Lincoln Financial Field’s jumbotron set its sights on Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts at the end of the fourth quarter of Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. At first, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback had a big smile on his face. Then he caught himself. “One more thing,” Hartz, returning to his usual serious expression, opened his mouth to the camera. The crowd exploded.
The Eagles beat the 49ers 31-7 on Sunday to face the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. The actual game itself was a bit of a dud as a quarterback injury put his 49ers back together. Brock his Purdy suffered an elbow injury on San Francisco’s first possession and Josh his Johnson had a concussion in the third quarter. For a brief period in the first half, the 49ers still looked like they could hold out thanks to a solid defense and a strong second quarter performance from Christian McCaffrey. However, a point on defense sandwiched by several Eagles touchdown drives saw the Eagles never look back as he took a 21–7 lead at halftime.
Elements that have contributed to the Eagles’ success throughout the season are again on display: Hearts know exactly what is required and Nick Siriani aggressively manages the game and makes in-game decisions. gave the Eagles the upper hand. , the offense wore off and finally found an answer, and the defense took advantage of an inferior opponent.
It wasn’t the Eagles’ cleanest game, nor should it be. I didn’t. starter.
After the game, Hearts sipped victory cigars in their lockers with their teammates. Smoke filled the room and a cough prevented the player from speaking and speaking to reporters. As Hurts told the audience at the rink in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t the final step, but it was certainly worth celebrating.
Siriani approached the defense, spotted cornerback Abonte Maddox and safety Marcus Epps, and gave them a hug. served. he is not afraid. Siriani took it when the offense faced 4 and 3 on the Eagles’ first drive of the game. The offense converted (thanks in part to the 49ers not challenging Devonta Smith’s catch) and he scored a touchdown. Then, with 6 minutes and 39 seconds left in the second quarter, the Eagles faced 4-1 from their own 34. Siriani turned aggressive again and continued to attack on the field. Hurts converted with a QB sneak and the Eagles eventually ended that drive with a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead.
“I don’t know how he’s carrying around the cohon set that Siriani has,” left tackle Jordan Mailata said after the game. “That’s crazy. How does that guy get around? Fourth in a big playoff game? Hey, kudos to him. But big Cojones, that guy.”
On the other side of Mailata’s locker room stood Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. He thinks the data can give the Eagles an edge. At Siriani, he found a coach willing to be aggressive even if the stakes were high.
“He’s outstanding,” Lurie said of Siriani. He knows exactly what he’s going to do, and he knows it before the third down so he can plan for the third down. , it’s not something you want to talk about much. [Pederson]There’s something built into our culture, but Nick is very smart. He specializes in being aggressive, and I think that’s the way his NFL needs to be today. ”
When Lurie hired Siriani two years ago, he said he was excited to be his coach. The message was clear. The Eagles never expected Siriani to be the finished product. They were ready to ride with a coach who could grow into a job. But now, his second in his season, Sirianni is winning the Eagles a Super Bowl sooner than anyone expected.
The truth is that the NFL organization doesn’t always know when the championship window opens and closes. It is understandable. It contains a lot of randomness. You make decisions that give your team a chance and hope to have a little luck. That’s what happened to the Eagles this season. They had all 22 regular starters healthy and available on Sunday against the Niners team, which has been severely tested for quarterback depth.
Outside of Hearts, no eagle may have been as important on Sunday as Herson Reddick. General manager Howie Roseman, the architect of one of the NFL’s most talented rosters, signed Reddick in free agency last offseason, following an organizational philosophy of investing in the offensive and defensive line. In response, Reddick forced a sack fumble on the 49ers’ first offensive possession, bringing his season totals to 19.5 sacks in 19 gamesReddick failed to make the playoffs in his first five years in Arizona and Carolina, and is on his third different team in six NFL seasons. He is now one win away from the Super Bowl ring.
“The biggest thing I’ve preached is, ‘Enjoy this opportunity. Enjoy this moment,'” Reddick said of his conversations with his younger teammates. “Because it’s rare. You don’t get these often.”
Offensively, this game was a grind for the Eagles. They started the game with a touchdown drive followed by a cold spell. But, as they’ve done all season, they finally found the answer: The Eagles finished with his 25 first downs. This is his second-most offense against his 49ers this season.
Facing Demeko Ryan’s top-ranked defense proved to be a game of chess, according to Mailata. The Eagles have returned to the sidelines after each drive to talk about what the 49ers are doing and try to come up with solutions, with Mailata saying the key is the offensive line with his coach. The run game was to rely on the message his coordinator Jeff Stoutland was preaching all the time.
“How many times can we play the look we want?” Mairata asked. “Never make a play look bad.”
The Eagles used the Rumpus Option to achieve that goal, leaving the decision-making in Hearts’ hands. Mailata called Stoutland “a blast” during the week. Stoutland was more violent than usual, yelling at his players and yelling at them at meetings. The Eagles knew they were facing a tough defense, and Stoutland wanted to make sure his players were ready. Stoutland was calm, composed, and focused on finding ways to help players solve problems on the fly.
“He comes in, he takes all the information, he changes the script, he tries to change the technique that we’re doing, he changes the call,” Mailata said. “We have a ridiculous coach. I don’t know what else to say.”
The Eagles ended up running for all four touchdowns. Miles Saunders he scored from 6 and 13 yards out. Boston Scott he added a 10-yard touchdown. The Eagles couldn’t rely on their explosive play against the 49ers. Instead, they stringed together his three drives of his 10+ plays.
Early in the fourth quarter, the stadium’s big screen scanned the crowd, showing fans holding up homemade “We’re Talking About Cactus” signs, a nod to the team’s next destination, Glendale, Arizona. I projected it. Eagles fans were very confident going into this game. They feel like they know this team well, and the coaches and quarterbacks have earned their trust. The supporting cast always seems to give them a chance.
Next is a trip to the desert to fight the Chiefs. With Andy Reed and Patrick Mahomes on opposite sides, the defensive challenge is different. Not a combination of Josh Johnson and the heavily restricted Brock Purdy. But the Eagles come into that game with the same recipe they’ve used all season: They rely on his offensive line to control the Chiefs’ line. They count on Pass Rush to get to Mahomes. They enlist knowing the moment won’t be painfully big.
If they tick the same box they’ve ticked 16 times in 19 games, they’re more likely to lift Lombardi for the first time in five years.
“We know we’re not done yet. They’re still hungry,” said defenseman Brandon Graham. “As Jalen said, we’re hungry. We’re hungry for it.”