Eagles show Chargers blueprint for beating Patriots in Super Bowl win

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- In the biggest moment of his pro football career, Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson did not flinch facing the mighty New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on Sunday.

Pederson's Eagles played aggressive and free, going for it twice on fourth down, including a gutsy call for a touchdown on a 1-yard reverse pass to quarterback Nick Foles near the end of the first half.

Even when the Patriots briefly took the lead late in the game, Pederson continued to aggressively call plays that ultimately led to Foles hitting tight end Zach Ertz for the winning touchdown with a little more than two minutes left.

With Tom Brady and the Patriots needing a touchdown to take the lead, Philadelphia's defense finally got a stop. Edge rusher Brandon Graham moving inside to create some interior pass rush, stripped Brady of the football and fellow defensive lineman Derek Barnett recovered.

Rookie kicker Jake Elliott drilled a 43-yard field goal to give the Eagles an eight-point lead, and once Brady's Hail Mary to tight end Rob Gronkowski fell to the ground in the end zone as time expired, the Eagles could finally celebrate the franchise's first Super Bowl victory.

For the Los Angeles Chargers, a franchise also looking for its first Super Bowl win, the Eagles showed the Patriots are beatable. That's important considering any Super Bowl run for the Chargers likely will have to go through New England. The Patriots have played in the past seven AFC title games.

The Chargers lost in New England 21-13 in Week 8 of the regular season. The defense played solid, holding the Patriots' offense to just one touchdown. However, offensively the Chargers could not sustain enough drives.

Surprisingly, Pederson seemed a step ahead of Bill Belichick, perhaps the greatest coach ever to lead a team in the NFL. The Eagles had one of the best run offenses in the NFL, and used that to their advantage in rolling up 164 yards on the ground.

However, because of Philadelphia's effectiveness running the football, it made the Patriots susceptible to the play-action game, and Foles was efficient on play-action passes.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Foles attempted 21 play-action passes Sunday, the most in a Super Bowl, going 12-of-21 for 118 yards and a touchdown. Foles completed 72 percent of his play-action pass attempts during the postseason.

Philip Rivers was one of the best quarterbacks on play-action passes during the regular season, completing 54.6 percent of his passes for 958 passing yards, six touchdowns and just one interception on play-action passes.

The Chargers totaled 157 rushing yards against the Patriots, but finished just 3-of-10 on third down and Rivers mustered just 192 passing yards against New England's stingy pass defense. The Chargers couldn't convert enough first downs to stay on the field for scores, keeping the ball away from Brady.

The Eagles finished 10-of-16 on third down against the Patriots, with Foles throwing for 373 passing yards on his way to being named the Super Bowl MVP.

As Philadelphia showed in its impressive win, the Chargers will have to balance limiting mistake with letting it rip in critical moments to defeat the Patriots.

The Chargers also should benefit from New England facing an offseason of change, with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels taking the head coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia doing the same with the Detroit Lions.

Brady turns 41 this year, so perhaps 2018 will be the opening of the Chargers' window to make a deep playoff run. Since 2006, the Chargers are 1-6 against the Patriots.