Eagles

Roob’s observations after shorthanded Eagles come back to beat lowly Giants in OT

Roob’s observations after shorthanded Eagles come back to beat lowly Giants in OT

BOX SCORE 

Just what we all expected. Boston Scott leading the Eagles back from a 14-point halftime deficit to an overtime win over one of the worst teams in football.

You never know. You really don't.

But the Eagles beat the Giants on Monday night, 23-17 in overtime, the losing streak is over, the Eagles are back in a virtual tie with the Cowboys, the division is there for the taking and if you went to bed early, don't you feel stupid?

Here are 10 instant observations about the strangest game of the year:

1. Honestly, when it was 17-3 at halftime, I didn’t think they had a shot. They looked dead. They looked lost. They looked done. I wasn’t sure this team had any fight left. It’s hard to get too excited about a rousing comeback against a 2-10 team that hasn’t won a game since September, but when you’re facing a four-game losing streak of your own and a second straight loss to a last-place team, you’ll take it. Whatever Doug Pederson told these guys at halftime worked. The Eagles got some juice from some unexpected people — Scott, Josh Perkins and Greg Ward, who were all on the practice squad earlier this year. All of them made big plays on the two second-half TD drives. And for the first time in a long time the Eagles actually looked like a real football team. They’re still a 6-7 team that struggled to beat a 2-10 team at home. But it’s way better than the alternative.

2. Whatever Pederson said or did at halftime, what we saw in that second half and OT — the Eagles outscoring the Giants 20-0 to win a game they had to win — is evidence that Pederson's message and his voice are still getting through to the guys in the locker room. That’s the most important takeaway of this game. That first half was grotesque, but this team still has some pride and still has some fight, and still cares and is still willing to play hard for Pederson. That’s why he’s not going anywhere after this season. There will be changes. Probably major changes. We all saw Monday night why the head coach won’t be one of them.

3. Carson Wentz has taken a lot of heat lately, and he’s deserved some of it. But you saw in that second half and overtime what happens when he gets some help from the people around him. When people actually make plays. Wentz after halftime was 22-for-31 for 228 yards, two TDs to Zach Ertz and no interceptions. And that’s with two wide receivers who entered the game with 13 career catches. Wentz is not the problem. He never was.

4. Let’s talk about Scott. With Miles Sanders cramping up in the second half, Scott really gave this team some juice. Seemed like he woke up the whole team. Woke the whole stadium up. Made big play after big play and looked like a young Darren Sproles out there. Would you believe he had 114 yards from scrimmage after halftime? Scott scored the Eagles’ first TD, had a huge 25-yard run in overtime and finished with 69 yards receiving and 53 rushing. This is a guy who had 23 career rushing attempts and one career catch before Monday night. On a team with a lot of guys who have come up small in big situations, a guy who was on the practice squad two months ago came up huge.

5. Add in Perkins (5-37) and Ward (4-34) and that’s 15 catches for 140 receiving yards and 10 carries for 59 more yards for Eagles who were on the practice squad earlier this year. Turns out the practice squad is where the talent’s been hiding all year.

6. Let’s take a look at what the Eagles’ defense did in the second half. After getting gashed twice on big plays in the first half, they held the Giants to 29 yards and no points in the second half. That’s 29 yards on 21 plays over seven drives. After allowing 37 points in Miami and 17 in the first half Monday night, it was an incredible bounce-back for a maligned unit.

7. With Derek Barnett out, Vinny Curry was pressed into action, and it’s been a quiet year for Curry. Really a quiet few years. But Curry had his first two-sack game in more than four years, and that was big. Curry's another one of those 2017 Super Bowl guys who probably won’t be here next year, but it was nice to see him make a legit contribution to a big win.

8. Ertz was coming off one of his worst games in recent years but once again was huge in big situations Monday night. He finished 9-for-91 with two touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, and now has 42 catches in his last four games. Sometimes it’s easy to take Ertz for granted, but the guy is really, really good and really, really clutch. 

