When the Eagles were down 19-0, deep in enemy territory and opted to go for a field goal, Eagles fans across the world were left scratching their heads. In what eventually became a three-point victory, that decision was absolutely vital. It was a slow start for the Philadelphia Eagles and one that very, very nearly put the final nail in the coffin. But somehow, some way, this team showed the grit and determination that drove them to a Super Bowl. Here are some quick hitters from the huge win.
Coming out swinging:
The Eagles never took this game lying down. As aforementioned, the slow starts continued. A 19-0 deficit was established early, but both the offense and defense continued to fight, putting method over emotion. A one-play mentality became clear as other factors (which we’ll touch on later) sought to destroy the remnants of their Super Bowl defense and in turn, lifted the Eagles to a huge win.
Players like Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins, Zach Ertz and Carson Wentz all led by example. Huge players were followed by ferocious cries that seemed to light a fire in the players around them. At one point, Saquon Barkley had more yardage than the entire Eagles offense. For a home team, on a completely abysmal run of form, with their season on the line, to rise up and overcome that monumental obstacle, it can only be applauded. Finally, the Eagles are playing with that fire and anger that drove them to a world championship.
The Eagles are now just one win from sitting back on top of the NFC East and that win could come against the Redskins on Monday Night. If the Cowboys lose, the Eagles will be the sole leaders and control their own destiny once again. It’s not over yet, folks.
RUN THE BALL:
Who’d have thought that balancing the offense (28 passes/29 runs) would have such a positive impact for the Eagles? Who’d have thought that Josh Adams could provide an efficient punch up the gut every time he carried the ball? It turns out, most people. But to see it finally be schemed into the gameplan was a breath of fresh air. Pederson did well to keep pounding the run, even when down multiple possessions, something he failed to do in recent weeks which forced Carson Wentz to put the game on his back. Josh Adams could’ve had an even bigger game if not for a penalty, but see this offense force the Giants to respect the run, finally opening up paths for Ertz and Jeffery once again, was such a key component in this win. One can only hope it’s retained as the year goes on.
Not bad for a group of backups…:
Chandon Sullivan, De’Vante Bausby, Cre’Von LeBlanc: Take a bow. I know they weren’t perfect. But they are a group of corners who weren’t even on the team four weeks ago and somehow held:
Odell Beckham Jr to 85 yards on 5/9 targets.
Sterling Shepard to 37 yards on 4/6 targets.
Tight ends seemed to do damage over the middle and there were come mental errors along the way, but this was a really inspiring and physical performance from corners who struggled in the first half and seemed to flip the switch in the second. The tackling improved, the coverage improved, the communication improved. Once the group settled in, the Giants found it very difficult to move the ball at times and that’s all you can ask from the most banged up secondary in the league playing in such a ‘soft-coverage’ defense.
Getting out of their own way:
Penalties overshadowed this game. The officiating, in fairness, was absolutely horrendous, but it has been all year for the Eagles. Players should be used to this and prepared to be a little more conservative by now. Discipline has to be a factor here and you could see shades of why this team is now 5-6. The Alshon Jeffery call was a shoddy one, but the majority of flags thrown could’ve been avoidable…and not every defense is as average as the Giants. The Eagles have to get out of their own way before they can begin to take the fight to the bigger boys in the NFC.
From Doug Pederson’s decision to chip the field goal when down 19-0, to the gutsy 4th down call that did put the game on the shoulders of Carson Wentz, Pederson game planned this perfectly. A balanced offense that boasted a variety of looks with plenty of 12 personnel formations, the Eagles head coach finally seemed to get things clicking during the win.
As for Jim Schwartz, it was truly a game of two halves. If the first half display was repeated, hot-seat talk would be ripe right now. But his defense; his short-handed, injury plagued, inexperienced defense, came out swinging and made life hell for Eli Manning and the Giants offense. What more could you ask?
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports