Capitals

Lions rally to beat Eagles 26-23 in OT

201210141303469837736-p2.jpeg

Lions rally to beat Eagles 26-23 in OT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Even after the offense committed three more turnovers, the defense generated zero sacks again and the whole team was sloppy and undisciplined for 55 minutes, the Philadelphia Eagles had a 10-point lead and victory within their grasp.

That's when Matthews Stafford and the Detroit Lions took control.

Stafford rallied desperate Detroit to 17 points in the fourth quarter, Jason Hanson kicked a 45-yard field goal in overtime and the Lions beat the Eagles 26-23 on Sunday.

``Sick and disappointing, that's how I feel,'' Eagles All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy said.

His sentiment was shared throughout the locker room.

``They wanted it more,'' cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. ``We blew it.''

A defense that held Stafford and Calvin Johnson in check for 3 1/2 quarters collapsed at the end for the second straight week, and the Eagles (3-3) enter the bye with consecutive late losses. Ben Roethlisberger led Pittsburgh on a long drive that ended with a final-second field goal for a 16-14 win last Sunday.

``This is pretty bad because this was a big game for us,'' cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. ``We lost last week and going into a bye this hurts a lot because it would have helped us. If we can't win a game like that, we have to go back to the drawing board.''

Stafford finished with 311 yards passing, one TD passing and one rushing and one interception.

The comeback kept the Lions (2-3) from a 1-4 start a year after opening 5-0 en route to their first playoff appearance since 1999.

``It takes lot of heart,'' Stafford said. ``It would have been a lot easier to just pack it in. This team has lot of fight. We didn't play great. We did on defense, not on offense. Every guy in that locker room didn't stop playing and that's what got us the win.''

Michael Vick threw for 311 yards and two TDs, but he also had two interceptions and a botched snap led to another lost fumble. The Eagles now have 17 turnovers in six games, including 13 by Vick on eight picks and five fumbles.

``This is going to hurt for a long time,'' Vick said. ``We put ourselves in position to win and didn't finish.''

Down 23-13 after Vick's 70-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin with 5:18 left, the Lions answered.

Detroit had two shots from the Eagles 1 following a pass interference penalty on Colt Anderson with 13 seconds left in regulation. But Stafford misfired on both passes and Hanson kicked a 19-yard field goal to send it to overtime.

``I don't know what to tell you other than we have to do better,'' coach Andy Reid said. ``We've got to learn how to win football games. You have a 10-point lead with 10 minutes left, you have to learn how to finish.''

The Lions sacked Vick on the first two plays of the extra quarter, forced a punt out of the end zone and started at midfield.

Stafford hit Johnson for a 17-yard gain to the Eagles 27 on first-and-20. A few plays later, Hanson nailed the winner.

``I was nervous,'' Hanson said. ``We needed it bad. We needed it to get our season on track.''

Johnson had 135 yards receiving, but the All-Pro wide receiver still has no TD catches from Stafford this season. He was called for offensive pass interference to negate his 11-yard TD grab in the fourth quarter.

The Lions overcame 16 penalties, most in the NFL this season.

After Detroit closed within 16-13 in the fourth, the Eagles got their biggest play of the season when Vick connected with Maclin on a deep slant. It was Philadelphia's first play for more than 49 yards all season.

No problem for the Lions. Stafford had found his groove.

Stafford threw a 57-yard pass to Tony Scheffler to get deep in Eagles territory and then tossed a 17-yard pass to Nate Burleson to cut it to 23-20 with 3:32 left.

The Eagles went three-and-out and Stafford drove the Lions downfield to tie.

Vick shook off a poor start and the offense finally got going late in the second quarter. He hit McCoy on a 2-yard pass to put Philadelphia up 7-6.

Alex Henery kicked a 32-yarder to make it 13-6 after Brent Celek was called for offensive pass interference to negate his 3-yard TD catch.

That penalty turned out to be the difference.

Henery's 49-yarder early in the fourth extended the margin to 16-6 for Philadelphia's biggest lead of the season.

But the Lions got right back in it when Stafford led an 80-play drive, finishing it with a 1-yard run to make it 16-13. Johnson, held to just one previous catch, caught passes of 37 and 20 yards on the drive.

On Philadelphia's next play, Chris Houston intercepted Vick's deep pass to DeSean Jackson at the Lions 34. But the Eagles held on defense, setting up Vick-to-Maclin.

