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NFL – Throwback Thursday: Shootout At The Vet

19 Sep

With the Philadelphia Eagles taking on the Detroit Lions on this week’s NFL schedule, Throwback Thursday will travel back to a wild card playoff game between these 2 teams played on December 30, 1995 at Philly’s Veteran’s Stadium. The game was a shootout for the ages, but not in the usual way. There wasn’t the usual back-and-forth excitement that comes along with high scoring affairs, and with the hometown Eagles winning by a 3 touchdown margin 58-37, you could classify this game as a blowout shootout. The 1995 season marked the end of quarterback Randall Cunningham’s tenure with the Eagles, and for this game he was relegated to the bench as Rodney Peete, a former Lion, took the reins. Detroit’s starting QB, Scott Mitchell, was benched during the game after an ineffective start, and was replaced by Don Majkowski, a veteran who had earned the nickname “The Majik Man” for his exploits early in his career with the Green Bay Packers. The Eagles had extra motivation going into the game as Detroit offensive tackle Lomas Brown had guaranteed that his club would win. And for the first two and a half quarters, Philly took no prisoners. Peete fired 3 touchdown passes, Rickey Watters scored a pair of touchdowns, Fred Barnett hauled in 8 passes for 109 yards and a TD and the Eagle defense intercepted Mitchell 4 times to open up a resounding 51-7 lead. The Lions stubbornly single-covered Barnett and Peete repeatedly made them pay.

 

PEETE

QB Rodney Peete barks out signals

At that point the Lions turned to the Majik Man, and he definitely gave them a spark. He led four touchdown drives, finishing 3 of them with TD passes. He re-discovered a sleeping weapon, wide receiver Herman Moore, with one of those scoring throws covering 68 yards to the big Lion wideout. Moore wound up with 7 catches for 133 yards in the game. Majkowski pulled his team to within 51-21. Unfortunately, Detroit could never get their most potent weapon, running back Barry Sanders, going at all in this game. The huge deficit and a swarming Eagle defense pretty much negated any rushing attack. The score also forced Majkowski into exclusively passing, and eventually the one-dimensional attack caught up with him. He added 2 more interceptions late in the game, including a 30 yard pick six by Eagle safety  William Thomas that sealed the win. The Lions didn’t pack it in, however. Majkowski engineered 2 more scoring drives after which the Lions had successful two point conversions to bring the final score to 58-37. It stood as the highest scoring playoff game in NFL history until 2009, when Arizona defeated Green Bay 51-45 in overtime.

 

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