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Friday, May 25, 2018

Five reasons why the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl

Doug Pederson Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles bucked the odds and came back late against the New England Patriots for their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history. It was the ultimate underdog story, with second-string quarterback Nick Foles pulling off the incredible feat of stepping in just before the playoffs in place of the injured Carson Wentz to lead the team to the promised land.

Here are five big reasons why the Eagles pulled off the upset victory.

1) Nick Foles was astonishingly good

Nick Foles didn’t throw for more passing yards than Tom Brady, but he may have actually made the best throws of the evening by either quarterback. He was throwing perfect passes, leading his receivers, and threading the needle into coverage. For pretty much the entire game, Foles looked the part of an elite quarterback. Maybe he isn’t one, and maybe he’ll go back to being a veteran game manager next season, but on Sunday night, it didn’t matter. He was outstanding — and he even caught a touchdown, too.

2) Doug Pederson called a near-perfect game

It took guts to go for it near the goal line at the end of the first half. It took even bigger guts to call for a play that involved tight end Trey Burton throwing to Foles in the end zone, something they may have gotten from Foles’ high school team. And going for it on 4th and 1 inside their own territory with about five minutes left down a point was far from a no-brainer, either. Eagles coach Doug Pederson made all the gutsy decisions, and they pretty much all paid off for him.

3) The running game kept New England honest

Foles’ passing exploits were helped significantly by the fact that the Eagles’ run game delivered. The double threat of LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi combined for 147 yards on 23 carries for one touchdown, doing a whole lot of good work against the Patriots’ defense. The fact that the Patriots had to respect the Philadelphia running game — plus Corey Clement, who was a huge receiving threat out of the backfield — gave Foles room to work. Their running backs were a huge factor.

4) The defense let Philadelphia build up a margin — and came through when it mattered

The Eagles’ defense struggled mightily through the second half, but their first stop of the entire half couldn’t have come at a better time. Eagles defensive lineman Brandon Graham’s strip sack of Tom Brady with just over two minutes to go took a potential go-ahead drive away from the Patriots. It enabled the Eagles to get the ball back, kick a field goal, and set up a situation on the last drive that not even Brady could bail New England out of. They performed well in the first half as well. They may have had their periods where they didn’t play well, but they played just well enough.

5) The offensive line made everything happen

The Eagles’ line deserves a ton of praise. They held off the Patriots defense incredibly well — so well, in fact, that Foles wasn’t sacked once. The running game moved the ball with ease, and the fact that the Patriots managed only four tackles for loss indicates that the Eagles moved the ball with pretty much everything they did. Their offensive line deserves a world of credit for that; they did everything Foles could have reasonably asked of them there.

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