The Patriots’ defense is correctly in everyone’s crosshairs after Super Bowl 52, but don’t lose sight of the fact that the defense faced a 4th-and-1 with 5:39 left in the game from the Eagles 45-yard line with a 33-32 lead. That’s the game right there.
Trey Flowers bursts through the line but was pushed off course just enough the he couldn’t quite get the quarterback. Instead, Foles made an excellent slide to his left and made a clutch off-balance throw to pick up two yards to Zach Ertz. Conversion. Game-winning touchdown scored seven plays later.
A stop right there and the Patriots are most likely Super Bowl champs and we’re sweeping the defensive shortcomings under the rug just like the Eagles defense, who gave up 600 yards, are doing right now. Both defenses were systematically shredded for most of the game, but one clutch play determines which got blamed for the loss and which got credited for the win.
Philadelphia’s gameplan was a greatest hits of everything the Patriots defense struggled with this season. Bunch sets, toss sweeps, some run-pass options… for an inexperienced front they just had no anticipation for what the Eagles were doing. The second level and edge players were where they wanted to target but they didn’t fear the Patriots pass rush when it came time to take some deep shots as well.
Here’s what stood out to me: