GREAT morning, Eagles fans! Have your hearts stopped pounding yet? Yesterday's thrilling NFC Wild Card game ended with a double doink off the the upright and crossbar (thanks in part to the fingers of defensive tackle Treyvon Hester) that sealed a 16-15 victory over the Chicago Bears and extended this magical 2018 season. The Eagles will now move on to take on the New Orleans Saints next Sunday at 4:40 p.m. at the Superdome. Head coach Doug Pederson will speak to the media at noon and we will carry it live. Here's what you need to know in today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft leading off with a recap of the craziness.
1. Wild Drama
Last night's was a classic. A thriller. A stunner. A game that will forever live in Eagles history.
The Eagles trailed 15-10 at Soldier Field with the season on the line and 4:48 to play. Quarterback Nick Foles, who has provided some of the Eagles' best moments in franchise history, took the field with all the confidence in the world and led the offense into the red zone. On fourth-and-goal with a minute left, Foles found wide receiver Golden Tate for a go-ahead touchdown.
The Bears were unfazed and moved deep into Eagles territory while using just one timeout. They set up for a game-winning 43-yard field goal attempt with 10 seconds left. A Hester tip and double doink on Cody Parkey's kick sealed the win and sent Philly into a frenzy. Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro recapped the madness from Chicago as the Eagles survived and advanced:
"Honestly, I knew we were going to win that game somehow," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "Even though it took a bunch of tries on the goal line, I knew our offense would get a touchdown and then we'd be on the field as a defense to win the game. Even when we gave up a big play, I knew something was going to happen in our favor to help us win that game. You've just got to keep believing.
"This is a game of inches and, literally, that came down to every inch that we had."
2. Playoff Perfection
When the Eagles faced a fourth-and-goal with the season on the line, Pederson remained calm and called the right play to get into the end zone. He had the same demeanor as he had all game as he pushed the right buttons in front of a raucous crowd and against the league's best defense. He was composed and looked like he had been there before.
And that's because he has.
Pederson remains undefeated in the NFL playoffs as a head coach. His teams continue to find a way when the lights are brightest.
"Just overwhelmed," Pederson told reporters after the game as he wiped away what he swore was just something in his eye. "That's a good football team. (Bears head coach) Matt Nagy did a great job this season and my hat's off to him and that Chicago Bear team. It's a tremendous football team.
"And quite frankly, for us to come in here and just hang together for 60 minutes, we knew it was going to be that type of football game. And we hung in there, it wasn't pretty at times, but we made the plays when we needed to and my hat's off to our guys and my coaches."
3. Blocking The Best
Aaron Donald. J.J. Watt. Khalil Mack. That's a fearsome trio of game wreckers no one wants to see.
But the Eagles squared off against them in three of their last four games and, incredibly, held them to no sacks. Zero.
Yesterday's effort was the crown jewel. The Bears' top-ranked defense had its moments, but only got to Foles once for a sack all game thanks to remarkable protection and a game plan that allowed him to release the ball in a hurry. Dave Spadaro writes that the Eagles' offense line is playing its best football of the season right now and is proving that it can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the league:
"That was a tough defense. They played a great game. It was a battle the entire time," center Jason Kelce said. "I thought we should have done better, honestly. We have a tremendous offensive line. Everybody talked about Khalil Mack all week long and he is a tremendous player. We don't have two slouches there at the tackle position, so I wasn't too worried about it, if I'm being completely honest."
4. Golden Receiver
With the season hanging in the balance at the goal line on fourth down, the Eagles went to a surprise target to finish the game-winning score.
It wasn't the top wide receiver or Pro Bowl tight end. It was nine-year veteran Golden Tate, whose second touchdown in his ninth game as an Eagle was one of the biggest of his career.
Tate came to the Eagles in a trade at the deadline for a third-round pick and some questioned the value of that deal. No one questioned in on Sunday. When the Eagles needed a score to keep a magical year alive, the 5-10 speedster stood tall.
"Just a great play call by Doug and my number was called I knew I had to make a play, and Nick just dropped a dime," Tate said. "He threw it so only I could catch it. I just happened to have an opportunity to make a difference, to give the city something to cheer for, and we did something big on the road against a really, really good team. So, I'm excited."
5. Nick Foles: Mr. Clutch
Two weeks ago, Nick Foles guided the Eagles on a game-winning drive to defeat the Houston Texans. The Eagles got the ball with 2:04 remaining and marched 72 yards to get Jake Elliott in position for a 35-yard field goal.
So, when the Eagles got the ball Sunday with 4:48 remaining down 15-10, Foles simply stayed in the moment. All of the past success didn't matter.
"The last drive was really just – stay in the moment, let's play the play, let's just keep going. Let's march," Foles said.
"We didn't have to do anything too crazy. We just needed to play," Foles recalled. "We were able to settle down in the second half and make some plays and it was a huge team win for us."
Vaughn Johnson has more on the latest chapter in Foles' amazing second stint with the Eagles.
6. Alshon Jeffery Gets The Upper Hand
Offensive coordinator Mike Groh and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery previously worked together in Chicago where Groh, as the wide receivers coach, helped Jeffery earn Pro Bowl honors.
As they returned to Chicago for Sunday's wild Wild Card win, Groh had an important bit of advice for Jeffery.
"Coach Groh talked to me and told me to just relax and not let my emotions get the best of me," Jeffery said. "Just relax and play football. That's what I did. I was hyped, and he calmed me down and stayed within the game."
Jeffery continued his dominant play of late with six catches for 82 yards in his first game back in Chicago against the team that drafted him in the second round back in 2012. His biggest reception was an 11-yard grab on a third-and-9 to set up Golden Tate's game-winning 2-yard touchdown.
"It all worked out," Jeffery said. "We knew we were going to go down there and score. We were confident. We were all together."
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro has more on Jeffery's triumphant homecoming.
Check out the best photos from the Eagles' game against the Bears in the Wild Card Round.