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10 final thoughts on the Eagles’ NFC Championship Game win

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Big takeaways from a huge Eagles win.

NFL: JAN 21 NFC Championship Game - Vikings at Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles clobbered the Minnesota Vikings in the 2018 NFC Championship Game by a final score of 38 to 7. Here’s a look at some things we learned from this big win.

[Editor’s note: Apologies for the delay on this post. I’ve been extremely stressed and busy with Super Bowl prep.]

1 - The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl!

It’s still so hard to believe it’s really happening. It just wasn’t expected going into this season. And then again when Carson Wentz went down for the year. But it’s really happening.

For the first time since the 2004 season — 13 years ago — the Eagles are going to the big game. It’s only the third time in franchise history they’ve made it to this point: 1980, 2004, 2017.

The Eagles have a chance to win their first title since they won an NFL Championship in 1960 ... which is almost 60 years ago now.

They’re so close, you guys.

2 - Fans were incredibly awesome at the Linc

I wrote last week that I’d never seen Lincoln Financial Field as energized as it was for the Eagles-Falcons game. The crowd for the NFC Championship Game easily topped that one.

With an hour remaining until kickoff, there were LOUD cheers for Eagles players running on to the field for warmups and LOUD boos for Vikings players. The stadium wasn’t even close to being full yet at that point.

The fans were fantastic during the game as well. Fans seated right in front of the press box started a “SKOL” chant to mock the Vikings. Then that evolved into a “FOLES” chant with the same clapping motion.

Near the end of the game, some Eagles fans were chanting “WE WANT BRADY!” — which is a very daunting request. But this crowd had no fear.

The Eagles have the best fans in the NFL, and I have proof.

3 - Doug Pederson is incredible

DOUGIE P!

Prior to the NFCCG, I wrote that Doug Pederson was the number one reason why Philly fans should feet confident in the Eagles beating the Vikings.

Faith in Pederson was rewarded on Sunday night. The Eagles’ head coach called another masterful game.

Pederson stayed balanced: they had 33 pass attempts to 30 run plays.

Pederson stayed aggressive: he easily could went have conservative before the end of the first half. Instead of running the clock, however, he put his foot on the gas and got the Eagles into field goal range. The Eagles took a three-possession lead while knowing they’d get the ball to start the third quarter. Compare Pederson’s actions to those of Doug Marrone, who passed on an opportunity to do something similar against the Patriots. And then the Jaguars ended up losing to New England. Pederson plays to win, not just “not to lose.”

Pederson stayed creative: you have to love him pulling out the flea flicker (phrasing). Doug did a great job of getting Foles into a rhythm and making him feel comfortable.

Overall, just a great job by Pederson. Can’t say enough things about the guy. It’s never not going to be a joke he didn’t end up as Coach of the Year. Sean McVay did some impressive things, no doubts, but Pederson did more with less. And he kicked Mike Zimmer’s ass as well.

4 - Nick Foles is having success thanks to me

Nick Foles was unbelievably brilliant against the Vikings, the NFL’s No. 1 defense. He went 26/33 (78.8%) for three touchdowns, zero touchdowns, and a 141.4 passer rating.

So, you’re probably thinking it’s time for me to apologize for not believing in Foles. Well, I’m not going to apologize. Instead, I’m going to say “You’re welcome” since I personally motivated Foles to playing this well. He couldn’t have performed this well without me doubting him all along.

Ha, just kidding. I was wrong for doubting him to the extent that I did! Foles was great.

With that said, you can’t convince me that even the most fervent Foles believers expected him to do what he did on Sunday night. The guy was lights out. Dropping dimes all over the field. Showing mobility in the pocket to keep plays alive. I mean, are we sure that wasn’t Carson Wentz wearing a Foles uniform?

We all knew Foles was a high variance player, but that was the best game of his career. The highest of highs.

Now, going back to the variance thing, you still wonder if Bad Foles could show up in the Super Bowl. Hopefully that won’t be the case. That was encouraging performance.

5 - The Eagles continue to kick ass in the trenches

The games are won in lost and the trenches.

What doesn’t show up in those numbers is that the pressure the Eagles generated led to multiple turnovers. Chris Long affected Case Keenum’s throw that got picked off by Patrick Robinson. Derek Barnett strip-sacked Keenum. Those are game-changing plays right there.

When it comes to the offensive line, they got good push up front in the run game. Eagles running backs combined for 114 yards on 26 carries. That’s a solid 4.4 yards per carry on a Vikings defense that was surrendering the second fewest rush yards in the NFL.

The guys up front also kept Foles clean for most of the night. Halapoulivaati Vaitai notably earned praise for his performance against Everson Griffen.

In addition to the players, let’s recognize offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and defensive line coach Chris Wilson for making sure to get the most out of their guys.

6 - Howie Roseman’s impact on the team was apparent

Great observation here:

You can also add “kicked a field goal/extra point” to this list thanks to Jake Elliott.

Howie Roseman’s Executive of the Year award is well desreved. He did a great job of building an immediate contender while not completely sacrificing the team’s long-term outlook.

7 - Alshon Jeffery is earning that money

Jeffery’s big night kind of got lost in all the craziness to come out of this game. He caught all five of his targets for 85 yards and two touchdowns. His second touchdown, a red zone score, showed why the Eagles paid him all that money. Jeffery made a jump ball catch and was able to hold on as he went to the ground. Great strength. No. 1 WR type catch.

In two playoff games, Jeffery now has nine receptions for 146 yards and two scores. Pretty good. The Eagles are getting their money’s worth out of him.

8 - Patrick Robinson is the unsung hero of this season

That pick six really swung the entire game.

The Eagles were down 7-0. The crowd’s thunder was tempered a little by that first Vikings touchdown drive. Then P-Rob’s interception happened and things changed. The pick came easy due to a pressured throw, but the return was all him. He read the field correctly and was able to cut back for the score. Big props to Ronald Darby for making that “block” on Jerick McKinnon to seal the deal. It sure wasn’t pretty -- Darby got BLOWN UP -- but he did enough to prevent the Vikings from tackling Robinson. From there, the Eagles never looked back.

What a year it’s been for Robinson. Four interceptions in the regular season and now a fifth in a big, big moment. He’s been such a sneakily important player to the Eagles’ success this year. And this was a guy who was signed for the vet minimum and looked like he was going to get cut in training camp. Amazing.

9 - The Sam Bradford trade helped to cost the game for Minnesota

Just a reminder that the 2017 first-round pick the Eagles got from the Vikings for Sam Bradford turned out to be Derek Barnett. You know, the guy who had the strip-sack on Keenum.

Oh, and the Vikings haven’t completely paid up for that trade yet. The Eagles still have a 2018 fourth-round pick from Minnesota to use.

10 - Hard not to feel good going into the rematch

With the way the Eagles played on Sunday night, it’s hard not to feel good going into the Super Bowl.

Beating the Vikings the way they did doesn’t guarantee the Eagles will beat the Patriots, no, but you have to feel like they’ll at least give New England a good battle.

But forget about moral victories. It’s time to bring the Lombardi to Philly.