…and the Rest Was History
By: Aaron Black
It’s July 17, 2017, I see a story about Doug Pederson saying that this Eagles team has more talent than the Packers Super Bowl teams of the 90’s. I laugh and think about which coach will come in to replace Doug after this 8-8 year. Now here I am, 7 months later, eating crow and basking in the joy of an NFC Championship game at the Linc.
Let’s start with the game Saturday. What words are there besides “Wow” and “Holy Fuck”? This game was a roller coaster of emotions from the first play and right down to the final 4th and Goal stand. A Nick Foles play action duck to Torrey Smith for a big PI call and then an immediate Ajayi fumble had all of us on the brink of an aneurism just seconds into this game. The nerves calmed for all of us and the Birds as the first half unfolded, but it was not pretty. A botched punt setting the Falcons up for points on the board, Nick Foles looking lost, and Matt Ryan pirouetting out of a sack to throw a TD to Devonta Freeman had all of us in a cold sweat.
The thing that kept all of us calm and collected though was the defense in what was an all-time lock down unreal performance that we will never forget. Jim Schwartz dialed up the pressure, he strategized a perfect game plan and the D brought it when it mattered most.
That last play was the most nerve-racking play a lot of us have ever experienced in our lifetime. What a dumbass play call to roll Ryan right, cut off half the field and have one shot to Julio Jones where they are 1-18 in the redzone this season, which is just incomprehensible. Steve Sarkisian should still be walking back to Atlanta. Julio falls down, Jalen Mills was all over him, and the rest is history. Euphoria for a united city.
I’d be remised if I did not talk about Nick Fole’s 2nd half adjustment and Doug Pederson’s role in that. Foles looked abysmal in the first half. That throw into quadruple coverage that should have been picked off but ended up going off a DB’s knee and landing in Torrey Smith’s hands for a big gain was ludicrous. But, those are the bounces that have to go your way in a title run no matter how head scratching they may be. The second half adjustment with the RPO and Foles finding Alshon for first downs showed he was getting comfortable. Doug recognized this and stuck with it. It is not short of an awesome feeling going into Sunday knowing Foles has proven to himself he can run the offense in a big game situation. With Carson Wentz as our quarterback, we had the confidence that no matter if it were 2nd & 1 or 3rd & 21, we could get it done. Is it crazy to think we have that mojo back?
Oh, and I think the Eagles may have just got the underdog memo. NEVER let a team with that much heart and who has been this good all year know they are an underdog. Lane Johnson pulling out the dog mask was so fucking cool. Philly fans buying every last one of those sick masks on Amazon was even cooler. There’s home field advantage and then there’s 65,000 psychopaths wearing Halloween masks in January.
A home NFC Championship game, God that sounds so good to say, its something that does not come around often so drink it in baby. Dog masks, the Vikings, and a loud as ever Linc. God damn it, get me to Sunday!!!