How We Got Here
After 12 games, the Eagles sat at 6-6 and were left for dead. They proved everyone wrong during their stretch drive and snuck into the playoffs at 9-7, thanks to the Chicago Bears beating the Minnesota Vikings. Ironically, the Bears victory not only meant that Philly made the playoffs, but that they would be facing the Bears in the first round.
Wild Card Weekend
The Bears closed as -6.5 going up against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears flaunted the number 1 defense in the NFL, leading in takeaways with 36 on the season. Everything leading up to this game pointed towards Philadelphia having an early exit in the postseason. People must have forgotten what happened last year when Nick Foles led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Self-inflicted wounds drastically changed the first half of this game. The Eagles thoroughly outplayed the Bears but were losing at half 6-3. Michael Bennett had a ridiculously stupid personal foul penalty that kept a drive alive in the first half. The Eagles secondary also dropped multiple interceptions, one by Tre Sullivan that resulted in a field goal, and one by Avonte Maddox that was overturned. Philly also survived back to back series ending in a Nick Foles interception. His first interception was just a great play by Roquan Smith. However, his second interception was one of the worst he’s thrown in his career.
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Never the less, the Eagles kept themselves in the game. With 56 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Nick Foles hit Golden Tate for a two-yard touchdown on fourth and goal. On the following drive, Cody Parkey missed a potential 43-yard game-winning field goal by hitting the left upright and then the crossbar. It was later learned that the kick was tipped by Eagles defensive tackle Treyvon Hester. The Eagles had done it again, advancing against all the odds to face the New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans, Take Two
We all know what happened the first time New Orleans and Philadelphia met. New Orleans walked away with a 48-7 win. Some folks in the media thought the results would be eerily similar. Those who watched the Eagles down the stretch knew that wouldn’t be the case. The Eagles came out and punched the Saints in the face. On the first play of the game, Drew Brees threw an interception over the middle to Cre’Von LeBlanc. The Eagles then went on a seven play 76-yard touchdown drive to open up the scoring. Immediately following that, they forced a 3 and out and proceeded to go straight down the field again for another touchdown.
Leading 14-0 in the blink of an eye, the Saints were on life support. Nick Foles had Zach Ertz streaking down the sideline for a lights out touchdown. Unfortunately, Foles underthrew Ertz, and it was picked off by Marshon Lattimore. This was the game-changing play. Leaning on that momentum shift, the Saints converted a fake punt and ultimately scored a touchdown, cutting the lead to 7. Despite countless chances, the Eagles failed to score another point. After scoring the first 14 points of the game, the Eagles fell 20-14, yielding touchdown drives of 67, 79, and 92 yards. New Orleans 20 points at home was their lowest all season long.
Final Thoughts on the 2018 Season
Some may consider this season a disappointment, and to a degree they are correct. Every season that ends without a Super Bowl is a disappointment. I would disagree, sans Wentz for the start of the season, without a secondary for 17 weeks and no lead running back for the majority of the year. I’d say the Eagles did the best they could with what they had available to them. Yes, it’s disappointing that they left some on the table, they should’ve won that New Orleans game, but their season is a not a disappointment because of it.