The Philadelphia Eagles are OFFICIALLY a playoff team. After all the excruciating highs and lows, Doug Pederson has rallied this team through the storm and into the promised land. A title defense is still possible and the reigning Super Bowl champions forced their way into the playoffs in dominant fashion. A shutout win over the Washington Redskins saw the Birds decimate defensively. Here’s what we learned:
Nick Foles got his ‘mandatory’ interception out of the way early and after that went on an absolutely surgical run. 19 consecutive pass completions set a new franchise record. 25 set a new NFL record. Is there anything this man can’t do? He’s becoming a future NFL Trivia cheat code at this stage. There was a scare when he left the game with an injury after yet another hit to the ribs, but early reports indicate that there’s nothing to worry about. Nick Foles is hotter than he’s ever been in his career just as the Eagles force their way into the playoffs. The party isn’t over yet.
Fletcher Cox needed 2 sacks to tie his career-high of 9.5 He brought down Josh Johnson three times. Cox set a career-high 10.5 sacks in a season where his running-mate was injured for the majority of the time and there was a lack of depth around him. Truly an elite defensive tackle, Cox made a statement on Sunday afternoon.
The Redskins didn’t really have much to play for and it showed. The team came out lackadaisical, making silly errors and the entire gameplay seemed flawed. Starters were rotated in and out, Adrian Peterson picked up a whopping 0 yards on 4 carries and the entire Redskins offense accounted for 119 yards in what was dreadful showing by anyone’s standards.
But, it could’ve been different. The truth of the matter was that even when the game was out of reach, the Eagles kept starters in. This game was all about momentum. It was all about finding that desperation and turning it into a fuel that is too explosive to stop. The Eagles defense hit thunderously, played viciously and executed perfectly. This was easily their finest display of the season, not because they held a wilting unit to minimal yards, but because they never got complacent…which is probably for the best after some fourth quarter nightmares.
Taking care of business:
Theoretically, this could’ve been an easy loss. The Eagles could’ve walked into Washington with all the pressure in the world on their shoulders and buckled under it. Instead, Doug Pederson ensured his players kept the same mentality offensively, spreading the ball around with ease and dinking-and-dunking into record books. A balanced offense kept the weight of responsibility a shared one yet again and more importantly, the defense have finally figured out how to maintain their own balance of play.
$84M guaranteed for Kirk Cousins, we like that. The Vikings choked at home against Chicago, who refused to pull their starters entering the second half. In fact, Minnesota was absolutely atrocious offensively during the opening two quarters and even though they came out swinging, Matt Nagy wasn’t going to get comfortable. The Bears did the Eagles a solid and it’s all come full circle, with the Vikings missing the playoffs and Doug Pederson sipping his tea.
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports