March 2018 TYGRRRR EXPRESS Florida Speaking Schedule

March 3rd, 2018

March 2018 TYGRRRR EXPRESS Florida Speaking Schedule

Saturday, March 3 — Flying from Los Angeles to Orlando, driving to South Florida.

Monday, March 5 — Anshe Sholom Synagogue in Delray Beach at 1:30pm. 

Tuesday, March 6 — Highlands County Tea Party in Sebring at 5pm.

Wednesday, March 7 — Lakeland GOP Club near Tampa at 11:30am. 

Thursday, March 8 — Rockledge Rotary Club in Brevard at 7:15am. 

Thursday, March 8 — SE Volusia GOP Club at 11:30am. 

Thursday, March 8 — Cocoa Beach Kiwanis Club at Noon. POSTPONED

Thursday, March 8 — Tamarac Kiwanis Club near Fort Lauderdale. Evening. 

Monday, March 12 — Golden Triangle Republican Women near Orlando at lunch.

Tuesday, March 13 — Vero Beach Oceanside Rotary Club at 5:30pm. 

Wednesday, March 14 — Cocoa Beach Rotary Club at Noon. 

Thursday, March 15 — Lake Buena Vista Rotary Club near Orlando at 7:30am. 

Thursday, March 15 — Orlando Rotary Club at 11:45am. 

Tuesday, March 20 — Mulberry Kiwanis Club near Winter Haven at Noon.

Tuesday, March 20 — Manatee Tea Party in Bradenton at 5:45pm. 

Wednesday, March 21 — South Orlando Kiwanis Club at Noon. 

Thursday, March 22 — Citrus Center Kiwanis Club near Tampa at 6:45am. 

Thursday, March 22 — Tampa Interbay Rotary Club at Noon. 

Friday, March 23 — Sarasota Sunrise Rotary Club at 7am. 

Wednesday, March 28 — Flight home from Orlando to Los Angeles.

Thursday, March 29, 2018 — Rotary Club of the Villages at 7am. TENTATIVE

eric

CPAC 2018 Saturday Recap and Epilogue

February 25th, 2018

CPAC 2018 Saturday Recap and Epilogue

CPAC 2018 ends: Saturday’s closing fireworks are about governing

CPAC 2018 Friday Recap

February 25th, 2018

CPAC 2018 Friday Recap

https://www.commdiginews.com/uncategorized/cpac-2018-donald-trump-cpac-2018-victory-lap-99394/

 

CPAC 2018 Thursday Recap

February 25th, 2018

CPAC 2018 Thursday Recap

CPAC 2018 gathering begins with a battle over censorship

Super Bowl (52) LII Recap

February 5th, 2018

Super Bowl LII Recap

The AFC Champion New England Patriots were trying to win an NFL tying sixth Super Bowl. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are in the conversation for greatest coach and quarterback ever.

The NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles lost to these Patriots in the Super Bowl 13 years ago when the men in kelly green were led by 3rd generation West Coast Offense guru Walrus Lite Andy Reid. Now it was “little Andy,” 4th generation West Coast Offense guru Doug Pederson, leading the Iggles. Carson Wentz was out injured.

Nick Foles had an electric 2013 season under Reid, with 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Yet soon after that he regressed and was practically out of football. He returned in 2017 as a clear backup. Now he had to be the next Jeff Hostetler. He had to be the next Tom Brady, an unknown 6th round pick in 2001 who only took the field when Drew Bledsoe was injured.

The Patriots had overcome a 28-3 deficit third quarter deficit to win it all last year. They trailed 24-14 in the fourth quarter three years ago before coming back to win it all. The Eagles had not won an NFL championship since 1960, when Chuck Bednarik gave Vince Lombardi’s Packers their only loss in an NFL championship game. This was a total mismatch. As ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman constantly reminds us, “That’s why they play the games.”

The only chance the Eagles had to win this game would have to come from their defense. There was no way they could win a shootout. Their only chance was a slugfest. Again, “That’s why they play the games.”

The Eagles got the ball first and moved 67 yards in 14 plays. They took 7 minutes off the clock. On 3rd and 4 from their own 32, Foles hit Alshon Jeffery for 17 yards. On 3rd and 12 from their own 47, Foles went to Smith for 15 yards. Yet on 2nd and goal from the 2, a false start penalty was followed by a pair of Foles incompletions. Jake Elliott hit the 25 yard field goal for a 3-0 Eagles lead. The Patriots on their first play from scrimmage saw Brady throw incomplete under heavy defensive pressure. It was the last time he would face pressure for most of the game as the New England offensive line gave him plenty of time. The Patriots moved from their own 25 to a 3rd and 4 at the Philly 8. Brady threw incomplete and Stephen Gostkowski hit the 26 yard field goal for a 3-3 game.

What seemed a glacial pace all of a sudden turned into a rapid fire pinball machine match. From their own 23, the Eagles moved rapidly. Former Patriots running back LaGuerrette Blount ran for 36 yards. On the next play Foles went deep to Jeffery for a 34 yard touchdown. Special teams were a problem for both teams despite the game being played indoors. Elliott missed the extra point as the Eagles led 9-3. The Patriots got it back and soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 21. Brady went deep to Danny Amendola for a 50 yard gain. The Patriots began the second quarter facing 3rd and 2 at the Philly 9. Brandon Cooks got the carry and only gained one yard. Bill Belichick decided not to go for it, and Gostkowski came in for another 26 yard field goal try. The snap was fumbled, but somehow the Patriots still had enough time to spin the ball around. Gostkowski doinked it off the upright no good.

The Eagles then went 3 and out. The Eagles punted, which would normally be unremarkable except for one thing. It was the only punt of the entire game for either team. The Patriots took over at their own 37. Brady went deep to Brandon Cooks for a 23 yard gain. However, Cooks never saw Malcolm Jenkins, who blasted Cooks with a devastating legal block. Cooks stayed down, eventually got up, but did not return to the game. The Patriots soon faced 3rd and 5 at the Philly 35 when offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels went to the bag of tricks. A double reverse to Amendola saw him then throw the ball to a wide open Brady. The Patriots ran this very same play in a 2015 regular season game against the Eagles successfully. This time the ball was well thrown but Brady dropped it. It bounced off his fingertips. Michael Jordan was a lousy baseball player, and Tom Brady was not meant to be a wide receiver.

After the incompletion, the Patriots faced 4th and 5 at the Philly 35. After seeing the missed kick from 26 yards out, Belichick opted against a 53 yard field goal try. Brady threw deep incomplete and the Patriots turned it over on downs. A decade earlier Belichick passed up a 48 yard field goal try in a Super Bowl his Patriots lost 17-14. Time would soon tell if this was another mistake, especially since again the game was being played indoors. The Eagles soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 38. Foles went to Zac Ertz for 19 yards and Jeffery for 22 more. Blount then broke free for a 21 yard touchdown run. Doug Pederson made the questionable decision to go for the 2 point conversion. Chasing points often backfires, and Foles threw incomplete. The Eagles led 15-3, but there were still 9 minutes left in the half.

After a touchback, a short pass from Brady to Ronny Burkhead went for 46 yards. Yet after that the drive died. Gostkowski hit a 45 yard field goal but the Patriots still trailed 15-6 midway through the second quarter. The Eagles soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31 when Jay Ajayi ran for a 26 yard gain. On the next play Foles went deep to Jeffery. Jeffery appeared to have the catch at the 2 yard line when things got bizarre. Jeffery somehow lost control of the ball from one hand, batted it up in the air with his other hand, and saw it intercepted pat the 2 yard line by Harmon. The Patriots took over at their own 10 and soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 14. Brady threw incomplete but defensive holding kept the drive going. From their own 31, Brady went deep to Chris Hogan for a 43 yard gain. On the next play just before the 2 minute warning, White ran for a 26 yard touchdown. The special teams continued to struggle as Gostkowski hooked the extra point wide not good. Yet instead of trailing 22-6, the Patriots were only down 15-12. It seemed as if the Eagles best chance to win had evaporated.

