Eagles

Jake Elliott drills 2 field goals in game's final minute to push Eagles past Giants

Jake Elliott drills 2 field goals in game's final minute to push Eagles past Giants

Update: 10:18 p.m

BOX SCORE

Jake Elliott is getting a free beer tonight. Anywhere in Philadelphia.

The Eagles' rookie kicker drilled a 61-yard field goal as the clock ran out Sunday to give the Eagles a 27-24 win at Lincoln Financial Field (see Roob's observations).

After giving fans heart attacks throughout the Delaware Valley, the Eagles pulled off a tight win Sunday afternoon at the Linc.

The Eagles let the Giants back into the game, but they were able to take them down, 27-24.

With the win, the Eagles improve to 2-1 on the season and are 2-0 in the division. Meanwhile, the Giants are off to a disastrous start at 0-3.

The Giants came into the weekend against the ropes and the Eagles might have delivered the knockout punch. Although it wasn't pretty. Regardless, it'll be extremely tough for the Giants to rebound from an 0-3 start.

The Eagles' defense was pitching a shutout until the fourth quarter, and they were doing it without four starters on defense. They didn't have Rodney McLeod or Ronald Darby and then they lost Fletcher Cox and Jordan Hicks during the game.

The Giants were shut out on their first seven drives but put up 21 points in less than six minutes in the fourth quarter.

On offense, Doug Pederson actually called running plays and they worked. LeGarrette Blount led the way and the Eagles were able to make big gains on the ground against the Giants' talented front four.

Turning point
The field goal. Duh.

Key stat
The 61-yarder from Elliott is a franchise record.

Key plays
• Alshon Jeffery caught a 19-yard pass to put the Eagles in field goal range and Elliott came through.

• Elliott hit a 46-yard field goal to tie the game at 24-24 with 51 seconds left.

• Malcolm Jenkins was called for a pass interference that led to the Giants' field goal that put them up 24-21.

• Torrey Smith was able to draw a huge 36-yard defensive pass interference and rookie Corey Clement ran for a 15-yard touchdown on the next play to tie the score at 21-21.

• Sterling Shepard caught a quick slant in front of Patrick Robinson, and Chris Maragos couldn't make the play as Shepard went for a 77-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 21-14 lead.

• Odell Beckham Jr. made a ridiculous one-handed catch in the end zone to tie the game at 14-14. Jalen Mills had tight coverage but it didn't matter.

• Zach Ertz caught a quick pass but then fumbled the ball away to give the Giants great field position at the Eagles' 33-yard line.

• The Giants broke the shutout early in the fourth quarter when Eli Manning hit Beckham Jr. for a 10-yard touchdown. After the play, Beckham was flagged for his celebration. He acted like a dog and fake urinated on the field.

• The Eagles stopped the Giants on 4th-and-2 late in the third quarter. They made it down to the Eagles' 13-yard line before the stop. Tim Jernigan provided the pressure and Patrick Robinson broke up the pass. The play before, Mills had a great PBU.

• On a broken play, Wentz tried to hit Jeffery deep, but Eli Apple tackled him before the ball got there. That 41-yard pass interference penalty set up the second touchdown of the game and helped the Eagles go up 14-0.

• Mychal Kendricks tipped up a Manning pass and Robinson pulled in an interception. It was their second of the day.

• Elliott missed a 52-yarder that would have given them a two-score game early in the third quarter. He had plenty of leg but pulled it left.

• The Eagles dropped running back Orleans Darkwa for a one-yard loss on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line late in the second quarter. Vinny Curry blew up the play and Joe Walker helped take Darkwa down.

• On the play before the goal line stand, Shepard should have had a touchdown but he couldn't complete the catch to the ground. The Eagles got away with one there.

• The Giants had a short field to work with on their near-touchdown drive because of an over-aggressive play call from Pederson. The Eagles' head coach went for it on 4th-and-8 at the Giants' 43-yard line. Wentz was sacked for a loss. The Eagles could have punted and tried to pin the feeble Giants offense deep.

• Rasul Douglas got his first career interception in the second quarter when Manning tried to hit Brandon Marshall deep down the left side of the field. The rookie high-pointed the ball and brought it down (see rookie report).

• It wasn't really a play but the Eagles' 18-play, 90-yard drive in the first half was a beauty. They took 9:34 off the clock before Blount punched in a one-yard touchdown.

• During that drive, Wentz pulled off another crazy Houdini move on third down. He somehow slipped away from would-be tacklers and scrambled for an 11-yard gain and a first down to keep it going.

Offensive stud
Maybe Blount got a chance to introduce himself to Pederson this week. After not getting a single carry last week, Blount had a big game against the Giants (see report card).

Offensive dud
Chance Warmack started the game at left guard, gave up a sack and was then pulled for Stefen Wisniewski. He returned but didn't do much.

And Ertz just can't fumble the ball in that situation.

Defensive stud
Kendricks had a big game. He had the assist on the interception and a big run stuff later.

Defensive dud
It's hard to give this to Mills, but we'll have to. He actually had a pretty good game but couldn't stop Beckham Jr. on the two touchdowns. It's fair to say there aren't many who would have been able to stop him, though.

Injuries
The Eagles were without McLeod (hamstring), Jaylen Watkins (hamstring), Corey Graham (hamstring), Darby (ankle) and Destiny Vaeao (wrist) for the game.

Cox (calf), Hicks (ankle) and Darren Sproles (wrist) left the game in the first half and did not return.

