Jake Elliott wasn’t supposed to be the Eagles’ kicker this year. He actually wasn’t really supposed to kick in any games. He was on the practice squad for the Bengals and until two weeks ago had never kicked in an NFL game.
On Sunday, he kicked a game-tying and game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter. The winner ws a 61-yard bomb with one second left.
The celebration on the field was epic, as was the result, a 27-24 win.
“It was awesome,” Elliott said. “I was running around trying not to get hurt. It’s a litrle surreal. It’s the life of a kicker. You have the ultimate ups and the ultimate downs.”
Some Eagles players, like LeGarrette Blount, said he “knew he would make it.” Others like Brandon Graham couldn’t watch.
Graham saw the Eagles’ defense relent 21 unanswered points and lose Fletcher Cox and Jordan Hicks to injuries in the first half. He couldn’t even watch the kick.
“My head was down and I was just waiting on people to run out — if they ran out, we won and if they didn’t then we had to go to overtime. When I heard people yelling and going crazy I just started running. I didn’t even see him make it.”
Elliott saw it go in, the longest field goal of his career (he made a 56-yarder in college) and two shy of David Akers’ team record of 63 yards.
“It was all a blur to me. I just know the ball was in the air for a very long time,” he said.
The kick almost didn’t happen. Doug Pederson said he and the rest of the coaching staff decided that they wanted to be at the 35 yard line for field goal attempts. This one was made from the 47, after a last-second pass down the sidelines from Carson Wentz to Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery got his feet out of bounds with one second left and then Pederson called time out, deciding to go with a field goal try.
“I definitely ran over there and lobbied,” Elliott said.
Elliott will likely cause a kicker controversy once Caleb Sturgis comes off the disabled list in Week 9. With two misses in two games, the rookie has plenty of baggage. But he’s also a local hero — and could have just kicked his way into the hearts of Eagles fans, and a starting job.