Super Bowl LII Recap: Eagles 41-33 Fly Eagles Fly!

Ahhh yes Super Sunday dawned with the aplomb and pageantry that has become an American holiday surrounding the NFL championship. Although this year was at a cold weather site, Minneapolis put on a great event.

Right from the opening kick the Eagles came out with their patented read-option look to settle Foles into the game. Each team came out with long marches that stalled inside the  leading to field goals.

The first big play came on the 2nd play of the following drive when LeGarrette Blount burst off guard for a 37 yard run where he broke two tackle attempts. Establishing an attitude the Eagles were here to play. Then Foles on another run option feathered a 34 yard bomb to Alshon Jeffries …surprise 9-3 Iggles!! Two bold strokes opened up a game where each team had been probing with intermediate shots.

All of a sudden we were reliving the early stages of Super Bowl LII as Brady fell behind by score and tempo of the game. The Patriots had been moving the ball and keeping even from a momentum perspective…and then S Malcolm Jenkins hit wideout Brandon Cooks knocking him out of the game. From that moment on the Patriots played nervous as momentum was on Philly’s side. New England even reverted to trickery with an Amendola reverse throw back to Brady. Once he dropped that pass and a failed 4th down attempt gave Foles a short field.

It was the corner throw from Foles to Jeffries that allowed the Iggles to maintain momentum. Then Blount turned in his second big play when he burst off a belly to the left for a 21 yard TD and a 15-3 lead.

Then came the 2nd turning point that many fans and pundits have issue with Patriot playoff games. With a 15-6 lead the Eagles were intercepted on a deep throw to Jeffies. The ball was tipped and intercepted. After beginning on their own 10 the Patriots started a drive that faced a 3rd and long when a questionable defensive holding call kept their drive alive. New England was saved by a bogus call again and a completed a 90 yard drive against a stunned Eagle defense. They cut the lead to 15-12 after White’s 26 yard touchdown tackle breaking run.

Just when the feeling of “here we go again” with the Patriots seizing control of the game, Nick Foles showed a cool no one thought he would have in a championship game. First he has Torrey Smith drop a sure 1st down and you could sense the unease rising where the Eagles needed a play. Then Foles hit with this:

 

The 55 yard swing pass to Clement brought the Eagles back to focus and after bogging down inside the 5, Foles threw to Jeffries where interference could have been called. Facing a 4th and goal Coach Pederson rolled the dice with Nick Foles…

 

In what could have been the greatest call in Super Bowl history Foles became the 1st QB in Super Bowl history to catch a TD. Its the type of play where an underdog has to take some chances and was the turning point of the game. However inside your opponents 5 on 4th down?? Those are some huge stones Coach Pederson and Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich called. Cinderella and her glass slippers led 22-12 going into the half.

However did we mention this is the Super Bowl?? Well Tom Brady who saw pressure yet had fired for nearly 200 yards in the 1st half. Well he went on to dominate the 3rd quarter and on his next drive completed 4 to a no longer quiet Gronkowski. The last being a 5 yard toss and the lead was 22-19 and could Philly answer the bell again??

Foles did answer with a touchdown however the defense that was supposed to put pressure on Brady was tiring out. Brady led the Patriots on 3 straight drives of 75 yards to take a 33-32 lead as the 4th quarter began. He was masterful and just completely demoralized the Eagle defense. The pass rush was exhausted and the Eagle DBs were running in cement. Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan were running open all through the 2nd half.

In what was becoming one of the greatest Super Bowls ever we were locked into a track meet where Nick Foles was battling Tom Brady in a heavy weight fight. Who would blink?

Finally Foles leads the Eagles on a touchdown drive with a pass to Zach Ertz that was debated, but clearly was a catch two steps and a lunge with an 11 yard pass to take a 41-33 lead. Cinderella was still dancing with a lead 2:21 to go on the clock and just steps away from their 1st championship since 1960. The stage was set for Tom Brady, who had been on 3 straight touchdown drives. Could Brady pull another miracle.

Holding their breath with a defense that hadn’t sacked Brady all night Brandon Graham blew into the backfield for the 1st, a forced fumble and a Lombardi Trophy for the City of Brotherly Love.

This was easily one of the most entertaining Super Bowls ever played and the Chancellor of Football’s choice for MVP?? Nick Foles… how could you not?? He completes 28 of 43 for 373 yards 3 TDs and caught another touchdown.

Celebrate Philadelphia, you produced the timely plays to win it. Your first NFL Championship since 1960. Fly Eagles Fly! E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!!

