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February 06, 2018

The 15 biggest plays of the Eagles' Super Bowl run

Eagles NFL
020618BrandonGraham Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Graham made the second-biggest play in Eagles history.

All throughout the Philadelphia Eagles playoff run, they made a lot of huge game-changing plays, the top 15 of which we'll list below, and we'll show with video.

15) The Patriots' failed Hail Mary

I mean, even if low probability, it was the game-clinching play, right?


So it probably deserves to be on here.

14) Corey Clement's wheel route gains 55

The Eagles dug into the Chip Kelly playbook on this mesh wheel route play that absolutely toasted Patriots safety Jordan Richards.


That play would eventually set up the No. 1 play on this list.

13) Rodney McLeod stops Brandin Cooks cold

On third and 2 in the red zone, the Pats tried an end around to Cooks, who was probably the fastest player on the field. McLeod found himself in an open-field, one-on-one situation with Cooks, which are not easy, and he came up big. Rather than use his speed to try to run around McLeod, or cut back to the inside, Cooks tried to hurdle him, and McLeod had none of it


That tackle stopped the Pats from scoring a TD, and as a cherry on top, they missed the ensuing field goal attempt.

12) The lucky deflection

Near the end of the first half against the Falcons, Nick Foles had been struggling and threw a terrible pass in the middle of the field that should have been picked off by safety Keanu Neal. Instead, it bounced high in the air off his knee and was caught by Torrey Smith.


The Eagles then moved into long field goal range, and Jake Elliott drilled a clutch 53-yarder going into the half. That drop by Neal gifted the Eagles three points, and who knows... maybe the Falcons would have gotten points of their own to close the half instead if he makes that play.

That play was a huge, game-changing missed opportunity by the Falcons.

11) Nelson Agholor's 21 yard run

In a defensive struggle, big plays were hard to come by, unlike the Eagles' shootout in the Super Bowl. In the second quarter, Doug Pederson made an outstanding play call, when he used misdirectioon on a 21-yard run by Nelson Agholor.


That run set up a LeGarrette Blount's 1-yard TD run on fourth down. On a side note, Pederson was 3-for-3 on fourth down calls in the playoffs.

10) Derek Barnett's strip sack of Case Keenum

With the Eagles up seven near the end of the first half, Derek Barnett was able to get around Vikings tight end David Morgan for a huge turnover that likely took points off the board for the Vikings.


That turnover led to this...

9) Nick Foles connects with Alshon Jeffery for a 53-yard TD

A few plays later, on 3rd and 10, Foles navigated through a pocket that was closing in on him, and heaved a bomb to Jeffery.


Pass is... CAUGHT... Jeffery! Touchdown!

8) Foles' dime to Jeffery in the Super Bowl

Great throw, and an outstanding catch. This play was the first TD of the game.


The Eagles signed Jeffery because they thought he was a guy who could high-point balls and win contested catches, and that's exactly what he did there.

7) Foles' deep ball to Corey Clement

The Eagles got a matchup that they liked with Clement on a linebacker.


We're going to start sounding like a broken record here, but great throw, great catch. And yes, shut up Cris Collinsworth, that was clearly a catch.


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6) Foles to Ertz for a fourth down conversion, and then a touchdown

This touchdown wasn't as spectacular as the ones to Jeffery and Clement, but the significance of it, and the nature of the clutch drive late in the game makes it worthy of the sixth spot.


And as noted in the video, the Eagles also converted on a fourth down conversion earlier in the drive.  

5) The flea flicker

Already up by 17 in the third quarter over the Vikings, Pederson called a flea flicker that was executed to perfection by Nick Foles and Torrey Smith.


One last time... Great throw, great catch.

4) The Eagles' fourth down stand vs. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones

On Atlanta's 4th down play with a chance to take a late lead, Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian called a quarterback sprint-out, cutting out two-thirds of the field for the Eagles to defend. Julio Jones slipped, and Jalen Mills was right there with blanket coverage.


In the locker room after the game, every Eagles defender said they knew that that's what was coming, and were ready for it. In other words, it wasn't just a stupid call. It was also a predictable one.

3) Patrick Robinson's pick-six

On the Vikings' first drive of the day in the NFC Championship Game, they marched right down the field with ease, and scored. The Eagles subsequently punted, and the Vikings had a chance to begin building a big lead.

And then in an instant, the game changed when Chris Long affected a Case Keenum pass, which was picked off by Robinson and taken back to the house.


That play completely changed the momentum of the game and the Eagles never looked back, piling on 38 unanswered points to go to the Super Bowl.

2) Brandon Graham's strip sack of Tom Brady

The Eagles' defense got absolutely abused by the Pats for the better part of 60 minutes until Brandon Graham happened. Clinging to a five-point lead, and trying to hold a Pats offense that had scored touchdowns on three straight possessions (four if you don't include the end of the first half), Graham came up with a strip sack of Brady, which was recovered by Derek Barnett.


When the Pats began that drive, admit it. You thought Brady was driving the field for the win. It's OK. We've all seen that movie before. But, the defense finally made a play, and all but put the game away.

1) The 'Philly Special' 

It was fourth and goal from the Patriots' one-yard line with 34 seconds left in the first half. Pederson, as he's known to do, opted to go for it.

And he pulled out a trick play.


Pederson named the play the "Philly Special," and with apologies to Wilbert Montgomery, it will probably go down as the most memorable play in Eagles history. 

The design of the play was outstanding. Foles drifted far away from center, almost making it over-obvious that the Eagles were going to run a direct snap to the running back, Corey Clement, which they did. The Patriots thought they had sniffed out the direct snap, and crashed hard to go after Clement, leaving Foles wide open in the end zone. Brilliant play call.

Observers from around the country praised Pederson for having the cojones to go for it on fourth down there. Meh. He's done that all year. But to go with that brilliant play call was indeed a "Philly Special."


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