Rookie kicker Jake Elliott drilled a 61-yard field goal, yes, that’s right, a 61-yard field goal to lift the Eagles 27-24 over the Giants Sunday after nearly blowing a big 14 point lead.
A solid defensive effort and running game to boot made it look like the Eagles would sail to their second win of this short season but a recipe of short passes eventually broke through as Eli Manning threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns. But somehow, the Eagles overcame a bevy of injuries to key players — including Darren Sproles and Fletcher Cox to prevail in the most dramatic of fashions.
Elliott, the placekicker picked up after Week 1 to stand in for injured Caleb Sturgis, nailed a 46-yard field goal to tie things at 24-all with 56 seconds to play. Then just 55 seconds later, after an Eagles defensive stand and quick pass to Alshon Jeffery, he lined up a 61-yard attempt to win it and the Linc exploded in celebration as it barely split the uprights. Elliott was carried off the field in victory.
Here’s what else we saw:
Remembered to run
The Eagles commitment to the run was clear from early on, as the team ran the ball 13 times during a long 90-yard, 18 play scoring drive that ate 9:34 of clock. In all they acquired 193 yards on the ground with LeGarrette Blount (67 yards) and Wendell Smallwood (71 yards) leading the way.
Blount had a 17-yard run followed by an eight yard run in the first, as ironic cheers for successful Eagles running plays echoed through the Linc. Wentz also got back to scrambling, elusively scampering for a first down in the red zone to help set up a Blount one-yard score.
The run played a large role in the Eagles’ second successful scoring drive, but it was a long pass interference call drawn by Alshon Jeffery that eventually set up a Zach Ertz slant route touchdown and a 14-0 lead. A second huge pass interferance call did led to a rushing touchdown as Corey Clement got his first six points as a pro tying the game at 21-all after a 15-yard run.
Philly finished the game with a 15:08 advantage in time of possession.
Bruised and battered defense
The Eagles played most of Sunday’s game without Cox, Jordan Hicks, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod and a handful of other key defensive players, with the first two names acquiring injuries in Week 3 action.
Rasul Douglas showed he belonged on an NFL roster — after not dressing in the first game the big rookie cornerback snagged a huge interception just inside the goal line on a deep Manning pass in the second quarter. A second pick came on a dynamic leap by Patrick Robinson, nabbing a pass intended for Odell Beckham Jr. and securing it after the Eagles failed to convert a field goal try on their first drive after the half.
The Eagles defense stood tough — really tough — in the wake of the failed fourth down play on a questionable call by Doug Pederson. The Birds’ defense held strong at the goalline, surviving two controversial rulings on potential touchdown passes to Sterling Shepard by wrecking Orleans Darkwa on fourth down at the one-yard line to preserve a 7-0 lead. Another fourth down stand came in the fourth when the Giants’ best drive of the game was stymied at the Eagles’ 13-yard line.
The first two drives showcased the Eagles’ offensive line problems, as each saw Wentz get sacked, a short run on second and long and eventually a three-and-out.
A costly sack followed late in the first half as the Eagles went for it on fourth down just in Giants’ territory — but a Wentz sack gave the back back to New York with two minutes to go.
Against a lowly Giants’ squad that looked like it was down 40 points, not 14 after Philly’s third quarter touchdown should have led to more Eagles’ offense, but the team was still not on it’s A-game.
In the fourth the Giants finally found paydirt on an 18-yard touchdown toss to Beckham and added insult to injury as Zach Ertz fumbled fighting for yardage to set up another touchdown pass to Beckham, tying things at 14. After an Eagles punt, 77-yards for Shepard gave the Giants 21 straight points and their first lead.
Philly’s third horrible pass interference call knocked Beckham out of the game but led to a 41-yard Aldrick Rosas field goal to put the Giants up 24-21 with three minutes to go.