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Eagles 24, Jaguars 18: Birds overcome adversity for big win in London

Eagles 24, Jaguars 18: Birds overcome adversity for big win in London

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LONDON — A character win, big contributions from a couple unexpected sources, encouraging signs from Carson Wentz and much more in 10 Instant Observations off an ugly but important Eagles win.

The score: 24-18 over the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.

Man, the Eagles don’t make it easy on themselves, do they?

1. This was not an easy week with overnight travel Thursday into Friday, a practice on no sleep and then a game just two days later. This was ugly and it was scary and it was not the kind of football you want to see the Eagles playing, but they deserve credit for battling through it and finding a way to get a win they had to have. There's plenty to criticize and changes are necessary. But winning beats losing, and 24-18 over the Jaguars at Wembley is the most important thing. But there is definitely a lot of work to be done.

2. This is two weeks in a row now where the Eagles’ defense has struggled in the fourth quarter, and Jim Schwartz needs to figure out why this keeps happening soon. The Eagles allowed 21 fourth-quarter points in that collapse last week and the damage was less this week — two fourth-quarter field goals — but the Jaguars moved the ball up and down the field on their last two drives, and the damage would have been worse if a wide-open DJ Clark Jr. hadn’t dropped an easy TD pass with seven minutes left. The Eagles allowed points on five straight fourth-quarter drives before finally getting a crucial stop with 3½ minutes to go and a six-point lead. Not good.

3. Two things I really liked from Wentz Sunday: I liked how he used all his receivers instead of just locking in on Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery. In fact, four different guys had a catch of 30 yards or more and none of them were Ertz and Jeffery. And I just like how he dealt with a really rough start — turnovers on the first two drives for the first time since the Giants game in 2016. He bounced back and finished with typical Wentz numbers — 21 for 30 (70 percent) for 286 yards, with three TDs and the one interception. Big rebound from a rocky start.

4. Jordan Matthews is another one of those guys that fans love to hate for the crime of … I don’t even know exactly why fans don’t like him. And I don’t really care. But he’s a good player, and he’s helped out since returning to the Eagles. He was huge Sunday, with four catches for 93 yards, including two big third-down catches and a 36-yarder to set up the Eagles’ fourth-quarter TD.

5. It’s hard to imagine that the Eagles only have four interceptions in half a season. They had a shot at at least three of them Sunday and came up empty. They seem to get their hands on a lot of balls and just miss INTs all the time. These are plays they have to make. Especially against guys like Blake Bortles. 

6. Have to love the way Avonte Maddox has been playing, and he was huge Sunday. First, he blew up Carlos Hyde on a 3rd-and-1 in the first quarter for a loss of one and then he forced a Keelan Cole fumble that Malcolm Jenkins recovered with a big hit just before halftime.

7. Josh Adams looks like a player, and I don’t get why he doesn’t stay in the game when he has the hot hand. On the Eagles’ first TD drive he had runs of seven and five yards and then disappeared for two drives. Next time he’s in? Career-long 21-yard run. Then he adds a huge 17-yard gain down to the 7-yard line to set up the Eagles’ fourth-quarter touchdown. Really like to see the back — whoever it is — that’s moving the chains get a chance to stay on the field. Adams only ran nine times Sunday (for 61 yards). That number has to be higher when he’s running like this.

8. Dallas Goedert is one impressive rookie. That touchdown was not only a nice catch, but he was very aggressive shedding Quenton Meeks at the 10-yard line and finding his way into the end zone. You can just see Goedert getting more and more comfortable each week. The kid definitely has a nose for the end zone. He has three TDs in his first eight games, which makes him the Eagles’ first tight end with three TDs in his first eight games since Charle Young in 1973. 

9. There have been way too many instances this year where the offense puts together a great drive and scores a pivotal touchdown and then the defense just comes out and gives that touchdown right back. It happened last week in the Carolina loss after a 90-yard Eagles TD drive and it happened again Sunday after the Eagles took a 17-6 lead with another 90-yard drive. A stop would have really given them command of the game, but they let Bortles drive the Jaguars 75 yards down the field, which just shouldn’t happen. This defense has to figure out a way to make a statement after the offense scores a big TD and finish a team off.  

10. The Eagles definitely have some questions to answer on the offensive line. Wentz was sacked four more times Sunday and on most of them, he just had no chance. The trade deadline is Tuesday, and if Lane Johnson is out for a significant amount of time and with Jason Peters kind of perennially hobbled, it’s an area the Eagles have to look at. Big V and Isaac Seumalo did their best Sunday to hold it down, but if you’re going to get this season right, you have to be better up front.

