroit Lions — the latter of which came on Thanksgiving Day in front of a national audience that resulted in a 45-14 stuffing. The Patriots were the subject of potential unbeaten-season talk just two weeks ago, but now find themselves as the 3-seed in the AFC playoff race. The Cincinnati Bengals (10-2) hold the top spot due to their record in conference games, while the Denver Broncos (10-2) are second by virtue of their head-to-head victory over New England. The Eagles (5-7) remain alive in the NFC, tied with the New York Giants, a game behind the Washington Redskins (5-6) who play division-rival Dallas Monday night. There’s a chance we could wake up Tuesday morning with a three-way tie atop the NFC East.

Byron Maxwell Intercepts Tom Brady [Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images]Sunday’s game started off like it’d be more of the same for the Eagles, who had never beaten Tom Brady and hadn’t won in Foxborough in 26 years, according to Csnphilly.com. The Patriots led 14-0 early, but the Eagles used a blocked-punt return for a touchdown, an interception return for a score, and a punt return to paydirt en route to 35 unanswered points and their biggest win of the season. Eagles cornerback Byron Maxwell (pictured above intercepting Tom Brady in the end zone) may have put it best.

“There’s going to be hard times in an NFL season. The great teams are mentally tough. It doen’t matter what the outside world says. It’s what we believe inside the room ultimately that matters.”

New England was able to make things interesting late in the game thanks to a Scott Chandler touchdown, the recovery of an ensuing onside kick and a Brady sneak for six to pull within seven. A Kenjon Barner fumble offered even more hope, but the Patriots potential game-tying drive stalled out with 34 seconds remaining thanks to drops by Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, and Keshawn Martin. Brady finished the day 29-56 passing for 312 yards, four total touchdowns, and two interceptions. He had never thrown a pick against the Eagles in his career, and this marked the first time since the Super Bowl he had thrown more than one in a game. Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis weighed in on the magnitude of the victory.

“This is as hard a place as there is to win, and against the best quarterback in the business to get a win and to do it after the adversity we faced the last three weeks, it speaks to the character of these men.”

Philadelphia Eagles Celebrate Win Over New England Patriots [Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images]Despite the back-to-back setbacks, New England’s schedule is very favorable down the stretch. Up next for the Patriots is a Sunday night date with the Texans, followed by games with the Titans, Jets and Dolphins. The road to the postseason won’t be easy for Philadelphia, with games against the Bills and Cardinals upcoming, but if they can remain in the hunt, games against the Redskins and Giants are lurking in weeks 16 and 17. And although it hasn’t been pretty in the NFC East this year, it’s certainly building towards a dramatic conclusion.

[Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images]