Eagles

Did You Know? 10 more fascinating Eagles playoff facts

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Did You Know? 10 more fascinating Eagles playoff facts

Two weeks is really too much time between games. How to pass the time? How about another installment of Roob's 10 Random Eagles Playoff Facts You Probably Didn't Know! 

(Heck, I didn't know them either until I started looking stuff up so don't feel bad!)

• Did you know: The only Eagle ever with a sack and an interception in the same playoff game was Rashard Cook? Cook, a backup safety, sacked Jim Miller and intercepted his replacement, Shane Matthews, deep in Bears territory to set up a Duce Staley touchdown in the 2001 conference semifinal game at Soldier Field. Cook had only two interceptions and three sacks the rest of his NFL career.

• Did you know: Donovan McNabb and Ron Jaworski are the only modern Eagles quarterbacks to win more than one playoff game? McNabb won nine and Jaworski three. The only other Eagles QB to technically win more than one playoff game was Tommy Thompson, and considering that he completed only seven total passes in the Eagles’ 1948 and 1949 NFL Championship Games, I'm not sure he counts.

• Did you know: There are no active NFL players who have ever had a postseason interception in an Eagles uniform? The Eagles had two interceptions in the 2013 wild-card loss to the Saints, but Bradley Fletcher and DeMeco Ryans are both out of the league. They didn’t have any in the 2010 loss to the Packers. Their last INTs before the Saints game were by Quintin Mikell and Asante Samuel in 2008.

• Did you know: The Eagles-Lions wild-card game in 1995 is the highest-scoring non-overtime playoff game in NFL history? The only higher-scoring game was the Cards’ 51-45 overtime win over the Packers in 2009.

• Did you know: The Eagles haven’t rushed for 100 yards in their last six playoff games? Last time they rushed for 100 yards in the postseason was the 2006 loss to the Saints, when they had 123. Their six-game streak without 100 yards ties the longest in NFL postseason history. 

• Did you know: Nick Foles has the second-highest postseason passer rating in the NFL since 2003 (105.0) with a minimum of 30 attempts? Only Kurt Warner (117.4) is higher over the last 14 seasons.

• Did you know: The three quarterbacks with the lowest career completion percentage for the Eagles in the postseason — regardless of pass attempts — are Jim McMahon (0 percent), Mark Rypien (41.7 percent) and Norm Van Brocklin (45 percent) and all won a Super Bowl or NFC Championship?

• Did you know: The Eagles have scored only 11 first-quarter touchdowns in franchise history in the postseason? They’ve scored 78 total in the other quarters. They’ve never scored more than 10 first-quarter points in a postseason game and they did that only once. In their last 14 postseason games, they have just three first-quarter touchdowns. They were scored by Dorsey Levens, Freddie Mitchell and Donovan McNabb. 

• Did you know: From 2001 through 2004, only two NFL players had at least three postseason catches of 40 yards or more? And they were Deion Branch and Todd Pinkston. Only nine other players had at least two, including James Thrash and Greg Lewis.

• Did you know: In 21 home games in franchise postseason history, the Eagles have allowed only 11 rushing touchdowns, none over 10 yards and only three over four yards?

The pick-six that 'everyone down Broad Street heard'

The pick-six that 'everyone down Broad Street heard'

Patrick Robinson was talking a little trash with some Eagles teammates before the NFC Championship, so when he came up with an interception, he sort of had to back it up.

“Two hours before the game, I was like, 'When I get a pick, I'm not going out of bounds,'" Robinson said. "When I got it, I was running down the sideline, and I was like, 'No, I definitely can't go out of bounds,' so I just cut it back upfield.”

The end result was a 50-yard return for a touchdown — a play that served to energize the Eagles, the home crowd and an entire fan base during the 38-7 win over the Vikings (see Roob's observations).

“I don't think it just pumped up the offense," Nick Foles said. "I think it pumped up the whole City of Philadelphia. I think everyone down Broad Street heard that.”

Not only did Robinson's pick-six tie the score at seven in the first quarter, it shifted the momentum in the Eagles' favor permanently.

There was an uneasy feeling over Lincoln Financial Field after the Vikings marched straight down the field on a nine-play touchdown drive. A penalty on the ensuing Eagles punt improved Minnesota's field position, while a conversion on third-and-long moved the offense close to midfield. Nothing was going right.

"We had to make a play because they drove right down and scored," Chris Long said. "If we didn't have believe in ourselves and a little toughness, you might've thought, 'Oh, man, it's gonna be a long night.' I know some people probably thought that watching on TV or whatever, but we know what we're capable of as a defense.

“On us, on defense, we had to go out and make a big play and create a turnover.”

