Andy Schwartz

Eagles-Giants notes, quotes and tidbits: 4th-and-8, Shepard's TD-no TD

Eagles-Giants notes, quotes and tidbits: 4th-and-8, Shepard's TD-no TD

Going for it on 4th-and-1 or 4th-and-2 or even 4th-and-3 is one thing.

But 4th-and-8?

The Eagles led 7-0 with 2:36 left in the first half and were at the Giants' 43. Doug Pederson went for it, but Carson Wentz was sacked for a 6-yard loss. 

Fortunately for Pederson, that decision, along with some other things — e.g. a shaky game by Wentz and a costly fumble by his buddy Zach Ertz — will be overshadowed by Jake Elliott's 61-yard game-winning bomb.

But why did Pederson go for it? 


"It was something that I discussed with the guy that's helping me upstairs with analytics," Pederson said after his team's 27-24 win (see studs, duds and more). "Where we were on the field, what we were doing offensively at the time. The defense was playing extremely well. [We] had an opportunity to keep ourselves on the field at the time, so I elected to go for it at that point. Obviously, we didn't get it. The defense held."


The Giants appeared to score a touchdown when Sterling Shepard joined Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant by making a catch that's a catch on the playground but not in the NFL (more on that below). Two plays later, the Giants went for it on 4th-and-goal from the 1, but the Eagles stuffed Orleans Darkwa. 

Then they returned to their locker room still up seven. No harm, no foul.

But analytics aside — and there is an involved study on the subject — Pederson did acknowledge that it's a "risky" play. And when it was suggested that his numbers guys might be telling him what he wants to hear because he likes to be aggressive, Pederson said he trusts his staff to give him all the relevant information so he can make the final call. 

"Our guys are right on point with it, all the way down to replays, challenges and things of that nature," Pederson said. "So they give me the information, and it's my job to pull the trigger."

The Eagles made their two other fourth-down conversions, albeit on QB sneaks that gained a yard. Wentz said he's "always down to go with the quarterback sneak" in those situations. As for the 4th-and-8, Wentz admitted the blame doesn't solely reside with Pederson. 

"They just had good coverage, and we were playing aggressive," he said. "Unfortunately, I just held onto the ball too long."

Shepard's TD catch-no-catch
It certainly looked like Shepard had made the 1-yard TD reception. He caught it and took a couple steps in the end zone before falling out of bounds and dropping it when he hit the ground. 

He ran around looking for congratulations as if he had scored, but he didn't complete the process of making the catch.

So no score.

"I’m trying to figure out what a touchdown catch is and what isn’t a touchdown catch right now," Giants coach Ben McAdoo said.

Said Eli Manning, "Everybody knows the rules, have to finish the play, finish the catch."

Seems like we've been hearing that for a while.

Pass interference?
That wasn't the only call that worked in the Eagles' favor. After the Giants took a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter, cornerback Eli Apple was called for pass interference on a deep ball to Torrey Smith. 

The 36-yard gain set up Corey Clement's 15-yard game-tying touchdown run.

First, there didn't appear to be significant contact on the play, and second, the ball sailed out of bounds and could have been deemed uncatchable. 

"Me and the [official] had an intellectual conversation about how it was catchable and how I was kind of like the receiver on that play because I was in front of him," Apple said. "He thought it was pass interference, but those are the calls they make and you have to continue to play."

This was pass interference
Later in the fourth, Malcolm Jenkins clothes-lined Odell Beckham Jr. on a deep ball down the sideline. Beckham, who had a step on Jalen Mills, didn't think the play was dirty.

"He made a smart play," Beckham said. "I'm running down the field. I'm gonna make a play, so he stops that. It's football. He made a play to stop me from making a play. 

"Nothing dirty to me."

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long criticize Trump's response to violence in Charlottesville

AP Images

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long criticize Trump's response to violence in Charlottesville

Updated 12:57 p.m.

A pair of Eagles joined those criticizing President Trump for his response to Saturday's horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Safety Malcolm Jenkins and defensive end Chris Long took issue with Trump, who condemned the violence but did not directly censure the white nationalists holding the rally.  

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred bigotry and violence on many sides," Trump said during a press conference Saturday. "On many sides."

Jenkins, who last year joined Colin Kaepernick to protest racism and social injustice, referenced Trump's stern warning last week to North Korea, in which he promised to answer further threats with "fire and fury like the world has never seen." 

Carson Wentz retweeted Barack Obama's response, which quoted Nelson Mandela. 

Incited by the decision to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, white nationalists held a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville and were met by counter-protesters. The scene turned so violent Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and the National Guard was called to help police. 

"I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today: Our message is plain and simple. Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth," McAuliffe said.

The clash, per The New York Times, had been dispersed without any major injuries until a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring at least 19 others. Police arrested 20-year-old James Alex Fields, Jr. and charged him with second-degree murder, among other charges.

Two state police officials died when a police helicopter crashed southwest of Charlottesville. The cause of the crash is undetermined, but foul play is not suspected. 

Information from NBC News and The New York Times was used in this report.

Terrell Owens makes NFC East pick, gushes about 2004 Eagles

Terrell Owens makes NFC East pick, gushes about 2004 Eagles

The Eagles made key upgrades this offseason, but they haven't improved enough for Terrell Owens to call them the favorite to win the NFC East.

"I think hands down that'll probably be Dallas," Owens told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Schefter's podcast. "I don't think Philadelphia has made enough moves. I don't think the nucleus and the core is there. I think they've had too much going on the last few years that they really haven't had the nucleus of guys and they're going to be able to jell together enough to come all together at one time to really compete for that NFC East. It's going to be probably the Giants or the Cowboys to come out of the NFC East."

Despite his unforgettable and unceremonious banishment from the Birds, Owens has fond memories of his time in Philadelphia. T.O. spent his first eight seasons with the 49ers before joining the Eagles, Cowboys, Bills, Bengals and Seahawks. 

Asked to name his favorite city/organization, Owens recalled the good times he had in Philly.

"It's a toss-up between Philly and Dallas," he said. "I say that because obviously my skill set, what I brought to the table, my value, really my playmaking ability is really what enabled those guys to pull the trigger to bring me to Philly. They saw that I was the added piece to getting to the championship or winning the Super Bowl. 

"When I went over to Philly in 2004, I knew it was going to be something special. With the way that their defense played — that was the No. 1 thing that I thought about when I went there. All we gotta do is score points. The defense is going to stop guys. They'd been doing it year in and year out. 

"But when I went to the Eagles, the weapons that we had from (Brian) Westbrook, (Todd) Pinkston, myself, Correll Buckhalter, L.J. Smith, Chad Lewis, Donovan McNabb — we had weapons all over the field that could make plays at any given time, and I added literally some extra octane to an already stocked situation."

Extra octane and then some.