With one quarter remaining Patriots Authentic Jerseys , Eagles players on the field and sideline already were dancing.
A bit later, after their stunning and resounding 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings earned them the NFC championship, they listened as nearly 70,000 made the Linc shake with ”Fly Eagles Fly.”
Hey Philly, you’re in the Super Bowl.
”It was electric. The fans are awesome,” All-Pro tackle Lane Johnson said.
”We’re going there to prove we belong,” added Brandon Graham of the meeting with the AFC champion Patriots in two weeks.
And maybe it’s time for everyone to put aside Carson Wentz’s injury. Nick Foles might be good enough to win the Eagles their first NFL title since 1960.
Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles’ first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then.
Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place last season to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.
”I just think you’ve got to keep going at it,” Foles said. ”And we all believe in each other. I’m blessed to have amazing teammates, amazing coaches. Everyone here that’s a part of the Philadelphia Eagles organization is first class.”
Foles’ best work might have come against Minnesota (14-4) and its vaunted defense that was torn apart in every manner. Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise, escapability and moxie in going 26 for 33.
”I’m so happy for Nick and the offense,” said coach Doug Pederson, ”and for Nick Robbie Ray Jersey , everything he’s been through and battled, he stayed the course and we all believed in him.”
Foles was helped greatly by the Eagles’ domination on defense and a spectacular weaving 50-yard interception return TD by Patrick Robinson. Philadelphia ruined the Vikings’ hopes of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium.
Instead, the Eagles will seek their first Super Bowl crown in Minnesota on Feb. 4; their last championship came in 1960.
”I’m so proud of our players,” team owner Jeffrey Lurie said. ”The resilience this group of men has is unequaled.”
OVER AT HALFTIME: Minnesota made it look easy at the outset, driving 75 yards on nine plays, each of which gained yardage. The payoff was a 25-yard throw from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph well behind linebacker Najee Goode as Philadelphia’s defense looked confused on the play.
That didn’t happen again for Philly.
Defensive end Chris Long had a huge hand in Robinson’s 50-yard interception return. Long burst in from the left side and got his arm on Keenum to disrupt the throw for Adam Thielen. The ball went directly to Robinson, who sped down the left side, then made a sharp cut to the right and got a superb block from Ronald Darby to reach the end zone.
Inspired, Philly’s D forced a three-and-out, the Foles led the Eagles on a 12-play, 75-yard masterpiece of a drive. LeGarrette Blount showed all his power and escapability on an 11-yard surge up the middle for a 14-7 lead.
Turnovers, something Minnesota rarely committed with an NFC-low 14 during the season, hurt again and not only ended a solid drive, but set up more Philly points. On third down from the Eagles 15, Keenum was blindsided by rookie Derek Barnett Tony Conigliaro Boston Red Sox Jersey , and the ball bounced directly to Long.
It was only the second strip-sack the Vikings have been victimized by all season.
A blown coverage – another rarity for Minnesota – on third-and-10 allowed Alshon Jeffery to get wide open for a 53-yard TD, and Philadelphia tacked on Jake Elliott’s 38-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at halftime.
”Credit to Philadelphia, they got after us pretty good tonight and we didn’t do enough good things,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
”I’m still proud of my football team with the way they worked all year. The way they went about their business. The way they competed all year and tonight we didn’t get it done.”
BACK TO THE BIG GAME: Long won the Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, as did Blount. Now they return on the other side.
QUICK DRIVE: Philadelphia got the ball with 29 seconds remaining in the first half at its 20. Foles hit passes of 11 yards to Jay Ajayi, 36 to Zach Ertz and 13 to Ajayi before Elliott’s field goal to end the half.
THIRD DOWNS: Minnesota was the league’s best team defending third downs and was third in converting them. Yet Philadelphia went 10 for 14.
Jeffery caught TD passes of 53 and 5 yards and had five receptions for 85 yards. Ertz was free seemingly all night and finished with eight catches for 93 yards. Torrey Smith had a 41-yard TD catch against double coverage in the third period.
Keenum finished 28 of 48 for 271 yards, with two picks, a lost fumble and the TD throw to Rudolph. The Vikings’ previously staunch defense yielded 456 yards.
Philadelphia can look forward to facing New England in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4. The Patriots are a 5- to 6-point favorite.
Minnesota returns home to watch two other teams play at its stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.
”We would’ve loved to play in the Super Bowl if it was in China,” Zimmer said.
LeBron James sprung to his feet and screamed along with thousands of delirious Cleveland fans.
When Indians outfielder Rajai Davis connected off Chicago Cubs reliever Aroldis Chapman for a tying home run in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, James came unglued and reacted the way he might after a monstrous dunk or back-breaking 3-pointer in the NBA Finals.
And while his fanatical response said a lot about James and his allegiance to the Indians, so did the tight, black T-shirt he wore on that unseasonably warm November night.
It said: ”Cleveland Or Nowhere.”
As the sports world waits to see where the three-time champion intends to play next season and beyond, there remains the real possibility that James could choose to stay in Cleveland, his hoops home for 11 of the past 15 years and where this Northeast Ohio son shares a unique and profound connection with fans who have followed him since his teens.
James has other options: Los Angeles (salary-cap space for another star, Magic Johnson in charge) Authentic Carlton Davis Jersey , Houston (a chance to play on a super team with MVP James Harden), Philadelphia (young stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid), and maybe more.
But, as has always been the case for James, home will pull at his heart.
For the longest time, the perception was that once James ended Cleveland’s 52-year title drought in 2016, he would leave again as soon as he could. That doesn’t seem to be a slam dunk any longer.
By Friday, James is expected to make his first move and likely decline a $35.6 million contract option for next season with the Cavs, who are hoping their past loyalties to the 33-year-old and his own sentimental attachments – family, legacy – will keep him in Cleveland.
Unlike his free-agency forays in 2010 and 2014, James will not meet with prospective teams. He’s letting agent Rich Paul and his other representatives handle the business side of things as he vacations with family and makes up his mind.
Months ago, James’ connection with the Cavs seemed broken, hopeless. Last summer’s shocking trade of All-Star Kyrie Irving, the team’s failed attempt to integrate guard Isaiah Thomas, a lack of playmakers Authentic Danny Shelton Jersey , assorted injuries and coach Tyronn Lue’s medical issues contributed to James appearing ready to pull up stakes again and pursue championships elsewhere.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the NBA Finals.
James was boosted by general manager Koby Altman’s drastic-and-dramatic roster overhaul at the trading deadline, and despite a lack of cohesion and Vegas odds makers labeling the Cavs as underdogs, Cleveland advanced to a fourth straight summer showdown with Golden State, surviving two Game 7s and sweeping the top-seeded Toronto Raptors along the way.
Of course, James did all the heavy lifting. He played in all 82 regular-season games and had perhaps his best postseason, averaging 34 points, 9.1 rebounds and 9.0 assists while making a pair of buzzer-beating shots and doing all he could in a Finals sweep that could have been much different if Cleveland had not lost Game 1 in overtime.
”He gave his heart and soul, die-hard energy, commitment to this team, to this franchise, to the city, to Northeast Ohio,” Altman said last week after the Cavs drafted Alabama guard Collin Sexton, who quickly raised some eyebrows by choosing to wear No. 2, Irving’s number for six seasons with Cleveland. ”It was an historical year and probably one of the best postseason runs of all time. We’re very http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-m.j.-stewart-jersey , very fortunate to have him here and what he gave to this franchise this year was nothing short of remarkable.
”We don’t take that for granted at all.”
And it’s why the Cavs haven’t surrendered from the fight to keep him.
Owner Dan Gilbert, whose relationship with James remains tricky if not rocky, has displayed a willingness to spend whatever’s necessary to keep his team championship competitive. That’s unlikely to change whether James extends his second stint with Cleveland.
In a recent Business Insider podcast, Gilbert referred to James as a ”partner,” an acknowledgment by the billionaire to what the superstar he once criticized means to his franchise.
The appeal for James to stay home is different now than it was eight years ago when he bolted for Miami. He’s more mature, with three children and a burgeoning business empire. His priorities, responsibilities and goals are different.
After the Warriors finished their Finals sweep of the Cavs, James revealed an injured right hand but an unchanged view of the next phase of his career.
”I will still continue to be in championship mode,” he said. ”When I decide what I’m going to do with my future, my family and the folks that have been with me for the last 20 years will have a say-so. Then it ultimately will come down to me.”
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