Thursday's edition of 10 random Eagles Super Bowl observations brings you, among other things, an interesting nugget about Corey Graham, some thoughts about the Eagles' run defense, a surprising trend regarding the Patriots' Super Bowl scores and the obligatory mind-blowing Nick Foles stat.
There's definitely no shortage of those!
1. When I think of the Patriots in the Super Bowl, I think of this unstoppable machine that annihilates everything in its path on its way to football immortality. But that's actually not the case. Not even close. In their seven Super Bowls under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the Patriots have outscored their opponents by just 12 points - 169-157. That's an average of 24.1 to 22.5. Their Super Bowl wins have been by six, four, three, three and three points, and their losses have been by four and three points. This is the greatest dynasty in NFL history, but it's not going out there and blowing people out. The Patriots are simply finding ways to win close games. Which is really even more impressive. Their average Super Bowl win has been by 3.8 points, and their most lopsided Super Bowl win was last year by six points over the Falcons in a game they trailed by 25 points with 17 minutes left. They're a dynasty because they know how to finish games and know how to win close games and know how to make big plays at crucial times. Most likely, Super Bowl LII will be decided by one or two plays late in the game. Whoever makes them has a parade.
2. Graham on Sunday became the second-oldest Eagle ever with a postseason interception. Graham is 32. Bob Howard had interceptions in 1978 and 1979 when he was 34 and 35.
3. This isn't Doug Pederson's first go-round as a head coach. He spent four years as head coach at Calvary Baptist in Shreveport, Louisiana, where his sons went to school, and fashioned a 40-11 record, reaching the state semifinals twice. Pederson on Thursday was asked to compare that experience with coaching the Eagles to the Super Bowl, and I found his answer really interesting and revealing: "Those four years were special to me because, one, my family and my boys were right there in the school with me, being a private school. And just watching the kids grow over a four-year period and then having the chance to see some of them go on to play college football or have great careers after college, not necessarily in athletics but just as students. Had a chance to play in some playoff games and almost make it to a state championship a couple times down there. Those are special moments and moments that I'll remember. Obviously we're on a much bigger stage now playing for the Super Bowl, but the journey is the same. The ride is the same. It's just as special doing it at this level. You still have the same types of relationships with these guys now today that you would with, say, a 16- or 17-year-old in high school."
4. I don't think the Patriots can run against the Eagles. The Patriots have been up and down this year running the ball but are averaging just 74 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry so far in the playoffs. The Eagles had the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL during the regular season and have held the No. 7 and No. 13 rushing offenses in the league to 70 and 86 yards the last two weeks. I really feel like the matchup between the interior of the Eagles' defensive line matches up favorably with the interior of the Patriots' offensive line. Former Eagle Dion Lewis is definitely dangerous. Over the last 14 games, since he became the Patriots' primary back, he has 946 rushing yards and a 4.9 average. But I still like the Eagles' run defense in this matchup. And once the Eagles stop an opponent's run game, it really gives their pass rushers a tremendous edge.
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5. Zach Ertz's eight-catch game Sunday was the 13th of his career. Only nine tight ends in NFL history have had more career games with eight or more receptions. Several tight ends put up good numbers against the Patriots this year. Cameron Brate was 5 for 68. Austin Seferian-Jenkins was 8 for 46. Ryan Griffin 5 for 61. Ed Dickson 3 for 62. Julius Thomas 5 for 52. Look for Ertz to have another big game next Sunday.
6. Have you woken up at 3:22 a.m. one night this week and suddenly remembered that Nick Foles is going to be the starting quarterback in a Super Bowl and just sat there mulling life for a while? Or am I the only one?
7. Wide receiver Bryce Treggs has seen both extremes of the NFL this year. He spent the first month of the season on the Eagles' practice squad, then spent nine weeks on the Browns' active roster. The Browns released him in mid-December and he's been back on the Eagles' practice squad the last six weeks. The speedy Treggs caught five passes for 79 yards in the six games he played for Cleveland. Treggs, who caught a 58-yard pass from Carson Wentz last year in his first NFL game, was 0-9 with the Browns but is 7-2 with the Eagles. The Eagles have won more games since the season ended (two) than the Browns have won the last two years (one). "It was great experience for me being there and getting a chance to play," Treggs said after practice Thursday. "But it's really amazing being back here."
8. This one is kind of crazy: Eagles quarterbacks have gone 22 straight games without throwing more than one interception. And according to the Pro-Football-Reference database, that is the seventh-longest streak in NFL history.
9. If the Eagles win Sunday, LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long will be the first two players in NFL history to win a Super Bowl one year and then win another one the next year against the team they won with the previous year. Yeah. I looked it up.
10. Today's Mind-Blowing Nick Foles Stat: No quarterback in the Eagles' 85-year history has ever completed 75 percent of his passes in consecutive regular-season games. Foles just did it in consecutive playoff games.