Three Years Ago Today: The Knee Heard ‘Round the World

Let’s take a quick break from talking about how dysfunctional the Eagles are, and revisit the Super Bowl run.

Today marks three years since the Birds beat the Falcons 15-10 in the divisional round. It was a hairy game in which the offense fumbled on the opening drive and the defense had to use a goal line stand to seal the deal and move on to the NFC Championship game.

One of the turning points was this sequence, right before halftime:

Ah yes, the Keanu Neal single doink. The knee cap carom. The patellar ricochet. We need to come up with some kind of name for this play.

At the time, the Eagles were down 10-6 and got the ball on their own 28 yard line with 46 seconds remaining in the second quarter. They opened the drive with a seven-yard completion, then took a false start penalty before burning a timeout.

Then the Neal play happened, and Torrey Smith caught the rebound for a 20-yard gain to the 50 yard line. Nick Foles hit Alshon Jeffery for 15 yards and Birds cut the deficit to one point on a Jake Elliott 53-yard field goal.

It’s crazy to consider what would have happened without that play. The Eagles went on to take the lead, 12-10, on a third quarter field goal, then added another in the fourth. But if they didn’t hit that 53-yarder to end the half, and Neal finished the interception, then Atlanta could have very well gone on to score three points and make it a 13-6 ballgame instead.

Or, if everything else remained the same, the Falcons would not have needed a touchdown at the end of the game, and could have perhaps won it 13-12 with a field goal of their own.

Huge play, the knee cap rebound. Figured it was worth a brief stroll down memory lane before we get it back to the crappy 2021 Eagles and their coaching search.

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