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Report: 4 Jaguars arrested after fight in London

Report: 4 Jaguars arrested after fight in London

The Jaguars do this trip to London every year, but even that couldn’t keep them out of trouble. 

According to a report by The Sun, a tabloid newspaper in the UK, four Jaguars were arrested at 4 a.m. on Saturday after getting in a brawl over their £50,000-plus bar bill.

The four players reportedly tried to leave the London Reign Showclub without paying their tab and then fought bouncers. The four men were arrested and then released after nine hours in police custody. The club reportedly dropped their complaint after the bar tab was paid. 

The report did not name players. According to NFL reporter Jason La Canfora, the players were Barry Church, D.J. Hayden, Jarrod Wilson and Ronnie Harrison.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Ronnie Harrison, D.J. Hayden and safety Jarrod Wilson were “detained.” Safety Barry Church was involved but not detained, according to Rapoport. 

The Jaguars released the following statement:

This obviously isn’t a great look for the Jaguars. Maybe they’re a little too comfortable in London. 

The Eagles and Jaguars kick off at 9:30 a.m. EST on Sunday morning at Wembley Stadium. 

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Carson Wentz must be better late in games, and he knows it

Carson Wentz must be better late in games, and he knows it

SUNBURY-ON-THAMES, England — It’s impossible for Eagles fans to forget that fateful 3rd-and-2 last Sunday.

Imagine how Carson Wentz feels.

That was the play in the final minutes against the Panthers where Wentz threw incomplete to Alshon Jeffery in double coverage in the end zone when he had Wendell Smallwood wide open for a first down in the left flat.

A play later, Wentz fumbled and instead of four shots from inside the 10-yard line, the Eagles had a crushing 21-17 loss to the Panthers.

If he had it to do all over again?

“It’s hard to say,” Wentz said. “It’s obviously easy to look back and say by the time I got back there, Wendell was wide open. But … I wanted to give Alshon a chance. But obviously easy in hindsight to say I should have hit Smallwood in the flat.”

Wentz was as dejected as we’ve ever seen him after that loss.

Not only did the Eagles blow a 17-point fourth-quarter lead and fall a game under .500 at 3-4, but Wentz was also terrible at the end of the game after a brilliant first three quarters.

“Very frustrated after last game but that’s the great part about the NFL, you’re right back up the next week,” he said.

“It’s a fast turnaround. Practice has been great all week, energy’s been great, guys are hungry to turn it around, really everyone on that field today knows that’s not how we finish, that’s not what we do, so everyone’s hungry to get back out there."

Wentz’s numbers this year since he replaced Nick Foles are absurdly great.

He’s thrown 10 touchdowns to one interception and is completing 71 percent of his passes with a 108.1 passer rating.

But after winning 11 of his 13 starts last year, he’s won only two of five starts this year, and he’s been oddly ineffective late in games.

Over the first three quarters this year, he’s got a 114.9 rating, third-highest in the league behind only Philip Rivers (124.1) and Drew Brees (119.0).

In the fourth quarter? He’s got the 23rd-highest passer rating in the league at 88.7.

“I definitely at the end of the game want the ball in my hands,” Wentz said after practice Friday at the Hazelwood rugby fields. “I’m confident in my ability and really the guys around me. I’m confident in every guy out there.

“We do it in practice, we’ve done it in games before, we just have to finish better. Some of that’s just communication, better communication. Some of that is just taking what’s there, not forcing things.

“I think we’ve done a good of that at times, but sometimes, all of us get ahead of ourselves. There’s definitely stuff to learn from last week and grow from.”

Wentz didn’t say “I” there, but he didn’t have to. It’s clear sometimes he tries to do too much and carry the team on his shoulders.

Which really is a trait you want your quarterback to have. He just sometimes needs to be a tad smarter about forcing throws at key moments.

And he knows it.

Sunday is huge for the Eagles, and it’s huge for Wentz.

If they’re going to salvage anything of this season, he has to be effective not just for 45 minutes or 50 minutes but for 60.

Especially the last few.

“As a quarterback and the leaders, in general, it’s really on a lot of us to get everyone going again,” he said.

“Record doesn’t matter. The goal is to go 1-0 every week, and the division we’re in is really wide open. We’re not where we want to be but there’s a lot left to play.”

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