LANDOVER, Md. — The Eagles were pretty quiet as they walked toward the visiting locker room at FedEx Field after dismantling the Redskins.
As they filed into the closest locker room door, they did so virtually silently. Some players were a little giddy, some were already asking if there was a TV in the locker room. But most were silent.
Eventually, about 15 minutes later, Jay Rock’s “WIN” — which has become a new anthem of sorts for the 2018 Eagles — was heard blaring through the closed locker room doors.
The Eagles won. The Bears won. The Eagles and Bears will face each other next weekend in the playoffs because of it.
That was a hell of afternoon, wasn’t it?
“I’m just tired,” said a subdued Lane Johnson. “I’m just tired from playing that game. That’s really it. We’re excited, but we know what’s coming for us in the Bears.”
Those same Bears are the reason the Eagles punched their ticket to the playoffs on Sunday. The Bears took down the Vikings, 24-10, which allowed the Eagles to take the sixth-seed in the playoffs with their win over the Redskins to get to 9-7 on the season. The Vikings were eliminated.
It was a day of nerves for the Eagles because they didn’t fully control their own destiny. For Eagles fans, it was a day of nerves because it’s pretty hard to follow three or four games at once.
By the time the Eagles made it into the locker room, the Bears were already up 24-10, so everyone pretty much knew the situation.
“But there was still a chance,” Zach Ertz said, “so we were just watching the game tick on our phones on the game cast. And luckily, we’re in the playoffs.”
Like Ertz said, some Eagles watched the progress in the Bears’ game on their phones. At least one group huddled in a back room off the locker room around a TV after FOX switched over the game in Minnesota since the Eagles’ butt-kicking of the Redskins ended much earlier.
They all watched until the final second ticked off in Minnesota.
All week, the Eagles preached the importance of focus. They needed to control what they could control; that meant beating the Redskins. But once they were in FedEx Field, it was nearly impossible for them to remain blissfully unaware of what was happening in Minnesota.
The score would occasionally flash on the giant monitor at FedEx Field and the Eagles fans who took over the stadium cheered every time they saw the Bears had a lead.
“You knew they were up,” Ertz said. “You didn’t know how much.”
Ertz remembered taking a peek at the giant screen when the Bears were up 13-10 in the second half. By that point, the Eagles were well ahead of the Redskins, so it all came down to the Bears’ beating the Vikings.
“I didn’t know how the game was going to go,” Ertz said. “But I’m very thankful that Chicago pulled it off.
Perhaps one of the most surreal moments of Sunday afternoon were the “Let’s go Bears!” chants that reverberated around the 63,000-seat venue.
Think about that. Eagles fans in FedEx Field, chanting for the Bears, who were playing against the Vikings in Minnesota.
Like we said, it was a hell of an afternoon.
“I did hear that,” Brandon Graham said. “We was having fun on the sideline. That was the whole thing today. We was like, ‘If we’re going out, we’re going out having fun.’ I think once we knew what was going on, it got even crazier. I’m just excited because we got another opportunity to play.”
Doug Pederson will undoubtedly thank his former coworker Matt Nagy for not resting his starters and helping the Eagles make it to the playoffs. But now Pederson will try to beat him.
Everything worked out on Sunday. The Eagles have a shot. And that’s all they could have asked for.
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