After getting humiliated in Week 11 by the New Orleans Saints to the tune of 48-7, the Philadelphia Eagles could not return the favor on Sunday, losing 20-14 in the NFC Divisional Round of the 2018 NFL playoffs.
Unlike last week’s game, where the Eagles won thanks to a missed field goal by Cody Parkey, on Sunday evening, Philly saw their season come to an end on a Nick Foles interception as the football went right through the hands of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
To begin the game, the defending Super Bowl champs played much better on both sides of the ball, which led to them getting out to an early 14-0 lead.
However, the No. 1 seed Saints did not back down as they capitalized off of a Foles’ interception in the second quarter, ending with a Keith Kirkwood touchdown.
From there, the Saints would put together an 18-play, 92-yard drive in the third quarter that saw Mike Thomas score a touchdown to give them their first lead of the game, 17-14.
Nevertheless, Philly had two more chances in the fourth quarter to try and win the game, but it was not meant to be.
Here are three takeaways from the Eagles’ final game of the 2018 season:
1. A tale of two halves
As previously stated, the Eagles started out the game on the right foot with CB Cre’Von LeBlanc intercepting Saints QB Drew Brees on their first offensive play of the game.
From there, Nick Foles and the Eagles offense converted a key third-down pass to tight end Zach Ertz, which led to a 37-yard touchdown reception to wide receiver Jordan Matthews.
Later in the opening quarter, Foles found Jeffery for another key third-down conversion, which put the Eagles inside the red zone and ended with another touchdown.
However, in the second half, the Eagles could not get off the field on defense and gave up too many crucial third-and-long situations. While on offense, they struggled to run the ball (49 yards) in the entire game and were 2-of-7 on third down.
2. The clock strikes midnight on Foles
If the Eagles wanted to have a chance to pull the upset on Sunday, the reigning Super Bowl MVP needed to turn in another herculean performance.
At the beginning of the game, it appeared that the Cinderella man had some more magic in his arm. He started off 2-for-2 on third downs and had the Eagles offense cooking in the first quarter.
However, things went south quickly in the second half for the Eagles offense. They looked completely out of sync and were not connecting on the same plays that helped them get into the playoffs.
Foles ended the game, and potentially his Eagles career, with 201 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
3. No answer for Mike Thomas
Heading into this matchup, the focus for the Eagles defense was to stop the dynamic running back duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, who stomped them in the first game.
However, in Sunday’s game, it was their top wide receiver Mike Thomas who did a lot of damage to the Eagles defense. The 25-year-old wideout picked apart Philly’s stagnant secondary to the tune of 12 receptions (16 targets) for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Throughout the game, especially in the second half, Brees found Thomas sitting wide open in Philly’s zone defense, which allowed him to pick up a ton of YAC (yards after the catch).