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Eager Eagles get back to work after rare win

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Eager Eagles get back to work after rare win

PHILADELPHIA (AP) A quirky schedule meant the Philadelphia Eagles had little time to celebrate a rare win.

Less than 24 hours after Nick Foles led a remarkable 23-21 comeback victory at Tampa Bay, the Eagles (4-9) were back on the practice field for a walkthrough Monday afternoon. With a game against the Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) coming up Thursday night, the Eagles couldn't bask in the glow of their first win in more than two months.

``They don't happen a whole lot, but when they do there is something very special,'' Foles said of winning. ``It's a great feeling for the team. I think the big thing is, it's a great thing for the team sticking together. We can build off of this.''

While the Eagles went back to work, at least their frustrated fans had a chance to reflect on some positives for change. The Eagles had lost eight straight games since beating the New York Giants on Sept. 30.

Foles, making his fourth start since Michael Vick sustained a concussion, made sure the losing streak didn't stretch to nine, which would've been the longest in franchise history since 1940. Foles was 32 of 51 for 381 yards with two touchdown passes and one rushing. He set the franchise's single-game rookie passing records for completions and yards.

More impressive than the statistics was the poise Foles showed in leading the team back from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit. His last two throws were the type of plays expected from a veteran QB.

On fourth-and-5 from the Buccaneers 23, Foles fired a perfect strike to Jason Avant in traffic over the middle. Avant was tackled at the 1, but the Eagles had no timeouts remaining and the clock was ticking. Foles quickly hurried the offense to the line of scrimmage and spiked the ball with 2 seconds left.

Foles then walked over to coach Andy Reid during the stoppage and told him the play he wanted to run. Reid agreed. Foles took the snap, rolled out to the right and tossed a 1-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin for the win.

``He was feeling it, and it's a great thing when your quarterback is in tune like that. I'm proud of the kid,'' Reid said. ``He made some big throws. It looked like he rallied the crew in there, made good decisions and made some big plays. To do that, I thought he showed great intestinal fortitude and desire and all those intangible things you look for.''

It was a huge step toward showing all of Philadelphia that he can be the quarterback of the future. Vick is close to returning to practice, but Reid already said Foles will start the rest of the way.

No matter who coaches the Eagles next year - Reid is clearly on the hot seat - Foles is auditioning for the starting job. Maclin, for one, is already convinced the lanky kid can handle the job.

``He has the potential to be a special quarterback in this league,'' Maclin said. ``And he's growing up right in front of our eyes.''

After 2 1/2 so-so games, Foles stepped up his game. He played well in a loss at Dallas last week and followed up with a sensational performance against the Buccaneers. Overall, Foles has completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,174 yards, with four scores and three interceptions. His passer rating is up to 80.3, slightly higher than Vick's 79.2.

Cautious fans aren't ready to anoint Foles the long-term answer. Before Donovan McNabb held down the position for a decade, Ty Detmer, Koy Detmer and Bobby Hoying each had their chances. Each showed a glimmer of potential, but none panned out. Hoying was the biggest disappointment.

Hoying, a third-round pick like Foles, had everyone buzzing after his third career start on Nov. 30, 1997. Hoying passed for 313 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 44-42 last-second win over Cincinnati.

After that game, Hoying's No. 7 jersey became the must-buy for Eagles fans for the holidays. He went just 1-9 as a starter the rest of his career and was out of the NFL three years later.

Foles appears to be on a different track.

``I've definitely grown,'' he said. ``You're going to have your ups, your downs and you just have to keep fighting. I'm a different player because every day you want to progressively get a tiny bit better and this will be a great learning experience for me.''

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Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price put on a show with superstar showdown in Montreal

Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price put on a show with superstar showdown in Montreal

The best of the NHL was on display Monday in Montreal where the Capitals edged the Canadians 5-4 in overtime. Within the game, a superstar matchup emerged as the top goal scorer of his generation locked horns with arguably the best goalie in the world in an incredible bout that lived up to all the hype that surrounded the game.

”It’s great for the fans, great for everything,” Brett Connolly said. “It’s good to see two really good players go at it like that.”

Throughout his career, Alex Ovechkin has tormented Montreal goalie Carey Price. In 24 regular season games, he has scored on Price 18 times. On Monday, Ovechkin added two more goals to that total.

