Happy retirement to Chris Long, who finished his NFL career with:
- two Super Bowl rings
- 332 tackles
- 70 sacks
- 15 forced fumbles
- a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award
So on, and so forth. You could tire yourself out writing about his contributions to the Rams, Patriots, Eagles, and NFL as a whole both on and off the field. I mean, the guy donated his salary to charity, so that’s probably worth a mention as well.
In the meantime, I picked these as Long’s best three plays as an Eagle, and if you disagree, you can tell me in the comments section and/or make your own list:
3. A forced fumble
I was going to go with his combination pressure on the Brandon Graham Super Bowl strip sack for #3, but decided on a different play instead.
It was week four, 2017, a road game against the 0-3 Chargers. The Eagles were 2-1 and coming off the 61-yard Jake Elliott field goal, the kick that really changed their fortunes and put them on a winning track after the Kansas City loss.
On the opening drive, LA moved the ball 36 yards on six plays as the Birds allowed a big chunk play before jumping offside. They looked out of shorts, then Long forced a fumble which stole the early momentum and returned it to the Eagles:
Carson Wentz took the Birds down the field on the ensuing drive, using that momentum as the catalyst for an eight play, 68-yard scoring drive.
The Eagles hung on to win this game by two points, so every possession ended up being important. Sure, this was early in the season, and the forced fumble took place on the first drive, but I loved Long’s pursuit on this play. This was just one of many great Eagles takeaways that season.
2. Another forced fumble
Rams game, 2017.
The Eagles had just kicked a field goal to cut the score to 35-34 with a little under nine minutes to play.
On the ensuing Los Angeles drive, Long got past the right tackle, Darrell Williams, and forced a fumble that was recovered by Rodney McLeod, leading to a 33-yard Jake Elliott field goal:
It was a pivotal swing in a win that would clinch the NFC East and help solidify home field advantage in the playoffs.
1. The pick six
Matt Mullin at Philly Voice says this was the obvious #1, the NFC Championship Game, and I would have to agree, now that I go back and watch it a bunch of times.
The game situation makes this play so significant, since the Eagles were down 7-0 at the time, the offense had punted on its first drive, and the defense was trying to get off the field after being gashed on the first Minnesota drive.
What happened next? This happened:
It was a monstrous momentum swing at the time, very similar to the two plays I clipped above. Minnesota got the ball back, went three and out, and Nick Foles led the Birds down the field on a 12-play, 75-yard drive to extend the lead to the 14-7.
You know the rest. Philly didn’t look back en route to a 38-7 blowout win and Super Bowl berth.