‘We want Dallas! We want Dallas!’

‘We want Dallas! We want Dallas!’

The Chicago Bears had everything to play for with a division title on the line. The Philadelphia Eagles had the bare minimum to gain—improved seeding in the playoffs, if they get in. Guess which team showed up?

The Eagles blew the doors off the visiting Bears 54-11 at Lincoln Financial Field in front of a national TV audience. Nick Foles was flawless. LeSean McCoy paced the running game to 289 yards. The defense and special teams shut down numerous Pro Bowl players. It was a complete effort in every phase, and the outcome was never in question.

Long before the final gun sounded, 70,000 Birds fans echoed the message the home team had just sent: bring on the Dallas Cowboys.

Throughout the second half, an energized South Philly crowd could be heard chanting, “We want Dallas,” as the Eagles continued pouring it on, using the Bears like a punching bag with a blue star on it. The Eagles head to Cowboys Stadium for their long-awaited Week 17 clash to decide the NFC East championship, just as it had been foretold way back at the beginning of September.

Frankly, the Cowboys should be scared after what they saw. Dallas is ranked dead last in total defense, 30th versus the pass, 27th against the run and 25th in points allowed. They barely knocked off the 3-12 Washington franchise earlier on Sunday, otherwise Philadelphia would’ve clinched the division with their decisive victory.

[Chip Kelly Video: "We're from Philadelphia and we fight."]

Nick Foles hit on 21 of 25 attempts (84.0%) for 230 yards (9.2 AVG) and two touchdowns, good for a 131.7 passer rating. Three of his four incompletions were throwaways, and the two sacks he took only lost five yards.

LeSean McCoy likely solidified himself as the NFL’s leading rusher for the year. He racked up 133 yards on 18 carries (7.4 AVG) with two touchdowns, and added six receptions for 29 yards. Bryce Brown also went over the 100-yard mark thanks to a 65-yard scamper for six, and Chris Polk punched one in as well to give all three backs scores.

[GIF: Shady McCoy's Madden-like spin move]

Brent Celek and Riley Cooper caught touchdown passes from Foles.

Meanwhile, the Birds’ defense recovered in a big way after allowing the Minnesota Vikings to post 48 points a week ago. Philadelphia was able to get tremendous pressure on Bears signal-caller Jay Cutler from the jump. Outside linebacker Trent Cole recorded three sacks, giving him eight in the last seven games, while Mychal Kendricks added two from his spot on the interior.

That helped the secondary immensely against perhaps the best wide receiving tandem in football. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were held to a combined 10 receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown, as Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher’s physical style of coverage really worked well against those big targets.

Brandon Boykin capped off the secondary’s big day with a 54-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter to finally end Cutler’s night.

Of course, some of the Bears issues were self-inflicted. For one thing, Matt Forte only got nine carries for 29 yards, in part because Chicago was trailing almost immediately. A back of Forte’s caliber still needs the ball more, although the run defense really came to play. Cedric Thornton tackled Forte for a safety in the third quarter and made a handful of big plays in the backfield.

Chicago’s special teams didn’t do them any favors, either. Adam Podlesh shanked a punt and Devin Hester fumbled a kick return—stripped by Fletcher, recovered by Williams filling on an injury-plagued kick coverage unit—to setup the Birds with great field position on their first two scoring drives.

Regardless, the Bears didn’t appear to have any answers for the Eagles this week. The question is will the Cowboys have better luck?

It’s worth pointing out Dallas did shut down the Philly’s bid for first place once before this season. It was the worst day of Foles’ career, as he struggled to complete 37 percent of his passes in a baffling performance, then exited with a concussion. Matt Barkley threw three interceptions in relief, as the Birds were held out of the end zone in the 17-3 loss.

Times have changed though. Foles still has occasional bouts of inconsistency, but by and large has developed into a steady leader for the offense.

With the win, the Eagles improved to 9-6, guaranteeing a winning season in Chip Kelly’s first year on the sidelines. The fun is just getting started though. It’s December, Week 17, and we want Dallas.

