Nick Foles: “I’m good” after X-rays on ribs

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Eagles quarterback Nick Foles had to delay his celebration of the NFC title to spend a little time with members of the medical team.

Sal Paolantonio of ESPN reported that Foles had “precautionary” X-rays on his ribs on Sunday night. The quarterback said there was nothing to worry about as the team begins making plans for the Super Bowl.

“They were just checking,” Foles said. “I’m good. I’m good.”

That would be ideal for the Eagles because they’d prefer not to have Nate Sudfeld make his first NFL start in the Super Bowl. They’d also like to have Foles working to build off of Sunday’s performance.

Foles sparkled throughout Sunday’s 38-7 win, finishing with 26 completions on 33 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns in a performance that made Carson Wentz‘s absence feel a lot less painful than it did a few weeks ago.

Pat Shurmur: “Another time and place” to discuss Giants job

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The Giants are expected to hire Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as their next head coach and Minnesota’s loss in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday frees Shurmur up to officially take the job.

It looks like it will be at least a day before that happens, however. Shurmur is heading back to Minnesota with the Vikings on Sunday night and will go through exit interviews with Vikings players. Shurmur said, via Jordan Raanan of, that there will be “another time and place” to talk about the Giants job.

Sunday was a rough day for the Vikings offense after a sharp opening drive put Minnesota up 7-0. They would not score again in the 38-7 loss, which was a bed ending for what had been a very successful season for Shurmur’s offense.

Shurmur didn’t answer another question about his potential coaching staff with the Giants. A report on Sunday indicated that former Raiders coach Jack Del Rio is the top candidate to be the defensive coordinator for the Giants next season.

Jaguars not happy with discrepancy in penalties

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The Jaguars had six penalties for 98 yards. The Patriots had one for 10 yards, a hold on a kickoff.

According to NFL Research, it was the fewest penalties called on one team in a playoff game since the 2011 AFC Championship when the Patriots had one penalty against the Ravens.

The Jaguars were not happy.

“The stats speak for themselves,” Jaguars defensive lineman Malik Jackson said, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.

Cornerback A.J. Bouye wanted Stephon Gilmore called for pass interference against Jaguars receiver Dede Westbrook on a fourth-down pass late in the game and Patriots receiver Danny Amendola called for head-butting safety Tashaun Gipson after a play in the third quarter.

“I was pissed because I seen Amendola head-butt the hell out of Gip in front of the ref, and you all don’t call nothing?” Bouye said. “It don’t make no sense, man; it’s a lot of stuff that don’t make no sense. I have a lot of respect for these people in this locker room. They kept fighting; we all kept fighting. We knew there was stuff we couldn’t control and we kept it close.”

The Jaguars were called for two defensive pass interference penalties against the Patriots, including a 32-yarder against Bouye that led to a touchdown. During the regular season, Jacksonville was called for an NFL-low five defensive pass interference penalties and had the fewest total defensive penalties with nine.

“You all see it,” Bouye said of the officiating Sunday. “I got players hitting me up in the NFL saying the same thing. But at the end of the day, we can’t put the blame on [officials]. We didn’t execute good enough. [The Patriots] executed good enough.”

Hello, Super Bowl: Underdog Eagles dominate Vikings 38-7


The Eagles were underdogs against the Falcons. They were underdogs against the Vikings. They are sure to be underdogs against the Patriots, too.

Philadelphia has embraced the role.

The Eagles left no doubt who the best team is in the NFC, dominating the Vikings 38-7 on Sunday night. They didn’t even have to wait until time expired for the Gatorade shower, dousing coach Doug Pederson at the two-minute warning.

Philadelphia left Minnesota with no chance for a miracle comeback, with not enough “Seven Heavens” in the Vikings’ playbook for this. After the Vikings took a 7-0 lead, it was all Eagles, all the time.

The Eagles scored 38 consecutive points. They finished with 456 yards as Nick Foles completed 26 of 33 for 352 yards with three touchdowns and a 141.4 passer rating.

Eagles fans taunted the Vikings and honored Foles with a Skol chant of “Foles” during the second half. The backup quarterback has gone 4-1 in relief of Carson Wentz, who went on injured reserve after injuring his knee in Week 14.

Foles now has as many career playoff victories — two — as Tony Romo and Alex Smith — and one more than Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer.

While the understudy became the star Sunday, the entire Eagles team can take the curtain call.

Torrey Smith caught a 41-yard touchdown pass after dropping a pass on the Eagles’ first drive. Alshon Jeffery caught touchdown passes of 53 and 5 yards. Chris Long recovered a fumble and his hit on Case Keenum led to a 50-yard interception return by Patrick Robinson, who got a clearing block by Ronald Darby. LeGarrette Blount had an 11-yard touchdown run. Corey Graham had an interception. Derek Barnett had a sack and a forced fumble. Jay Ajayi had 73 yards on 18 carries.

The Eagles, who were 10 of 14 on third down, had no problem moving the ball and scoring points against the league’s top-rated defense. It was the most points, total yards and passing yards the Vikings have allowed this season.

