There’s a statue of Doug Pederson outside the Eagles’ stadium. Yes, it was put there by a beer company, but it’s still a statue of the former coach and Nick Foles, calling the Philly Special in Super Bowl 52. Surely there haven’t been too many instances in NFL history where a coach returned to face his former team in a stadium with a statue of said coach.
The Eagles fired Pederson after a 4-11-1 season in 2020; he had pulled Jalen Hurts in the second half of a close season finale. Even though the end of his tenure was unpleasant, Pederson, who now coaches the Jaguars, received a standing ovation before today’s game. Things got better for him from there. Defensive back Andre Cisco jumped in front of an errant Hurts pass and ran it back for a pick-six. Jags quarterback Trevor Lawrence found Jamal Agnew for a four-yard touchdown, and the defense stopped the Eagles on downs on the ensuing drive. Jacksonville led 14-0 after one quarter.
From there, things stopped getting better for ol’ Doug. Lawrence kept turning the ball over, which helped the Birds score 29 consecutive points. The Eagles scored a touchdown on fourth down after a Lawrence fumble, and got a short field after Haason Reddick recovered an aborted snap. Kenneth Gainwell’s 10-yard touchdown run right before halftime put the Eagles ahead for good.
More turnovers followed. The Eagles’ offense sputtered in the second half for the fourth straight game, but the Jags couldn’t take advantage. Lawrence finished the game with one interceptions and four lost fumbles. His team would’ve had more of a chance if he didn’t keep losing the ball. Jacksonville had one more opportunity with under two minutes left in the game, but that drive ended after one play when Reddick sacked Lawrence and forced the fumble.
The Eagles won, 29-21. The Jaguars looked sloppy. Pederson didn’t get revenge, though he gave away his soggy jacket to his former player Jason Kelce. At least he still has that statue.