9. All week we wondered why the Eagles weren’t activating a wide receiver. “We’re very comfortable with the guys we have,” Pederson said. “If it’s three, it’s three.” Now, remember, when the Eagles released Jordan Matthews and Mack Hollins, they added a cornerback and a guard. So not only did they go into this game with three receivers, two of them — JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward — have barely played NFL football. Then Alshon Jeffery gets hurt, and it left the Eagles with an undrafted free agent who’s played three career games and a rookie averaging about 20 snaps a game. The Eagles were lucky to survive it, but it was a grave miscalculation putting the coaches and the quarterback in this position.

10. It’s hard to believe after all this team has been through — back-to-back blowout wins on the road, three-game losing streak, unimaginable loss to a two-win Dolphins team — this team is tied for first in the NFC East. Win three games and go to the playoffs. What a strange year. At halftime, you’re thinking about firing everybody. An hour and a half later, you’re thinking about the playoffs. They almost lost to another two-win team with a coach that’s about to get fired and a quarterback that’s about to retire. Instead, they’re three wins from a home playoff game. Football’s weird. Football’s great.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagles remember Kobe Bryant as 'a champion for the ages'

Eagles remember Kobe Bryant as 'a champion for the ages'

Anybody who’s seen the video of Kobe Bryant celebrating the Eagles’ Super Bowl championship knows how much he loved his hometown football team.

The Eagles joined the rest of the sports world Sunday in mourning Bryant’s death in a California helicopter crash:

The Eagles are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. He was a champion for the ages, a fearless competitor, and an outstanding ambassador for the city. Our hearts go out to all of today’s victims and their families.

The Eagles and Bryant had a very close relationship. Bryant spoke to the team in December of 2017 while the Eagles spent a week in the Los Angeles area between West Coast games against the Seahawks and Rams, and he was often seen wearing Eagles jerseys and other gear.

Several Eagles players took to Twitter to express their grief, including Zach Ertz, who tweeted out a photo of a signed jersey Bryant gave him.

Sidney Jones tweeted out a photo of himself with Bryant.

Jordan Howard wrote about the impact Bryant had during his 41 years.

And Lane Johnson offered his thoughts:

Thoughts on newest Eagles coach Marquand Manuel, LeSean McCoy's Hall of Fame case, more in Roob's 10 observations

Thoughts on newest Eagles coach Marquand Manuel, LeSean McCoy's Hall of Fame case, more in Roob's 10 observations

Thoughts on the Eagles’ new secondary coach, LeSean McCoy’s Hall of Fame case and an unbelievable stat about Lito Sheppard and Michael Lewis.

All that and so much more in this weekend’s edition of Roob’s random offseason Eagles observations! 

1. OK, it’s been 18 days since the Eagles fired Mike Groh, and they still don’t have an offensive coordinator. Senior Bowl week is over, the combine is only a few weeks away and free agency starts in less than two months. Of the 10 teams with an OC vacancy, the Eagles are the only one that hasn’t hired anybody. A couple thoughts: 1) Maybe the guy Doug Pederson is going to hire is already in place. Internal candidates Duce Staley and Press Taylor were both at the Senior Bowl practices. Maybe the Eagles are just waiting until the entire staff is complete to announce everything. I doubt it, but it’s possible. 2) Maybe Doug has decided not to hire an offensive coordinator and just do the job himself with his position coaches. I doubt that too, but it’s possible. 3) Otherwise, it has to be Jim Caldwell, right? As long as he’s healthy. By far the most impressive remaining outside candidate. Caldwell was QBs coach of the Colts when they won the Super Bowl and offensive coordinator of the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl. If Doug wants a veteran QB guru for the job, this is a no-brainer. Get it done.

