Last Thursday, we were blessed not only with an Eagles win, but also with a redux of one of their most iconic plays in franchise history.
Half way through the third quarter, before a crucial third and five in Atlanta territory, Nick Foles met with Doug Pederson on the sideline to strategize their next play. Both were immediately on the same page.
The Eagles came out with Corey Clement in a single back set and two receivers to the left of Foles. The ball went to Clement, who then pitched it to Nelson Agholor on an end around, who then passed the ball to a wide open Foles for a first down and then some. It was the Philly Special all over, except this time it was Agholor throwing the ball into the arms of a wipe open Nick Foles.
Although, Doug Pederson said post game that this play is actually called Philly Philly, just to clear up any misconceptions.
While Philly Philly may be drawn up differently from the Philly Special, the personal is nearly the same, with the major difference being Agholor making the throw rather than Trey Burton. Both plays were memorable, both helped spark Eagles victories, but the question stands, who threw the better pass?
To truly analyze these two plays, all outside aspects must be removed. Just because one play took place during the Super Bowl doesn’t mean it’ll get any sort favoritism. With that said, I’ll begin by breaking down Burton’s pass in the original Philly Special.
For starters, Burton has the much easier throw. Nick Foles simply runs to the flat and turns around for the ball. It’s only about a two yard gain, and counting Burton’s drop back, it’s a pass of about ten yards.
Foles has the difficult job of selling the fake, Burton simply has to get the ball to him.
Burton is in bunches left, so he doesn’t have to go particularly far to get the pitch from Clement. This means he doesn’t built up a full head of steam making it easier for him to slow down going into the pass.
His footwork isn’t bad on the throw. He steps into it with his back foot, but he keeps a good base.
Burton also opens his arm a little too much on the throw, but outside of that, his mechanics aren’t bad.
The throw itself is solid. He puts a spiral on the ball, but it isn’t the tightest. His placement is a little high and forces Foles to extend for the ball. Foles even leaves the ground for the catch, although it wasn’t necessary.
All in all, Burton makes a nice throw, without any defender breathing down his neck, to an open receiver for a short gain.
Final verdict: Three thumbs up. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
Now, to take a look at the more recent, Philly Philly.
Nelson Agholor’s throw is much more difficult than Burton’s. While Trey has to hit a nearly stationary Foles on a sort of hook route, Agholor has to hit Foles in stride on a wheel route.
The Eagles are on third and five with the ball on the Atlanta forty-one yard line. Agholor makes the throw around the fifty and Foles makes the catch around the thirty-nine yard line and runs out of bounds around the twenty-six. The play nets about a 15 yard gain, but Agholor’s pass is about an eleven yard throw, just a yard longer than Burton’s throw.
Agholor is set out wide to Foles’ left and has to sell the end around before he makes his pass. This means Agholor has to be running near full sprint going into his throw. This is another area where Agholor’s throw is more difficult than Burton’s.
Because Agholor is running at near full sprint before the throw, his footwork is kind of a mess. He never really comes to a complete stop, he throws off his back foot, and his feet are practically touching each other as the ball leaves his hand.
Agholor’s throwing motion however is fairly clean. He high points the ball a little and extends his arm more than he needs to. He also releases the ball at a weird throwing angle, but in his defense he is running while he throws. Also, his eyes are completely on the ball in his hands and not the receiver.
Despite never coming to a complete stop, Agholor’s throw is nothing short of beautiful. The ball could’ve had a tighter spiral to it, much like Burton’s, but his placement is impeccable. He puts the ball right in Foles’ bread basket and gives him plenty of room to turn up field for an extra four to five yards. Foles never has to stop running to turn around and go after the ball, it’s right where it needs to be.
Agholor also gets bonus points for the throwing it over Vic Beasley’s head.
Final verdict: four thumbs up. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
It may not have been the Super Bowl, but I think it’s pretty clear to see that Nelson Agholor out did Trey Burton at his own game. But it’s cool, Burton gave Agholor a shout out on Twitter after the throw. Real recognize real.
Final final verdict: Agholor madethe better throw.