DENVER — Darius Slay knew he was going to score.
And he explained it in a way only he could.
Slay knew the Broncos were in 13 personnel, “so they had nothing but fat guys out there.”
Those fat guys didn’t stand a chance.
That 83-yard fumble return touchdown from Slay was clearly the biggest play in the Eagles’ 30-13 win over the Broncos. Before the fumble, the Broncos were driving with a chance to tie the game up at 20 apiece.
On that play, the Broncos went for it on 4th-and-1 from the Eagles’ 23-yard line and it looked like they were going to pick up the first down.
Instead, second-year linebacker Davion Taylor knocked the ball loose from Melvin Gordon, Slay picked it up, dropped it, picked it up again, ran around for a while and then turned on his turbo booster to race into the end zone on the last play of the third quarter.
The Eagles never looked back.
“I mean that would take the air out of anybody,” Slay said. “You turn it over after going for it on fourth down, clutch possession. Shoot, that would take the air out of anybody. That was our goal, to out-physical them, that's the nail in the coffin right there.”
This was a special game for Taylor, who forced the fumble. He played college ball at Colorado and mentioned this week that his first Division I game was at Empower Field at Mile High. So getting a chance to play in Denver was the fulfillment of his dreams.
So it’s pretty fitting that he helped create the biggest play of the day … even if he didn’t know he did.
“I didn't even feel it to be honest,” Taylor said. “I didn't know until after the play when I looked up at the screen and saw the ball on the ground and Slay taking it back for a touchdown.”
After the game, head coach Nick Sirianni explained that the Eagles have rules for what they call “city fumbles” and “country fumbles.” A fumble in a crowd is a city fumble and the idea is to fall on it. A country fumble happens in space, where there’s some more time to scoop it.
Slay wore a sheepish grin when asked if this fumble was of the city or country variety. Not that he cares too much about the rules.
“I’m trying to score every time I touch the rock,” Slay said. “I barely get to touch it so when I touch it, I’m trying to score. Quick.”
The amazing thing is that Slay is in his ninth season in the NFL and coming into this year, he had just one touchdown in his career. He has two in the last three weeks.
Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith gave Slay credit for his speed on the fumble return, but also said Slay looks like a little kid with the ball in his hands.
“No ball security, nothing,” Smith said. “Just out there running.”
Hey, it worked. Those fat guys didn’t stand a chance.
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