Before the Eagles were able to kick a 43-yard field goal to finish off a scrappy comeback win Sunday, they were faced with a 4th-and-1 from the Giants’ 42-yard line with 2:39 remaining.
The Eagles could have attempted a 59-yard field goal, but they didn’t have the wind and this is classic “go for it” territory for Pederson. But it’s important to note it was a long one yard to go, which might have taken a run or a QB sneak off his mind.
What the Eagles ended up using is a play that they’ve used countless times before. It’s a mesh play they actually ran several times in the Super Bowl. The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia put together an excellent breakdown of the Super Bowl usage this spring.
But Sunday, the Eagles were in a do-or-die situation and they went back to a play everyone feels comfortable with.
“It’s something that’s been in our offense since I’ve been here and guys know exactly what to do,” Pederson said. “It’s well executed.”
The play is probably more suited for man coverage, but it can be used against zone too. On this play, the Giants were in zone coverage, which allowed Nelson Agholor to find a weak spot and settle in for his only catch of the day. It just also happened to be the biggest catch of the day.
The concept of the mesh is that there are two shallow crossers that create some natural rub. Now, it’s illegal to run pick plays in the NFL, but some natural rub that might throw a defender off just a split second is OK. That’s what this play is designed for. So you’ll have Golden Tate and Zach Ertz as the crossers, while Agholor is going to settle in behind the crosses.
Now, you can start to see how this play is coming together. The crossers are going to take their defenders out of the middle of the field, but you’ll see there are three receivers there and just two DBs. The other guys on the back end are in their deep zones, which exposes the fleshy part of this zone coverage.
Credit to Wentz, who goes through his progressions quickly and realizes pretty soon that Agholor was going to be wide open in the middle of the field. He just had to patiently wait for Ertz and Tate to cross his face. Once they did, he absolutely fires a rocket into Agholor. Credit to Agholor too. He hadn’t caught a ball all game and was ready to reel this one in.
“It was just a progression read. [Agholor] was next in the progression and they went zone coverage and it kind of just parted there in the middle,” Wentz said. “He came up with arguably the biggest catch of the day.”
This play took the Eagles to the Giants' 30-yard line. They added five more yards after that before Jake Elliott kicked a 43-yard field goal that was the game-winner.
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