Toldja we’d win.
EAGLES 41 – Patriots 33
We spent two weeks hearing how the Patriots QB was going to single-handedly carry his team to victory. The media (showing an inability to learn), basically said that the “scrappy” Eagles would only be speed bump on the Patriots way to a 6th ring. Well, seems like Super Bowl MVP, QB Nick Foles (28/43 – 65.1% – 373 – 3 – 1) didn’t quite agree with that assessment. In the end, the Patriots bitch of a QB, ran off without even shaking Foles hand.
Speaking of hands, the Patriots attempted to throw a pass to their QB early in the game, but he proved to be… Let’s say “less than clutch” in that situation.
Later on, Nick Foles would not only catch a pass, but catch a a touchdown, off a one yard pass from TE Trey Burton (1/1 – 100% – 1 – 1 – 0), on a honey of a trick play:
(I told you that Doug was gonna hunt these fuckers.)
Former Patriot RB LeGarrette Blount (14 – 90 – 6.4 – 1 – 0) won a second consecutive Lombardi, by splitting carries with RB Jay Ajayi (9 – 57 – 6.3 – 0 – 0). That helped balance the offense and kept New England’s defense honest. Not to be counted out however, was rookie RB Corey Clement (4rec – 100 – 25.0 – 1) who led all Eagles in yards from scrimmage with 108.
Defensively there weren’t a lot of “stats” to talk about. The one sack allowed all night proved to be fatal (for New England), as DE Brandon Graham (2 – 1.0 – 0 – 1) forced a fumble in the process. Rookie DE Derek Barnett (0 – 0.0 – 0 – 0) didn’t get cute and simply recovered the fumble. After rookie K Jake Elliott (2/3x, 3/3, 46) added a 46 yard field goal to our 38 -33 lead. it pretty much snuffed out any realistic chance for any last minute heroics. That left the Patriots hoping for a miracle. Miracles however, require good karma to occur. And so naturally the Patriots lost.
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. We introduce an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that fans have to honestly answer questions about those things, AFTER the game. This helps to get us, and keep us, all on the same page.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) Work the middle: Be it TE Zach Ertz (7 – 67 – 9.5 – 1) diving across the goal line (for a score); Corey Clement cornholing an over-matched LB (for a 22 yard score); WR Alshon Jeffery (3 – 73 – 24.3 – 1) going up and grabbing a 34 yard score; or WR Nelson Agholor (9 – 84 – 9.3 – 0) on a crossing route, the Eagles made sure to work inside. That kept the Patriots from loading the box, and allowed our top 2 RB’s to average 6.4 and 6.3 yards per tote. (DONE)
2) Destroy the pocket: Not nearly enough pressure was generated inside for most of the game, which would be forgivable if we also hadn’t allowed 113 yards on 22 carries (5.1 per tote), mostly up the middle. The fact is, that this area of the defense has fallen off since mid-season and we need to find a way to turn it back on by July. (NOT DONE)
3) Blount. Force. Trauma: LeGarrette Blount was the games leading rusher in terms of yards and carries. It was his best game since November, and in my view, his best in an Eagles uniform. The man has been a monster for these playoffs and it irritates me that he has likely played his last down as an Eagle. (DONE)
4) South Paw Switch: To be fair, I didn’t really expect this to get done, since it isn’t actually DC Jim Schwartz’s M.O. to make wholesale changes at the half. It would have however, kept the Patriot from outscoring us 21 -19 in the second half. (NOT DONE)
Well, 2 out of 4 Four Things was good enough to get the “W” this week, and bring our playoff tally to 9 of 12. Usually this is where I’d mention the next opponent, but this officially brings us to the end of this season’s road.
There’s nothing left to do now, but celebrate at the parade which will begin Thursday at 11, on Broad and Pattison, heading north up Broad before swinging up the Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum steps. (Isn’t it funny how we say “The” Art Museum, even though Philly has a few of them?)
On The Whole:
I told you that HC Doug Pederson was going to be aggressive vs New England and boy was he ever. We had an internationally televised brawl, with the NFL’s last champion, and we TOOK from them what was rightfully ours.
We started with the Draft at the Art Museum in April, and we’ll end it with the Super Bowl parade ending at the Art Museum in February. The football gods have smiled upon Philadelphia for the 2017-2018 season. Despite adversity, despite injury, we were smiled upon. Recognize that and be grateful, fellow fans. Recognize that and be grateful.
Let this stand as a lesson to you. Just because someone doesn’t believe in you, or thinks they know your situation, don’t you ever, EVER stop believing and working for your dreams.
As a wise man named Harry once said:
Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant…