Doug Pederson had tried everything else, so he did something completely out of the blue.
He ran the ball.
The Eagles rallied past the Giants Sunday at the Linc, scoring a touchdown and field goal on their final two possessions to turn a five-point fourth-quarter deficit into a 25-22 win (see Roob's observations).
And they did it by pounding the rock.
“They always say the running game is a quarterback’s best friend, and that was 100 percent true today,” Carson Wentz said.
The Eagles opened the fourth quarter by driving 61 yards for a touchdown to take a 22-19 lead, and all 61 yards on that drive came courtesy of undrafted running backs Josh Adams and Corey Clement, all on the ground other than Clement’s 23-yard catch and run on a screen.
Then, after the Giants tied the game, the Eagles drove 50 yards to set up Jake Elliott’s game-winning field goal. On that drive, Adams ran on six of nine plays.
So the team that runs the ball less than virtually any team in the NFL ran on 12 of 16 plays on two game-winning fourth-quarter drives.
“We got back to doing what we do best,” guard Brandon Brooks said. “We ran the hell out of the ball today.
“We told Doug (Pederson), ‘Put it on us.’ We feel like we’re the best offensive line league, put it on us to get the job one. Confidence was high. Dudes were out there playing with emotion. This was a make-or-break game for us, and we went out there and got it done.”
The Eagles trailed by as many as 16 points late in the second quarter before outscoring the Giants 22-3 after Saquon Barkley’s 51-yard TD run late in the second quarter.
This was the Eagles’ biggest comeback since they overcame a 17-point deficit against the Jaguars in the 2014 opener and their second-biggest comeback ever at the Linc.
And it happened in a way nobody could have anticipated.
The Giants outgained the Eagles 346-159 in the first half, but the Eagles — riding a fired-up offensive line and two young undrafted tailbacks — outgained the Giants 182-56 in the second half (see story).
Adams and Clement combined for 111 yards of offense in the second half.
Wentz was 4 for 4 for 66 yards on the two fourth-quarter drives, including a huge 4th-and-2 completion to Nelson Agholor, recording his fourth career fourth-quarter comeback win.
“Really proud of him,” Zach Ertz said. “There’s been noise about whether he could quote-unquote, lead us in the fourth quarter, and he’s a guy that I want with the ball each and every time I play.
“Josh Adams played phenomenally. I don’t know if I knew he had that in him, but it was great to see something we desperately needed. And the O-line, those guys are really good. Running behind Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson? You’re going to be efficient running behind those guys.”
Considering everything — the Eagles had lost three straight home games, they had lost five of their last seven overall and they trailed 19-3 late in the second quarter — this was a win that showed a ton of character.
And the two late scoring drives were reminiscent of the 2017 Eagles, who always found ways to win, no matter what adversity they faced.
After halftime, the Eagles ran the ball 19 times and threw it 17 times.
That’s unheard of for this team, for this coach.
“That’s huge for us,” Wentz said. “We always come into every game wanting to be balanced and I think the line plays best when we are. It gives those guys confidence, and they’re coming off the ball firing. And then in the passing game, it kind of lightens the pass rush, too.”
Wentz finished an economical 20 for 28 for 236 yards with one TD, no interceptions and a 108.6 passer rating — his seventh time over 100 this year.
After last week’s career-worst performance against the Saints, this was big.
The Eagles improved to 5-6, still clinging to hope in a muddled NFC East.
“Any time we can get a victory in come-from-behind fashion, it speaks volumes about the team and the resilience of the guys on both sides of the ball,” Wentz said.
“Personally, it was big to get it done today for me, and I know everyone feels the same.”
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