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The 2016 Taylor Blitz Times Offensive MVP: Derek Carr

One of the reasons the NFL playoffs lacked any real sizzle was the loss of Derek Carr and the anemic way the Raiders season drew to a close. Arguably the best team in the AFC lost their chance when a Trent Cole sack rendered Carr’s leg broken in the 4th quarter of the 15th game. Did you know the Raiders were averaging 27 points per game before the injury yet could only score 20 in the last 2 games combined?? Not only could the Raiders not gain a 1st down the rest of the Colts game but the ability to convert dropped from 21.4 per game down to 13.

Carr's play was transcendent in 2016.

Carr’s play was transcendent in 2016.

In 2016 Carr channeled his inner George Blanda as he led eight come from behind wins in the 4th quarter or overtime. Eight! They were 6-1 on the road with him as he tossed game winning passes in 4 of the 1st 5 to begin 5-0 away from the Coliseum. The Raiders were in line to achieve home field advantage and had the most daring performer of the season taken from them.

Carr & Murray are poised to race to Super Bowl LII.

Carr & Murray are poised to race to Super Bowl LII.

Carr completed 63.8 % of his passes (357 of 560) for 3,937 yards 28TDs with just 6 interceptions. This was on the heels of achieving Pro Bowl status in 2015 when he had gone 350 of 573 for 3,987 yards 32 TDs yet threw 13 picks.

Here at Taylor Blitz Times we have charted his growth and this is one of the future faces of the NFL. His injury not only cast a pall over the playoffs but was the only reason we heard Aaron Rodgers heroics at the end of the year. Rodgers had a 6 game winning streak of stellar play where Carr dominated all year long. Had Carr avoided that injury odds are they would have won the finale in Denver and finished 7-1 on the road. If the Patriots would have won home-field based off tie breaker scenarios, who would have been better equipped to go into New England than Carr with all his 4th quarter road wins??

The winner of the 2nd Taylor Blitz Times Offensive Player of the Year is David’s younger brother…. Derek Carr.

Honoarable Mention: Dak Prescott & Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys

Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott are the NFC odds on favorite for Super Bowl LII.

How could you not have the 2 super rookies who infused Jerry World with a glimpse of their future?? While it’s true the heart of the Cowboys is The Great Wall II offensive line we first told you about back in 2014, Elliott and Prescott played within themselves and stretched what can be expected of rookies moving forward.

Where most rookie runners hit the rookie wall right before Thanksgiving,”Zeke” never did. He faced tough defenses in New York, Minnesota, Detroit, and Washington who were all playing for their playoff lives. They kept him from breaking Eric Dickerson’s rookie record of 1,808 yards. However his 1,631 yards allowed Elliott to become the first rookie to lead the NFL in rushing since Edgerrin James in 1999.

His vision patience and timing have combined with the front wall to give the Cowboys a flashback to the Emmitt Smith and original Great Wall of 1990’s fame. His low center of gravity allow him to plow through most tacklers and fall forward. An effective tactic to keep the chains moving. He helped the Cowboys chew up the clock and keep opposing teams off the field, which protected Dallas’ defense. His future looks bright with several years in front of him.

The truth of the matter is Elliott was able to share the pressure heaped upon he and Prescott. All Dak did was complete 67% of his passes for 3,667 yards 23TDs with only 4 interceptions. Where the running game kept down and distance manageable, he was able to fire upon defenses selling out to stop the run. However he came of age in the 34-31 playoff loss at home to the Packers. He brought the Cowboys back twice in that game when Green Bay was geared to stop the pass. Down 21-3 he calmly fired 2 shots to get them back in the game 21-10… the last pass a 40 yard scoring play to Dez Bryant.

The new Big 3 in Prescott, Dez, and Zeke.

The new Big 3 in Prescott, Dez, and Zeke.

Amid the pressure of being down to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers he brought them back from a 28-13 deficit… scoring 3 times to tie it 31-31. The came Rodgers miracle throw. However when the pressure was on Prescott to perform without the comfort of having the lead and leaning on his running game, he showed the NFL playoffs weren’t too big for him. Pundits and Cowboy haters waited for the cool veneer to wear off and waited for rookie mistakes to emerge. When they didn’t in the playoff loss to Green Bay, Cowboy haters better brace themselves for Elliott & Prescott are poised for a 5-7 year run in Dallas. They truly helped shape the season.

So there you have it… the first recipient of our Offensive MVP was Cam Newton in 2015 followed by Derek Carr in 2016. Along with the 2 headed monster in Dallas…these are the future faces of the NFL.

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