The Eagles did a bunch of things Sunday they haven’t done in a long time. They shut a team down in the second half. They came from behind. They freaking finally ran the ball with authority. And they won at the Linc.
The Eagles, facing a crucial game against the Giants, rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to beat New York, 25-22, at the Linc, keeping their faint postseason hopes alive for another week.
For the first time in a while, it’s a happy Roob’s 10 Eagles Observations!
1. That was ugly, but you know what? The Eagles showed they still have some fight left, and that’s the biggest thing I wanted to see Sunday. Protect your home turf. Play with pride. Punch somebody in the face. Respond to adversity. Prove to everybody that you haven’t quit. This was a team at a pivotal point, with the season slipping away, coming off one of the worst losses in franchise history, and they battled. They still spotted the Giants a 9-0 lead, and they still struggled to beat a 3-7 team at home, but the way the season’s been going? You take it. You take it and live to see another day.
2. I felt like nothing really came easy for Carson Wentz. Pass protection wasn’t great, he missed some guys early, and it took a while for the running game to get going. But I love the way he hung in there coming off the worst game of his career and just kept making plays and took what the defense gave him. His final numbers were very good — 20 for 28 for 236 yards and a touchdown — but it was the comeback that was really impressive. Wentz engineered back-to-back scoring drives in the fourth quarter and he played smart, mistake-free football.
3. Was really encouraging to see Doug Pederson finally make a commitment to the running game and get both Corey Clement and Josh Adams involved in the offense, especially on the go-ahead drive to open the fourth quarter, where they combined on all 61 yards. These are two young, undrafted running backs, and they’re two guys that will always have an incredible hunger to succeed, an incredible desire to excel after humble beginnings to their career, and maybe some of that rubbed off on the rest of their team. They’re both fighters and they’re always going to give everything they have. Adams finished with a career-high 84 rushing yards on 22 carries and a touchdown and Clement had 5 for 45 rushing and 2 for 31 receiving. That’s 160 yards from two undrafted kids — 111 of them in the second half. But it’s not enough to do it once. Pederson has good running backs. He can’t forget to use them.
4. Gotta give a tremendous amount of credit to Jim Schwartz for not letting things get out of hand despite being down six defensive backs to start the game, then losing two more during the game (one returned). Not to mention no Jordan Hicks. The Giants went TD-FG-FG-TD on their first four drives, then scored three points on their last five drives. Saquon Barkley was 9 for 94 and 6 for 37 receiving before halftime and 4 for 7 without a catch after halftime. Odell Beckham Jr. was 3 for 63 before halftime and 2 for 22 after halftime. People love to criticize Schwartz for not making adjustments. He made a few Sunday and we saw an exceptional group after halftime.
5. It’s hard to tell exactly what the initial play call was on that big 3rd-and-2 in the third quarter, when Wentz kept the ball and kind of just ran into traffic and lost a yard, forcing the Eagles to kick a field goal after a promising drive. Whether Pederson called it or Wentz checked into it, that was a tremendous opportunity — 3rd-and-2 on the Giants’ 23— but the Eagles wound up with a play that gave them no chance.
6. Nelson Agholor deserves so much credit for that 4th-and-1 catch that set up the game-winning field goal. Agholor hadn’t been targeted in the game and hadn’t caught a pass since the Cowboys game. But when the ball came his way? He was ready. It shows once again just how far this kid has come and how much he’s matured. He never hung his head because he didn’t get the ball or because Golden Tate was targeted more than him. When the game was on the line, he came up huge.
7. Tate was targeted eight times and finished with four catches and 30 yards with a long gain of 12 yards. Meanwhile, Agholor was targeted just once, Alshon Jeffery three times (he was 3 for 39) and Jordan Matthews once without a catch. It’s pretty clear the wide receiver position is far more muddled now with Tate than before he got here. It’s one of the reasons the Eagles are lacking rhythm offensively right now. The Eagles really have some work to do to figure this whole thing out.
8. On a defensive line filled with underachievers, Michael Bennett’s been really good. With his sack Sunday, he has 6 1/2 this year after he went the first three weeks without a sack. None of the other defensive ends have done much, but Bennett’s been solid. You just wonder how much he has left at 33 years old.
9. I don’t know if any of these young defensive backs will ever amount to much, but my hat’s off to Tre Sullivan, Cre’Von LeBlanc, De’Vante Bausby and Chandon Sullivan for the work they put Sunday. They showed a ton of pride standing up to the Giants. Eli Manning was 7 for 12 for 61 yards in the second half and generated just three points. Think about it. The Eagles are down Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones. And then Sullivan got hurt and didn’t come back. And they won. Every one of those young DBs who went out there and battled deserves a ton of credit.
10. Have to give a shoutout to Zach Ertz, who caught seven passes for 91 yards and reached career highs with 86 catches for 895 yards with five games left. What a remarkable year Ertz is having. One of the best ever by an NFL tight end. His 86 catches are most in NFL history by a tight end after 11 games, and his 405 catches are third-most by a tight end in his first six seasons, behind only Jimmy Graham (434) and Jason Witten (429).
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