The Philadelphia Eagles are moving on to their first Super Bowl since the 2004 NFL season. The Eagles dominated the Minnesota Vikings at home on Sunday cruising to a 38-7 victory in front of a jubilant home crowd.
The Vikings jumped out to an early lead, moving the ball easily for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, but it was all Philadelphia from there. Case Keenum threw a pick-six on Minnesota’s next drive (returned 50 yards by Patrick Robinson), and the Vikings never led again.
Philadelphia didn’t let up throughout the first half, as the Eagles went 75 yards for a touchdown on their next drive. Every other Minnesota drive in the first half ended with a punt or a turnover, while Philadelphia added another touchdown and field goal.
The Vikings, for their part, played one of their worst halves of the season. These are not the types of stats that you want to have in one of the biggest games in franchise history.
This was a very unusual first half for the Vikings.
And not in a good way … pic.twitter.com/ddJ6kPvahM
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 22, 2018
Philadelphia continued its hot play into the second half, rattling off an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped off by a 41-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith on a flea flicker. Minnesota sustained a few solid drives in the second half, but the game was already out of hand, and two of those drives ended in failures on fourth down while another was halted by a red zone interception.
A lot of stories will come out of this game as to how the Eagles, a rare home underdog at this stage of the playoffs, impressed as well as they did. The biggest factor, though–and the biggest difference for the team when compared to last week–was the play of Nick Foles. Foles had strong numbers on paper against the Falcons last week–he went 23-of-30 for 246 yards. But the Eagles were unable to sustain or put away any drives, only scoring one touchdown.
This week was an entirely different story. Foles had another high completion percentage, but he also had a significantly higher passer rating, and led his team on four touchdown drives, all of them of 75 yards or more. Foles and the Eagles consistently shredded Mike Zimmer’s vaunted defense–something that nobody expected, especially after last week.
The Eagles will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII in two weeks. The Patriots defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 earlier Sunday, earning their eighth Super Bowl bid in the Brady-Belichick era.
The Eagles have reached the Super Bowl two other times in franchise history (they also won three NFL Championships before the Super Bowl era). The first was a loss to the Oakland Raiders following the 1980 season. The last time, following the 2004 season, the Eagles also faced the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
That 2004 Philadelphia Eagles team was led by Donovan McNabb, who had one of the best seasons of his career that year. He threw for over 300 yards in the Super Bowl, but also threw threw interceptions. The Patriots, led by Tom Brady that year, won that Super Bowl 24-21. Philadelphia, now with backup Nick Foles at the helm, will be looking to avenge that loss to the Patriots–still led by Tom Brady–and collect their first Super Bowl win in franchise history.
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