In the first period, Tom Wilson delivered a blistering pass through traffic right to the tape of Ovechkin who tipped it in past a helpless Price who had been waiting for the shot. He would add a second goal in the third period from the office with the Caps on a two-man advantage.

At that point, a hat trick seemed like a foregone conclusion, but that’s when Price began to battle back.

Price robbed Ovechkin of goal No. 3 with not one, but two brilliant saves in the third period to help force overtime.

With the puck on the left wall, Ovechkin charged the net from the right midway into the third period. Connolly managed to find him with the pass and Ovechkin delivered a one-touch shot that Price snared out of the air Statue-of-Liberty style. Somehow Price managed to get over from post to post to snag the puck with the glove and he made sure to put some extra flair on the save.

With the score still tied at four, Ovechkin made one final push to win the game in regulation.

This time it was Wilson on the right with Ovechkin setting up for the one-timer on the left. Wilson delivered the pass and Ovechkin fired what would have been a buzzer-beater goal with just two seconds left in regulation. Price slid to cover the cross-ice shot, but could not get completely over in time to block the shot. He lifted his blocker up in desperation and just managed to catch the puck and send it out of play.

“Obviously Alex made a great shot, hit the knob of his stick,” Braden Holtby said. “It’s one of those unlucky things. It just happens.”

It was a spectacular save the brought that Montreal faithful to their feet and even drew recognition from Ovechkin himself.

Ovechkin’s initial reaction was one of disbelief, but he soon began applauding along with the crowd and skated over to give the netminder his due.

“It was a pretty cool moment, pretty beautiful save and the fans was cheering for him,” Ovechkin said. “I was kind of same.”

The Caps would get the last laugh with the overtime winner, but this was a rare occasion in which the result of the game as largely overshadowed by the drama that unfolded between two players.

Ovechkin finished the game with two goals against Price, while Price finished with 29 saves including two third period beauties to deny Ovechkin his hat trick.

Capitals head coach Todd Reirden was effusive of his praise of both players after the game.

“It’s stars like that that put on performances like they both did tonight that just make it worth every dime that it costs to come to the game and worth the price of admission tonight for certain with those two."

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Joe Flacco's status remains uncertain as Ravens head into Week 12

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Joe Flacco's status remains uncertain as Ravens head into Week 12

Lamar Jackson's first NFL start has taken over the headlines and airwaves since his historic performance Sunday for the Baltimore Ravens. But what about that guy Joe Flacco?

Sunday marked the first time Flacco wasn't the team's starting quarterback in 41 games as he nursed a hip injury sustained in their Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Ravens were hush all week on Flacco's status against the Cincinnati Bengals, but head coach John Harbaugh told reporters post-victory they knew the Super Bowl XLVII MVP would be unable to start. 

"Finally, it was when he had a doctor’s appointment earlier in the week in New York," Harbaugh said. "One of the final … We had an indication of it the week before – it was going to be tough. But the final word … I can’t remember what day it was. It was Monday or Tuesday.” 

In his 11 years with the Ravens, the only extended time Flacco has missed was six games back in 2015 after tearing his ACL. Prior to Week 11, Flacco was on the injury report only eight times and had missed only three practices during the regular season. 

Flacco sustained the injury on the team's opening drive against the Steelers three weeks ago, but played the full 60 minutes completing 23 of 37 passes for 206 yards. What we've learned about the injury over the last week and a half is that it doesn't appear the quarterback will need surgery, but beyond that, there is little information on a return date. 

"Yes, it will be tough for him this week coming up,” Harbaugh added postgame. 

The timing of this injury is obviously not ideal given that Flacco is playing on the last year of his contract and the quarterback they drafted to replace him had about as good of a start as you can draw up.

"I'm not getting into any of that, Harbaugh said Monday on if Flacco would would have a chance to reclaim his job.

With six games to play and currently in a five-way tie for the last AFC wild card spot, a lot, and we mean a lot, can happen.

And just 24 hours after saying it would be tough for Flacco to play this upcoming week, Harbaugh upgraded Flacco's status.

“He has a chance. It’s just a matter of how fast the healing takes place in there," Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. "It’s not a surgical thing; it’s just a calming-down type of a thing with the hip, and I’m not a doctor. They have that commercial with the TV doctors. I’m not even a TV doctor, so we’ll see.”

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