To start the NFC Championship Game, the Philadelphia Eagles won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half, meaning that the Minnesota Vikings would get the football first. Jake Elliott put his foot to the ball and sent it deep to Marcus Sherels, who took a knee in the end zone to give the Vikings the start at their own 25-yard line.
The drive started with Latavius Murray picking up six on a handoff, and then picked up two more on another to bring up 3rd-and-2. The Vikings then changed over to Jerick McKinnon, who picked up two yards and a first down for the purple. Murray then caught a swing pass to pick up 11 yards and another first down, and the Vikings were nearing the midfield stripe at their own 46. Murray then got the ball to midfield on another handoff that gained four yards.
Case Keenum then picked up his second completion, as he found Adam Thielen for 11 more yards to move the chains again at the Eagles’ 39. McKinnon then got the ball again and picked up ten yards and yet another Vikings’ first down. After another give to McKinnon, Keenum dropped back to pass and lofted one beautifully to Kyle Rudolph for a 25-yard touchdown! Kai Forbath added the extra point, and the good guys took an early 7-0 lead.
Forbath’s kickoff went into the end zone for a touchback, giving the Eagles the ball at their own 25. Nick Foles led his team onto the field, and he started the drive with a 11-yard completion to Nelson Agholor for a quick first down. After a deep incompletion and a short pass to Agholor, the Eagles faced their first third down of the game, and Trey Burton caught what looked like a third down conversion, but landed out of bounds. Donnie Jones came on to punt for the Eagles, and Marcus Sherels was interfered with when he was attempting to make a fair catch. With the penalty, the Vikings started their second possession at their own 29.
Keenum attempted to find Stefon Diggs on first down, but the pass fell incomplete. McKinnon was stopped for a short gain to bring up a third down for the Vikings, and Keenum converted it by finding Diggs to move the sticks. After a short gain by Murray and a drop by Diggs, the Vikings faced another third down situation, a 3rd-and-8 from their own 43. Keenum dropped back to pass, and got hit on the play by Chris Long. The ball floated to Eagles’ cornerback Patrick Robinson, who weaved his way through the Minnesota tacklers and into the end zone for a 50-yard interception return. Elliott added the extra point, and we were tied at 7-7.
The kickoff from Elliott went to Sherels in the end zone for a touchback, and Keenum led the offense back onto the field at the 25. Murray picked up four on a handoff, and Keenum could not find Rudolph on second down. Keenum found Diggs on third down, but it was well short of the line to gain, so the Vikings went three-and-out. Ryan Quigley came on for his first punt of the evening, and Kenjon Barner called for the fair catch at the Philadelphia 25.
Jay Ajayi took a handoff to start the drive and delivered a 13-yard burst for a quick first down for the Eagles, and then carried again for seven more. Foles then found Alshon Jeffery for a gain of eight into Vikings’ territory at the 47. The Eagles tried an end-around to Agholor, but the Vikings ran him out of bounds for no gain, and Eric Kendricks broke up a pass to bring up third down. The Eagles converted, with Foles finding Zach Ertz for 11 yards to move the chains for Philadelphia.
Foles found Ertz again for eight more down to the Minnesota 27, and LeGarrette Blount turned his first carry of the game into a first down. As we move to the second quarter, the Eagles are looking at a 2nd-and-2 from the Minnesota 17-yard line.
After fifteen minutes of the 2017 NFC Championship Game, we are tied at 7-7, but the Eagles are looking for their first lead. Come on in and join us for the second quarter of play!