The Philadelphia Eagles have won three in a row, rallying in the fourth quarter to beat Dallas, ripping New England by four touchdowns and burying the Redskins on Monday night football.
Not everyone would consider those watershed victories. Even after three in a row, the Eagles are only 5-4 with losses to Indianapolis and Phoenix on their resume'. They still have a tough road ahead, home games against the Giants and Packers and road trips to Buffalo and Miami.
But the Eagles appear headed for the playoffs, and when Monday night's 28-14 victory over Washington ended they talked. Brashly.
"They acted like they didn't want to play us anymore, if you ask me," defensive tackle Jerome Brown said of the Redskins in yesterday's Philadelphia Daily News. "It was like, after we got up 28-7, they just said, 'Let's get outta here. These mugs ain't messin' around.' "
All-pro defensive end Reggie White: "We gave them nowhere to go. Nowhere. It was a beautiful sight."
The Eagles could crow because their defensive unit had played probably its best game in the Buddy Ryan era. The Eagles looked a lot like the Chicago Bears when Ryan was their defensive coordinator.
Safety William Frizzell scored on an interception return and lineman Clyde Simmons ran a fumble in after blitzing safety Wes Hopkins separated Jeff Rutledge from the ball.
Their defense was so good it hardly mattered that the Eagles gained only 262 yards of offense. They held the Redskins to 144 until the last two minutes. They got just three sacks, but repeatedly knocked down quarterbacks and, often, spiked their passes. Their offense had to drive only 33 and nine yards for its touchdowns.
"Tonight we showed the whole package," defensive tackle Mike Golic told the Daily News. "You could just feel it, and see it in their eyes, the way we were dominating them. It was important for us to go out and dominate a good team the way we did. I wish we could bottle it or put it in cans or something and use it every week. When we're playing like that, I mean, we're scary."
The Redskins would disagree with a lot of that. Rutledge said the Eagles showed nothing they didn't expect. They expected to see seven and eight men on the line of scrimmage, expected the gambling blitzes and expected to have to establish a downfield passing game before the running game would open up.
"We expected what we got," Rutledge said. "We just missed some things we shouldn't have."
The Eagles said it mattered that all of this happened on prime time, because as Golic said: "Our peers were watching. They saw how we're going to come after people . . . get you in the long run . . . going to put a hurt on you."
Talk could matter this time. The Eagles had clippings from Washington newspapers tacked to their bulletin board. Likewise, Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs likes few things better than locker-room stuff to show his team before a rematch.
And if the season ended today, the Redskins and Eagles would open the playoffs at RFK Stadium; barring an abrupt reversal they probably will meet again this season.