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

plain-peacock-logo.png

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

Buried by Flyers' depth, Jori Lehtera may soon finally crack lineup

usa-jori-lehtera-flyers.jpg
USA Today Images

Buried by Flyers' depth, Jori Lehtera may soon finally crack lineup

On the first day he was officially a member of the Flyers, Jori Lehtera was literally pumped. So much so, the weight room warrior hit the gym that morning and slapped on a few extra plates on each side of the barbell.

“My wife woke me up and said, ‘Do you know we’re going to Philadelphia?’” Lehtera said Sept. 11, after the first day he skated with his new teammates in Voorhees, New Jersey.

"I said, 'That's good.' I went to the gym and had a little bit bigger weights than normal. It was good. I needed some change because my game wasn't that good there."

Lehtera was acquired by the Flyers from the Blues at the 2017 NHL draft in the Brayden Schenn trade. In the span of one year, Lehtera’s status has plunged from a top-line center on a playoff team to the 13th forward on a non-playoff team.

That’s not to say the Flyers have failed to recognize Lehtera’s skill set and utilize him effectively, he just didn’t show enough in the preseason to warrant playing time.

The fourth-highest paid forward on the Flyers’ roster has started the first six games of the season as a healthy scratch. Dave Hakstol has opted for the speedier Dale Weise, who’s earning roughly half of Lehtera, who has a $4.7 million cap hit for the next two seasons.

Lehtera's opportunity could come as early as Thursday against the Predators. Wayne Simmonds left Tuesday's game for precautionary reasons with a lower-body injury.

If Simmonds can't go — general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday he'll have an update on Simmonds Thursday — Lehtera is the next guy up as Hakstol would have to shuffle his lines.

“I’m still excited,” Lehtera said recently. “Camp wasn’t good. I wouldn’t say terrible, it was OK. I’m kind of still looking to find my spot. When I get my opportunity, I’m going to take my spot. Where it is, I don’t know.”

Lehtera bolted St. Louis, the city he spent his first NHL seasons, in a cloud of dust. His "Spirit of St. Louis" was completely sucked dry during his time in St. Louis, as he finished the 2016-17 season with just seven goals and 22 points in 64 games.

“The whole season was a struggle,” Lehtera said. “I just couldn’t get everything out of myself. It wasn’t just a couple of things. It was a lot of big things, and a lot of small things together.”

Playing for Ken Hitchcock, who just passed Al Arbour for third on the NHL’s all-time wins list, has a way of wearing down a player’s psyche.

According to Hitchcock, who rejoined the Dallas Stars this summer after he was fired by the Blues back in February, Lehtera’s struggles were partly a result of centering the team’s top line with superstar winger Vladimir Tarasenko.

“First couple of years there was no attention being paid (to Lehtera)," Hitchcock said in the summer, "and last year, there was a lot of attention of being paid. He lost his confidence because he was in and out of the lineup, so the line wasn’t that effective. The line got special attention for the first time. Because of the way our lineup was built, we were really able to take advantage of matchups.”

Lehtera and Tarasenko developed a lethal chemistry as teammates for Novosibirsk in the KHL, but it didn’t translate to the smaller NHL rink, where time and space to operate with the puck is at a premium. Tarasenko’s reputation quickly earned the attention of the NHL opposition and their top defensive players.

“You saw that chemistry right away,” said Brian Elliott, a teammate of Lehtera’s for two seasons in St.Louis. “They were a dynamic duo and then they were split up, and I think he was looking for that guy to pass to and things like that.”

Compounding Lehtera’s struggles was a concussion he suffered that knocked him out of the lineup for several weeks in February. Once Lehtera returned, he was never quite the same, as he struggled with the speed of the game.

“We played him at wing after he came back from being injured, but his natural position is at center, and that’s where he played his best hockey,” Hitchcock said. “He’s a guy strong on the puck, good down low player, he protects the puck well.” 

Interestingly for a guy listed at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and lacking quickness, Lehtera would appear to be more suited at the wing position.

And the potential opportunity Thursday alone may have Lehtera pounding out a few more extra reps in the gym.