PHILADELPHIA — The local-kid-makes-good script has outgrown Eagles pass rusher Haason Reddick, who grew up in Camden, a $5 toll from Lincoln Financial Field.
Warm as that storyline is, the product of Temple University took a major step nationally Sunday with two first-quarter sacks that blew up the 49ers’ best plans and launched the Eagles into Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Ariz.
On the fifth play for the 49ers, Reddick twisted rookie quarterback Brock Purdy’s elbow like a soft pretzel, popping the ball loose to defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Purdy was able to throw only three more passes, logging his first loss in eight starts.
Wonder how those Niners fans feel who draped a red jersey over the Rocky statue Saturday, chanting “Brocky, Brocky,” at the Art Museum?
Anyway, Purdy was replaced by Josh Johnson, the 36-year-old relic you wouldn’t know unless your life once was so barren you filled the hole watching the Alliance of American Football League.
On Johnson’s second play, the Eagles ahead 7-0, Reddick sacked him for a nine-yard loss, triggering a three-and-out and paving the way for a brawling, runaway 31-7 triumph over the 49ers.
Almost forgotten in that explosive start was how Reddick recovered a Johnson fumble late in the first half to set up a 10-yard scoring run by Boston Scott with 16 seconds left, staking the Eagles to a 21-7 lead at the intermission.
“He just took over the game,” Eagles veteran James Bradberry said of Reddick. “Ain’t seen nothing like that in a while. Von Miller, yeah, that was pretty similar to Von Miller. It definitely set the tone.”
Miller registered a game-changing 2.5 sacks of Cam Newton to go with six tackles and two forced fumbles, one recovered for a TD to earn Super Bowl XL MVP honors in a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers.
Reddick has 3.5 sacks this postseason, the most by an Eagle in a playoff run. Counting the regular season Reddick has 19.5 sacks in 19 games.
Moreover, Reddick (2 sacks, 3 tackles, fumble recovery) totally upstaged 49ers counterpart Nick Bosa, who had one more tackle but just one big play, a tackle of Jalen Hurts at the 1-yard line of the Eagles.
Last week Reddick tweeted that he was upset the AP voters didn’t think he was worthy of being one of the three finalists in the Defensive Player of the Year balloting. On Sunday he made a statement.
“I think my play showed it today, you know what I’m saying? But hey, it is what it is. We’re worried about bigger things.”
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Eagles left offensive tackle Jordan Mailata is in line to become just the third Aussie to play in the Super Bowl. Mailata felt the turning point for the offense was Nick Sirianni’s decision to convert a fourth-and-one at the 34-yard line on the game’s first possession. The Eagles wound up with a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
“I don’t know how Sirianni walks around with the set of cojones that he has,” Mailata said. “That’s crazy. How’s the man walk around like that? Fourth down in a big playoff game? Kudos to him.”
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NOTES >> The Eagles became the first team to allow seven or fewer points in consecutive playoff games since the Ravens during their 2000 run to the Super Bowl title. … Miles Sanders rushed for two TDs, Scott and Hurts one each as the Eagles tallied a franchise playoff-record four scores on the ground. That was the most allowed by the Niners in a game this season. Hurts has rushed for 14 scores. … The Eagles escaped serious injury although left guard Landon Dickerson exited in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury. Andre Dillard stepped in at guard.
Source: Berkshire mont
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