The Philadelphia Eagles faced the Minnesota Vikings at the Lincoln Financial Field, in a battle to be crowned Conference Champions and also earning the right to be the team that represents the NFC in Super Bowl LII. The last time both teams meet at the Linc was in October 2016 when the Philadelphia Eagles came out on top winning the game 21-10. Yes, the Eagles won that game but that was just in regular season. This was a Conference Championship game with so much more on the line. The Vikings were playing for the chance to be the first team in history to play at a Super Bowl in their home stadium, where as the Eagles were trying to make franchise history by making their third appearance in a Super Bowl. The last two times being in 1980 and 2004.
The Postseason fact that since 1966 indoor teams (which the Vikings are) are 0-12 in Conference Championship games played outside looked a sure bet for the Eagles to win the game, however the Eagles found themselves once again Underdogs going into the game. This was down to the fact they lost QB Carson Wentz to a knee injury in December against the LA Rams and nobody believed back up QB Nick Foles has the ability to take the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Especially after watching Wentz perform like he did before his injury. How they was wrong.
In the first quarter the Vikings scored on their opening drive. A 25-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph was the start the Vikings needed to somewhat silence the home crowd and put doubt in there minds. However, doubt soon turned into elation when on the Vikings next drive on third-and-eight Eagles cornerback intercepted Keenum’s pass and returned the ball back up the field to score a 50 yard touchdown. Jake Elliot kicked the extra point and tied the game 7-7 in the first quarter.
The Eagles defence managed to stand up against the Vikings offence and that enabled the Eagles to take control of the ball on Vikings own 20 in the second quarter. Zac Ertz ensured the Eagles had great field position on third-down by taking control of a short pass from Foles, who was starting to get a rhythm going at this point. Legarrette Blount went full steam ahead and ran in for a 11-yard touchdown taking down Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo in the process. Jake Elliot kicked the extra point making it 14-7 with 13.37 on the clock. Both teams were trying to get a firm grip on the game. However, when Dereck Barnett striped sacked Keenum and the ball was recovered by Chris Long at the Eagles 25, the Eagles knew this was their chance to turn the screw and add more pressure to a strong Vikings side. With 1.18 on the clock and the Eagles being third-and-10, Foles was able to stay in the pocket long enough to find a wide open Alshon Jeffery with a 53-yard touchdown pass. Not only did Jake Elliot kick the extra point. He was also given the opportunity by both Eagles offence and defence to kick for a 38-yard field goal before the half. The 3-points were good and the Eagles led 24-7 going into the second half.
The seconds half started how the first half ended with the Eagles on top. Confidence was soaring through the team and when Foles threw to Corey Clement and Clement then pitched the ball back to Foles at that moment you knew something incredible was about to happen. The reason being you wouldn’t of expected this type of play from Doug Pederson with Foles at QB. It had Wentz written all over it. However, Torrey Smith was able to find himself alone and in space, which allowed Foles to hit him with a 41-yard touchdown pass. Jake Elliot kicked for the extra field goal which made the game 31-7 with 10.13 left in the third quarter. There was a glimmer of hope for the Vikings when Keenum was able to find Thielen for a 7 yard-touchdown, however the touchdown was reviewed and overturned as an incomplete pass, due to the ball touching the ground first before being secured by Thielen.
The Vikings had no answers and when faced with a fourth-and-goal scenario they had no other option but to go for it. This was unsuccessful as Ronald Darby defended the pass which was intended for Thielen.
At the start of the Fourth quarter the Eagles took control of the ball inside there own 8 yard line. From there Foles was able to drive the offence upfield and find Alshon Jeffery for his second touchdown of the evening. Jake Elliot once again kicked the extra point which made the game 38-17 and that is how the game would finish. Not only did the Eagles become Conference Champions and will appear at this years Super Bowl, but they are also the first team in Super Bowl Era with a 3 Touchdowns of 40+ yards in a Conference Championship game. No one could of predicted that this would of been the case, coming up against the Vikings who looked so defensively solid throughout the NFL season.
The Eagles will now move on to face the New England Patriots at Super Bowl LII in Minnesota. The Eagles will want to make amends for the 21-24 defeat against the Patriots at Super Bowl XXXIX in 2004. The Patriots know how to win big games and with Tom Brady at the helm, once again the Eagles will be Underdogs going into the game. However, If Nick Foles plays like he did against the Vikings last night and both offence and defence keep playing like they have done all season, there is no reason why the Eagles couldn’t go on and win their first ever Super Bowl. Plus I think the Eagles thrive of being labelled the Underdogs.
This guest piece was written by Jordan Ridsdale. Jordan is an Eagles fan and can be followed on Twitter @Jordan_Ridsdale.