Boo-birds singing in a driving rain…yeah, that’s what home-field advantage feels like sometimes when your Eagles are struggling. Not exactly chestnuts roasting over an open fire…
The loosey-goosey 2-10 Giants were having their way with us for most of the night. We were playing tighter than ~BROZ’ spandex pants after Thanksgiving dinner. To make matters worse, our best veteran players on offense were dropping like flies. This roster we were left to survive with appeared to be down to the bare wires. Maybe it is. We look more like a college all-star team now than a bona-fide contender.
Still, even if ultimate depreciation of physical assets is our eventual fate, we are still alive in the war to win the NFC East. We are wounded, but still walking.
Quarterback Carson Wentz was able to orchestrate two touchdown drives in the second half to erase a 14-point deficit, and threw a game-winning TD to tight end Zach Ertz in overtime to pull the Eagles (6-7) even with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.
“It’s not easy when you have that many new faces out there playing in a must-win game against a division opponent,” coach Doug Pederson said. “Carson does get a lot of credit, but at the same time, we made some plays on defense that kept us in there and we were able to pull it out.”
New faces is an understatement.
WR Alshon Jeffery was taken to the locker room on a cart after suffering what the team called a foot injury in the first half. Jeffery was not contacted on the play but left the field limping before throwing his helmet down and entering the medical tent.
RT Lane Johnson went down when Wentz was knocked into him in the second quarter. Johnson, an All-Pro in 2017, suffered an injured left ankle and was also carted off the field. Halapoulivaati Vaitai took his place at right tackle.
The Eagles face the prospect of being down two of their top offensive players in Johnson and Jeffery as they begin a final push toward the postseason, beginning Sunday in Washington.
After Eli Manning led the New York Giants to a 14-point lead, Wentz brought the injury-depleted Eagles back and tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Ertz in overtime to give Philadelphia a 23-17 win on Monday night.
The Eagles (6-7) snapped a three-game losing streak and moved into a tie with Dallas (6-7) for first place in the NFC East. Philadelphia takes the division title if it wins its final three games. The Eagles meet the Cowboys in Week 16.
“Guys stepped up and made plays,” Wentz said. “We had guys moving around and I had no choice but to trust these guys.”
The Eagles were down to one healthy wide receiver by the end of the game and were using inexperienced guys and players out of position. Ertz, a Pro Bowl tight end, had to line up at wide receiver.
“We understood as a team that we had to find a way,” Ertz said.
Manning, the two-time Super Bowl MVP, threw a pair of TD passes to Darius Slayton in his first game since Week 2. Filling in for injured rookie Daniel Jones, Manning was 15 of 30 for 203 yards. But he couldn’t prevent New York (2-11) from losing its ninth straight game, tying a franchise record set in 1976, when the team opened 0-9.
“I’ve played a lot of football games,” Manning said. “I know the offense and know what I’m supposed to do. I made some good throws and didn’t make some plays that I needed to.”
Wentz threw for 325 yards and a pair of TDs, including a 5-yard toss to Ertz to tie it at 17 with 1:53 left.
The Birds were booed off the field trailing 17-3 at halftime. They possibly deserved it. They appeared to be on the verge of being blown out by the Giants, who looked inspired. The Eagles appeared to be lost on some key defensive coverages, and confused on offense as well.
They went three-and-out on five straight possessions before Boston Scott caught a 10-yard pass on third-and-5 in the third quarter. Scott then ran 4 yards to the 2 on third-and-3 and scored on the next play to cut it to 17-10.
Scott, one of the former practice squad players, provided a big spark. He had 59 yards rushing and 69 yards receiving.
“Just do my job. You never know when your opportunity might come,” Scott said.
Wentz drove Philadelphia to the Giants 29 with just under 10 minutes left but Greg Ward dropped what should’ve been a 29-yard TD pass on third-and-11. Jake Elliott then missed a 47-yard field goal wide left. Things were looking grim for the home team.
But the defense held and Wentz drove the Eagles 85 yards and connected with Ertz to tie it.
The Eagles won the toss in overtime and went 75 yards.
Ertz had nine catches for 91 yards.
Manning connected with Slayton for a 35-yard TD on a third-and-13 to give the Giants a 7-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter. Ronald Darby missed a tackle that would’ve stopped Slayton short of a first down.
Manning then hit Slayton for a 55-yard TD on third-and-8 with 27 seconds left in the first half to give the Giants a 17-3 lead.
Down 7-0, the Eagles got going when Wentz connected with Ertz on consecutive passes of 24 and 30 yards. Wentz then hit Ward for a 9-yard TD that was negated by a holding call on Brandon Brooks. The Eagles settled for Elliott’s 34-yard field goal.
Then Aldrick Rosas hit a 34-yarder for the G-Men to make it 10-3.
I doubt he’s a long-term answer at RB, but second-year running back Boston Scott, thrust into action with Jordan Howard sidelined and Miles Sanders working through an apparent leg injury, made the most of his opportunity, finishing with 156 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. Showing burst and power, he proved that he deserves a role over a laboring Jay Ajayi as the Eagles enter the season’s home stretch with three games remaining. Still, as opponents accumulate film on him, it’s likely his role as a small power back will be soon neutralized. Then what? We’re running out of guys.
Cornerback Ronald Darby had a night to forget, yielding multiple big plays to rookie receiver Darius Slayton, who finished with five catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns. After a four-game stretch in which they played buttoned-up defense, the Eagles’ secondary has once again become susceptible to the big play, though it did put the clamps on Giants quarterback Eli Manning in the second half. I wouldn’t totally discount Darby yet as it appeared to me he was counting on some backside safety help which never arrived. If so, they still have time to fix it.
Arcega-Whiteside (JAR-JAR) made a great sideline catch to keep a crucial drive going for Wentz. Sidney Jones came off the bench to get a huge pass-breakup in the late going on a crucial stop of a desperation drive by Manning. Those plays told me we were going to win this comeback game last night. I just can’t tell you it’s sustainable moving forward.
|Passing 1st downs||6||16|
|Rushing 1st downs||5||9|
|1st downs from penalties||0||2|
|3rd down efficiency||2-12||9-21|
|4th down efficiency||0-0||1-2|
|Yards per Play||4.9||4.9|
|Yards per pass||5.7||5.7|
|Yards per rush||3.7||3.7|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||0-1||3-4|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|