Keenum and the Vikings offense has seen better days, too. Nothing went right after the first series when Minnesota marched right down the field to take an early lead on Kyle Rudolph‘s 25-yard touchdown catch. That was the sole highlight for the Vikings.

Keenum ended up with three turnovers, two interceptions and a fumble. He went 28-of-48 for 271 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

It marked the sixth consecutive loss in an NFC Championship Game by the Vikings and their fifth in a row on the road. They are 1-5 all time in road NFC title games.

The victorious Eagles are going to their third Super Bowl, trying to win their first against the team that beat them in their last appearance. They lost to the Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX to end the 2004 season. In Super Bowl XV, Philadelphia lost to the Raiders 27-10 to end the 1980 season.

Calais Campbell wants Jaguars to use Sunday’s loss as fuel for next season

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The Jaguars couldn’t slam the door on the Patriots in New England on Sunday afternoon, so their season ended in a 24-20 loss that felt especially painful after they took a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

Watching that lead evaporate will likely burn for some time and one of the team’s veteran leaders said he wants something productive to come out of that burning. Defensive end Calais Campbell said he was proud of his team and that they have to use Sunday’s result as something to inspire them heading into next season.

“I told the guys to keep their head up and use this as fuel,” Campbell said in the locker room. “We are definitely going to have a lot of respect going into next year, and it’s going to be a little harder. We just have to use this as motivation to prepare for it and be prepared for next year.”

After going from 3-13 to 10-6, a division title and two playoff wins, the Jaguars won’t be sneaking up on anyone next season and coach Doug Marrone offered a reminder that success one year doesn’t guarantee anything the next year by saying “you have to start from scratch” each season during his press conference.

Campbell knows that well. He went to the Super Bowl as a rookie in 2008 and continues to look for a second chance to win a title after falling short on Sunday.

Barry Church on Gronk hit: I was just trying to play football

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The Patriots lost tight end Rob Gronkowski to a head injury in the second quarter when Gronkowski took a shot to the head from Jaguars safety Barry Church while he was trying to reel in a Tom Brady pass.

Church was penalized for the hit and said after the game that he tried to hit Gronkowski in the proper zone, but that it is “nearly impossible” while “going 100 miles an hour” on the field.

“I just tried to dislodge the ball,” Church said in the locker room after the game. “He’s a big dude and I was just trying to dislodge the ball, but I guess they felt it was too high of a hit. I hope he’s healthy. I know he didn’t come back so I hope he’s alright. It was a tough call, but you have to go with what they call. It’s the toughest play in football, if you go low for the knees you are considered a dirty player and if you go high, they throw the flag at you. It’s a bang-bang play and I was just trying to play football. I tried to lead with my shoulder.”

The Patriots got a 32-yard pass interference call on cornerback A.J. Bouye one play later and went on to score their first touchdown of the game on that possession.

Pat Elflein out with ankle injury; Vikings almost out

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Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo hasn’t returned in the second half after injuring his calf. Now, Vikings center Pat Elflein is out.

Elflein has an ankle injury.

The Vikings downgraded him to out after initially calling him questionable.

Elflein was injured with 7:22 remaining in the third quarter on an incomplete pass.

It’s added injury to insult for the Vikings, who have seen the Eagles dominate them since taking a 7-0 lead.

Minnesota trails 31-7 at the end of the third quarter with Philadelphia threatening to score again.

Belichick on Brady’s injury: He’s tough, but we’re not talking open-heart surgery

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Patriots coach Bill Belichick had no interest in discussing quarterback Tom Brady‘s hand injury in the days leading up to the AFC Championship Game and he didn’t have much to say about the injury after the 24-20 win either.

Belichick brushed off a question at his press conference about how Brady handled things in and outside the locker room by saying Brady did a great job preparing and said there weren’t any changes to the game plan due to the cut Brady suffered in practice on Wednesday. The final question referencing Brady’s injury had to do with his toughness and Belichick’s response left little doubt that he was moving on to other topics.

“I mean, look, Tom did a great job and he’s a tough guy,” Belichick said. “We all know that, alright? But, we’re not talking about open-heart surgery here.”

Brady called the injury “bothersome” in his postgame press conference, but he spent the fourth quarter doing surgery on the Jaguars defense to close out the comeback and another trip to the Super Bowl.

Andrew Sendejo leaves with calf injury


Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo has had a rough postseason. He left last week’s divisional-round game with a concussion.

The team listed him as questionable in its final status report for this week’s game, but Sendejo cleared concussion protocol and started.

Now, he’s out with a calf injury.

The Vikings list him as doubtful to return, and he remained on the sideline to start the second half as the Eagles marched down to the field to yet another score.

Philadelphia leads 31-7 with 10:05 remaining in the third quarter.

Eagles looking good with 24-7 halftime lead


The Vikings made it look easy in taking a 7-0 lead, but the Eagles shrugged their shoulders and said, “Whatever you can do, we can do better.”

Philadelphia answered and answered and answered and answered again. The Eagles have scored 24 unanswered points, taking a 24-7 lead into the locker room at halftime. Oh, and the Eagles get the second-half kickoff, too.

