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Eagles Sightings: A lot of fun about the team mentality in the Bucs game




It is a wildcard weekend edition of Roobs Random Eagles Observations.

1. I have been very impressed with the Eagles mentality this week. There is no sense of it, were just happy to be here. There’s no idea, we played with house money. This team has been working this week and throughout this second half with the behavior of a team that feels it belongs here. That believes it can play with anyone. That believes it can win the Super Bowl. The rest of the world might see them as some sort of fluky longshot that got hot late in the season against a bunch of bad teams and landed a number 7 seed. But in that dressing room, they believe they belong here. That’s a reflection of a rookie head coach who has brought a tremendous amount of confidence to this team and a 23-year-old quarterback who carries himself with the poise and maturity of a 10-year veteran. They definitely act like they’ve been here before, and in the playoffs, that’s huge. If you’re just happy to be here, you’re happy to lose.

2. There have been 55 NFL teams with 29 or fewer sacks and 16 or fewer takeaways in a season (since the number of official stats in 1982). The Eagles are only the second of those 55 teams to reach the playoffs. To finish the season with the No. 10 defense in the NFL, despite there being no real playmakers except Darius Slay, Javon Hargrave tells the first half of the season and Josh Sweat the second half how good this defense will be when (if?) some reinforcements are coming into the design.

3. Jalen Reagor was attacked 57 times this year and had one catch of 25 yards or more and two TDs. Greg Ward was targeted 11 times this year and had one catch of 25 yards or more and three touchdowns. More district. Less Responder.

4. The last Eagle to catch a postseason touchdown pass was Jordan Matthews.

5. Only one player in Eagles history has been fired and intercepted in a playoff game, and knowing who it is makes you the king of Eagles trivia. It wasn’t Dawk, it wasn’t Willie T., it wasn’t Seth. In the 2001 conference semifinal victory over the Bears at frozen Soldier Field, Rashard Cook Bears fired QB Jim Miller in the first quarter and then in the fourth quarter—after Hugh Douglas knocked Miller out of the game at the return of Damon Moores INT – Cook picked up Shane Matthews. Cook – who had been drafted in the sixth round by the Bears two years earlier – had three careers and two INTs in 47 regular-season games.

6. Suddenly you look up and realize you’re writing the name Jason Kelces alongside Steve Van Buren, Chuck Bednarik, Reggie White, and Brian Dawkins, and it strikes you that this guitar-playing, happy, t-shirt-wearing, beer-drinking dude from Cleveland will one day be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. One of the greatest stories ever. Kelce has gradually moved from a success story as a late-round pick to a really solid center to a Super Bowl hero to one of the greatest players in Eagles history, and it’s been incredible to watch it unfold. Think about it. Of all the hundreds and hundreds of players who have played centrally in the NFL, Kelce is only the ninth to be named First-Team All-Pro four times. The first eight are in the Hall of Fame. Kelce is such a good guy — funny, handsome, humble, down to earth — that it just adds to the legend. He’s the guy sitting next to you at the corner bar, and at the same time, he’s one of the best footballers ever, and there’s literally never been anyone like him.

7. If the Eagles win on Sunday, Jalen Hurts will be the 8th-youngest quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game and the fourth-youngest to win one on the road. Hurts will be 23 and 162 days old on Sunday. Here’s a look at the seven younger QBs who have won at least one playoff game their age (from their first win if they won more than one), courtesy of Stathead:

— 22 years, 192 days: Michael Vick, Falcons, 2002, in Green Bay [27-7]
— 22 years, 231 days: Shaun King, Buccaneers, 1999, vs. Washington [14-13]
— 22 years, 319 days: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, 2004, vs. jets [20-17]
— 23 years, 39 days: Bernie Kosar, Browns, 1986, vs. jets [23-20]
— 23 years, 59 days: Mark Sanchez, Jets, 2009, at Bengals [24-14]
— 23 years, 105 days: Dan Marino, Dolphins, 1984, vs. seahawks [31-10]
— 23 years, 117 days: Pat Mahomes, Chiefs, 2018, vs. Colts [31-13]

So Vick and Sanchez — two former Eagles — are the only quarterbacks younger than Hurts to win a road playoff game.

8. Tom Brady is the undisputed GOAT, but the crazy thing about Brady is that he doesn’t have a rocket launching arm and he gets off the ball so smart and so quick and so decisive and sees the field so well that he really doesn’t need one. Brady has played 45 postseason games in his career and won 34 of them — including seven Super Bowls — but understand this: In those 45 games, he only threw FOUR touchdowns of at least 40 yards. Or the same number as Jake Delhomme pitched in eight playoffs in his career. And understand this: Brady has thrown ONE postseason touchdown of 40 yards or more in his last 35 playoff games going back to 2005 and NONE in his last 25 playoff games going back to 2011. Heck, Joe Webb and Julian Edelman have 40 yard-thrown postseason TDs more recently than Brady. Nick Foles threw two in one game – the 2017 NFC Championship Game. This is no knock on Brady at all. Really, it’s an appreciation for him. Because it shows how insanely efficient he essentially dines and dunks up and down the field.

9. The turnover ratio is huge in any NFL game, but especially in the post season against good teams. The Eagles were a terrible takeout team this year. They were ranked 26th with just 16 takeaways, the second-lowest in franchise history (the 2012 team had 13). They had zero or one takeaway in 14 out of 17 games. But when they had at least one, they were 7-4. When they had none, they were 2-4. If they were plus-1 or better in sales margin, they were 6-1. If they were plus-0 or worse, they were 3-7. The Bucs were 6th-best on plus-10 in revenue ratio for the year and 5th in takeaways with 29. The Eagles probably need to be at least plus-two Sunday to leave Tampa with a win.

10. This is crazy considering the franchise has been around for 89 years, but the Eagles have been in the playoffs more since Andy Reid became their head coach than before he became their head coach. Obviously there are more rounds now than in the NFL’s early years, but still 14 of the Eagles are 23 postseason wins since 2000.




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