Taylor McCloud — Pats Militia
First things first: hats off to the Philadelphia Eagles. From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, they outplayed the Patriots. There’s no two ways about it. I could make excuses or concentrate on Tom Brady’s performance but that’d be disingenuous. Last night, the Eagles were the better football team and they played like it.
But it wasn’t any one thing they did which impressed me the most. It was their general attitude towards the game.
In last year’s Super Bowl, or this year’s AFC Championship Game, Patriots’ opponents played not to lose. Once the Falcons and Jaguars got up on the Pats, they packed it in. They played scared. The Eagles did the exact opposite. Once they got up, they put their foot on New England’s neck.
Everyone on their offense, from Nick Foles to Corey Clement to Zach Ertz to whoever else, played angry. They fought hard for everything and trust me, they got a lot. Every time they needed a big play, they got it. Every time they needed a big third down conversion, they got it. Hell, both times they needed fourth down conversions, they got it. On the biggest stage, that entire unit rose to the occasion. Their defense left something to be desired, but really, how much does that matter now? It doesn’t at all. No one will ever care that they allowed 500 yards through the air and 100+ yards on the ground. They came up big when it mattered most and now they’re world champions.
But again, I can’t stress enough how important it was that Philly went balls to the wall.
Early on, it became clear to me that Doug Pederson would not fall into the New England trap. He would not get a lead and get scared. Every time the Patriots got a little closer, he stepped down on their neck a little harder. Whether it was calling trick plays on 4th & Goal or orchestrating absolutely devastating fourth quarter drives, he made it obvious he was going out guns blazing.
And that’s how you beat the Patriots. Guns blazing. You can’t play scared. The Patriots prey on scared teams. They eat them alive. It’s impossible to beat them playing not to lose. For teams to beat New England, they have to play to win, and that’s what Pederson did. Even if the Pats came through in the end, he was going out on his terms. He wasn’t going to let Bill Belichick dictate what happened in the end and it worked. The Eagles played like a bat out of hell all night long. They played the game on their terms and that’s how it ended … on their terms.
Follow Taylor McCloud on Twitter @tdmcld
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