ANOTHER BIG FOURTH QUARTER FROM WENTZ, BUT THIS TIME THE EAGLES GET THE WIN
Any Eagles fan or observer surely looked at the Eagles schedule over the next five weeks and saw that there would be a chance to make up serious ground after the team's 1-4-1 start.
But in order to win four in a row going into your showdown with the Seattle Seahawks on November 30, you have to win the first one.
The Eagles did that, just barely.
Carson Wentz led the Eagles on two-fourth quarter touchdown drives to pull out a 22-21 win over the hapless New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field in front of about 6,000 fans who probably left the stadium in shock.
It was the eighth win in a row for the Eagles over this franchise. It was the third consecutive game at the Linc the Giants have blown a double-digit lead.
“It’s a tough one for us to swallow for sure,” Giants quarterback Daniel Jones said after the game. “We have to find a way to finish games. On offense we had the ball there and we have to sustain a drive and finish with the ball. There’s a lot of plays in the game. We will go back and look at the tape and make sure we’re moving forward and we’re improving as a team.”
The Eagles played poor enough to lose this game twice in the same night.
Before the Birds' big fourth quarter, they had three drives into the Red Zone that netted zero points. The first was a Wentz interception, his tenth of the season.
The second was a missed 31-yard field goal by Jake Elliott as the first half ended. It was his first miss of the season inside 50 yards.
The third blown drive was early in the fourth quarter when the Birds drove to the Giants three-yard line only to turn the ball over on downs. For the record, it appeared Eagles tight end Hakeem Butler was interfered with in the end zone by cornerback Logan Ryan, but no pass interference was called.
The Eagles (2-4-1) did make an impressive comeback, scoring a touchdown with 4:38 left in the fourth. Even after getting spotted yards on an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Giants defensive back Madre Harper. Wentz could not make the two-point conversion from the one.
The score was 21-16 with 4:38 left in the fourth quarter. The Giants (1-6) ensuing drive stalled at their own 47-yard line and the visitors were forced to punt.
DeSean Jackson got his knee bent badly on the punt return. It looked like cheap shot on his leg. A 15-yard penalty against Giants Corey Ballentine was called on the play.
Wentz took the ball with just 2:02 left in the fourth and drove 71 yards on six plays ending with an 18-yard strike to Boston Scott at the edge of the end zone.
The Eagles missed another two-point conversion attempt after Scott's touchdown.
The Giants got the ball back for one last drive, but on the third play, defensive end Brandon Graham strip-sacked Jones and the Birds walked away with the win and a season that can still be saved.
Wentz was 25 of 43 for 359 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He was sacked three times, but rushed seven times for 14 yards and a one-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
Quarterback Daniel Jones, the team's leading rusher on the season was 20 of 30 for 187 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked three times and intercepted once.
Jones etched himself into Giants and NFL infamy, when with 8:51 left in the third quarter and his team trailing 10-7, he took the shotgun snap at the Giants 12-yard-line and raced around the right side through a whole the width of the Blue Route and had nothing but daylight. When Jones reached midfield Joe Buck yelled, "He's gone!."
But suddenly at about the 15-yard line he tripped himself up and fell. Eagles defensive back Jalen Mills tagged Jones down at the eight. It took four more plays, but the Giants scored on a one-yard run by Wayne Gallman to make the score 14-10.
“I just tried to run faster than I was running and I got caught up," Jones said after the game. "We finished the drive and scored a touchdown. That was a relief to me for sure.”
Several Giants players were seen laughing on the sideline when Jones tripped.
Scott, who finished with 46 yards on 12 carries and three receptions for 46 yards, was asked to talk about the play call on the Eagles’ final play of a drive that resulted in a go-ahead touchdown.
“I don’t know if I can say the play call," Scott said. "But I mean, I just checked my protection and then after that, I got out into space. I knew throughout the game, we had been running short routes into the flat kind of. Peppers was coming out into the flat with me pretty much every time. On that one, I just kind of set it up and then Carson went to me so that was cool.”
Giants strong safety Jabrill Peppers said he had the final play covered, but Wentz and Scott just made a play.
"Man to man coverage," Peppers recalled. "I was checking and making sure that he wasn't trying to run anything underneath or outside. I felt like I was in good position. I just have to play the hands better. It was a good ball, so that was definitely on me. No ifs, ands or buts about it."
Wentz was asked about the game-winning touchdown pass to Scott.
“He wasn’t the primary read on that play,” Wentz said. “The way it happened - I stepped up in the pocket - and [Giants S Jabrill Pepper] had pretty good coverage. But I gave Boston a chance there to make a play and he did. He plays bigger than whatever he is - five-foot seven - he plays bigger than that. Scott made a great play.
"I was pretty surprised when we pulled it off. When I threw it I thought it was a little high, but like I said, he plays bigger than he is. Obviously there were a lot of emotions there. It was kind of a big, exciting moment, but a big, kind of sigh of relief because we left a lot of plays out there.
"The way we battled and found a way at the end of the game was huge for us.”
Peppers was asked when the game is sliding away from him a little bit like it was in the last six minutes after the Giants were up by 11 points, is it incumbent on some of the leaders and some of the veterans like him hit the brakes and reverse the momentum?
"Definitely. Absolutely, and that's why it hurts," Peppers said. "We felt like we got a good enough lead. We can close it out. With everything that happened in the game, we were still in a position to close out the game and I didn't make the play. It hurts, but I'm a man, I'll take it on the chin. I'll learn from it and make sure that it never happens again." *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii