Eagles

Super Bowl champs! Eagles take down Pats to cap special season

Super Bowl champs! Eagles take down Pats to cap special season

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MINNEAPOLIS — All the grease in the world isn't going to keep Eagles fans off those light poles in the city. 

The Birds are coming home with the Lombardi Trophy (see celebration).

For the first time in franchise history, the Eagles have won the biggest game in sports. In an incredible performance, they bested Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, 41-33, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota on Sunday night. 

Nick Foles played magnificently as the Eagles' offense out-fired Brady on the stage where he's become the G.O.A.T. and Brandon Graham made an incredible play when the Eagles absolutely needed him to (see story).

There's finally going to be a green parade down Broad Street (see Roob's observations).

After all they went through this season, it seemed rather fitting that it all ended like this. What a game. It certainly wasn't easy. 

While Foles was throwing dimes, the defense struggled. The Eagles gave up 613 yards. It's the most yards they've given up in any game in the Super Bowl era, regular season or playoffs. Didn't matter. 

Eventually, they pulled it off. Somehow, defying the odds, like they've done all season (see story)

The Eagles took a 22-12 lead into halftime after a ridiculous first 30 minutes that featured 673 total yards of offense. The Patriots actually outgained the Eagles in the first half but it didn't matter. The Eagles went up 10 when Pederson pulled off what might have been the gutsiest play call in Super Bowl history (see story)

The Birds got on the scoreboard first with a field goal but the Patriots were able to match it with one of their own. From there, the offensive floodgates opened and the two teams got into a shootout. The craziest thing about the Eagles' trick play is that the Patriots tried one of their own earlier in the game and Brady couldn't bring in the pass.

Turning point
Even though they already had the lead, that Graham strip sack has to be it. When Brady has the ball in his hands down one score, nothing feels safe. Every Eagles fan in the building likely felt that way. Until Graham knocked the ball free. 

Key stat
The Patriots' 613 yards of offense is the highest total in Super Bowl history. 

It didn't matter. 

Offensive stud
Foles made some incredible throws on Sunday night. We wondered which Foles would show up. No question. It was the good one. He's the MVP (see story)

Offensive dud
Jay Ajayi didn't have the kind of game many people probably thought he would have. 

Defensive stud
The defense was lackluster all game, but Graham made the play of the night with his strip sack on Brady. 

Defensive dud
Jalen Mills made some plays but also got called for a big penalty and was beaten on a deep ball to Chris Hogan. Corey Graham struggled to cover Rob Gronkowski. 

Key plays
• Jake Elliott hit a 46-yarder to put the Eagles up eight points after the Graham strip sack. 

• After the Eagles' offense took the lead, Graham got a strip sack on Brady and the ball bounced into Derek Barnett's hands. The place erupted. 

• On 3rd-and-7 from the Patriots' 11-yard line, Foles hit Zach Ertz for a touchdown to take back the lead from the Patriots with 2:21 left in the game. The play was reviewed, but upheld. Then the Eagles failed on the two-point conversion. 

• Brady hit Gronk, covered by Ronald Darby, for a 4-yard touchdown pass to give the Patriots their first lead in the game at 33-32 with 9:22 remaining in the fourth quarter. It capped another 75-yard touchdown drive. 

• Elliott kicked a 43-yarder to increase the Eagles' lead early in the fourth quarter to 32-26. 

• Brady hit Hogan for a 26-yard touchdown pass with 3:23 left in the third quarter to cut into the Eagles' lead, 29-26. It capped a 75-yard touchdown drive. 

• Foles hit Corey Clement for a beautiful 22-yard touchdown pass in the end zone on 3rd-and-6. The play was reviewed but the call stood. Clement caught the ball and got both feet down in bounds. That put the Eagles up 29-19. 

• Gronkowski caught a 5-yard touchdown pass on the Patriots' first drive of the second half. On that drive, he had four catches for 68 yards and a touchdown after having just one for nine yards in the first half. 

• In the gutsiest play call of the year, Pederson dialed up that insane gadget play on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line to give the Eagles a 22-12 lead heading into halftime. 

• James White had a 26-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter to cut into the Eagles' lead. He broke three tackles on his way to the end zone to make the score 15-12 after the missed extra point. Mills had a rough go on the 90-yard drive. He was called for a penalty and then got beat deep on a pass to Hogan. 

• Foles tossed a deep pass to Alshon Jeffery that was tipped up and intercepted by Duron Harmon in the second quarter. Jeffery almost made a circus catch but actually tipped it up to the DB. 

• LeGarrette Blount rumbled into the west end zone for a 21-yard touchdown in the second quarter to put the Eagles up 15-3. The two-point conversion play failed. 

• Brady became a receiver on a key trick third-down play in the second quarter and dropped the ball. He's the best quarterback in NFL history and the Patriots decided to make him a receiver. OK. Then on fourth down, his pass to Gronkowski fell incomplete and the Eagles took over on downs.

• On a 3rd-and-2 from the Eagles' 9-yard line, the Patriots handed the ball off to Brandin Cooks, who tried to hurdle Rodney McLeod. McLeod simply stood up and slammed him to the ground. Then the Patriots missed a 26-yard field goal after a botched snap. 

• After Blount broke off a big, rumbling 36-yard run, the Eagles followed it up with an incredible play-action pass. Foles tossed a dime to Jeffery, who caught the ball over Eric Rowe for a 34-yard touchdown (see story). The Eagles went up 9-3 after Elliott missed the extra point. 

• Mills broke up a pass to Gronkowski in front of the end zone on third down to force a Patriots field goal on their first drive. Before that, the Pats sliced through the Eagles' defense using some tempo to get them out of their game. 

• The Eagles converted two third downs, the last of which was a 3rd-and-12 pass to Torrey Smith for 15 yards. The Eagles capped the 14-play drive (7:05) with a 23-yard field goal to put them up 3-0. 

Injury update
Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) returned to action after missing the NFC Championship Game and the Eagles' sick players were able to heal up enough in time for the game. 

Stefen Wisniewski left for a brief time during the game but returned. 

Up next
See you at the parade. 

Eagles reach decision at offensive coordinator

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AP Images

Eagles reach decision at offensive coordinator

Doug Pederson has made his decision. 

The Eagles are promoting wide receivers coach Mike Groh to offensive coordinator, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the move.  

On Monday, Pederson interviewed Groh and running backs coach Duce Staley for the vacant offensive coordinator job after Frank Reich became the Colts' head coach earlier this month. 

Groh, 46, just joined the Eagles last offseason, taking over for Greg Lewis. In his first year in Philly, he did a masterful job with the Eagles' receivers and had a bigger role in the offense and game-planning than a typical receivers coach. 

There had been a report that Pederson was thinking about not having an official offensive coordinator for the 2018 season. He already calls the plays. But it looks like he saw the value in filling Reich's old spot. 

It'll be interesting to see how this goes over with Staley, who has been with the Eagles as a coach since 2011 and has been in his current role as running backs coach since 2013. He has previously expressed interest in moving up the ladder. 

When Pederson hired Reich to be his offensive coordinator, he said he was interested in what Reich could bring to the downfield passing game. If that's still important, it would make sense for him to hire a receivers coach with a background as a quarterback over a former running back and running backs coach. 

The 2018 staff is starting to come together. Press Taylor is expected to be named the team's quarterbacks coach (filling in for John DeFilippo), Groh is OC and Staley will stay with the running backs. The last shoe to drop appears to be filling Groh's old post of receivers coach. 

Eagles might lose backup defensive back

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USA Today Images

Eagles might lose backup defensive back

Jaylen Watkins' time in Philadelphia might just be coming to an end. 

The Eagles don't plan to tender Watkins, who is a restricted free agent, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

Watkins, 26, played a decent role with the Eagles in 2017. He came into the summer as a safety, but when the team needed him at corner, he began to fill in there. He offered them a backup at multiple spots. 

So why won't the Eagles tender him? 

Well, if the Eagles did place a tender on Watkins, it would have been an original-round tender. He was drafted in the fourth round back in 2014. So teams could have negotiated with Watkins as a RFA but if the Eagles didn't match the offer sheet, they'd get back a fourth-round pick. Sounds great, except for one thing. 

The problem with the original-round tender is that it would bring back Watkins on a one-year deal worth just over $1.9 million. That's a projection after last year's number was just under $1.8 million. 

Watkins proved to be a valuable backup for the Eagles in 2017, but $1.9 million is probably just a little too pricey, especially as the Eagles are sitting around $9 million over the cap and have to trim that number down. 

And the Birds should have plenty of younger depth at corner in 2018. 

Not tendering Watkins doesn't necessarily mean he won't be back. What it does mean is he'll be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts on March 14. He will be able to negotiate with any team freely, but that will also include the Eagles, who might be willing to bring him back for a lesser price.