It is looking like Philadelphia vs. New England in the Super Bowl unless the Vikings have another comeback in them.

The Eagles have forced two takeaways of Case Keenum. Cornerback Patrick Robinson returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown after Chris Long hit the quarterback’s arm with 6:26 remaining in the first quarter. With Minnesota threatening in the second quarter, at the Philadelphia 16, Derek Barnett had a strip-sack of Keenum with Long recovering.

The Eagles scored on their next possession on a 53-yard pass from Nick Foles to Alshon Jeffery, who beat Terence Newman.

They added a 38-yard field goal from Jake Elliott on the final play of the first half as the Vikings look nothing like the league’s top-rated defense.

Philadelphia gained 242 yards in the first half, with Foles completing 15 of 22 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown. Zach Ertz has five catches for 76 yards, and Jeffery has added three for 70.

Keenum is 15-of-23 for 149 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Stefon Diggs has five catches for 50 yards.

Doug Marrone: Offense didn’t pop enough in second half

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The Jaguars went up by 11 points in the first half of the AFC Championship Game and took a 10-point lead on a Josh Lambo field goal early in the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t do enough to close out the Patriots and lost 24-20 after two late Tom Brady touchdown passes.

Jacksonville built that early lead thanks in large part to the plays Blake Bortles was making through the air. He was 13-of-15 for 155 yards and a touchdown in the first half and found particular success off play action. The second half saw the Jaguars take fewer shots as they protected their lead and coach Doug Marrone was asked after the game if he regretted the direction the play calling took in the final 30 minutes.

“You can always go back and look at that but the coverage started to change a bit,” Marrone said at his press conference. “We wanted to make sure we were being successful. We wanted to keep with thinking we are going to pop one of these runs. Keep going with it. Obviously we did not pop enough, especially in the second half.”

Marrone was also asked about the conservative path he chose right before halftime when he had Bortles take a knee with 55 seconds left on the clock. The Patriots had just cut their lead to four points and Marrone said “we had to make some adjustments going into halftime” and were getting the ball to start the second half.

They’d get a field goal on that opening possession of the third quarter, but ultimately needed more points than Marrone was able to find on Sunday afternoon.

Eagles take first lead at 14-7 with long drive


And just like that, the Eagles have their first lead.

After tying the game on Patrick Robinson‘s pick-six, the Eagles forced a Minnesota three-and-out. The Eagles scored their second touchdown in a 7:49 span, with the offense getting in the end zone this time.

The Eagles went 75 yards in 12 plays. Tight end Zach Ertz converted two third downs. He caught an 11-yard pass from Nick Foles on third-and-10, the first third down of 10 yards or longer the Eagles have converted since Carson Wentz injured his knee.

Ertz also had a 6-yard reception on third-and-one from the Minnesota 17.

LeGarrette Blount then bulled his way into the end zone from 11 yards out with 13:37 remaining in the second quarter.

The Eagles crowd is back into it with their team now winning 14-7.

Patrick Robinson’s pick-six allows Eagles to tie game


The Eagles offense has one first down and 17 yards in its only possession. But we have a tie game in Philadelphia.

Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long hit Case Keenum‘s arm as he released the ball on a third-down throw intended for Adam Thielen. Patrick Robinson made the easy interception at the 50-yard line.

He started up the sideline and then cut back across the field, sneaking into the end zone on a clearing block by Ronald Darby for a game-tying touchdown with 6:26 remaining in the first quarter.

Robinson had four interceptions in the regular season.

Keenum now is 5-for-9 for 61 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Vikings score quickly, easily in taking 7-0 lead


Well, that was easy.

The Vikings quieted the raucous Eagles crowd by taking the opening kickoff and scoring a touchdown. The nine-play, 75-yard drive ate up 4:46 off the clock. Minnesota gained 6, 2, 2, 11, 3, 12, 10, 4 and 25 yards.

Case Keenum went 3-for-3 for 48 yards, including the 25-yard touchdown to a wide-open Kyle Rudolph. Eagles linebacker Najee Goode trailed Rudolph by several yards.

The Vikings have scored on their opening drive in five consecutive games.

Tom Brady: We did just enough to win

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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is going to the Super Bowl for the eighth time in his career after the Patriots came back to beat the Jaguars 24-20 in New England on Sunday afternoon.

The Jaguars led 14-3 in the first half and 20-10 in the fourth quarter, but Brady saved his best play of the afternoon for the final minutes. He was 9-of-14 for 138 yards and two touchdown passes to Danny Amendola, including the game-winner with 2:48 left to play in the game.

That last pass offered no evidence that Brady was feeling pain after getting stitches on his right hand during the week and the quarterback said after the game that he’s dealt with worse over the course of his career.

“I’ve had a lot worse,” Brady said during an on-field interview with Tracy Wolfson of CBS. “I didn’t know that on Wednesday, it was a crazy injury. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday were a little scary and then started gaining some confidence. Today, we did just enough to win.”

Doing just enough to win has been a hallmark of many big Patriots victories during the Brady era, which now includes four playoff wins featuring comebacks from down 10 or more in the fourth quarter. The next chance to add to the list comes on February 4 in Minneapolis.