The Philadelphia Eagles were not projected to perform as well as they did this season, let alone make the Super Bowl. Find out how they managed the impressive feat, including the key players that helped them get there.
Last Updated: 17/02/23 at 12:30 pm
In Super Bowl LII, the Philadelphia Eagles shocked the whole world when they managed to beat the heavily favourited powerhouse New England Patriots team, one of the most dominant teams in NFL history and serial Super Bowl winners. It was one of the greatest Super Bowl moments ever.
The Eagles had a brilliant 2022 season that culminated in their first Super Bowl berth since their win. Unfortunately, it didn't come to a happy ending as they fell to the Kansas City Chiefs in an instant classic of a game.
Despite this, the Eagles should still be praised for how they managed to make it all the way to the big game.
Here, find out the key Philadelphia Eagles players that helped them in their Super Bowl run, including their impact in the regular season and in the playoffs.
Overview of the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Run
The Philadelphia Eagles have looked like a proper force once again in the league since Jalen Hurts was promoted to starting quarterback last season.
They finished the 2022 regular season with an NFC best 14-3 record, which also matched their SB opponents. What’s more, they managed to better the Chiefs’ record of 4-0 against teams in the opposite conference, with the Eagles going 5-0 against AFC teams.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Eagles made light work of the New York Giants, holding them scoreless for the entire first half and only allowing seven in total while going on to score 38. Hurts threw for two touchdowns on 16/24 passing (66.7%) with 154 yards, and also added one rushing touchdown.
The NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers was just as easy, scoring 31 points and once again allowing just seven points. This time it was the rushing game that got the win for Philly, as Hurts failed to score a passing touchdown.
Many people tried to diminish the Eagles’ path to the big game, saying they had an easy regular season schedule and came up against an injury-plagued 49ers team in the NFC Championship game.
While the latter statement may be true, it does not take away from the fact that at no time the Eagles took their foot off the accelerator, working hard to earn their place and fight through to the Super Bowl.
Philadelphia Eagles' Impressive Super Bowl Game
Going up against the powerhouse Chiefs was never going to be easy, but the Eagles brought the fight to them and showed that they not only belonged there, but that they too can and will be a top contender in the league going forward.
The game was tight and fought fiercely, with both sides seemingly matching each other. The first half ended in the Eagle’s favour as they went into it up 24-14.
Although scoring another 11 points would normally be enough, it wasn’t against Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs who outscored them with 24 points of their own in the second half to win 38-35, with a field goal in the final few seconds securing them the victory.
Despite one of the toughest ways to lose the big game, the Eagles can still hold their heads up high.
They finished the game with more first downs (24 to 21), more total yards (417 to 340), and more total possession time (35:47 to 24:13).
Those stats show the Eagles controlled the majority of the game, but unfortunately weren’t able to convert enough of their plays. One of their biggest killing blows was when they fumbled the ball in the second quarter, which led to the Chiefs returning it for their second touchdown.
There were a number of records set or matched in this game, but one that is rather bitter-sweet for Philadelphia is that they now hold the record for the most points scored by a losing team in the Super Bowl.
Jalen Hurts’ Stellar Sophomore Year & Strong Offensive Line
During the season, Jalen Hurts showed he is the real deal early on, winning NFC Offensive Player of the Month honours for September. His record was very impressive, going 14-1 while only missing two games in the season. Coincidentally, the team lost those two games, showing how vital he is to the team's success.
While his stats weren’t league-leading, they were enough to earn him pro bowl and second-team all-pro honours. He threw for 3,701 yards with a 66.5% completion rate and a total of 22 passing touchdowns.
He relied on his running game quite frequently, too. He was fourth for most rushing yards for a QB with 760 and led all QBs in the league for rushing touchdowns with 13, breaking the franchise record for that stat in the process.
But best of all, he only threw six interceptions, which is half of what his SB counterpart had this season.
In the Super Bowl, he threw for 304 yards on 27/38 passing. He had one passing touchdown, which was a brilliant 45 yards heave to A.J. Brown.
He also went to the running game a fair amount, rushing 15 times for 70 yards and three touchdowns. That become a record for the most rushing yards by a QB in the SB, and tied the record for most rushing touchdowns in the big game.
Of course, Hurts is only one man and needed a strong enough supporting cast to help him on their path to the Super Bowl.
The running game was the key focus for the Eagles this year, with running back Miles Sanders having a career year. He finished with 1,269 rushing yards (fifth-best in the league) and 11 rushing touchdowns (eighth-best).
As for receivers, Hurts had two fantastic options to throw to. DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown both had career years, with Smith finishing with 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns, while Brown had 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns. Brown's total yards was also a new franchise record.
As a team, the Eagles finished second for most total yards for the season (behind the Chiefs), the fourth-highest percentage of drives resulting in an offensive score, and the seventh-least amount of turnovers.
While the Eagles’ offence was very impressive, their defence seemed to be something to admire this year.
They finished third in the league for least yards allowed (5,125) and eighth for least points allowed in total (344). They had the best yards-per-play rate with 4.8 and were fifth for takeaways with 27.
Linebacker Haason Reddick had the best year of his career. His first season with Philly saw him finish second for sacks in the league with 16.0 and won all-pro second-team and pro bowl honours.
Safety C.J. Gardener-Johnson led the league for interceptions, snagging six of them in his 12 games played in his first season with the Eagles and first season in the position.
James Bradberry also had a career year; the cornerback made the all-pro second team for the first time in his career after holding his opponents to a 45.3% catch completion rate, the best rate in the league for any player who played all 17 games. He also managed to hold them to only 9.8 yards per completion and allowed just two receiving touchdowns.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, despite being one of the best teams in the league for sacks in the regular season, they were unable to bring that into the big game, as they were held to 0.
How to Win the Super Bowl: A Team Effort
The Philadelphia Eagles seemed to have one of, if not the most, well-rounded teams in the league last season. Both their offensive and defensive units were running on all cylinders for all 17 games, producing a season worthy of a Super Bowl berth.
What was a stellar season culminated in a well-deserved Super Bowl appearance, and a fine showing in the big game too. It was unfortunate that the Eagles lost the game, but when you consider a lot of the players, such as Hurts, Smith and Brown, were playing in their first SB, you can take some big positives from it.
For one, you can look at it as inexperience on the biggest stage, or you can see it as players who put on a good show and now have that experience so that when they make it back again, they will be more than ready.
One thing is for certain, though, and that’s that the game was one of the best in Super Bowl history.
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