As ESPN’s broadcast came back from a TV timeout in the third quarter on Monday night, it showed a graphic of the previous five Eagles’ drives.
It was ugly.
Each of those previous five drives had lasted just three plays for a total of 31 net yards. All ended in punts.
What the broadcast didn’t show was that in the offensive huddle before the drive that began with 7:07 remaining in the third quarter, 37-year-old future Hall of Famer Jason Peters gave an impassioned speech to his teammates.
“I just told them to empty the tank. Empty the tank,” Peters recalled in the wee hours Tuesday morning to a small group of reporters left in a locker room that had mostly emptied.
“We got two quarters or we’re going home early. The guys answered after I told them that. It’s either win tonight or be at home in three weeks. That was just plain and simple.”
The Eagles them promptly marched down the field 58 yards on 10 plays and punched in their first touchdown of the night. They scored the game’s last 20 points to pull out a win.
Peters said he had “no question” that his teammates would respond.
“I told Doug coming out of halftime, ‘Just stick with what you’re doing. We gonna win the game.’ And he did,” Peters said. “He called a great game. Every play was kind of clicking for us.”
The Eagles were trailing 17-3 at halftime but Peters said he actually felt like they were getting close to making plays. The Eagles were able to move the ball at times in the first half, which gave him confidence that they’d be able to turn things around.
In his 16th NFL season, Peters isn’t the All-Pro he once was. He gets beat occasionally and, although he played every snap on Monday, has had trouble staying healthy. And, yeah, those false starts — he has three this season — can be annoying.
But if there’s one thing we know about Peters, it’s this: When he talks, his teammates listen.
“I always speak up. I ain’t gotta be all in the media or all on TV,” Peters said. “I get our guys, I talk to them every day, in practice, in meetings. I ain’t no big-time rah, rah guy that have to get on television or nothing. I just pull my guys to the side and talk to them individually.”
The Eagles drafted Andre Dillard in the first round this spring to be Peters’ replacement. Peters is the second-oldest starting tackle in the NFL and is playing this season on a reworked one-year deal. We all kind of understand the situation.
We could be nearing the end of one of the greatest careers in Eagles history.
Maybe the Eagles have one more run in them before it’s over.
“We’re not in a bad spot,” Peters said. “We’re taking it one week at a time. This wasn’t our best performance. I’m glad we came back and won but we can’t do that against the good teams. We gotta start off hot. Hopefully … we got some people banged up, we get some people to step up. We go from there.”
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