Yet for all the talk about West Coast Offense dinking and dunking, Doug Pederson was going full pedal to the metal. He was also taking some of the boldest risks in Super Bowl history. On 3rd and 3 from the Philadelphia 37, a short pass from Foles to Corey Clement went for 55 yards. Yet on 3rd and goal at the one, Foles threw incomplete. This was a long one yard, closer to 2 yards. Pederson decided to go for it. He also called up the very trick play the Patriots failed to convert on. Foles lined up as a tight end. A double reverse saw Tim Burton throw to a wide open Foles in the end zone. Brady is a legend at quarterback, but on this day Foles was the better receiver. He caught the one yard touchdown as the Eagles took a 22-12 lead into the locker rooms. As bold as the calls was, by the end of the game Pederson would be taking an even bigger risk. Meanwhile, in another surprising move, with 3 seconds left from midfield, the Patriots opted against a Hail Mary. A short pass gained 23 yards, which meant nothing.

Justin Timberlake was the halftime show. I took a nap. Nothing against Timberlake, but halftime shows should be abolished and replaced with video highlights of past NFL games. Rather than try and force football fans to embrace pop culture, pop culture fans should learn who Vince Lombardi is. After all, it is his trophy the players are trying to win. The second half became an aerial show that turned this game into an instant classic.

After a touchback to start the second half, Brady went deep to Gronkowski for gains of 25, 24, 14 on 3rd and 6, for the 5 yard touchdown to get the Patriots quickly within 22-19. Yet every time it seemed the Patriots were poised to take the lead, the Eagles offense struck back. On 3rd and 6 from their own 19, Foles found Nelson Agholor for 17 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the New England 40, Foles hit Ertz for 14 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the New England 22, Foles went deep to Clement for the touchdown. Midway through the third quarter, the Eagles led 29-19. Yet after trailing last year by 25, a 10 point deficit was ho-hum for them.

After a touchback, Brady continued putting on a passing clinic. He hit Chris Hogan for 16 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Philly 44, Brady hit Amendola for 18 yards. On the next play Brady went to Hogan for a 26 yard touchdown as the Patriots were within 29-26 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. After a touchback, Foles went deep to Agholor for 24 yards and to Smith for 17 more. The fourth quarter began with the Eagles facing 3rd and 3 at the New England 16. This time Pederson did call a West Coast Offense play, and the short pass was blown up in the backfield for an 8 yard loss. Those who hate the West Coast Offense scream “throw it past the marker!” Elliott hit the 42 yard field goal to make it 32-26 Eagles, but now it was a one score game. What happened next was inevitable.

After a touchback, Josh McDaniels changed things up by calling 3 straight running plays by Burkhead, who ran for 5, 9 and 4. On 3rd and 3 from their own 46, Brady hit Amendola for a 7 yard gain. Brady then went deep to Amendola for a 30 yard gain. A third straight pass to Amendola gains d9 more down to the Philly 8 yard line. Brady went to Rob Gronkowski for the touchdown. This time the extra point was good. After trailing for over 50 minutes, the Patriots had their first lead of the game up 33-32 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

The Patriots took a timeout on defense with 8 1/2 minutes left with the Eagles facing 3rd and 6 at their own 29. It did not matter as both defensive coordinators Jim Schwartz and Matt Patricia saw their defenses gashed. Foles went to Ertz for 7 yards and a critical first down. Yet on 3rd and 1 from their own 45, Pederson again called a maddeningly frustrating West Coast Offense sideways pass. It went for no gain. Normally teams who run those plays have no running game. The Eagles had 2 quality running backs, but refused to play smash mouth. Now it was 4th and 1 with 5 1/2 minutes left. Pederson made one of the boldest calls in Super Bowl history.

The Eagles were at their own 45 yard line. Punting and playing field position and defense is what almost every coach would do. Yet nothing in this game suggested the Eagles defense was up to the task. Brady had led touchdown drives on 3 consecutive second half possessions. The New England offense did not punt the whole game. Neither defense at this stage had a single sack, much less a forced fumble. The only turnover of the game at this point was Foles’s interception, and that was a complete fluke. This game had no defense. So Pederson decided to go for it knowing a failure to convert would give Brady and his offense a short field. Yet a punt most likely meant the Eagles would never get the ball back. Going for it was the right call. As former Eagles hero Herm Edwards said, “You play to win the games.”