NOTES: Eagles rookie Fletcher Cox was ejected in the fourth quarter after getting an unnecessary roughness penalty for punching a player on Detroit's extra point. ... Lions CB Jacob Lacey left with a concussion. ... Johnson's only TD catch this season came on a pass from Shaun Hill. ... Lions FS Louis Delmas was active and starting for the first time this season after having knee surgery in August.

---

Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter:https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Trotz's future in Washington remains unsettled on eve Stanley Cup Final

usatsi_10028482.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Trotz's future in Washington remains unsettled on eve Stanley Cup Final

Caps Coach Barry Trotz doesn’t have a contract beyond the Stanley Cup Final, and any potential talks about an extension will wait until the trophy is awarded, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday.

“No,” MacLellan said, asked if a decision on Trotz’s future had been made. “We’re going to address everything after the playoffs are over.”

Trotz’s four-year contract expires at season’s end.

It’s rare for a head coach to enter a season while in the final year of his deal. But that’s how the Caps decided to handle Trotz’s situation last offseason after another strong regular season performance ended with yet another second round playoff exit at the hands of the Penguins.

It was a suboptimal situation for Trotz, a 55-year-old who ranks fifth all-time in regular season victories but, until this year, had never led any team beyond the conference semifinals.

Despite his lame duck status, all Trotz did was produce his best coaching performance to date. 

Consider:

  • While visiting his son in Russia last summer, Trotz visited Alex Ovechkin in Moscow to discuss the changes he’d like to see the Caps’ captain make to his training and his game.
  • When the Caps reconvened for training camp in September, it was clear there were still some hurt feelings in the locker room. So Trotz and his assistants backed off, allowing some necessary healing to occur.
  • When the team suffered back-to-back blowout losses in Nashville and Colorado back in November, Trotz initiated a tell-it-like-it-is team meeting that many players have pointed to as the turning point of the regular season, which ended with the team’s third straight Metropolitan title.
  • Trotz also got his highly-skilled lineup to buy into a more structured, detailed style of play late in the campaign, a transformation that prompted MacLellan to call this playoff run the most defensively responsible of Trotz’s tenure.
  • In each of the two previous conference semifinals, Washington was defeated by Pittsburgh and, as a result, the Penguins had become a physical and a mental hurdle for the Caps. Earlier this month, Trotz helped direct Ovechkin and Co. past the two-time Cup champions.

Although MacLellan wouldn’t say much about Trotz’s contract, he did say that he’s noticed a big change in Trotz’s day-to-day approach to his job, a change possibly prompted by the coach’s free agent status.

“I think his demeanor has changed a little bit,” MacLellan said. “He seems a little lighter, a little looser, a little less pressure. Maybe a little more freedom about how he goes about things. He’s more relaxed, I guess would be the way to describe him.”

MacLellan also acknowledged the job Trotz’s has done this season, beginning with his delicate handling of the dressing room to start the year.

“I think he’s done a good job managing it,” MacLellan said. “To come in this year with so many questions—from my point of view, the lineup questions weren’t that big of a deal—but just the emotional state of our coming into to start the year [and] how to handle that. I think he’s done an outstanding job.”

Indeed, Trotz’s situation remains unclear on the eve of the Final. But we do know this much: He’s having one of the best contract years in NHL coaching history.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

Quick Links

Small Virginia town changes name to Capitalsville ahead of Stanley Cup Final

capitalsville-stanley-cup-lovettsville.jpg
FB/The Town of Lovettsville

Small Virginia town changes name to Capitalsville ahead of Stanley Cup Final

Welcome to Capitalsville, Va., population: #ALLCAPS

Hoping to become the Washington Capitals' Stanley Cup headquarters, the small Northern Virginia town of Lovettsville has renamed itself to Capitalsville, Va.

Caps superfan and Mayor of Lovettsville, Bob Zoldos, had a lightbulb moment while watching Game 7 in a local bar and restaurant, Velocity Wings. Overcome with emotion from the win, he decided to take his idea to the town council meeting Thursday and Capitalsville was born after a unanimous vote to "unleash the fury."

This is not the first time name changes have occurred ahead of a big game. Ahead of the Caps' first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Blue Jacket Brewery located in downtown D.C. changed its Twitter handle to "Grujacket Brewery" in support of goaltender Philipp Grubauer.

The name change from Lovettsville to Capitalsville is temporary, with the plan to keep the new name through the end of the Stanley Cup Final. However, Zoldos hopes the sign brings in other Caps superfans from across the DMV to take in a piece of history 20 years in the making. 

Here's to hoping Capitalsville brings the city some luck heading into Game 1 on Memorial Day.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS: