Philly Special

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Let's just say, the Navy Midshipmen certainly know how to win over a crowd in Philadelphia.

On Saturday during the 120th Army-Navy game, a familiar play call was seen.

You might have seen it before. There's a statue immortalizing it in front of the Linc. It happened during Super Bowl LII. Anything come to mind?

That's right. The Philly Special.

What an awesome moment in the middle of one of the best days in sports. Check it out:


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Julian Edelman's touchdown pass on trick play spoils otherwise outstanding performance by Eagles' defense vs. Tom Brady

Julian Edelman's touchdown pass on trick play spoils otherwise outstanding performance by Eagles' defense vs. Tom Brady

The Eagles' defense managed to prevent Tom Brady from finding the end zone Sunday, but the play of the game was still a touchdown pass — it just happened to be thrown by Julian Edelman.

Edelman’s 15-yard third-quarter strike to fellow wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was not only the Patriots’ lone trip across the goal line. The trickery gave New England its first lead, and the team never looked back en route to a 17-10 win over the Eagles (see Roob's observations). 

“It was effective and ultimately was the difference in the game,” Rodney McLeod said. 

Edelman’s pass capped a 10-play, 84-yard scoring drive to open the second half, finally getting New England six points — eight with the two-point conversion — after their offense was forced to settle for a trio of field goals in the first half.

That play changed the complexion of the entire game.

“They went no huddle and came out with a trick play to score,” Fletcher Cox said. “That was that.”

Brady lateraled the ball to Edelman but the play was designed to look like a bubble screen. Instead of taking off for the first-down marker, the receiver dropped back and hit Dorsett streaking across the middle.

Rasul Douglas arrived late on the scene, but he was unable to jar the ball free to force the incompletion.

“They came out in the second half with a lot of tempo,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “We settled down and got them into (3rd-and-11), they throw a bubble to 11 — I think guys were just hustling to the ball thinking it was a screen, and it’s a double pass.

“Good play by them.”

The play marred an otherwise outstanding performance by the Eagles' defense, which limited Brady a 55.3 completion percentage and 4.6 yards per attempt.

Yet the Patriots have increasingly found ways to win games even when Brady doesn’t post gaudy numbers. This was the fourth game in the last 11 going back to New England’s Super Bowl victory over the Rams in which the future Hall of Famer didn’t throw a touchdown and his team was victorious.

“They don’t make too many mistakes so they wait 'til we make one,” Avonte Maddox said.

It’s also not the first time the Patriots have employed trickery, nor the first time Edelman has completed a pass or thrown a touchdown. Including postseason, Edelman is 5-for-6 for 141 yards and a touchdown.

“You can always say one guy should do this, one guy should do that,” Jalen Mills said. “It was just a good play and they did that at the right time.”

While the Eagles failed to threaten after jumping out to a 10-0 second-quarter lead, the defense was keeping the team in the game, going into the locker room with a 10-9 lead after several stands.

The Eagles held New England to 298 yards of total offense, 5-for-16 on third downs and 1-for-3 in the red zone — but the one turned out to be a backbreaker.

“If it takes trick plays to score on us, then so be it,” Cox said. 

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Pitt runs Philly Special to snap UCF's winning streak

usa_kenny_pickett_pitt_philly_special.jpg
USA Today Images/Charles LeClaire

Pitt runs Philly Special to snap UCF's winning streak

The Philly Special will never die, it appears.

Friday night, NFL Network named the mind-boggling touchdown pass from Trey Burton to Nick Foles in Super Bowl LII the 10th greatest play in NFL history.

Saturday, Pitt football used a version of the play to pull off a big upset over No. 15 UCF, who came into the contest with a 27-game non-bowl game winning streak, the longest in the FBS.

On 4th-and-3, wideout Aaron Mathews found QB Kenny Pickett for the score. Alex Kessman's extra point gave Pitt the lead. 

Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said after the game on ESPN that the play call was "Pitt Special."

I'm not sure any football fans will ever think of that play as anything other than the Philly Special, but give credit to Narduzzi and his team for a gutsy call and perfect execution. 

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