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Eagles Eyein' the Lions

By Ryan Shute, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The 34th overall meeting between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Detroit Lions will take place at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

The Eagles lead the series with a record of 17-14-2.

The Birds are looking to avenge last season’s Thanksgiving Day 45-14 beating suffered at the hands of the Lions, where Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 337 yards and five touchdowns. Stafford had an outstanding day and one of the beneficiaries was wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Johnson went off for eight catches, 93-receiving yards, and three touchdowns, taking advantage of then Eagles rookie cornerback Eric Rowe. The Eagles will not have to worry about Johnson torching a rookie or any of their defensive backs this week, as Johnson retired at the conclusion of 2015, leaving the NFL with career totals of 731 catches, 11,619 yards receiving, and 83 receiving touchdowns.

The man they call "Megatron" left the game as part of a very exclusive club that houses only 17 members, including himself, to reach 11,000 receiving yards and 80 touchdowns.

To recall some recent positive memories of this series, you only have to go back to December 2013 and reminisce about what is often referred to as "the Snow Bowl."

On that Sunday afternoon, the blizzard-like conditions that were being experienced at the Linc made it seem like a game where points would be at a premium, and somehow Detroit found a way to grab a 14-0 lead with 6:37 left in the third quarter.

The scoring contributions came from running back Joique Bell, who had a rushing touchdown and was on the receiving end of a two-point conversion pass from Stafford, while return specialist Jeremy Ross had a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown followed by a failed conversion.

A 14-point deficit seemed very steep in the conditions, but an unthinkable rally by the Birds began just 1:32 later, when DeSean Jackson caught a touchdown pass from Nick Foles, which was followed up by a LeSean McCoy quarter 40-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter. Bryce Brown ran in a two-point conversion, tying the game up at 14.

With the game freshly tied, Ross did damage to the Eagles again in the return game by taking the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to the end zone. Former Eagles kicker David Akers would fail on his extra point kick, which would be the only kicking attempt for points in the game. Despite the miss, the Lions were back on top 20-14.

McCoy would not allow the Eagles to be denied. He came right back with another long touchdown run, this time from 57 yards out, giving him two rushing touchdowns totaling 97 yards in just 1:21 of play. McCoy would finish the day with a total of 217 rushing yards, becoming the Eagles all-time single game rushing leader.

Riley Cooper’s two-point conversion reception after McCoy’s second touchdown along with rushing touchdowns from Foles and Chris Polk, would secure a Snow Bowl win for the Eagles in what turned into a high scoring affair, 34-20.

Here are some other fun facts about the Eagles-Lions series:

  • The Lions have only defeated the Eagles twice since 1990. In the seasons which Detroit was victorious, the Eagles went on to make coaching changes as Andy Reid was fired after the 2012 season and Chip Kelly was dismissed after 15 games in 2015.
  • The Eagles defeated the Lions, 58-37, in the Wild Card Round of the 1995 playoffs. The 95 combined points scored in that game still stands as the highest combined point total in a game in Eagles history.
  • The Birds put up 56 points on Detroit in a 2007 regular season game making the Lions the only franchise in which the Eagles have scored 50 plus points against in both a regular season game and a playoff game.

The 56-21 win is also notable for some other tid-bits:

  • Wide receiver Kevin Curtis had three touchdowns and moved to second all-time in Eagles history in most receiving yards in a single game with 221, only 17 yards behind Tommy McDonald’s 237-yard game from 1961. It also made Curtis one of only five Eagles receivers to have at least 200 yards receiving in a single game.
  • In honor of the 75th Season of Eagles football, the Birds wore the infamous Frankford Yellow Jackets uniforms. Some would say they looked more like the UCLA Bruins than the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • What is often forgotten is Brian Westbrook’s performance of 110 yards rushing and 111 yards receiving in that game. Westbrook reached 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in the same game twice in his career, making him just the second Eagle to accomplish the feat since 1960, joining Timmy Brown. Westbrook’s yards from scrimmage total matched Curtis' receiving yards of 221, and Westbrook also matched Curtis' three touchdowns in the game.

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