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How the Eagles pulled off the trick play that led to Nick Foles’ touchdown catch

Nick Foles catches a touchdown in the second quarter of the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The Eagles pulled off the upset over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, and one of the most critical plays was Philadelphia’s trick play that saw quarterback Nick Foles catch a touchdown pass from his tight end Trey Burton. It happened just before the half, giving the Eagles a 10-point lead at the break, keeping momentum on their side.

It was an incredibly gutsy call by Eagles Coach Doug Pederson to not only go for it on fourth and goal, but also to call a trick play. Here’s a closer look at how the play worked.

Foles initially lines up in the shotgun before walking up to the line of scrimmage, faking a protection call to his offensive line. Once he sets, the ball is snapped directly to the running back, who takes off to his left. There, he pitches it to Burton, who reverses back to the right. Meanwhile, Foles leaks out to the flat while tight end Zach Ertz sifts back across the formation to block an edge defender and further sell the fake reverse.

The play works exactly as designed. The defenders are a beat late off the snap and then all start working to the left side of the offense. Once Burton secures the pitch on the reverse, only the Patriots’ edge defender has a chance of picking up Foles, but he reads Ertz working across to block and assumes it’s a normal reverse play. Foles leaks out into the flat uncovered and receives a critical touchdown pass.

Eagles defeat Patriots, 41-33, to capture first Super Bowl title

It was a fantastic call and brilliantly executed. The play might feel extra sweet for the Eagles, too, as the Patriots had run the same concept against them for a big gain back in 2015.

It’s a nearly identical play, from the quarterback faking a protection call to the direct snap to the running back. The Patriots attempted a similar concept in the Super Bowl, but Brady couldn’t pull in the pass from wide receiver Danny Amendola. Instead, this time the trick play — and the game — went in the Eagles’ favor.

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