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No more miracles for Vikings as Eagles cruise to Super Bowl

22 January 2018 03:46

Nick Foles produced the greatest performance of his career as the Philadelphia Eagles routed the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship Game to set up a Super Bowl LII matchup with the New England Patriots.

Having seen off the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 in the divisional round, the Eagles - missing starting quarterback Carson Wentz with a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in December - were underdogs again on Sunday.

But they swept aside the Vikings in crushing fashion at Lincoln Financial Field, denying Minnesota the honour of becoming the first team to contest the Super Bowl in their home stadium.

Foles completed 26 of 33 pass attempts for 352 yards and three touchdowns, the Eagles scoring 38 unanswered points to set up a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.

The game looked set to follow a markedly different path on the first drive of the game as Vikings quarterback Case Keenum, who orchestrated the last-gasp game-winning 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs in Minnesota's dramatic divisional win over the New Orleans Saints, found Kyle Rudolph on a perfect 25-yard throw for the opening score.

However, Keenum fell back down to earth on his second drive as his pass intended for Adam Thielen was intercepted by Patrick Robinson for the first of two picks he threw, the Eagles cornerback returning the ball 50 yards the other way for a touchdown.

From there it was little more than a procession for Foles, who led a 12-play drive capped off when LeGarrette Blount barrelled in for an 11-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7.

Minnesota looked set to respond but the turning point came when Keenum was stripped of the ball by Derek Barnett on the Eagles' 16-yard line, Chris Long recovering a turnover from which Philadelphia took full advantage.

Foles found Alshon Jeffery on a 53-yard bomb and, after another disappointing Vikings drive, there was still time for him to lead the Eagles down the field and set up a Jake Elliott field goal before half-time.

A 24-7 half-time lead soon became 31-7 as a perfectly executed flea flicker play saw Foles hit Torrey Smith for a 41-yard score, with Jeffery adding further gloss to the scoreline with a five-yard reception as the Eagles moved a win away from a first Super Bowl title. Standing in their way, the man who beat them 13 years ago, Tom Brady.

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