Eagles

Eagles Film Review: The play that set up the game-winning field goal

It's a play the Eagles practice often. And it's a good thing too. Because without it, Jake Elliott doesn't even have a chance to hit a 61-yard field goal and become an instant hero. 

First the Eagles had to get into field goal range. 

So with seven seconds left, the Eagles went to a play they practice every week, a play they even walked through on Saturday. And it worked. Carson Wentz pushed the ball to Alshon Jeffery on the sideline for a 19-yard gain and Jeffery stepped out of bounds with one second left. You know the rest. 

As the Eagles lined up with seven seconds left, they showed a bunch formation to the right side of the field and the Giants called a timeout. After they got back to the line, the Eagles hadn't changed their formation: Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor lined up again on the right side of the field. 

Before and during the timeout, FOX announcer Joe Buck started talking about how the Eagles were in a "Hail Mary situation" and if they weren't they would need to get the ball to around the 37-yard line and that wouldn't be easy. He was close on that second part; they got to the 43. 

"We only had seven seconds," head coach Doug Pederson said, "so we have calculated in a sideline throw can take anywhere from five to six, and we were right on that mark today."

 

At the point of the snap, the Eagles have that trips bunch set to the right. Smith is on the line of scrimmage, while Agholor is nearest to the line and Jeffery is outside. Agholor's job is to simply slow down his man and try to take him out of the play. Smith is Wentz's first progression on this play, taking a step left and running a simple vertical rout. Jeffery is running a deep out. 

While Agholor (green) isn't a likely threat to get the ball on that short route with just a few seconds left, his route forces Eli Apple to at least stay with him a little bit. Apple is rightfully giving 10 yards as a cushion, but the fact that he has to be worried about Agholor at all will be a big deal. 

Jeffery (blue), the second progression on the play, is still about 12 yards from making his cut, but you can already see the pocket of space along the sideline forming as his man continues to backpedal. 

The pocket is open and Wentz is about to make a perfect throw. Apple has peeled off Agholor, but he's going to be just a second late. Same thing goes for Janoris Jenkins, who is covering Jeffery on the play. He starts to drive to where the ball will be, but he's going to end up colliding with Apple as Jeffery makes the grab. 

Before we get back to the completion, here's a look at the protection on the play. With the Giants' rushing just three, Wentz has plenty of time to deliver the throw. Lane Johnson gets pushed back some, but he holds up against Jason Pierre-Paul. 

OK, back to the pass. Wentz didn't have much of a window to fit the ball in here. Apple is driving back and Jenkins is driving forward to the ball. It looks like either one of them will have a chance to knock down the pass. If that happens, the Eagles would probably have a second or two left but would need to resort to a Hail Mary, and the game probably goes to overtime. 

You have to give some credit to Jeffery on the catch. In the first couple games of the season, he struggled to bring down the football in tight coverage, something he's been known for in his career. But here, he's able to come back to the ball just enough to take it before Apple can. Apple's momentum will carry him into Jenkins and allow Jeffery to simply step out of bounds with one second on the clock. 

"I knew seven seconds was definitely pushing it with the route, which I think was 15 yards," Wentz said, "but in those situations you just have to take some chances." 

The Eagles kicked a field goal on the next play and finished off another improbable and crazy win over the Giants.