I expected the Vikings to win on Sunday. Not just because I thought they’d have an advantage against an offense led by Nick Foles (THEY DID NOT). Why did I really think that? Because they’re the Vikings, and nobody crushes their fans like the Minnesota Vikings. Not the Bills, with their years of mediocrity. Not the Browns, who you know are always terrible. It’s the Vikings, who are just good enough to give their fans hope, and then crush it in spectacular ways.
So, I asked myself, what’s the most Vikings way you can lose? I’d at first expected them to go to the Super Bowl at home, have a solid lead, and then lose to a last-minute Tom Brady drive so they could be crushed right at the end of the game. That seemed perfect, but . . . I think what happened was as Vikings as Vikings could be. You had the amazing Minneapolis Miracle. You had a week of hope and destiny and THIS IS THE YEAR. You go into Philadelphia, march down the field, and score easily. There’s the hope, just building, and then . . . utter humiliation. Everything goes wrong, you get destroyed. I think it’s even worse than the last-minute loss, because, in that case, you at least got close. You have some respect for that. This? This craps on the arguably greatest moment in franchise history in Diggs’ amazing catch, and every Packers fan I know is having the best sports week they’ve had in years.
As for the game itself, yes, I expected a Vikings win, largely because I didn’t figure the Eagles would be able to completely stonewall that defense. What’s very weird is the Eagles really didn’t have that great of an offensive line this year; Football Outsiders ranks that line as 29th in pressure rate allowed, 12th in adjusted sack rate, and 22nd in adjusted line yards. In other words, the line wasn’t that great, it’s just that Carson Wentz’s mobility helped hide the deficiencies of the line. So how did that line control what was one of the best defenses in the league in Minnesota last weekend? Coaching, apparently; Philadelphia offensive linemen were intentionally pointing out incorrect blitzers pre-snap in order to make the defense think they had an advantage. Nick Foles had ridiculous amounts of time to throw, and the Vikings never seemed to get close to him. Match that with the domination of the Eagles’ excellent defensive line, and the Vikings got their butts kiiiiiiicked.
I’d like to congratulate the Jacksonville Jaguars for playing well all year, and then insult them for curling into a tiny little ball in terror rather than finishing the season as they began.
A certain Jacksonville fan on this site (OK, there’s really only one of them . . . not sure if it’s on this site or just there is literally one Jacksonville fan) mentioned in an earlier thread that, based on the relative successes of the Jaguars and Rams, Sean McVay shouldn’t be a complete lock for Coach of the Year considering the job Doug Marrone did. That was actually a valid point.
Until there were 55 seconds left in the first half.
Two timeouts. At worst 40 yards for a vaguely realistic FG attempt. 55 seconds is a lifetime in that case with the number of clock stoppages you could potentially have. And Jacksonville kneeled on it. Against the greatest QB and coach combo in NFL history, on the road, and they kneeled on it.
I mean, I know Bortles is Bortles, but good GOD, man. That’s “Mike Martz refusing to run Marshall Faulk against the Patriots” or “Bill Callahan not bothering to change the playcalls against the Bucs” kind of big game bad coaching. Kyle Shanahan makes fun of those calls. That’s an insanely bad call now, and there can’t be anyone who wasn’t shocked on some level by it. I know Bortles sucks, but, seriously, that was ridiculous.
Also blah blah blah Brady Amendola and NO I DON’T THINK THERE WAS A CONSPIRACY SHUT UP GURU.
The fundamental story of this game is Doug Marrone played to not lose, and tried to get conservative against Belichick, who is known for being great at halftime adjustments. Everything that worked in the first half stopped working in the second, and the Jaguars turtled up.
I’m all for thinking outside the box, but Jalen Ramsey in consistent zone coverage is a war crime of stupid. Literally, my first search for the headline image was “Doug Marrone fetal position”, but (A) there not surprisingly wasn’t one, and (B) it’s not worth the effort to make one. I also considered “Eagles take a giant dump on Minnesota” but I’m writing this on a work laptop and . . . yeah, no.
I just want to remind the Jaguars they were moments from the Super Bowl with Blake Bortles, and he is totally worth that long-term extension. Kirk who?
So, the Super Bowl. . .
One could argue I have been overly harsh and/or pessimistic about Nick Foles; outside his one great season, he’s been marginal at best, though there’s a certain degree of Jeff Fisher Effect going on there. He played OK vs. the Falcons and was simply great against the Vikings; do I need to start giving him credit?
Nope. I have a hard time imagining him having the time to throw he did against the Vikings, and I’d expect the Patriots to clamp up on shorter timing throws. Stephon Gilmore spent the first few weeks of the season as a giant, expensive anchor around that defense, but turned it around to be completely worth his contract (and that was even before his ridiculous 4th down pass defense last week). While I think the Eagles defensive line is definitely better than the Patriots line, playcalling and Tom Brady can account for that to a certain extent. I would just tend to think the Patriots defense can get to Nick Foles, and I don’t think we’ll see the same QB we saw last week.
Patriots 27, Eagles 17