Feb. 09, 2018
"The Stack" 2-5-18
NIck Foles caught the first touchdown by a quarterback in Super Bowl history. It was that kind of trickery and aggressiveness that helped propel the Eagles to a 41-33 upset win over the New England Patriots in a spectacular Super Bowl.
The Stack is back on this Monday after the Super Bowl and what a Super Bowl it was. Reaction to the big game, commercials and more is in store so let’s get right to it and see what’s in “the stack” for today, Monday, February 5th:
Eagles win first Super Bowl in a thriller
The Twin Cities were great hosts all last week for the Super Bowl activities so it was only fair and fitting that the Super Bowl Sunday night between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots was great from start to finish. In the end it would be a backup quarterback outdueling Tom Brady and the great Bill Belichick outsmarting himself and the Eagles coaches and coordinators besting the Patriots and earning a hard fought 41-33 victory. Where to begin? Where to begin with this game?
How about with the Eagles offense? The great defensive coordinator of the Patriots (and now Lions head coach) Matt Patricia couldn’t stop Nick Foles and company at all. They couldn’t stop the Patriots on third down. The Eagles were 10 of 16 on third down. They couldn’t tackle either. What gives? Alshon Jeffrey made a tremendous touchdown catch. Zach Ertz made some huge catches. Torrey Smith joined as well. Foles was absolutely brilliant in shredding the Patriots secondary all game long.
The Eagles also ran the ball somewhat effectively, but they didn’t need a dominating running game like they have had in previous games this season. Both Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount gashed the Patriots for big gains throughout the game.
We’re jumping all over the place and for that I do apologize, but there is just so much that happened that it is kind of impossible to go in chronological order. For the first time in Brady-Belichick era the Patriots finally scored a point in the first quarter which tied the game up 3-3. That tie was short lived when Foles hit Jeffrey on the third play of the next drive to give the Eagles a 9-3 lead. Maybe Eagles kicker Jake Elliott wanted to channel his inner Gary Anderson or Blair Walsh since he was playing in the Vikings stadium, because he inexplicably missed the extra point. Not to be outdone Stephen Gostkowski missed a field goal on the following drive, but that was because of a bad snap. He would also miss an extra point later as well. For the Patriots to miss those kicks and botch a snap is really stunning.
Know what else is stunning? Tom Brady. The ageless wonder tortured the Eagles secondary throwing the ball down the field to wide open receivers like Chris Hogan or Danny Amendola. His completions seemed like they were going for 20 yards on a regular basis. Rob Gronkowski was silent in the first half with one catch for nine yards. He finished with nine catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns. The first drive of the second half was practically all Gronkowski as he accounted 68 of the 75 yards and capped it off with a touchdown. For the game Brady threw for 505 yards (a record) and three touchdowns. He was absolutely terrific.
But he wasn’t perfect. Two sets of two plays defined this Super Bowl in my opinion. The first set involved Brady and Foles and both times they weren’t the ones throwing the football. The Patriots had a beautifully designed play with Amendola getting the pitch from the running back and throwing to a wide open Brady. Brady inexplicably jumped to make the catch and the ball went off his hands. Either he jumped early or he didn’t jump at all. Maybe it was the hand injury that affected him. Either way, for Brady not to make that catch was incredibly surprising. Foles would end up catching the first touchdown by a quarterback in Super Bowl history. The Eagles ran a play they got from the Chicago Bears in a week 17 game against the Minnesota Vikings last season. Fourth and goal and late in the first half and tight end Trey Burton threw it to a wide open Foles who made the catch. What a gutsy call by Pederson and the Eagles.
What set the Eagles apart in this game though just like it has all season was their aggressiveness. Every time the Patriots struck and got closer, the Eagles would respond. Even when the Patriots would take the lead, the Eagles would not blink when needing a big drive. After the Patriots took the lead 33-32, the Eagles faced a fourth and 1 from their own 45. First down. They would cap the drive off with a Zach Ertz eleven yard touchdown reception. But was it a catch. The catch (or was it) was very similar to the one that Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James had against the Patriots back in week 15 in Pittsburgh. He caught it turned around and extended for the goal line. The ball squirted free before he got it back and the pass was ruled incomplete. While Ertz did look like he had possession and established himself as a runner he still lost the ball as he extended the plane and landed in the endzone. That probably should have been ruled incomplete, but it wasn’t.
