struggling as a whole

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struggling as a whole

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Lane Johnson walked off the field wearing a dog mask while teammates barked after the Philadelphia Eagles squeaked out an upset to move within one victory of the Super Bowl.

Keep calling them underdogs. They embraced the role.

”It’s what makes sports fun Vincent Trocheck Jersey ,” said Johnson, the All-Pro right tackle. ”Anything more we can use to motivate us, we’ll use.”

The Eagles (14-3) were 3-point underdogs against the sixth-seed Atlanta Falcons (11-7), the first time a No. 1 seed wasn’t favored to win its first playoff game. They needed a stop on fourth down from the 2 in the final minute to beat the Falcons 15-10 and advance to the NFC title game for the first time since the 2008 season.

After Philly’s newly formed dog pound celebrated on the field, owner Jeffrey Lurie joined the fun by dancing in the circle in the middle of the locker room.

Expectations for Philadelphia plummeted after Carson Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14. They went 2-1 with Nick Foles, losing a meaningless game in Week 17 after starters only played one quarter. Still, oddsmakers and pundits picked the defending NFC champion Falcons to win.

”Since that point Carson went down, nobody has given us a chance,” coach Doug Pederson said. ”I understand Carson is a great player, but every week our guys hear we’re not good enough.”

Foles bounced back from a pair of subpar games with a steady performance. He completed 77 percent of his passes (23 of 30) for 246 yards, no touchdowns and no turnovers.

”The biggest thing in our locker room is that we believe in one another and that showed,” Foles said. ”We kept working, kept grinding Sylvester Williams Color Rush Jersey , had faith in one another. In any sport there’s going to be criticism. You’re aware of it because you’re human but we blocked it out.”

Foles outplayed Matt Ryan, last year’s NFL MVP. He led two impressive drives, one into the wind and one with it. Foles made a big-time 15-yard throw to Alshon Jeffery with 1 second left in the first half to set up Jake Elliott’s 53-yard field goal that cut Atlanta’s lead to 10-9.

”You guys doubted him, we never doubted him,” Jeffery said. ”We believe in anybody lining up back there at quarterback. We believe we still have 21 other guys out there.”

Losing Wentz, an MVP candidate, was the biggest blow during a season in which several standout players were hurt.

Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, versatile back/return specialist Darren Sproles, playmaking linebacker Jordan Hicks and special teams captain Chris Maragos each suffered season-ending injuries.

”Biggest emotion is for the team, for the guys, the resiliency, backs against the wall, people discounting us Youth JuJu Smith-Schuster Jersey ,” Pederson said.

The Eagles will host the winner of the Saints-Vikings game next Sunday. They’ve haven’t reached the Super Bowl since Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens and Co. lost to the New England Patriots 24-21 in February 2005.



AP NFL website:

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals welcome the Baltimore Orioles to town for a three-game series Tuesday and welcome reliever Kelvin Herrera to an already formidable bullpen.

The Nationals struck far in advance of the trade deadline Monday, acquiring the Kansas City Royals’ closer for three minor leaguers. Herrera is 14-for-16 in save opportunities this year with a 1.05 ERA.

The 28-year-old right-hander joins a late-inning group that includes set-up men Ryan Madson, 38, Brandon Kintzler, 33, and closer Sean Doolittle, 31.

“For the front office to send a message to us this far ahead of the deadline, to try to get us some help in the bullpen, I think it’s one of those situations where in April and May, the bullpen as a whole had a really heavy workload,” Doolittle told the Washington Post. “You saw Madson and Kintzler land on the DL because of that. It’s almost their way of saying, ‘Here’s some help. Here’s some reinforcements.'”

Madson allowed two home runs in Sunday’s loss to Toronto and Kintzler is out with a right forearm flexor strain.

Doolittle picked up the save Monday against the Yankees in the completion of a suspended game and has succeeded in 19 of 20 chances Tyson Barrie Jersey , posting a 1.37 ERA.

“For me, we have an all-star closer right now,” manager Dave Martinez said. “So (Herrera) will be asked to do some different things.”

On Monday, the Nationals and Yankees finally completed their two-game series from May 15-16, splitting the two games.

Washington (38-32) won the suspended game, which resumed in the sixth-inning with score tied 3-3. Rookie Juan Soto, who had not yet made his major league debut when the game originally began in May, clubbed a two-run homer to give Washington a 5-3 win.

New York won the second game 4-2 behind Sonny Gray and scoreless one inning stints from four relievers as the Nationals went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Baltimore (20-50) sends David Hess (2-3, 4.13) to the mound Tuesday against Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00).

The Orioles travel down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway on a rare high following Sunday’s 10-4 win over the Miami Marlins.

Baltimore had dropped nine games in a row and had lost 11 straight at home, tying the club record.

The Orioles hadn’t scored more than five runs since a 9-3 win over the White Sox on May 24 in Chicago, a span of 20 games.

“It was difficult for everyone,” Sunday’s starting pitcher Dylan Bundy told the Baltimore Sun. “We know what we are capable of Panthers Authentic Jerseys , and we’re not doing it right now. It was one of those days where we performed the way we should.”

The Orioles collected 14 hits, six for extra bases. Third baseman Jace Peterson matched his career high with four RBIs, including a two-run homer. Mark Trumbo hit a solo homer and had an RBI-double for Baltimore, which had scored four runs or fewer in 18 of its past 19 games.

“Usually when the team’s struggling as a whole, the pitchers get a little more comfortable on the other side, and they cruise through some of those innings,” Trumbo told the Sun. “It’s important to try and kind of peck away. I’d like to see a whole lot more games that look like this going forward. I think everybody would.”

Hess had been solid before allowing five runs in 3 1/3 innings in his last start, a loss to Boston. He faced the Nationals May 30 and took the loss despite allowing just one run on four hits over six innings.

With starters Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson on the disabled list, Rodriguez, 24, will make his first major league start. He is 5-3 with a 3.31 ERA in 13 starts for Double-A Harrisburg.

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