For the second time in three games, a missed extra point was almost a factor in an Eagles loss, the result of which undoubtedly would’ve been outrage and calls for the kicker’s job.
Instead, Jake Elliott got a shot at redemption Sunday, and his 35-yard game-winning field goal as the clock expired only solidified his spot on the team.
Elliott may miss the occasional extra point or chip shot, but there is no denying the man is clutch. He’s money from long distance, or pretty much anywhere in the stadium when the game is on the line — in this case, the Eagles’ season.
Just think about some of the huge kicks Elliott has already hit in his brief two-year career. There’s the 61-yard tiebreaker over the Giants at the end of regulation in his second NFL game. There’s the 46-yard insurance field goal to extend the lead to eight with 1:05 remaining in the Super Bowl. Heck, he just drained the decisive three-pointer to beat the Giants again last month.
Add yet another game-winner to the résumé, Elliott’s right foot delivering a 32-30 victory over the Texans, in a situation where a miss would’ve eliminated the Eagles from playoff contention (see Roob's observations).
Doesn’t get much more important than that.
“Obviously, it’s a big one,” Elliott said. “It’s a little bigger than normal with the season on the line there. You just go back to your basics, try to hit a good ball. We had a great operation — great snap, great hold — and put the kick through."
When the Eagles absolutely need the points, Elliott always seems up to the challenge.
The inconsistency on shorter tries or when the spotlight isn’t necessarily on is baffling, frustrating and occasionally, proves costly, as was the case in the Eagles’ 29-23 overtime loss two weeks ago. Had Elliott not missed an extra point earlier in the game, it would’ve forced a two-point conversion attempt by the Cowboys at some point, a play that could have potentially tilted the outcome.
It’s been a fair criticism going back to last season. Yet, Elliott’s been able to put those miscues behind him, by far doing more harm than good here.
“I have a little one-minute rule in my head,” Elliott said. “I make a kick, I have one minute to enjoy it. I miss a kick, I have one minute to think about it and correct it. It’s a next-kick mentality all the time.”
Elliott doesn’t just become good with time winding down, either. With a 45-yard make earlier, he improved to 19 for 21 from 40-49 yards, his 90.5 percent accuracy moving him into first place in NFL history from that range.
He doesn’t have enough attempts to enter the record books officially, but Elliott swears his issues on extra points compared to his success from distance are a matter of sample size, too. There may be something to that argument.
What isn’t up for debate is Elliott knowing how to get locked in when it matters most. As the Eagles were driving, the kicker was over by the practice net having “me time,” as he calls it — preparing for his moment and envisioning his kick sailing through the uprights.
“It’s definitely pressure-packed," Elliott said, "but those are the moments that we live for kickers, and you have to enjoy those moments knowing that the game’s going to come down to you in this league a lot.”
Forget about “QB wins.” Maybe kicker wins should be a stat.
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.