That wasn’t even the most egregious call of the game. Earlier in the second half, Foles laid a beautiful pass to running back Chris Clement in the endzone. Clement got one foot down and then the other. But then the ball shifted and he stepped out of bounds. The NFL has said that that is an incomplete pass. Two prime examples are Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen against the Carolina Panthers and Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin against the Patriots. Both of those were ruled incomplete, but they shouldn’t have been. This one should have been ruled incomplete, but wasn’t. That makes the NFL look really bad. The NFL knows they need to change the catch rule in the offseason, but you can’t change the rule and be so inconsistent on the catch rule in the biggest game of the year. Shame on the NFL.
I mentioned earlier that two sets of two plays defined this game. The first set was the passes to the quarterbacks. The second set began in the first half when Brady found wide receiver Brandin Cooks wide open. Cooks caught the ball and as he was making some moves, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins hit Cooks when he wasn’t looking. Helmet to helmet contact. No penalty since Cooks was a runner. Cooks was knocked out of the game. The Eagles didn’t make many defensive plays, but that was a big one. The other play was the game winning one for all intents and purposes. Trailing 38-33, Brady and the Patriots were rolling offensively. Facing a 2nd and two, Brady dropped back and Brandon Graham got to Brady, knocking the ball out. The Eagles recovered. They would kick a field goal and survive a Hail Mary attempt to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Foles was named MVP and rightfully so. Not only did he catch the first touchdown by a quarterback in Super Bowl history, but he consistently led the Eagles down the field and put points on the board. His passes were spot on. He could never have dreamed he would play as good of back to back games as he did in the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl. For a guy who was incredibly close to retiring, Foles just made himself a heck of a lot of money this offseason. Some team is going to trade for him or at the very least make an offer to the Eagles. Foles’ play was nothing short of sensational and somewhat surprising. Give him credit. He won this Super Bowl for the Eagles. There won’t be a quarterback controversy, but maybe there should be.
As for the rest of the stuff that people love so much about the Super Bowl, Leslie Odom Jr. sang a wonderful rendition of America the Beautiful. Pink fought her way through sickness to sing the national anthem. For being sick, she was still pretty good. Justin Timberlake delivered on the halftime show. It wasn’t the best show I’ve seen, but I don’t have a problem with it and hate it like others do. Having the Minneapolis skyline light up in purple and having Prince on in the background as a tribute was pretty cool.
Besides the halftime show everyone is so hopeful that the commercials will be good. Lately they’ve disappointed. Sunday did not. The Tide commercials were outstanding. I thought Sprint hit a homerun right off the bat though I’m sure some people will complain about the little robot telling the guy who had a dumb face. I found the commercial to be very funny. Danny DiVito in the M&Ms commercial was great. Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman were tremendous in the Doritos and Mountain Dew commercials. Jeep was good. Ram made a commercial at the expense of the Vikings, a little digg shall we say, hahaha (yes I purposefully misspelled dig). Overall I thought the commercials were very good and I look forward to watching them all again online.
The 2017-18 NFL season has come to an end. Hope you enjoyed it everyone. Hopefully next year will be even better. As the NFL season comes to an end, The Stack too will be blogging less and less until March Madness roles around. Then we will be blogging every single day. I have found that it is just increasingly difficult to be able to blog and care for not even a two month old child. The blog will continue, but we won’t have quite as many posts as normal. And even though I love the Olympics, with the Olympics in South Korea, a lot of the live stuff will be early in the morning and by the time Olympics in Primetime rolls around, you’ll know what’s happened. We will still try and get a few posts out though here and there so definitely keep checking and please come back. You never know when “the stack” will have another post. Like I said though, once conference tournaments begin in men’s basketball, I will be posting everyday through March Madness. You can count on that.
Coming up later: Reaction to top stories/headlines in the sports world