Eagles

Eagles

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.

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