Foles fired high to Ertz, who was driven backward but not until after he had made the most critical 2 yard catch in Eagles history. From the Philly 48, Foles went to Agholor three straight times for gains of 10, 18 and 10. The Eagles held the ball for 14 plays and 7 minutes, forcing the Patriots to take their second timeout. On 3rd and 7 from the 11, Foles fired to Ertz inside the 5. Ertz caught the ball, took a few steps, and leaped over the plane of the goal. Once Ertz hit the ground in the end zone, the ball popped out, although Ertz caught the bobble. This led to an endless discussion of what constitutes a catch that the NFL still has not figured out.

Thankfully, the officials got the call right and clearly explained why they got it right. A receiver who catches the ball in the end zone has to maintain control of the ball all the way after hitting the ground. However, Ertz caught the ball outside of the end zone and took several steps. These were “football moves.” At that point Ertz was treated as a runner. One he broke the plane of the goal, it was a touchdown regardless of whether the ball popped out. Now it was time for the 2 point conversion try. Despite clear defensive pass interference, the pass was ruled incomplete with no penalty flag. Those who believe the Patriots get virtually every single call rom the refs had more ammo. With 2:21 left, the Eagles led 38-33. Yet a 5 point lead is not a 7 point lead. Then came the stunner.

On 2nd and 2 from their own 33 in a game with no defense, the Patriots finally became the victim of a defensive play. Brady had the ball knocked out of his hand by Brandon Graham. It bounced to Eagles defender Derek Barnett. 17 years after the Tuck Rule that started the Patriots dynasty, the refs were not able to bail out Brady this time. The entire world saw that when he finally moved his arm forward, it was with an empty hand. This fumble call stood.

With 2:09 left from the New England 31, this time Pederson played it very safe. A first down run forced the Patriots to take their final timeout. Another run took the clock to the 2 minute warning. With 1:56 left, on 3rd and 5 from the 26, a first down would end the game. However, a completed pass would stop the clock. A runner takes 45 seconds of time off the clock. This was a no-brainer. You must run the football in this situation. You don’t even think of throwing it. Blount got the carry and lost a yard. Elliott came in for a 46 yard field goal try. He would not be Ray Finkle. The kick wad perfect and the Eagled led by 8 points with one minute remaining. Yet a touchdown and 2 point conversion would tie the game.

A horrendous decision on the short kickoff resulted in the Patriots trying a lateral on the return. The decision failed miserably and the Patriots took over on their own 9 yard line. With 42 seconds left after 3 Brady incompletions, it was now 4th and 10. Yet Brady then found Amendola for 13 yards and then spiked the ball to stop the clock with 27 seconds left. Brady went to Gronkowski for gains of 11 and 16 yards as the Eagles took their final timeout on defense with 13 seconds left. After an incompletion, 9 seconds remained. The Patriots were just shy of midfield. It came down to one final Hail Mary from a quarterback who at age 40 still had a rocket arm. Brady went to the end zone, and everyone had a shot at it. Just like six years earlier, this heart-stopping attempt that seemed to hang in the air forever finally fell incomplete. The Evil Empire of Football had been defeated.

These teams combined for 1,151 yards, an NFL record not just for Super Bowls or playoffs but for any NFL game. Game MVP Foles finished 28 of 43 for 373 yards, 3 touchdowns, and the one interception. Foles also caught a touchdown pass as well. The Eagles also ran the ball for 164 yards and had 538 overall net yards of offense. Last year Brady had a Super Bowl record 466 yards passing, but that game went into overtime. This year Brady was 28 of 48 for a mind-blowing 505 yards. Brady had 3 touchdown passes without an interception, but he did have the fumble with the game on the line. Had Brady’s Hail Mary been completed, he would have broken Norm Van Brocklin’s record of 554 yards passing in any NFL game. The Patriots had 613 years of total offense.

The Eagles finally have their first Super Bowl after 2 prior losses, and their first NFL championship 57 years. The Patriots have won 5 Super Bowls, but have now lost 5 as well. It was the third Super Bowl loss with Belichick and Brady at the helm. In a bizarre move that will be questioned, Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler did not play a single snap on defense. He was the hero of the Patriots Super Bowl win three years ago with his goal line interception. This year before the game he was crying during the national anthem. Apparently he got the news right before the game that he would not play on defense. He did play on special teams. There was no explanation given for his benching other than a terse statement by Belichick that it was not a disciplinary issue. Butler’s replacement was torched most of the game.

