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Bleacher Report – Vikings

In Super Bowl victory, Eagles make clear that demolition of Vikings was no fluke

By Matthew Coller

Over the last two weeks, every Minnesota Vikings player who was interviewed during Super Bowl week was asked this question: What the heck happened against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game? We found out the answer on Sunday night: Doug Pederson and the Eagles happened.

It wasn’t the Minneapolis Miracle hangover. It wasn’t the crowd. It wasn’t a lack of effort by the Vikings. Philadelphia simply had the best team in the NFC. And they made that quite clear in their 41-33 Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots at US Bank Stadium.

From the game’s opening drive, Philadelphia showed they could move the ball against the Patriots, who ranked fifth in the NFL in points allowed this season. Quarterback Nick Foles continued his Joe Montana impression, hitting Torrey Smith for 15 yards on a third-and-12 to keep the drive going.

Philadelphia came away with only a field goal to start the game, but they showed New England they weren’t going to be intimidated by the stage – and that Pederson’s scheme would work against the Pats the same way it did in Philly’s 38-7 destruction of the Vikings two weeks earlier.

On the Eagles’ second drive, it was deja vu as Foles dropped a dime to Alshon Jeffery for a 34-yard touchdown.

With 38 seconds remaining in the first half, Pederson dug into the NCAA playbook, running a reverse pass with tight end Trey Burton. He flipped the ball into the end zone on fourth down to Foles to put the Eagles up 22-12 after 30 minutes.

At that moment, Vikings fans had to be thinking of the flea flicker touchdown by over the top of Trae Waynes in the NFC Championship.

Pederson and Foles got everyone involved. After surrendering a touchdown to the Pats to start the second half, the Eagles drove 85 yards on 11 plays for a touchdown. Eight different players touched the ball and the Eagles’ No. 3 running back capped off the drive with a 22-yard touchdown catch.

As they did two weeks ago against the vikings, Philadelphia’s offensive line mauled the Patriots. They gave Foles all sorts of time to throw, giving up a grand total of zero sacks. They got to the second level on run plays like no other team with speed and precision, opening up 165 yards rushing on 26 carries between LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement.

Foles was a dang magican. Somehow he found a time machine and warmed back to 2013, when he threw 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions under Chip Kelly. He wasn’t throwing check downs. He was matching Tom Brady pass for pass, hitting receivers in traffic, tossing balls into tight coverage and patiently navigating the pocket to find throwing lanes.

And the Patriots had no answer for Philadelphia’s run-pass options, even with two weeks to prepare. Foles finished with more passing yards against the Pats than he did the Vikings, 373 on 28 completions.

Pederson pulled off more masterful management late in the game. On fourth-and-1 down by one point. Foles completed a 2-yard pass for a first down, setting up a go-ahead touchdown.

What might have Vikings fans shaking their heads is the difference in the Eagles’ defense. They pressured Case Keenum in the NFC title game, causing turnovers and creating pressure throughout the game. In the Super Bowl, Brady had much more time to throw and picked Philadelphia’s defense apart.

Until the second-to-last drive, of course, when the Eagles caused Brady to fumble, essentially sealing the game. The Vikings know a thing or two about that.

The Eagles’ coach was too good. Their offensive line was too good. Their weapons were too good. Foles was too good. And the win over the Patriots made it all loud and clear: The right team won the NFC title game and the right team won the Super Bowl.

The post In Super Bowl victory, Eagles make clear that demolition of Vikings was no fluke appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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