Instant analysis: Eagles defy the odds again and ascend to NFC Championship game

It doesn’t matter what you throw at this team, the Philadelphia Eagles have done it. With their first playoff win since 2008, the Eagles will host the NFC Championship game in Philadelphia. Here are some quick takes from what was an incredible matchup.

 

Cometh the hour, cometh the man:
It didn’t start off pretty, but Nick Foles put the offense on his back during the second half. Ending the day with 23/30 completions for 246 yards, the six-year veteran found redemption after his playoff loss in 2013. Foles burst out of the gate in the second half and found a rhythm instantly. Connecting with Alshon Jeffery for three first downs, Foles was electric and the errors that shadowed his first half of play seemed to simply disappear. It was a big step up for Foles but the confidence began to bleed into the rest of the offense when it mattered.

 

Money man:
Run defense? That was captained by Fletcher Cox tonight, who recorded a season-high seven tackles. The Falcons found next to no running room against the league’s top ranked unit. Some clutch tackles from Brandon Graham, Mychal Kendricks and the rest of the Eagles defense made life difficult for Devonta Freeman and company, forcing Matt Ryan to throw into some presumable situations.

 

We all we got:
Everybody mattered. The Eagles had nine different players catch a pass offensively and found themselves using more creative looks than ever. Agholor was used as a running back on multiple occasions, Trey Burton lined up as a fullback and even rookie Mack Hollins caught a nine-yard reception as he pushed for a first down. This was a full team effort and once the mistakes were ironed out, it became a matchup of culture…and the Eagles simply wanted it more.

 

Secondary finds success:
Stopping Julio Jones was never going to be easy. He did still put up 101 yards, but in the game’s most important moments, it was the Eagles secondary that stood tallest, literally. Ronald Darby helped breakup a would-be touchdown pass on that final Falcons drive, only for Jalen Mills to do the exact same after the elite wideout slipped over two plays later. The corners weren’t faultless, but against a receiving corps this dangerous, Darby, Mills and even safeties Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins made some heroic plays.

 

Smart Football:
There were some risky moments, some strange play-calls, questionable clock management and interesting challenges, but when all was said and done…the Eagles played smart Football in the second half. No more fumbles, no picks, no drive-killing penalties. No defensive lapses in concentration. The Birds came out dialed in and ready for war and were rewarded with the ultimate prize.

 

The backfield:
We’ve been saying all week how Ajayi still won’t see 20+ carries and that stands true. Corey Clement was used as a versatile option, while Ajayi’s growing role as a dual-threat was balanced by some downhill runs from Blount. Playoffs or not, the backfield remains how it has been all season. Dangerous and unpredictable.

 

And finally…..
THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE GOING TO THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE GOING TO THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE GOING TO THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE GOING TO THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE GOING TO THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE GOING TO THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE GOING TO THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

 

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

 

Liam is a 22 year old sports journalist and die hard Philadelphia sports fan from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just 24 months he turned a hobby into one of the fastest growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 3,000,000 views and writing over 2,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.

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