2. I do like the Marquand Manuel hire. I like that he’s been a defensive coordinator on the NFL level, I like that he’s coached in a Super Bowl, I like that he played in the NFL for eight years and I like that he’s got a little background with Jim Schwartz — he played for Schwartz in Detroit in 2009 — but still brings a fresh voice to the coach’s room. He’s got his work cut out for him. Getting Sidney Jones on track is priority No. 1. But the Eagles’ secondary as a whole is going to look very different in 2020, and the Eagles needed a capable veteran voice to bring it all together and make it work. He looks like the guy to do it.

3. The last Eagles defensive players to make a Pro Bowl before their 25th birthday were Lewis and Sheppard in 2004. Since then, 94 defensive players league-wide have made a Pro Bowl before they turned 25. 

4. How many QBs would you rather have right now than Carson Wentz? First I’m going to eliminate anybody in their 30s — Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, all those guys. Who does that leave? You’d rather have Pat Mahomes than anybody, but beyond that? Lamar Jackson? Brilliant talent but I wonder how sustainable his style of play is. Dak Prescott? No thanks. Jimmy Garoppolo? Nope. Deshaun Watson? You can make a case, but I’d take Wentz. Jared Goff? Kyler Murray? Daniel Jones? Nah. The injuries are frustrating but no doubt in my mind that despite everything the Eagles have the right QB to build around. 

5. I wonder if the Super Bowl will be McCoy’s final game. He had a nice first half of the season and showed he has something left, but since Damien Williams’ emergence, he’s barely played and doesn’t even have a carry since mid-December. Shady’s a free agent after the Super Bowl and turns 32 this summer, an age where few running backs are still going. Shady’s the only player in NFL history with 11,000 rushing yards, a 4.5 rushing average and 500 catches. Hall of Famer if he retires now? Probably not quite. But one hell of a career.

6. Curious note about McCoy: He’s never had a carry in a postseason victory. The Eagles were 0-3 in the playoffs with McCoy in uniform and the Bills were 0-1. He didn’t have a carry in the Chiefs’ win over the Texans and was inactive for the win over the Titans. 

7. In Eagles history, Jordan Matthews has the most receiving yards after three seasons and Shady has the most rushing yards after three seasons. One of them will win a Super Bowl ring next Sunday. Both will probably be inactive.

8. Chiefs GM Brett Veach is a remarkable story. He grew up in Mt. Carmel, between Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre, starred at Mt. Carmel High School, played with Matt Nagy at Delaware and was on track to work in Delaware’s athletic department after college when he landed an internship with the Eagles in the summer of 2004. With his work ethic and uncanny eye for talent, he worked his way up the ladder. When Andy Reid asked him to find a wide receiver the Eagles could take in the second round in 2008, Veach recommended DeSean Jackson, even though he was coming off a poor season. When Reid was hired by the Chiefs in 2013, he brought Veach with him. In 2015, Veach was watching film of Texas Tech offensive lineman Le’Raven Clark and Tech’s unheralded QB kept jumping out at him, and Veach knew even then Mahomes was something special, and in 2017 they traded up for him. Mahomes is now the best QB in the NFL, an MVP and one win from a Super Bowl. In span of 10 years, Veach went from interning in the Eagles’ scouting office to drafting Pat Mahomes.  

9. This is kind of a strange one, but Boston Scott this year became only the seventh player in NFL history with 85 or fewer touches but at least five rushing TDs and 20 catches. The dude definitely made the most of his limited workload.

10. I used to think Harold Carmichael’s franchise record of 589 catches was untouchable. Only seven Eagles even reached 300 during the 30-year period from 1985 through 2015, and only Brian Westbrook got over 400. But Zach Ertz will go into 2020 just 64 catches behind Harold, and at his rate of 5.8 catches per game over the last five years he’ll pass him somewhere around Week 12 if he stays healthy. Harold will go into the Hall of Fame in September and have his most hallowed record broken in November. And knowing Harold, nobody will be happier for Ertz.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles