Nick Foles, Eagles Crush Vikings, Advance to 2018 Super Bowl vs. Patriots

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21:  Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates a second quarter touchdown by teammate LeGarrette Blount (not pictured) against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are one victory away from their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history after they beat the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field.

Nick Foles led the way with 352 passing yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions and secured a showdown with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

As a result, Minnesota missed the opportunity to become the first team in NFL history to play the Super Bowl on its home turf.

Foles looked like a dominant starter in what could have been billed as a battle of backups.

Sam Bradford started the season under center for the Vikings, while Carson Wentz served as an MVP candidate for much of the campaign in Philadelphia. However, injuries to both cleared the way for Foles and Case Keenum, and Foles responded with a championship performance against a defense that led the league in points and yards allowed this season.

He consistently stood strong in the face of pressure, reading through his progressions and delivering timely throws to keep drives alive in the early going before turning in a three-possession stretch that will forever be remembered in Philadelphia.

Foles unleashed a deep ball to a wide-open Alshon Jeffery for a 53-yard touchdown with 1:09 remaining until halftime, found Zach Ertz less than a minute later to set up a Jake Elliott field goal to end the second quarter and hit Torrey Smith for a 41-yard score on a flea flicker on the first possession of the second half.

Suddenly, it was 31-7 Eagles, and the game was essentially over.

Foles wasn't the only Philadelphia offensive playmaker to thrive, as LeGarrette Blount steamrolled his way for an 11-yard touchdown to give the home team the lead for good in the second quarter and Jeffery (85 yards and two touchdowns), Smith (69 yards and a touchdown) and Ertz (93 yards) all posted impressive numbers.

It wasn't just the offense that flourished, as the Eagles defense forced three turnovers and held the Vikings scoreless on their last eight drives.  

Things didn't start that way considering Keenum capped a nine-play, 75-yard march on the first possession by dropping a 25-yard dime to tight end Kyle Rudolph for a touchdown. The only thing better than the throw was the ensuing celebration:

Philly's defense wouldn't have any more of it moving forward, and Patrick Robinson opened the home team's scoring with a 50-yard interception return to paydirt after Chris Long forced an errant throw by hitting Keenum's arm.

Long also recovered a fumble on Derek Barnett's strip-sack during the first of three red-zone stops for the defense. The last one came when Corey Graham intercepted Keenum when the Vikings were in desperation mode.

In all, Keenum finished with 271 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, but he received little help against a stingy Eagles defensive front. Jerick McKinnon's 40 rushing yards led the team, and he was the only pass-catcher on Minnesota's side with more than 70 receiving yards (86). 

The victors looked like anything but home underdogs despite being listed as such, per OddsShark, although the crowd was seen on the broadcast embracing the role with dog masks. Even the players got in on the action by barking at the same celebrating supporters who mocked the Vikings' "Skol" chant when the game was decided.

They will surely be put in that position again in Super Bowl LII against the defending champion Patriots. New England beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005 behind the leadership of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and will look to do so again this time around.

Philadelphia will need another dominant performance to overcome arguably the best quarterback-coach duo in league history to finally win the Lombardi Trophy.

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