The Philadelphia Eagles’ goal of winning back-to-back Super Bowls was brought to a halt last night against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs.
The game was effectively sealed when with just over two minutes to go in the game on a second-and-10 play, Nick Foles’ pass to Alshon Jeffrey went straight through the receiver’s hands.
With the ball still travelling in the air, it was then intercepted by Marshon Lattimore, who was waiting behind the Eagles receiver, sealing the result for the Saints as the game entered the two-minute warning.
Jeffrey was distraught immediately after the play, as he laid motionless on the field with his head on the turf as the rest of his teammates on offense came over to console him as they went off the field.
The Saints would go on to win the game 20-14 despite the Eagles being 14-0 up at one point. With the media after the game, the wide receiver made sure the world knew who to blame for the loss.
He said postgame, according to Kevin Patra of NFL.com: “I let my teammates down. I let the city of Philadelphia down. That’s on me. We’ll be back next year for sure.
“One play don’t define me. I mean, all of the greats, they have missed game-winning shots. … So it happens. It’s part of football. I just hated the way it happened in the playoffs and it was the final moment.”
In truth, Jeffrey wasn’t to blame for the Eagles loss, as he finished 82 yards on six catches and made several key plays throughout the contest to keep his team in the game. His drop which lead to the game-sealing interception was only his third drop on the season.
What’s even more fascinating, as Lane Johnson revealed after the game to ESPN, is that Jeffrey performed against the Saints and put up the numbers which he did with broken ribs.
He said: “There’s nobody that works harder. The guy has broken ribs and toughed it out for his teammates. He doesn’t have to say nothing.
“We had plenty of opportunities to win this game. It’s not one guy’s fault.”
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said: “It’s hard. I mean, it’s really hard because he’s so down. But for me, it’s about staying positive.
“Listen, he’s made many, many big catches for us this season and he will continue to do that.”
Jeffrey isn’t going to be dwelling over the drop all offseason though, and he promises the Eagles will chase another title in 2019.
He said: “It happens to the best of us. We move on. It hurts right now, but I guarantee you we’ll be back next year, for sure.”