LONDON — When the Jaguars got the ball back down six with five minutes to go, Eagles fans everywhere had to be thinking … "Here we go again."
Were the Eagles really going to blow another fourth-quarter lead?
After the Jaguars and their 29th-ranked offense scored on three straight drives down the stretch, it was on everybody’s mind.
“We didn’t flinch,” Jordan Hicks said. “We had no doubt.”
And the Eagles, who blew a 17-3 lead to the Titans last month and a 17-0 lead to the Panthers last week, finally got a defensive stop and won a football game.
“The entire game there was an emphasis on playing for four quarters,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “Four quarters.
“Our team needed it. With us out there, backs against the wall, they’d had some success, we needed that stuff, and it wasn’t going to be easy, because Blake Bortles was doing a good job making plays, scrambling for first downs, which meant we had to cover on the back end and win 1-on-1 matchups and we got it done.
“Looking back at last week and how we finished that game as a team, finishing this one was prime.”
The Eagles had allowed points on five consecutive fourth-quarter possessions when the Jaguars got the ball back with five minutes left and got a 2nd-and-2 near midfield, but Bortles threw incomplete on three straight snaps, and the Eagles had themselves a hold-your-breath 24-18 win at Wembley.
This game followed the pattern of the Titans and Panthers. The Eagles led 17-6 midway through the third quarter, but nothing ever comes easy for this team.
Unless they’re playing the Giants.
The Jaguars drove 75 yards for a touchdown then added a couple field goals and you could just feel Eagles fans on two continents getting really antsy.
But the Eagles got a stop when they really, really needed a stop.
And it came with Rasul Douglas at cornerback in place of injured Jalen Mills. Douglas wound up getting a key pass break-up on the Jaguars’ final drive.
“Just trying to make a play, just trying to get off the field, trying to get a win,” he said. “I didn’t want us to lose.”
It was Douglas’s turn to speak to the defense Saturday — a different player addresses the team each week — and he talked about the importance of playing a full game, something the Eagles have not done very often this year.
“The word is finish,” he said. “We can’t play 30 minutes. We have to play 60. We can’t play 45 like we did last week against Carolina. We have to play 60.”
This defense has not been great this year, but they have shown flashes of what’s possible.
In their last five games, they’ve allowed just six touchdowns. They’ve kept the team in most games.
But the consistency has been missing. And the knack of coming up big at huge moments has been missing.
Sunday, it was back. At least for one day.
“End of the day, we have a lot of trust in the guys out there on the field,” Hicks said. “We get together, we talk about it, and say we’re going to win this game, and we found a way to get the job done.
“We attacked and we executed. The way some of these games have gone in the fourth quarter we definitely needed it. Needed to get the monkey off our backs and get a dub (win).
“It’s a long flight home and to fly home on the other side of it would not have been fun.”
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