Also being torched is the Patriots staff. Belichick is losing both of his coordinators. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is headed to Detroit to be the head coach of the Lions. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is headed to Indianapolis to be the head coach of the Colts. Rob Gronkowski said he was contemplating retirement, but that could be the emotion of the moment. He had 116 yards receiving in this game. Chris Hogan had 12 8 and Danny Amendola had 152. Yet despite all these yards, the Patriots lost. The idea that defense wins championships seemed to fly out the window on this night, the late sack-strip-fumble of Brady notwithstanding. Belichick and Brady both said they would be back next year, and they have a meeting with owner Robert Kraft to iron out some tensions that have developed over time.

The offseason begins, but leatherheads can take joy in knowing that the NFL Draft is barely 10 weeks away. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce that the 0-16 Cleveland Browns are now on the clock. Yet this night was all about the Philadelphia Eagles. Foles knows that he is a backup to Carson Wentz next year. Yet on this night, he became a Super Bowl champion and MVP. Doug Pederson was once an average, non-descript career backup. He backed up legend Brett Favre, and most people cannot remember a single game Pederson played in. He was an assistant coach to Andy Reid. Now he has as many Super Bowl wins as Favre and one more as a head coach than Reid. The 2017 NFL season is now in the books, and the Eagles are the 19th of 32 teams to win it all. Super Bowl (52) LII and the season are now history. 41-33 Eagles

NFL 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame Prequel

February 2nd, 2018

NFL 2018: Time for Pro Football Hall of Fame Predictions

2018 SOTU Recap

February 2nd, 2018

State of the Union: Our Union is Strong, because Obama is gone

January 2018 Tygrrrr Express Hawaii Speaking Schedule

January 29th, 2018

Here is the January 2018 Tygrrrr Express speaking schedule. 

All of the events are on the Island of Oahu. Most of the events are in Honolulu. All of the events except for the last one are Rotary Clubs.

Monday, January 29, 2018 — Pearl Harbor Rotary Club at lunch. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 — Rotary Club of Windward Oahu Sunrise at 7am. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 — Rotary Club of Mililani at 7:30am. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 — West Pearl Harbor Rotary Club in Hawaii at lunch. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 — Rotary Club of Honolulu Pau Hana at 5:30pm. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018 — Rotary Club of Kapolei at 7:30am. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018 — Rotary Club of Ala Moana at lunch. 

Friday, February 2, 2018 — Hawaii Dennis Prager Meetup in Honolulu at 8pm. 

eric

NFL 2017-2018 Pro Bowl Recap

January 28th, 2018

NFL 2017-2018 Pro Bowl Recap

The NFL could have played the Pro Bowl in gorgeous Honolulu, Hawaii, but nooooooo, they had to choose rain soaked Orlando, Florida. The Pro Bowl is supposed to be a party. Instead it was a football game played in terrible weather. This is fine if its a Conference Title Game, but not for an over glorified scrimmage. Drives were taking 7 minutes. In a fun Pro Bowl, drives sometimes take barely more than 7 seconds. In the first quarter the NFC moved 75 yards in 13 plays and 7 minutes. Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw an 8 yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen for a 7-0 NFC lead. In the second quarter the AFC moved 52 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. They settled for Steelers kicker Chris Boswell hitting a 41 yard field goal to get the AFC within 7-3. After that, turnovers killed the AFC.

The AFC fumbled a punt to set the NFC up at the AFC 21. The NFC lost 4 yards and Panthers kicker Graham Gano hit a 43 yarder to make it 10-3 NFC. The game’s first exciting play came when the AFC decided to go for it on 4th and 7 at their own 41. Steelers quarterback Ben Rowthlisberger threw a bomb that was intercepted by Vikings defender Harrison Smith. After some pathetic attempts at tackling, smith stumbled his way into the end zone for a 79 yard interception touchdown return and a 17-3 NFC lead. After a touchback, the AFC moved to a 3rd and goal at the 7. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith went to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback at the 2 minute warning. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson moved the NFC to the AFC 22, and Lions kicker Matt Prater hit a 40 yard field goal for a 20-3 NFC lead at halftime.

