There have been three plays that greatly impacted the outcome of each of the Philadelphia Eagles' last three seasons. While time traveling (currently) is not an option, it is hard to avoid looking back at the "what if's".
2017: The Super Bowl Season Without Wentz
With four minutes left on the clock in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams, Carson Wentz calls the snap, surveys his options, and decides to call his own number. Running to his right, a flag is called as Wentz dives into the end zone and is smashed between two Rams defenders. A holding call on Lane Johnson rebukes the play, sending the Eagles back ten yards as Wentz hobbles to his feet.
After two unsuccessful run plays, it becomes fourth-and-goal. Doug Pederson decides to go for it, which turned out to be a great decision as Wentz connected with Alshon Jeffery in the end zone, bringing the score to 30-28 in favor of Philadelphia. Wentz leaves the field for what would be the final time of the historic Eagles season.
Backup quarterback Nick Foles stepped into the game and lead the Birds to a victory against the Rams. After the game, it was announced Wentz had torn his ACL, ending what many believed would have been an MVP-caliber season. Foles went on to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Philly for the first time.
But what if Wentz hadn't been hurt? What if he would have completed the game in L.A.?Would the Birds still have captured the title? Would Wentz win MVP? Does Bud Light erect a Carson Wentz statue outside of Lincoln Financial Field? Would you rather see Wentz win the Birds their first Super Bowl instead of Foles? Does Wentz go on to have a stellar 2018 campaign with no injury concerns? Would this be a play you would prevent from happening?
2018: The Alshon Drop
In the divisional round of the 2018 playoffs, the Eagles traveled to New Orleans to take on the Saints. Nick Foles is, again, attempting to lead the Birds to the NFC Championship. The Eagles are down by six on the Saints 28-yard line. It's 2nd-and-10 with 2 minutes left on the clock, plenty of time for reigning MVP Champion to tie the game. Foles steps back in the pocket and throws a dime to a wide-open Alshon Jeffery. The ball sails right through Jeffery's hands and into the chest of Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, effectively ending the game and the Eagles chances at capturing back-to-back Super Bowl titles and the start of an Eagles dynasty.
So what if Jeffery catches the ball? Do the Eagles keep the chains moving? Does Foles lead a comeback drive to advance the Birds to their second straight NFC Championship game? If so, the stage would have been set to play the Rams, a game many believe the Eagles would have won. Would the Eagles have been competing for their second straight Super Bowl title had it not been for the drop and interception that followed? Would you prevent Jeffery from missing the catch?
2019: The Cheap Shot
The 2019 season was a rough one from start to finish for the Philadelphia Eagles. However, the football gods were watching over the Birds in December, paving the way for a third straight playoff appearance. Coming off a four-game win streak against divisional opponents, the Eagles were getting hot, and the young players were beginning to step up and take command of the field. The Seattle Seahawks would have to face the Eagles in Philadelphia as both teams were fighting for the right to advance to the Divisional Round.
Early in the first quarter, Carson Wentz calls the snap, surveys the field, finds no viable options, and decides to take the ball himself. He is caught by a defender a yard shy of the line of scrimmage. As he is falling, Seattle's Jadeveon Clowney lunges at Wentz, hitting the back of his helmet and forcing his head to the ground. Wentz left the game and was taken to the locker room where it was later reported that he was experiencing memory loss and was unaware of his surroundings due to a severe concussion.
Fans took to social media claiming Clowney's hit was dirty and intentional. The Eagles went on to lose the game 17-9, ending their potential playoff run.
Imagine if Carson hadn't been hurt. With the Birds on a hot streak and home-field advantage in the game, it was plausible to believe the Eagles would have become victorious against the Seahawks. But would they have advanced any further? Would Wentz be able to lead the team through the playoffs with DeSean Jackson preparing to return from injury the following week? Does the hit that took Wentz out of the game negatively impact the remainder of the season enough to wish you could have prevented it?
Three seasons in a row with plays that greatly impacted the remained of each season. You get to prevent one of these plays from happening. Which one would you choose? Vote in our poll!