National Football League
NFL's hottest team has room for improvement
National Football League

NFL's hottest team has room for improvement

Published Dec. 10, 2013 12:01 a.m. ET

Quoting Winston Churchill, Chip Kelly cautioned everyone that the Philadelphia Eagles' latest victory was far from perfect.

There's no denying this, however: The Eagles (8-5) are the NFL's hottest team.

A 34-20 comeback win over Detroit in blizzard-like conditions Sunday was Philadelphia's fifth straight win and put the Eagles in sole possession of first place in the NFC East. Dallas (7-5) could move into a tie for first with a win at Chicago (6-6) on Monday night.

After winning three in a row at home, the Eagles travel to Minnesota (3-9-1) next week. The friendly confines of a dome should be a welcome sight for a team that's 5-1, on the road, and just played a game on a snow-covered field.


Before they start preparing for the Vikings, Kelly and his coaching staff will try to fix problems they saw against Detroit.

''I think shame on you if you don't look back and analyze what happened and what are the positives and what can you take with it, but I also think you also have to take what did we do wrong and how can we continue to execute,'' Kelly said Monday. ''Sometimes when you have a big win, some people think we made a couple mistakes but don't worry about it, we won the game. We've never been that way.

''Winston Churchill said: `Problems in victory are more agreeable than problems in defeat, but no less difficult.' We always adhere to that as coaches because I think the easiest thing to do is let's move on. Well, there's a lot of things that went on yesterday that we need to continue to correct, and that's the first thing we do in the Tuesday session with our guys.''

The wintry conditions slowed down Philadelphia's high-flying offense in the first half and the Eagles trailed 14-0 in the third quarter before Nick Foles and Co. got going. Foles threw a touchdown pass to cut it to 14-6 going into the fourth period, and then LeSean McCoy and the offensive line dominated Detroit's run-stuffing defense.

McCoy had 148 of his franchise-best 217 yards rushing in the fourth quarter, including TD runs of 57 and 40 yards. Chris Polk had a 38-yard TD run and Foles scored on a sneak.

''I didn't think we were going to score 34 points, but I thought that we could at least establish some things,'' Kelly said. ''Very difficult for the D-linemen to get their feet in the ground a little bit so we could create some movement up there, and I thought our guys did a good job, especially on the double teams.''

Yet even McCoy made mistakes.

''He could have had a 70-yard run. He cut back to it and got tackled by (Ndamukong) Suh,'' Kelly said. ''If he had broken to his left, he might have had another one. Those are things we're continuing to work on.''

Hardly anyone outside the organization could've expected the Eagles to reel off five consecutive wins when they were 3-5 at the midpoint of the season and had lost two straight division games at home by a combined total of 32-10.

But Kelly stuck with his plan and got things turned around. The rookie head coach has the Eagles in position to go worst to first in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

''You get the feeling that it's a real team,'' linebacker Conor Barwin said. ''Guys care about each other and believe in each other. In the last couple of weeks it's really starting to come together, and guys can feel that.''

NOTES: Kelly said the Eagles made it through the difficult conditions against the Lions with no injuries. Safety Earl Wolff is expected to return to practice this week after missing three games with a knee injury. The rookie took over for Patrick Chung as a starter earlier in the year.


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