The home dogs were out to feast on Sunday night.
The Philadelphia Eagles turned in an absolutely dominating effort, embarrassing Case Keenum and the Minnesota Vikings 38-7.
Doug Pederson’s coaching job was nothing short of incredible. He devised a perfect gameplan for Nick Foles, who carved up the top-rated Minnesota defense. Pederson thoroughly outcoached Mike Zimmer. The head coach had such a great feel for this game, with nearly all of his play calls working.
After establishing a 21-7 lead, Pederson wasn’t satisfied when the Birds got the ball back with just 29 seconds in the half. Remaining aggressive, Pederson called a few more successful plays to get the team in field goal range to go up 24-7. In the second half, Doug called for the knock-out punch, dialing up a flea flicker that the team successfully executed to go up 31-7.
Not to be outdone, Jim Schwartz’s defense more than did their part, holding the Vikings to just seven points, and forcing Case Keenum into three turnovers. Keenum finally cooled off, and looked like a third-string quarterback, with the stage in Philadelphia proving to be a little too much for him to handle.
Nick Foles completed 26 of 33 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns, he looked strong from the start of the game, and never looked back. It was a flawless effort for Foles, who now has a new career-defining game.
Foles was poised and confident. The strong second half against the Falcons was clearly something that he was able to build off of, taking that momentum and exploding into one of the best playoff performances you could ever hope to see from a quarterback.
So many players had a hand in this win. So many of them were key pickups by Howie Roseman this offseason. Alshon Jeffery came down with two touchdown receptions. Patrick Robinson, a guy that nobody wanted and many thought wouldn’t survive training camp, comes up with a pick-six to change momentum. LeGarrette Blount smashed his way to a second playoff touchdown.
The team once again proved just how special a group this is, and how dangerous it is to disrespect a top seed.
- Very cool moment before the game, when starters were being announced, Lane Johnson ran out of the tunnel holding up Jason Peters’ jersey, showing just how much the injured veteran has meant to the team.
- Peters’ replacement, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, did a hell of a job shutting down Everson Griffin.
- The line as a whole allowed just one sack on Nick Foles.
- Jay Ajayi had 98 yards from scrimmage, giving him two straight efforts with nearly 100 total yards in the post season.
- Zach Ertz has not only broken out this year, he’s really established himself as a premier tight end. In the biggest game of the year, he registered eight grabs for 93 yards.
- Torrey Smith hasn’t done much this year, but saved his best effort for the biggest game, catching five passes for 69 yards, including a touchdown on the flea-flicker in the second half.
- Derek Barnett swung momentum of the game with a key strip-sack of Case Keenum with the Vikings deep in Eagle territory in the first half.
- Barnett, you may remember, was the guy the Eagles got with the Vikings’ first-round pick this past year.
- What did the Vikings get from that trade you ask? Why a completely useless, loser of a quarterback in Sam Bradford of course! Sam sat on the bench, contributing nothing.
- Keenum was so rattled after his first interception, the only thing he could really do after that was check the ball down to Jerick McKinnon. It was Keenum’s best Bradford impersonation.
- Chris Long, another Howie addition, got pressure on Keenum on the throw that led to Patrick Robinson’s interception.
- Jake Elliot nailed his only field goal attempt, and all of his extra points.
Doug Pederson said it best.
“We’re going to the stinkin Super Bowl.”
A rematch with the New England Patriots is coming, less than two weeks from now.
Expect the Eagles to be underdogs, again. Bet against them at your own risk.