As we fly back a few years to check out how our vicious Eagles played in the last couple of years we see that in 2000 In their first season as starter Donovan McNabb established himself as a rising star by passing for 3,365 yards and rushing for 629. Behind McNabb the Eagles played strong all season, sometimes winning games, compiling an 11-5 record. Two important games resulted in losses to the New York Giants costing the Eagles the division title. Settling for the Wild Card the Eagles hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Vet in the first round of the playoffs. In his first playoff game Donovan McNabb simply took over as the Eagles dominated the Bucs all day on the way to a 21-3 win. A week later the Eagles would be crushed by the Giants again 20-10 in the Meadowlands.
In 2001, after splitting their first 4 games the Eagles played the Giants in the Meadowlands. The Giants were crushing them the entire way, but the Eagles defense did not allow a TD, and kept the Eagles in the game as the Giants held a 9-0 lead, before Donovan McNabb sparked a 4th Quarter return that gave the Eagles a dramatic 10-9 win. (Amazing Huh!) The Eagles would go on to play Strong all season before playing the Giants again in the next to last game of the season needing a win, the Eagles overcame an 7-point deficit with 2 minutes left at the Vet to take a 24-21 lead with 7 seconds left, as the Giants last ditch effort to score was stopped 3-yards short.
The win gave the Eagles the division title, as they won their last game to finish with an 11-5 record. In the playoffs the Eagles thrashed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-9 at the Vet in the first round of the playoffs. A week later Donovan McNabb returned to his hometown of Chicago, and had an amazing game as the Eagles shocked the Bears 33-19 to advance to the NFC Championship. (The bears weren’t growling this game, they were crying!) In the Championship game at St. Louis the Eagles would take a 17-13 lead into halftime. The Rams offense could not be controlled scoring 19 unanswered points to take a 29-17 lead. The Eagles would not give up as the Eagles fought and scored a TD with 3 minutes remaining. Down 29-24 the Eagles would have one last chance, but McNabb had his pass intercepted at midfield with less then 2 minutes left.
In 2002, after blowing a big halftime lead in their season opener on the road against the Tennessee Titans the Eagles soared to the top of the NFC East 116 points as they won their next 3 games. The Eagles would fall to 3-2, as an ailing Donovan McNabb could not rally the Eagles past the Jacksonville Jaguars. A week later in a showdown game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the Eagles would establish themselves as one of the favorites in the NFC by sinking the Bucs 20-10, as they started another 3 game winning streak. Detmer not long after separated his shoulder forcing the Eagles to turn to 3rd string .The Eagles won 4 straight to win the NFC East for the second straight season. It seemed like the Eagles would fly high to the Super Bowl but, the Eagles season ended with a terrible 27-10 loss.
In 2003, after their terrible loss the Eagles closed out their season at 12-4 the best record in the NFC by beating the Washington Redskins 31-7. In the playoffs the Eagles got off to an unsteady start as they found themselves straggling the Green Bay Packers 14-0. The Eagles season ended 1 step away from the Super Bowl for the third straight season.
In 2004, they played well as they went on to win the game against the Falcons 27-10 to get them to the Super Bowl for the first time in 24 years. (Finally!)
Super Bowl XXXIX: Facing the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots in Jacksonville the Eagles were clearly the small fry. However their faith increased as Terrell Owens returned from his injury. Still not 100% Owens played gamely with a team high 122 yards receiving as the Eagles and Patriots traded hits for the first 3 Quarters as the game was tied following each quarter.
In the 4th Quarter the Patriots had the 24-14 lead. Worried and fearful Donovan McNabb led the Eagles down the field while feeling tired and slower than usual from a game full of hard hits. The Eagles to within 3 with a 13-play 79 yard drive.
The drive took up a lot of time and when the Eagles finally got the ball back they only had 46 seconds to go with no timeouts while starting a drive at their own 4. Desperately trying to get into field goal range McNabb would be picked off with 9 seconds left as the Patriots held on for a 24-21 win to capture their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years.
Now in 2005, Even with T.O. and all his excitement the Eagles are still the team to beat in the NFC. If they stay strong and Ownes plays up to his strengths a return journey to the Super Bowl is not out of the question, it’s still possible. They still have one of the best defenses in the NFL along with Donovan McNabb at QB. So can they do it?