Eagles

Oozing with confidence, Jake Elliott has perfect afternoon vs. Chargers

CARSON, Calif. — Jake Elliott became a hero in Philadelphia last week when he drilled a 61-yarder to beat the Giants as time expired. That's awfully hard to top. 

So how did he follow it up? 

A perfect afternoon. 

The rookie went 4 for 4 on field goal attempts, 2 for 2 on extra points and booted all seven of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks in the Eagles' 26-24 win over the Chargers at StubHub Center on Sunday afternoon. 

It's clear the young kicker is oozing with confidence. And it doesn't hurt that the team is proving how much it trusts him. 

"I definitely enjoy that they have a little bit of confidence in me, sending me out for all those kicks," Elliott said. "Those are kicks that we have to make. All these games are close, it's the National Football League. Every point matters." 

As a former head coach in Philadelphia once said infamously, "you can do the math." The Eagles won by two points on Sunday; Elliott scored 14. 

The rookie kicker, whom the Eagles signed after Caleb Sturgis went down with a hip injury in Week 1, made field goals from 45, 40, 53 and 47 yards on Sunday. 

It was the first time an Eagles kicker attempted four 40-yard field goals in a game since 2009. And it was the first time an Eagles kicker made four from 40-plus since Oct. 3, 2004, when David Akers went 4 for 5 on such attempts. 

“Jake was huge again today," Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz said. "Last week, we know what Jake did and what he accomplished. Four-of-four today and two-for-two [extra] points. They weren’t easy field goals either. It was a 50-yard and some 40-something, but those are huge points in two-point ball game. Hats off to Jake again. We are thrilled about that game.”

Elliott was in a little bit of an unusual situation last week. He wanted to parlay his big franchise-record kick into momentum going forward, but as a kicker, he knew he had to also move past it and re-focus. It was a little bit of a tightrope act. 

Ultimately, he tried to stay off social media and avoid the buzz, although at times, the buzz was unavoidable. 

"The next kick is the most important one," Elliott said, repeating a mantra he's probably heard thousands of times in his life. 

Elliott's time with the Eagles actually didn't get off to a great start. While he went 2 for 3 in his first game against the Chiefs, he missed a 30-yard chip shot. And then to start the Giants game, he missed a 52-yarder. 

Had Elliott missed the 46-yard field goal with 51 seconds left to tie that Giants game, he would have been 2 for 5 and there's a chance the Eagles might have given up on him. After all, they did work out three kickers before they signed him off the Bengals' practice squad.

But Elliott didn't miss that 46-yarder. He made it, which started a streak of six straight makes, all from 40 yards or farther. 

Before the Kansas City game, the first game of Elliott's career, head coach Doug Pederson was asked if having Elliott instead of Sturgis would change his decision-making during games. Pederson said it wouldn't. He said he trusted his new kicker. That trust is now paying off. 

"He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now and he has confidence," Pederson said. "That’s what you want out of your kicker. Obviously, we have to do a better job when we get down inside that 30-yard line, but coming away with three points from him; big leg. I really have no hesitation putting him out there in those longer kick situations.”

Elliott has now made two field goals from 53 yards or farther. Just two kickers in Eagles history have more. David Akers made three in 188 career games and Sturgis has three in 30 games. Elliott has two in three games. 

Maybe it's still too early to tell, but it looks like the Eagles might have found their kicker of the future. It's not that Sturgis wasn't good; he was a pretty good kicker too. But he might end up doomed to a Wally Pipp fate. 

Elliott has been that impressive so far. On Sunday, he followed up the longest — and perhaps the most clutch — kick in franchise history with a perfect performance in a two-point road win. 

"It felt good," said the kicker, cool, calm and collected. "Went out there with a lot of confidence. Kicking in front of that crowd we had today was pretty cool. An away game, having mostly Eagles fans was a lot of fun. Came out there and had a lot of confidence. Rick (Lovato) and Donnie (Jones) did a heck of a job again. Try to keep it going."