The Philadelphia Eagles are on their way to Super Bowl LVII.
On Sunday, they defeated the San Fransisco 49ers to be crowned NFC Champions. Thus, the Philadelphia Eagles have earned themselves a trip to Arizona for the opportunity to hoist a Lombardi Trophy.
We explore five reasons that propelled the Birds to the big dance.
A.J. Brown – The Catalyst For A New Look Offense.
The Eagles can win in a myriad of ways.
In 2021, the Philadelphia Eagles established an identity. In the first seven games, first-year head coach Nick Siriani managed just two victories and had called a pass-heavy game script that often saw his offense stall and sputters. Smartly, the coaching staff inverted their play-calling philosophy and began a rushing barrage that led them to win seven of their last ten contests.
In that span, the offensive line was completely dominant. They reset the line of scrimmage consistently, using their plethora of complementary running backs to attack opposing defenses in every possible way. Furthermore, they activated Jalen Hurts in the option as a runner. He raced his way to a team-leading 784 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
Conversely, in 2022, the Eagles had one of the most balanced offensive game plans in the NFL. The acquisition of superstar wide receiver A.J. Brown on draft night catapulted the passing game into the stratosphere. Philadelphia took significant strides, ranking eighth in total yards through the air.
The Eagles were extraordinarily balanced. They rushed the ball 544 times and passed on 536 occasions. Philadelphia can move the ball either way, which has made them almost impossible to stop. Furthermore, the Eagles even gained new sets of downs in an extremely balanced manner. They converted 195 first downs through the air and 161 on the ground.
This was unlocked by their best receiver in franchise history. A.J. Brown in just his first season as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles had a phenomenal 1,496 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 88 receptions. He was explosive, reliable, and consistent, giving the offense a perfect complement to the route-running savvy of DeVonta Smith, who also achieved over 1,000 yards.
Howie Roseman struck gold in this deal. The resulting success manifested from the sensational chemistry between Brown, Smith, Goedert, and Hurts. Yet, the deal made by the Eagles’ GM was instrumental in getting them all together on the field, to create a deadly passing attack to complement their imposing rushing prowess.
Bradberry And Slay – The Padlock Partners.
The Eagles signed James Bradberry in the 2022 NFL Offseason.
What the veteran cornerback provide was beyond expectation. His dominance, in tandem with fellow defensive back Darius Slay, was sensational. The two of them frequently shut down opposing wide receivers, throwing opposing offensive coordinators off-schedule. As a result, the Eagles allowed the fewest passing yards of the 2022 NFL Season.
Bradberry was terrific. He ended the regular season with an 80.2 PFF coverage grade and allowed just a 54.2 passer rating when targeted. Bradberry had 17 passes defended, three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), and two tackles for loss. The former New York Giant defender allowed just a 46% completion rate when the ball was thrown his way and was voted to the All-Pro Second Team.
Darius Slay was also fantastic. The second-year Eagle cornerback had a 77.4 PFF coverage grade and allowed just a 76.8 passer rating when targeted. Moreover, the veteran defender had 14 passes defended, allowing just a 54.7% completion rate, and had three interceptions. Notably, in a Week Two matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, Slay had two interceptions and allowed just one reception while covering one of the league’s best receivers, Justin Jefferson. That performance firmly galvanized him as one of the league’s stingiest defenders and his coverage prowess allowed Philadelphia to pace the NFL in passing yards allowed.
The Eagles had a myriad of supplementary contributors in the secondary. Trade acquisition C.J. Gardner Johnson had a stellar campaign, tying the league leads for interceptions with six, in just 12 contests. The fourth-year safety also contributed eight passes defended, one sack, and five tackles of loss. All six of these interceptions came in a five-game stretch from Weeks 5 to 10.
Philadelphia also got fantastic seasons from Marcus Epps and undrafted rookie Reed Blankenship. The safety pair contributed consistently in run support, as well as being solid in coverage. Epps had four tackles for loss, six passes defended, and a forced fumble. His coverage still needs developing, but he had a phenomenal 84.4 run defense PFF grade. Blankenship intercepted superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers in his first game with more than two defensive snaps. In the same contest, he had six tackles and a pass defended, in just 35 snaps. He ended the season with a terrific 75.8 PFF overall grade and allowed just a 73.8 passer rating. Not bad for an undrafted free-agent rookie.
The Stoutland University – And Its Students.
The Philadelphia Eagles have the best offensive line in the NFL.
Each of their starting five linemen has had a terrific season. All Pro First Teamer Jason Kelce has performed sensationally. He has been the personification of versatility, as he has dominated his way to the top of his position. His run blocking is out of this world, as he uses his exceptional athleticism to pull and get out in space and to the second level to open up huge holes for his runners. Furthermore, he did not allow a single hit or sack on the quarterback, as well as just 11 pressures from 1,149 snaps.