Long did exactly that. The 32-year-old pass rusher beat the protection and reached Vikings quarterback Case Keenum mid-throw. The result was a pass that came up woefully short of its intended target — what Robinson described as "an easy pick."

Far less simple was the return. Robinson began by running down the sideline with a convoy of Eagles defenders. Then, with precious little room to maneuver and a promise not to run out of bounds, he cut all the way across to the opposite side of the field, outracing the remaining Vikings players to the pylon.

It was a runback worthy of a certain Eagles All-Pro punt returner.

“Pat, man, he was unbelievable out there," Long said. "He was like Darren Sproles with the ball.”

Robinson was happy to play the part, at one point directing fellow cornerback Ronald Darby to throw a key block that ultimately allowed him to get into the end zone.

“A lot of times you get a pick, there's always one guy that slips through the pack and gets a guy who has the ball," Robinson said. "But this time, all our guys were running hard and trying to make blocks for me.”

For a team that's leaned on home-field advantage all season long, winning nine games in their own building, you better believe that play came at a critical juncture in the contest.

"It got the crowd into it," Malcolm Jenkins said. "Defensively, that first drive, we were kind of uncharacteristic in the run game, missing tackles, just kind of leaky and unsettled. Once we got that, we evened the score back up, it was, 'OK, that was our restart.'

“The crowd is into it. Our offense got going. Defense started getting stops. That was a huge play in the game.”

Doug Pederson's 'tricks up his sleeve' keep coming

Doug Pederson's 'tricks up his sleeve' keep coming

A few hours before the Eagles played the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game Sunday night, the Jaguars doled out a free lesson about being timid in the playoffs.

The Jaguars were clinging to a 14-10 lead when they got the ball back with 55 seconds left in the second quarter, with two timeouts, on their own 25. Head coach Doug Marrone had Blake Bortles take a knee twice, happy to head into the locker room with a slight lead.

You know what eventually happened. The Patriots hung around and came back to win (see story). They'll see the Eagles in the Super Bowl (see Roob's observations).

Watching that scenario unfold, plenty of Eagles fans were probably thinking if the Eagles were in a similar situation, "Doug Pederson would never stay safe like that," and they'd be right. Because the Eagles were faced with a situation like that … and Pederson didn't play it safe.

In the first half of their 38-7 romping over the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game (see breakdown), the Eagles got the ball back with 29 seconds in the first half, when they already had a 21-7 lead. So they marched down the field to kick a 38-yard field goal.

The aggressive Pederson never let his foot off the gas (see report card).

"I just told myself before the game I was going to maintain the aggressiveness in this ballgame," Pederson said. "Listen, it was, a: you win, you keep playing. You lose, you're going home. I didn't want to go home and regret any decision."

Perhaps no play exemplified Pederson's aggressive nature more than the flea flicker early in the third quarter that yielded a 41-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith and put the Eagles up 31-7.

The Eagles had their foot on the Vikings' throats and Pederson gave the signal to step down.

"We love it," said Nick Foles, who admitted he couldn't remember ever running a flea flicker before. "I think he just has such a great feel for the game. He played quarterback and he's coached for a long time. He can feel it."

The flea flicker was a play the Eagles just started practicing and they ran it just a few times during practice this week. Pederson said they used it against the Vikings because they saw opportunities to exploit them down the field. Pederson was dead on.

Rookie Corey Clement was the running back who took the handoff and then pitched the ball back to Foles. After the game, he thanked his position coach Duce Staley for allowing him, a rookie, to be in that situation.

What was Clement thinking when the play got called in?

"S---, I'll do it," Clement said. "You just don't flinch."

After Clement tossed the ball back to Foles, the quarterback unleashed a deep pass to Smith down the sideline. Smith redeemed himself after an earlier drop and hauled it in.

"I didn't know they were going to call it," Smith said. "Coach P has some tricks up his sleeve."

Pederson has had tricks up his sleeve all season. While he hasn't necessarily run gadget plays like the one he pulled out Sunday night, he has been somewhat of a mad scientist when it comes to play-calling. Last week, offensive coordinator Frank Reich described Pederson's play-calling style as "unorthodox."

A week after putting together a gem of a game against the Falcons, Pederson seemingly coached circles around Mike Zimmer and put together a game plan that helped Foles lead his team to the Super Bowl (see story).

One thing is for sure: Pederson is aggressive. And it seems like his entire team feeds off of it.

"I think they do. I hope they do," Pederson said. "Because I've got a lot of trust in them and I think they've got a lot of trust in me that I'm going to make the right decision. It ultimately comes down to the players on the field. But I do believe they feel that. As long as I'm doing it and the decision is right by them and I'm not putting them in a bad situation, then, yeah, I think they feed off of it and start believing in that."