In the third quarter the AFC moved 75 yards. Alex Smith hit Colts receiver TY Hilton for a 44 yard gain. Smith went to Titans receiver Delanie Walker for a 4 yard touchdown to get the AFC within 20-10. Russell Wilson from the AFC 43 went deep and was intercepted by Chris Hayward, followed by a couple of laterals to get the AFC at their own 47. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr went deep to TY Hilton for a 39 yard gain down to the NFC 2 yard line. On the next play Bills running back LeSean Shady McCoy ran it up the middle for the score to get the AFC right back in it down 20-17.

From the NFC 25, Rams quarterback Jared Goff came in and moved the NFC to a 3rd and 7 at the AFC 12 to start the fourth quarter. Goff was sacked by Chris Heyward and Mark Ingram. Graham Gano hit the 38 yard field goal for a 23-17 NFC lead. From the AFC 45, Derek Carr went deep and was intercepted by Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson at the NFC 9. The NFC held the ball for 6 minutes but got no points out of their drive. On 4th and 3 from the NFC 47,  Jared Goff threw incomplete.

The AFC had a short field and 3:44 left to try and win the game. On 4th and 7, Derek Carr hit Jarvis Landry for 12 yards. Carr hit Delanie Walker for an 18 yard touchdown as the AFC had their first lead of the game up by a point with 90 seconds to play. With the NFC facing 3rd and 6 at their own 29, Jared Goff was hit and fumbled. Broncos linebacker Von Miller recovered to lock up the win as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin led his team to comeback win over Saints coach Sean Payton’s squad. Miller was the game’s defensive MPV and Walker was the game’s offensive MVP. 24-23 AFC

NFL 2017-2018 Conference Title Games Recap

January 21st, 2018

NFL 2017-2018 Conference Title Game Recap

The Conference Title Games were played on Sunday, January 21, 2018.

AFC Title Game: Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots was the morning game.

When teams say nobody gives them a chance, it is normally hyperbolic nonsense. When the Jaguars say it, they mean it. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady had the Patriots in their 7th straight AFC Title Game. The Patriots were expected to easily dispatch Jacksonville to get to another Super Bowl. Tom Brady supposedly had an injured hand, which nobody believed. Early on the Patriots made it look as easy as everyone expected them to. On the second p[lay of the game, Brady went deep to Brandon Cooks for a 31 yard gain. The Patriots moved 62 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. On 4th and 1 from the Jacksonville 30, Brady went deep to Danny Amendola for 20 yards. Yet on 1st and goal at the 10, a pair of sacks of Brady ended the drive. Stephen Gostkowski hit the 31 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Patriots. Yet after that first drive, the game changed. The Jacksonville defense was for real, and they took over.

The Jaguars moved 76 yards and began the second quarter at the New England 28. Blake Bortles went to Grant for 24 yards and then to Marcedes Lewis for the 4 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Jaguars. New England went 3 and out and the Jaguars soon faced 1st and 10 at their own 18. Bortles hit Grant for 15 and Alex Hurns for 27 more. On 3rd and 2 from the New England 32, Leonard Fournette banged ahead for 4 yards.On 3rd and 1 from the 6, Fournette bulled ahead for 2 yards and then ran for the 4 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Jaguars.

With 2:02 left in the half the Patriots took over at their own 15. With 90 seconds left in the half and the Patriots at their own 40, Brady threw incomplete. Yet a roughing the passer call gave New England 15 yards. Brady then went deep incomplete, but a 32 yard defensive pass interference call kept the drive going. Brady then hit Cooks for 12 yards and White ran in the last yard for the touchdown as the Patriots only trailed 14-10 at halftime. Most football fans figured that Jacksonville had done their best, but that reality would take over in the second half. In the second half Jacksonville’s defense continued to play with heart and guts. Josh Lambo drilled a 54 yard field goal in the third quarter and a 43 yarder at the start of the fourth quarter as the Jaguars held a 20-10 lead.

