With OTAs in session, the Eagles are turning the page on 2017 and getting ready for the challenge to repeat as world champions 2018. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take this slow Sunday to look back at the top plays from a special season.
The NFL conveniently put together a clip of the Eagles’ top 10 plays from their entire 2017 season.
10 - Alshon Jeffery’s deep touchdown catch in the NFC Championship Game
Nice job by Nick Foles to keep his eyes down the field despite pressure around him. Not a good look for Mike Zimmer and Minnesota’s “No. 1 defense” for Jeffery to be so wide open.
I was a little surprised to see this play on the top 10. I don’t think it needs to be there. There are other plays that stick out more to me, such as LeGarrette Blount’s Beast Mode run against the Chargers (watch it again here). Or Carson Wentz’s escape from a pile of bodies against Washington (watch it again here). Or, if we’re sticking with Jeffery, his touchdown catch in the Super Bowl over Eric Rowe (watch it again here). That reception was even more impressive when you consider Jeffery did it with a torn rotator cuff.
I can’t blame the list-maker(s) too much since there were so many great plays from the Eagles’ 2017 season.
9 - Jake Elliott’s 61-yard game-winning field goal
Elliott was 3/5 on field goal attempts prior to this play. He missed a 30-yard chip shot against the Chiefs before then missing a 52-yarder earlier in the Giants game. Jason Peters had seen enough. He told Elliott “no more misses, bro.” And Elliott took his advice to heart. The 5-9, 167 pound rookie kicker drilled a game-winner from 61 yards out. The atmosphere at the Linc was incredible.
An underrated part of this play was that the Giants sent back Odell Beckham Jr. for a potential return opportunity and he had to watch the ball go right over his head.
Another underrated aspect is that Wentz and Jeffery combined for a nice 19-yard pass play to even give the Eagles a shot at this miracle.
Losing to the 0-2 Giants on that day would’ve been ugly. But that didn’t happen. That was an early sign this season was different ... it was special. This play is too low on the list.
Seeing Elliott, who had only joined the team 12 days prior, carried off the field by Kamu Grugier-Hill and Mychal Kendricks was quite the sight. This kick also ended the Caleb Sturgis era in Philly.
8 - Carson Wentz’s ridiculous scramble and touchdown throw in Week 1
In hindsight, you know the Eagles were bound for a special season after a play like this. It really set the tone for the near-MVP-caliber season Wentz would go on to have. He’s just so elusive and hard to bring down. He’s basically unguardable at times.
This play also boded well for Nelson Agholor. The old version of him may have dropped it.
I think this ranking is fair.
7 - Carson Wentz makes an impossible touchdown throw to Corey Clement look easy
This is easily one of Wentz’s top two throws* of the season. I don’t know how he managed to get this ball off as he was getting hit. I don’t know he then managed to fit it in a tight window to Corey Clement. But he did, because he’s Carson MF Wentz.
What makes this play even cooler is that Wentz used to run it at North Dakota State. He convinced the Eagles coaching staff to put it in the playbook.
Clement obviously deserves credit for a nice catch as well. It’s funny because he usually practices those type of catches in the exact spot of the end zone during pregame warmups. No one expected him to have the kind of value he had on third downs. That’s a credit to him really working on his game.
I’d have ranked this play higher.
*Spoiler: this throw from the Eagles-Seahawks game didn’t make it. I couldn’t not include it here. How the hell was Wentz able to rocket a pass 51 yards down the field as he was stumbling and being tackled?!
6 - Corey Clement’s ‘controversial’ touchdown reception in the Super Bowl
Foles did a great job of fitting this ball in tight coverage to the rookie Clement. This reception generated controversy since the ball moved after Clement caught it but the refs ruled that he didn’t lose control since he had it pinned to his arm.
You have to love how LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi, who weren’t even on the field for this play, were the first two guys to come celebrate with Clement. Culture.
5 - Brandon Graham’s strip sack on Tom Brady
This play only comes in at five?!? Crazy.
Graham’s strip sack on Brady was the most important play in Eagles franchise history. Everyone knew the Patriots’ Hall of Fame quarterback was going to take the lead on this drive. Graham ended that chance and virtually clinched the game with this play. And he did it while playing through a high ankle sprain. Pay the man already.
There couldn’t have been a more perfect player to make this play than Graham. After years of hearing about how he wasn’t Earl Thomas, he delivered Philly their first Super Bowl win in franchise history.
This should be remembered as the No. 1 play in Eagles history. Always and forever.
I’ll certainly never forget how I was yelling “OH MY GOD” and uncontrollably shaking SB Nation’s Ryan Van Bibber as he sat next to me in the press section of U.S. Bank Stadium.
4 - Nelson Agholor’s incredibly disrespectful crossover touchdown
I’m just gonna copy and paste what I wrote about this play back when it happened.
That play is the NBA equivalent of breaking a dude’s ankles and then driving to the basket to throw down a monster reverse jam. And then hanging on the rim while staring down the helpless defender. So disrespectful (in a good way).
That’s just jaw-dropping stuff right there from a dude who had been so awful during the first two seasons of his career. Now he’s doing this?!
It’s pretty ridiculous that this play is ranked over Graham’s strip sack but it definitely deserved to make the list.
3 - Nick Foles’ flea-flicker touchdown to Torrey Smith
The most impressive throw I’ve ever seen Foles make. He fit that thing in a tight space to Smith, who did a masterful job of selling the fake.
Up 17 points, it’s not even like the Eagles really needed to break this play out. But Doug Pederson dunked all over Mike Zimmer anyway, and it was glorious.
It was pretty apparent the Eagles were going to the Super Bowl after this score.
2 - Patrick Robinson’s pick-six to tie the NFC Championship Game
Robinson went from looking terrible in offseason practice to a total stud in the regular season. The interception itself isn’t all that special given how Chris Long impacted the trajectory but P-Rob’s return was great. Such a critical turnover following the Vikings’ first drive where they marched right down the field and scored a touchdown on the Eagles.
Robinson’s big play was just the beginning of the Eagles dropping 38 unanswered points. Fair ranking.
1 - The Philly Special
You knew what this was going to be.
Thanks to a suggestion from Foles, Big Balls Doug broke out the Eagles’ most creative play in one of the biggest moments of the Super Bowl. And it worked.
I’ll never forget the look on former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia’s face after Foles caught this touchdown from Trey Burton.
I’d still put Graham’s strip sack above this but I get why this play gets the hype given the tricky design and the catchy nickname.
So, what do you think of the list? Which deserving plays missed the cut?