T.J. Edwards didn’t just make the play of the game Sunday.
He helped call it too.
During the Eagles’ 21-18 win over the Panthers, the biggest play of the game was Edwards’ blocked punt with 4:00 left in the game that set up the go-ahead score.
And it was actually Edwards and fellow linebacker Shaun Bradley who brought up the idea of running the specific check in that situation. They brought it up on the sideline to special teams coordinator Michael Clay, who told them to go for it.
“Shoot, it's a player's league, baby,” Clay said. “Go and get you one. Luckily, they did, and it worked out for us.”
Clay explained that he and his coaches helped design and implement that punt block play during the week of practice. The play was designed for a specific look from the Panthers.
When they got that look earlier in the game, Edwards and Bradley told their coaches they thought they could make it work. And they did.
Clay said he always asks his players for input because he can only see so much from the sideline. That strategy paid off in a huge way on Sunday.
“They're the ones playing it” Clay said. “If they feel something like, ‘Hey, I can get this guy,’ let me know so I'm not shocked or anything that they went rogue or something like that, but if they talk to me, hey, whatever is going to help us win the game, I'm all for it.
“These guys have been outstanding in terms of understand what we're trying to do, accomplish on the return games, our coverage games, so the more communication I think, the better for us, and just the more trust we have to say, ‘Hey, go out and play. Go make a play.’”
On the play, Bradley really makes it happen. It’s his job to get a piece of the long snapper and then get into the backfield to block the personal protector to spring a looping Edwards.
It worked to perfection.
It was the Eagles’ first punt block since December of 2017. And it lead to a much-needed win to snap a three-game losing streak.
“They ran it perfectly, and at first I thought T.J. overran it because it got so clean, and it hit him in the bicep, but luckily, I think we paid a little bit of our dues, and we finally got one,” Clay said. “It helped swing the momentum for the game, and it helped us win, which is all we want to do being that special teams unit.”
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