All five starting linemen had a terrific season. Jason Kelce is the leader of this group. His 2022 NFL Season saw him anointed as the First Team All-Pro center, dominating his position emphatically. His run blocking was incredible, as he used his exceptional athleticism to explode to the second level and pull out into space to clear defenders effortlessly. PFF awarded him an 89.4 run-blocking grade on the year. He also achieved an 82.0 pass-blocking grade, after surrendering just 11 pressures and not a single sack or quarterback hit, in 1,149 snaps.
The Eagles had another All-Pro First Team representative in right tackle Lane Johnson. The superstar lineman finished the regular season with an 89.4 PFF pass-blocking grade, allowing just nine pressures, no sacks and no quarterback hits in 972 snaps. He faced some of the league’s most impressive edge defenders and was exceptionally stout. The ultra-athletic tackle enters the Super Bowl with a torn adductor, yet somehow still was able to prevent any sacks or hits from Defensive Player Of The Year Candidate Nick Bosa in the NFC Championship Game.
Additionally, the three remaining starters were consistent and stout. Budding superstar Jordan Mailata had the highest PFF grade of the bunch, with a 76.5 overall. His incredible size and athleticism made him a fearsome edge run blocker, while his solid performance in pass protection allowed Jalen Hurts to feel security from his blind side. While he did allow 38 pressures and six sacks, Mailata ended the season with a 72.5 pass-blocking grade from PFF.
Moreover, the Eagles had a solid play on either side of their superstar Jason Kelce. Their left guard Landon Dickerson became a measure of consistency, using his elite size to bulldoze defenders in the run game. In pass protection, he allowed just one sack and three hits. Furthermore, right guard Isaac Seumalo achieved a 75.2 overall PFF grade, surrendering the same amount of sacks and hits as Dickerson.
Even the backups have been sound. Andre Dillard and Jack Driscoll have performed admirably. As injuries forced their entrance into games, the two have been sound enough to continue the Eagles’ offensive attack. They are both very capable of playing snaps in relief and keeping the offense humming.
Stoutland University is something else.
Jalen Hurts’ Makes Not Breaks.
Remember when the 2022 NFL Season was Jalen Hurts’ “make or break”?
The Eagles dealt one of their first-round selections in the 2022 NFL Draft to the New Orleans Saints for one of theirs in 2023. The theory was that the Eagles were preparing for the possibility of Hurts not developing adequately, and using the extra draft capital to acquire a new signal caller. Their young quarterback answered the bell, and as a result, the Eagles now have the 10th and 31st picks in the first round and can continue to stack their star-studded roster with extra talent.
Jalen Hurts, in his second full season as a starter, has been nominated for the NFL’s most prestigious individual award, Most Valuable Player. He ended the season with a Pro Bowl nod, All Pro Second Team Honours, and galvanized himself as an elite QB in the NFL. Hurts racked up 3,701 yards passing, with 22 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He also contributed an impressive 13 rushing touchdowns and 760 yards on the ground. PFF gave him an 85.9 overall grade in his third season, with both passing and rushing achieving over an 80.
Hurts also employed one of the most unstoppable weapons of the 2022 campaign, with the help of his future Hall Of Fame center Jason Kelce. The Philadelphia Eagles ran the QB sneak over and over, converting 29 of 33 attempts for first downs or touchdowns.
The Historic Pass Rush.
70 sacks in a season.
The Philadelphia Eagles had the third-best regular season sack total in NFL history. They were the first team in NFL history to have four different defenders notch double-digit sacks. Philadelphia continued their emphatic, relentless pressure in the NFC Championship Game. They had a ridiculously dominant 61.9% pressure rate on passing downs, as well as three sacks.
Haason Reddick completely dominated the game. Despite rushing the passer on just 14 snaps, the edge defender wreaked havoc on the game. He had five total quarterback pressures, three hurries, two sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. He ended the game with a stellar PFF grade of 91.8 and was a primary difference-maker.
The Eagles’ success starts up front. They rotate multiple defenders across their front four, allowing fresh pass rushers to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback. From there, they have an incredible secondary and a dominant duo of linebackers. The development of T.J. Edwards (PFF grade of 84.8) and Kyzir White (seven passes defended) allowed the Eagles to trust their second-level with coverage assignments, both in zone and man looks.
We have already explored the prowess of the Eagles’ pass rush that has been buoyed by the acquisition of the former Carolina Panther edge rusher Haason Reddick.
Click the link to have a read, and don’t forget to bookmark the Stadium Rant homepage. It’s where you can get all of your sporting news!