Things were looking grim for the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles’ offense.
That is, until the team called on a razzle-dazzle play to help turn the tide in an 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL season opener.
Down 6-3 midway through the third quarter, the Eagles ran a familiar play from their Super Bowl LII win over the New England Patriots.
Facing a third-and-5 at the Falcons’ 41-yard line, quarterback Nick Foles handed the ball off to running back Corey Clement, who pitched it to receiver Nelson Agholor on the reverse. While on the run, Agholor lobbed a pass to Foles, who caught the ball for a 15-yard gain.
The play set up the first touchdown of the game, a 1-yard scoring run by Jay Ajayi, giving the Eagles a 10-6 lead in what had been a defensive struggle to that point.
This trick play actually was borrowed from the playbook of the Patriots. It didn’t work out quite as well for the Patriots, however, as Tom Brady dropped a pass from Danny Amendola in the Super Bowl.
“That’s where we got it from,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “We just put different people in the game. (The Patriots) were in 11 personnel (one RB, one TE), I think. We were in 12 (one RB, 2 TEs).
“It was a play we had put in for this week. It was a play that was in our third-down menu. We were on the correct hash mark and it was the right time of the game.”
When asked what he called the play, Pederson responded: “Philly Philly.”
With seven months in between that moment and the season opener, the “Philly Special” was the topic of much discussion over the offseason (NFL Films called it “the boldest trick play in NFL history“). A statue of the sideline discussion between Foles and Eagles coach Doug Pederson before the Philly Special play was unveiled at Lincoln Financial Field.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.
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