UPDATE: According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Sproles has a broken arm and is out indefinitely. 

Up next
The Eagles will be in Los Angeles next week to take on the Chargers. It'll be the first of two trips to L.A. this season.

Carson Wentz feels good but big hurdle remains to start Week 1

Carson Wentz feels good but big hurdle remains to start Week 1

As Carson Wentz answered questions about how his practice went yesterday, the first day he was back in full-team 11-on-11 drills since late July, he couldn’t help but channel his inner Ice Cube. 

“I felt good,” Wentz said. “Knee was feeling good. It was a good day.” 

A good day indeed. 

As the Eagles’ franchise quarterback continues to rehab his torn ACL and LCL that he suffered back on Dec. 10, his goal has never changed. He wants to be ready to play in the Week 1 opener on Sept. 6, but it won’t ultimately be his call. He still says it’ll be “close.” 

It seems like Wentz is confident he’ll be ready to go, but the doctors need to clear him for contact. That remains the final hurdle before he can play in a game. 

“I feel good,” Wentz said. “Like I said, I think you guys see me out there. I have really no hesitation in the pocket when guys are around me. I feel really good but it’s going to come down to if they feel confident in contact and when that is. I can’t say yet.”

Wentz said he doesn’t know when the final test to be cleared for contact will come, but he is heavily involved with the doctors and trainers as they execute his rehab plan. They obviously need to listen to his input. 

After Wentz did full-team drills early in training camp, the Eagles backed off him for a few weeks. That was part of the plan, but was also likely impacted by the fear of unnecessary risk in an uncontrolled environment. 

That led to a frustrating few weeks.  

“I want to be out there every day,” Wentz said this morning. “I want to be a full participant in every single thing. But that wasn’t totally my call and you just have to be smart in those situations. It was tough, but yeah, getting out there in the full-team drills, I definitely enjoyed it.” 

Wentz said there’s nothing, in particular, he wants to see from himself over the next few weeks. Really, he just wants to get more reps with his teammates, specifically some new faces he’s throwing to. 

Doug Pederson on Sunday said Wentz and Nick Foles will split first-team reps 50-50 as the team starts to prepare both for the season opener on Sept. 6. 

Eventually, even if it doesn’t happen for Week 1, Wentz will be cleared for contact and will play in an NFL game. It won’t happen this preseason, but whenever it comes, Week 1, 2, whatever, he’s going to need to trust that knee. 

He doesn’t think there will be a mental hurdle to overcome. 

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I feel good out there. Obviously I haven’t been hit yet, but out there in the team drills, guys flying all around, all those things, I don’t feel like I have any mental hesitation. And I’m personally not worried about it.” 

Wentz has come a long way since Dec. 10 and the subsequent surgery. He called the rehab a “grueling process.” 

“Just from a rehab standpoint, when you’re in the building almost every day of the week, all offseason, you really don’t get any break,” Wentz said. “And then just the physical limitations early on and overcoming that step by step, it’s been a grueling process but I’m thankful for the progress that I have made.” 

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Shelton Gibson could be Eagles' answer to improve kick return game

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Shelton Gibson could be Eagles' answer to improve kick return game

If there’s one area the defending Super Bowl champions could stand to use some improvement, it’s in the kick return game. 

Shelton Gibson might be able to help. 

In Thursday’s preseason game against the Patriots, Gibson returned four kicks for 121 yards (30.3 per return) and brought one back 46 yards. To put that into perspective, the Eagles returned a league-low 18 kicks last year — the fewest in the league — and averaged just 19.7 yards per return. That was tied for 26th in the NFL. 

Gibson, who has had a great preseason as a receiver, has plenty of experience as a kick returner after doing it at West Virginia University. 

“It’s natural,” he said. 

In his three years at WVU, Gibson returned 53 kicks for 1,244 yards and one touchdown. It makes sense that the Eagles didn’t try him in that role last year; his head was swimming enough as a receiver. But now that he’s caught up there, the Eagles can already expand his role if they choose. I’ve been a proponent for Darren Sproles' getting the chance to return kicks (see story), but Gibson should get a shot too. 

NFL kickoffs are going to be a little different this year because of new rules. Players on the kicking team are now no longer able to get a running start and there’s a zone where blocking is not allowed. Basically, this new play is still probably going to look like a kickoff but will have a little more in common with a punt. 

Now that he’s figured it out, Gibson seems to like it. 

“It’s kind of different because they’re not getting down there as fast as they usually would,” he said. “You have to wait for it to set up a little bit more and be a little more patient instead of rushing into it.”

This was Gibson’s 46-yard return from Thursday. You’ll notice he’s right. The play takes a split second longer to set up than an old kickoff. But Gibson has time to look up and survey the field. 
 

Right there is the point of his little head fake move. There’s a hole in front of him, but Gibson is heady enough to notice the Patriots lost contain and are coming in too hot. He’s about to put on the move and kick it into high speed around the corner. 

This was a 29-yard return from Gibson in the same game. This one definitely shows off his patience a little bit. 

He really needs to let it set up in front of him. From there, he shows off a little shiftiness. 

“It feels good,” Gibson said. “But also, I kind of like start later than just hitting it full force right off the bat. I want it to set up; I want everybody to set up their blocks and everything.”

The Eagles ought to be really good this year. They bring back most of the starters from their Super Bowl season and might even be better (on paper) in certain areas. There aren’t a lot of weak spots. But this is one of them from last season. 

Maybe Gibson is part of the answer. 

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