The NFL announced on Monday that defensive tackle Treyvon Hester has been officially credited with a blocked field goal to seal the Eagles’ 16-15 win over the Chicago Bears. Hester’s block helped Cody Parkey’s 43-yard attempt doink not once but twice off the goal post before falling into the end zone.
Hester’s block is the first by an Eagle in postseason history. The second-year player – he played 14 games for Oakland as a rookie – who hails from Penn Hills in Western Pennsylvania started the season on the practice squad and was promoted to the active roster in Week 5. He registered his first career sack in the Week 16 win over Houston. A key reserve down the stretch, Hester played 22 percent of the snaps on defense.
Hester kicks off this news and notes package from Sunday’s win and much more.
FOLES GOES BACK IN TIME
Quarterback Nick Foles conducted his second career fourth-quarter, game-winning drive in the postseason on Sunday. His first? Super Bowl LII in February. But the first such drive of his career came on December 9, 2012 in Tampa Bay. Down 21-16, Foles engineered a 13-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin on the final play of the game. The play call? A sprint-out, very similar to the one that Foles executed on the 2-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate.
“Similar but different,” Foles said. “It’s not the same one but it’s similar concept. We’re just working them versus man and getting out of the break.”
PEDERSON’S TRUST IN HIS PLAYERS PAYS OFF – AGAIN
Head coach Doug Pederson took a timeout before Foles’ touchdown pass to Tate. Pederson and Foles discussed options for the fourth-down play call. Foles expressed what he was most comfortable with and Pederson was good with that. The head coach knows he’s not the one who has to perform on the field.
“At the end of the day, they are playing the game, not me,” he said. “I’m over on the sideline where it’s a little more relaxed. They are the ones out there playing, and so it does come from learning and watching through my days of playing and being a backup and watching the starter, who ever it was, talking with the coordinator, talking with the position coach on the sideline, the offensive line coach with protections, whatever it is, and just having that conversation.”
REASON FOR OPTIMISM AGAINST NEW ORLEANS
In 2008, the Eagles made it into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, which Graham Foley recently revisited on its 10th anniversary.
The Eagles beat the Vikings and the Giants to advance to the NFC Championship Game against the Arizona Cardinals. Confidence was at an all-time high. Why? The Eagles plucked the Cardinals 48-20 on Thanksgiving of that season. It was a blowout win for the Eagles, who led 31-7 at one point in the game.
As we all know, the Cardinals won the rematch, 32-25. Arizona raced out to a 24-6 lead at halftime. The Eagles rallied behind three touchdown passes from Donovan McNabb to take a 25-24 lead with 10:45 left in the game. However, the Cardinals answered with a 14-play, 72-yard drive that ate up 7:52 and ended with a Kurt Warner 8-yard TD pass to Tim Hightower for the winning points.
The Eagles lost to New Orleans 48-7 on November 18. Sure, the rematch is in New Orleans once again, but these are two different teams since that first meeting.
REMINDER OF THE 2017 TITLE RUN?
The Eagles opened the 2017 postseason with a 15-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Round. There are some interesting coincidences between that game and Sunday’s win over the Bears.
The final score of the Falcons-Eagles game was 15-10. The Eagles-Bears score was 15-10 until Foles connected with Tate for the game-winning 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal with just 56 seconds left. Atlanta had a chance on a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line with 1:05 remaining. The Falcons called a sprint-out, much like the Eagles did, only Matt Ryan’s attempt to Julio Jones was too high and incomplete. Foles came through with the pinpoint pass to Tate, who did a great job shaking off cornerback Sherrick McManus for the score.
THIS AND THAT: GEMS FROM THE EAGLES’ MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
• Speaking of the 2008 season, Sunday’s win was the team’s first road playoff victory since January 11, 2009 at the Giants. It was also the closest margin of victory in Eagles postseason history.
• Pederson now owns the second-most playoff wins (4) by a head coach in team history, trailing only Andy Reid (10, 1999-2012). Pederson has led the Eagles to a 33-19 record since 2016 (including playoffs), which marks the highest winning percentage (.635) in franchise history. He improved to 13-6 in the months of December, January, and February, which also marks the highest such winning percentage (.684) in Eagles history.
• Foles has thrown multiple touchdowns in three consecutive playoff games, which is tied with Donovan McNabb for the longest streak in Eagles postseason history. Overall, Foles has recorded at least two passing touchdowns in four of his five career playoff games.
• Tate owns the latest game-winning touchdown reception by an Eagle in the playoffs since at least 1991. It was also Tate’s third career postseason touchdown and first since the 2014 season at Dallas with Detroit (51-yard TD).
• Alshon Jeffery led the team with six receptions (postseason career high) for 82 yards (13.7 avg.). In four career playoff games with the Eagles (since 2017), Jeffery has combined for 301 yards and three touchdowns on 18 receptions (16.7 avg.), including three catches for 30+ yards.
• The Eagles, who finished the regular season with the No. 1-ranked red zone defense (44.6 percent) in the NFL, held the Bears to 0-of-3 in the red zone. Philadelphia also limited Chicago to just 5-of-16 (31.3 percent) on third down, which was their best defensive mark in a road playoff game since the 2008 season against the Giants.
• Philadelphia claimed an early 3-0 lead following a 10-play, 50-yard (5:28) opening possession that resulted in a 43-yard field goal by Jake Elliott, who has made eight consecutive field goal attempts in the playoffs, including 4 from 40+ yards. Since 2016, the Eagles are 22-3 (.880) when scoring first in games (including playoffs), winning each of their last five such games.
• Philadelphia took a 10-6 lead in the third quarter when Nick Foles connected with Dallas Goedert on a 10-yard touchdown pass. Goedert became the first NFL rookie TE to catch a go-ahead touchdown in a playoff game since … teammate Richard Rodgers with Green Bay in the 2014 season.