Eagles advance to Super Bowl LII, dominate Vikings in NFC Championship game

The Eagles score 38 unanswered points to punch their ticket to Minneapolis

Brayton Wilson
January 21, 2018 - 9:03 pm

Photo: Bill Streicher - USA TODAY Sports

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For the first time since 2004, the Philadelphia Eagles are heading back to the Super Bowl.

The Eagles will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII after a 38-7 throttling of the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It will be the third time in franchise history that the Eagles will play for a Super Bowl.

The Vikings got off to the fast start with a nine-play, 75-yard drive to open the scoring on the road. Quarterback Case Keenum led the Vikings down the field to the Eagles' 25-yard line, where he put Minnesota up 7-0 with a touchdown pass to tight end, Kyle Rudolph.

From there, the Eagles' defense went into shutdown mode and did not allow the Vikings to put up anymore points on the scoreboard.

After an Eagles punt on their first offensive drive of the game, the defense responds with a big play to tie the football game at 7-7. On a 3rd-and-8 play with 6:26 to go in the first quarter, Keenum was hit by Eagles defensive end Chris Long as he threw a pass to mid-field. The pass was intercepted by Patrick Robinson, who then returned the ball 50-yards for the touchdown.

The Eagles forced a three-and-out on the Vikings' next drive, which then allowed quarterback Nick Foles and the Eagles' offense to go to work. The drive went into the second quarter with Foles taking the ball into the Vikings' redzone on 12 plays and 75 yards. The Eagles took the lead with an eleven-yard rushing touchdown from running back, LaGarrette Blount with 13:37 to go in the first half.

Minnesota nearly tied the game with a drive later in the second quarter, but the drive ended with Keenum getting sacked and stripped of the football on 3rd-and-5 at the Eagles' 25-yard line. Defensive end Derek Barnett came up with the strip-sack of Keenum, and Long ended up recovering the loose change at the 24-yard line.

A little more than two minutes later, the Eagles made the Vikings pay with another touchdown to go up 21-7. This time, it was Foles connecting with wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey for a 53-yard pass, hitting him in stride on his way to the endzone.

Philadelphia added a Jake Elliott 38-yard field goal at the end of the half to take a 24-7 lead into halftime.

Foles and the Eagles offense went straight back to work as they received the opening kickoff of the third quarter. They drove the ball 75 yards down the field in eight plays, and it was Foles going deep for a 41-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver, Torrey Smith.

Desperate to get something going on offense, the Vikings managed to take their first drive of the half 68-yards into Eagles territory. Keenum got the Vikings to the Philadelphia seven-yard line before throwing three straight incompletions to force a 4th-and-goal. On the next play, Keenum's pass appeared to be caught for a touchdown by wide receiver Adam Thielen, but after review, the football clearly hit the ground before being corralled in for the score.

The Eagles turned right around on offense, and drove the ball 92-yards down the field for their final score of the game. Just 50-seconds into the fourth quarter, Foles and Jeffrey connected once again for a five-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 38-7.

The defense only had two more drives to work on, forcing another turnover on downs, and the game-sealing interception with just 5:59 to play as Keenum's pass at the Eagles' seven-yard line was picked off by safety Corey Graham.

Philadelphia's defense only gave up 333 yards of offense to the Vikings, and limited Keenum to just 28-of-48 passing for 271 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles' defense also forced three turnovers of Keenum, which included the two interceptions and forced fumble.

As for Foles and the offense, they put up 456 yards of total offense and dominated the time of possession, controlling the ball for a little more than 34 minutes. Foles was excellent for the Eagles, going 26-of-33 for 352 yards and his three touchdown passes. It was Foles' fifth best game in terms of total passing yards, but his highest playoff total in his career.

Jeffrey ended his day in the air with five receptions for 85 yards, but it was tight end Zach Ertz leading the way with a game-high 93 yards on eight receptions.

Running back Jay Ajayi led the Eagles in the run game with 73 yards on 18 carries.

The Eagles and Patriots will meet in the Super Bowl for the second time, with their last meeting coming in 2004 in Super Bowl XXXIX. The Patriots ended up winning their third title that year with a 24-21 win at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.

Philadelphia's only other Super Bowl appearance came in 1981 when they played the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV in New Orleans. Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett ended up leading the Raiders to a 27-10 win over the Eagles at the Louisiana Superdome.

It has been 58 years since the Eagles last won a football championship, winning the NFL Championship Game in 1960 before the Super Bowl era.

With the loss, the Vikings failed to become the first team in NFL history to host a Super Bowl at their home stadium.

Super Bowl LII is set for February 4th at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on NBC, but you can also catch all the action on WGR!

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