One thing Doug Pederson loves about the Philadelphia Eagles: ‘They battle to the end’
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons in NFC Divisional Round
Gallery: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons in NFC Divisional Round
From the time Jalen Mills knocked away the Atlanta Falcons’ last chance to when the final whistle sounded, Doug Pederson said everything was rushing through his mind.
The Philadelphia Eagles are headed to the NFC Championship Game after a 15-10 victory, the latest step in a long season that started with low external expectations, featured an MVP candidate suffering a season-ending injury and ended with a pair of discouraging performances.
That doesn’t matter much anymore. If the Eagles beat the Minnesota Vikings or New Orleans Saints next week, they’re going to the Super Bowl.
“The biggest emotion for me was the team, the guys, the resiliency of this football team and our backs against the wall,” Pederson said. “People discount us, don’t give us much credit, whatever it might be.”
- Eagles 15, Falcons 10: stats, scoring recap
The Eagles made things look easy at times this season, including a four-game streak where the Birds scored at least 31 points and won by at least 23 points. But it wasn’t always going to be that easy.
The Seahawks knocked the Eagles back to earth on a Sunday night in Seattle at the beginning of December. The next week, the Eagles beat the Rams — another playoff team — in Los Angeles but lost quarterback Carson Wentz for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. They backed into the playoffs with an ugly 19-10 win over the Oakland Raiders and an even more discouraging 6-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the season finale.
The NFC divisional round game against the Falcons, the reigning NFC champs, featured more of the same. A pair of turnovers put the Birds into a 10-6 hole. But three field goals from rookie kicker Jake Elliott, including a 53-yarder as time expired in the first half, helped bring the Eagles back, and then Mills and the defense shut the door.
“That’s the one thing about this football team I love so much: They battle to the end,” Pederson said.
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–@danieljtgallen // @EaglesOnPL