The Philadelphia Eagles are headed to the Super Bowl! The Eagles defeated the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 38-7 in the NFC Championship. Now, in two weeks, the Eagles will travel to Minneapolis to take on the New England Patriots. Let’s take a look back at the positions one by one and grade them on their play in the rout of Minnesota.
Position by Position Grades
Nick. Foles. Who was this mystery man at quarterback this week? Foles came out this week with the true underdog mentality, it looked as if he was tired of being disrespected and was ready to make a statement. And, what a statement he made. Foles went 26-33 for 352 yards and three touchdowns, receiving a passer rating off the charts at 141.4. Foles was throwing the ball with incredible accuracy that hasn’t been seen from him this year, no overthrows and pinpoint accuracy down the field. The Super Bowl should be a fun one especially if Foles puts up a performance like this.
The Eagles have depth at running back this year. While they may not have beat the Vikings with the ground game their running backs did their job and did it well. Jay Ajayi was their leading rusher with 73 yards. LeGarrette Blount rushed for 21 yards and scored a touchdown, while Corey Clement only got the ball three times and totaled 28 scrimmage yards. Long story short, when their numbers were called the running backs did their job.
The Eagles shined at this position this week. Unlike last week, Alshon Jeffery was the star. Jeffery hauled in five receptions for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Alongside Jeffery, Torrey Smith had a big game also. He totaled five receptions for 69 yards and a single touchdown. Nelson Agholar also got involved in this game catching three passes for 59 yards. It makes the wideouts look better when your quarterback plays as well as Foles did.
Another benefactor from Foles perfect game. Zach Ertz had a monster game, even though he was covered by some of the best linebackers in the league. Ertz caught all eight passes thrown to him for 96 yards, making him the leading receiver on the Eagles in the yards category. Brent Celek and Trey Burton had reduced roles in this game because Ertz was so explosive. While Celek is mostly a blocking tight end he can also catch some crucial passes if Ertz is unavailable. So overall a great game from Ertz and solid from the tight ends overall.
A solid game from the offensive line all around. Only one sack given up, and Foles stayed relatively upright most of the game. A lot of his success can be pinned on the fact that everyone on the line blocked well and long. They gave him time to survey the field and find the open target. They also allowed the backs to bust through the holes. All three of the Eagles running backs had their longest carry end up over 11 yards. Halapoulivaati Vaitai had a tough matchup this week against Everson Griffen and held up well. Griffen only totaled two tackles and two quarterback hits all night.
Big game out of the defensive line this week. Chris Long had a standout performance. He recovered the Case Keenum fumble as well as forcing a poor pass that led to the Patrick Robinson interception that was returned for a touchdown. Fletcher Cox had another good game this week as he plugged up the middle of the defense, he had three solo tackles as well as two quarterback hits. One name that hasn’t had very much buzz recently was Eagles rookie Derek Barnett, he recorded the only sack for Philadelphia which happened to be the strip sack that Long recovered. Overall a good job keeping Keenum under pressure and uncomfortable most of the night, next game needs to be the same.
Just about the only somewhat shaky position this game. Only being shaky because Najee Goode gave up the only score for the Vikings all night. Goode, who usually isn’t a starter, was forced into a starting role because of the injury to Hicks, Walker, and Ellerbe who were all hurt this week. Other than that, Michael Kendricks won the duel of the two brothers in my opinion. As he recorded two more tackles than Erik, his brother on the Vikings. Rounding out the linebackers is Nigel Bradham. He had a good game recording four tackles as he continues to step up alongside Kendricks.
Another area of just stellar performances around the board. Starting off with Patrick Robinson, the Eagles signed him just because they were desperate for another corner. He’s proven to everyone why it was a great move. I would say that his pick six is what ended the game. That play got all the players hyped up and it got the stadium rocking after the defense gave up an opening touchdown and the offense punted. After that everyone locked in. Later in the game, Ronald Darby broke up a deep pass down the field, the ball bounced up in the air which led to the Eagles second interception of the game. The safeties were also flying around as normal. Malcolm Jenkins was seen all over the field making plays.
Not much to say here but it was great. Jake Elliot made every kick he attempted, five extra points and a 38-yard field goal. Donnie Jones had to punt three times, and all three times he pinned the Vikings inside the 20.
Early Super Bowl Outlook
The Philadelphia Eagles are underdogs already for the game. They head into a rematch of Super Bowl 39 where they lost to New England 24-20. This team is hungry for a win. After this game, I would say that with a different quarterback under center this team is clicking at just the right time. The Eagles are one win away from their first-ever Super Bowl. Oh yeah, they also lost some people this year to injuries…. and they’ll be back next year. Wentz, Peters, Sproles, Hicks, and Maragos are some key players missing, and they still made it to the big game. Sounds pretty good to me.