New England fumbled the ball away on their next drive, but Jacksonville’s offense went 3 and out. New England took over at their own 15 and Brady went to Cooks for  18 yards. A sack of Brady had the Patriots facing 3rd and 18 at their own 25. Brady went deep to Amendola for a 21 yard gain. and to Dorsett for 31 more yards. Brady hit Amendola for 14 more and then again to Amendola for the 9 yard touchdown. With 9 minutes to play the Patriots were within 20-17. Jacksonville’s defense did all it could but when it mattered the offense could not get it done. New England took a short punt 20 yards and took over at the Jacksonville 30 with 5 minutes left in regulation. Brady hit White for 15, Amendola for 8, and again to Amendola for a 4 yard touchdown. With 2:48 the Patriots had a 4 point lead. There was no way Blake Bortles was going to win this game.

After a touchback, Bortles hit Lee for 8 and then went to Westbrook for a 29 yard gain. However a sack of Bortles led to a fumble. Jacksonville retained possession, but at the 2 minute warning they faced 3rd and 17 at the New England 45. On 4th and 14, Bortles threw incomplete. With 1:47 left, the Jaguars still had all 3 timeouts. On 3rd and 9, with the Jags needing one more stop, Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels played it safe. Dion Lewis got the carry, got around the end, and ran for an 18 yard gain. Jacksonville was game, but the Evil Empire of football will be going to another Super Bowl. 24-20 Patriots

NFC Title Game: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles was the afternoon game.

Early on the Vikings made it look easy, moving 75 yards. Case Keenum threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph to make it 7-0 Vikings. The tying touchdown bomb never happened because it was dropped. The Vikings soon faced 3rd and 8 at their own 43. Keenum got hit as he threw, and he was intercepted by Patrick Robinson at midfield. Robinson criss-crossed the entire field, picked up some fantastic blocks, and got to the end zone. Keenum had thrown a touchdown pass to each team for a 7-7 ballgame.

The Eagles got it back at their own 25 and Jay Ajayi quickly ran for a 13 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the Minnesota 47, Foles hit Zac Ertz for 11 yards. The second quarter began with the Eagles facing 3rd and 1 at the Minnesota 17. Foles hit Ertz for 6 yards and LaGuerrette Blount ran for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Eagles. The Vikings held the ball for  minutes and moved from their 15 to a 3rd and 5 at the Philly 16. Keenum was sacked and fumbled to kill the drive. The Eagle soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 28. Foles hit Clement for 8 yards. With 1:18 left in the half the Eagles faced 3rd and 10 at their own 47. Foles somehow avoided a sack and threw a 53 yard touchdown bomb to Alshon Jeffery for a 21-7 Eagles lead.

Minnesota could not even make it to the half. The Eagles got it back with 30 seconds left at their own 20 yard line. Foles hit Ajay for 11, Ertz for 36 more, and Ajayi again for 13. Jake Elliott hit the 38 yard field goal to end the half with the Eagles up 24-7. After a touchback to start the second half, the Eagles kept rolling. On 3rd and 6 from the Minnesota 48, Foles hit Smith for a 7 yard gain. On the next play Foles went deep to Torry Smith after a perfectly executed flea flicker for a 41 yard touchdown and a 31-7 Eagles lead. The Vikings moved from their 25 to a 1st and goal at the 7. After Keenum threw 3 straight incompletions, Mike Zimmer decided to go for it. Keenum went to Adam Thielen, who appeared to make a juggling circus catch for the touchdown. Replay showed that the ball clearly hit the ground, and officials properly overturned the score.

On 3rd and 4 from their own 14, Foles hit Ertz for 6 yards. On 3rd and 5 from their own 25, Foles went deep to Nelson Agholor for a 42 yard gain. From the Minnesota 35, Foles hit Burton for 12 and Clement for 14 more. The fourth quarter began with the Eagles facing 3rd and goal at the 4. Foles fired over the middle to Jeffery in the back of the end zone. Somehow Jeffery held on to the high throw and somehow maintained control of it for the touchdown. The 93 yard drive against what was supposed to be the league’s best defense had the Eagles winning a laugher. The supposed slugfest saw only one team slugging as the  game was a blowout. The rest of the game was going through the motions. Case Keenum had a great season, but he finished this game 28 of 48 for 271 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Nick Foles was magnificent, finishing 26 of 33 for 352 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. The Eagles are back in the Super Bowl for the first time in 13 years last time. the Eagles lost to the Patriots team led by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Now, they face them again.

In one week we play the Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida, rather than Honolulu, Hawaii.

In two weeks we play Super Bowl LII (52) between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.

eric