“Just stay together and just finish the game.” That was the advice given from Doug Pederson to Carson Wentz before he walked out on the field for a crucial fourth-quarter drive. The Eagles did exactly that and in a game that was slowly beginning to show signs of yet another offensive collapse, they got the job done.
Carson Wentz led the Eagles down the field in a drive that lasted over eight minutes and ended in a field goal that pushed the Bears into a situation where they’d have to drive the length of the field, score a touchdown, and convert a 2-pt attempt, just to keep the game alive. They had no timeouts and 25 seconds left on the clock.
“At the end of the day, like you said, we hit a little dry spell there.” Wentz explained after the game. “We didn’t capitalize on a couple of third downs, we didn’t stay on the field, and put our defense in some tough spots a couple of times and they stepped up and made some plays. It was just, ‘hey, stay together.’ We had those long sustained drives early in the game. We basically said we need one more of these. One more of those and go down and score, and we didn’t score but we got the field goal and it kind of sealed the deal.”
There’s a lot to talk about with regards to this game. The bizarre lack of wide receiver production, the defense holding Chicago to a single yard of offense in close to two quarters, and of course a dominant offensive line. But nobody will touch on the fact that the Eagles didn’t let old habits resurface.
Tennessee. Carolina. I don’t really need to say anything more than that. The Eagles held a 12 point lead over the Bears heading into the half and at one stage it rose to 19 after a third-quarter touchdown. The Bears then found a flash of production on offense and clawed their way back into the game. A game that should’ve been buried a long time ago.
For a fleeting moment, there was a lump in the chest of Eagles fans everywhere, who after feeling nothing but confidence all game, started to see shades of that Thursday Night loss to Carolina. But for the second week in a row, Wentz and the offense orchestrated an extensive drive that pushed the nail in the coffin…and it simply has to be commended. Crucial back-to-back third-down conversions in tough situations
“We talk about that all the time.” Doug Pederson said after the win. “We talk about our four-minute offense. We weren’t really in four-minute mode. Offensively, we kind of sputtered there in the second half a little bit. We had some opportunity, and we just didn’t capitalize.
But for them to kind of take it upon their shoulders; the defense was fighting and battling and doing their part. The offense needed to go, and it was time for them to go. Again, it goes back to trusting the players, trusting the guys up front, trusting our quarterback, putting our guys in position to make plays, and they did that. It’s a credit to go down and obviously kick that field goal and then get the ball on the kickoff.”
The Eagles have left a lot of meat on the bone this year and if there had been another game that slipped through the cracks, especially after the turbulent October month they’ve endured, it’s scary to think what it would mean for the remainder of the season.
It wasn’t perfect and there are absolutely things that need addressing, like the entire season of Mack Hollins’ snap-counts up to this point. But after a month of noise, anonymous sources, surprising cuts, and heartbreaking losses, the Eagles have come alive late in games in back-to-back weeks…somewhat squashing any concern of allowing teams to creep back into games when the coffin should be buried.
It’s a small takeaway in the grand scheme of things, but it’s one that symbolizes ‘playing to the final whistle’, and you don’t get that without a galvanized locker room…and you don’t get that without a Head Coach who has brought the team back together.
Things may finally be sunny in Philadelphia once again.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports