NEW PLAYERS LEAD THE WAY AS EAGLES WIN TURNOVER BATTLE, AND GAME, AGAINST THE 49ERS
Teams that win in the NFL, are teams that not only get big plays from the stars, but also from their role players.
In the case of the Eagles, Sunday night's 25-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, came from big plays that were produced by players many fans never heard of.
Two the Eagles three touchdowns came from wide receiver Travis Fulgham, who caught a go-ahead 42-yard touchdown pass from Carson Wentz with 5:50 remaining and Alex Singleton, who returned an interception for a score to lift the Birds to their first win of the season .Fulgham played in three games for the Detroit Lions in 2019, but did not catch a pass.
His two catches against the 49ers were his first as a professional.
Second-year linebacker Alex Singleton mostly plays special teams and has only been on the field for a handful of snaps on defense over his 14-game career.
Sunday night he filled in for T.J. Edwards, who left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury, and came up with the defensive play of the night and for his career intercepting 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens at the San Francisco 30-yard line, then ran it in for a touchdown that ended up being the winning points for the Eagles (1-2-1) much needed victory.
"It's a huge relief. Big team win," said Wentz, who was 18 of 28 for 198 yards, one TD pass and one interception. He also ran for 37 yards on seven carries and an 11-yard TD. "It's fun to see these young guys step up and make plays in big moments like this."
Singleton was predictably all smiles at his video conference after the game. The 26-year-old was asked about the play and getting over a half playing defense.
“The play, obviously he kind of threw the ball right to me, my heart kind of skipped a beat. I just caught it and went with it,” Singleton said. “I knew I had to get in the end zone. We talked about it all week, to score on defense, so the only thing going through my mind, and then yeah when TJ went down which is a huge loss, that's our Mike (linebacker). T.J.'s a great football player but, like coach talks about next man up and you don't want to be the weak link you want to be the strong link, so to be able to go out there and be able to do my job, the most important thing for this team and that's what hopefully what I did.”
n Mills normally plays safety this season, but was asked to play cornerback after the Birds lost Avonte Maddox for a few games with an ankle injury. He was a part of a defense that is now among the best, statistically, in the NFL.
The Eagles now lead the league in sacks with 17 (five against the 49ers) and and are among the leaders in several other categories.
His unit produced three turnovers in the game, two were converted to touchdowns.Mills was asked to share his take on Fulgham, who he sees at practice every day.
“He was a guy actually, I used to brag on on the sideline,once he got in during camp, I literally never seen him drop a ball,” Mills said. “I used to always walk up and down the sideline and every time he would catch the ball and I would say, like, I've never seen this dude drop a ball in practice. I knew once he gets his opportunity he's gonna make the most of it, and today was the day, Sunday Night Football. No bigger stage.”
Fulgham, who confirmed he had only one rep with Wentz on the play that produced the 42-yard score and that they hit on it, talked about his first NFL touchdown.
“We just executed,” Fulgham said at his post game video conference. “"After we broke the huddle, Carson said: `Be ready." At first, I actually lost a ball but since Carson gave me a great throw, I was able to locate it. It was right in the breadbasket and I came with a touchdown.”
Head coach Doug Pederson said he remembers Fulgham from before the 2019 offseason.
“I do remember him in the draft,” the coach said. “We had some good grades on him and really liked him at the time. But he was somebody that we definitely liked. He's a kid that, just, again, he comes to work and enjoys coming and enjoys being out there on the grass and being around his teammates. He was making plays against our defense on the scout team and making flash plays, and of course he was working on special teams, as well, and felt, obviously with the injury situation at the receiver spot, he earned it. He earned an opportunity to come up and play and he played well yesterday. Had the big catch for the touchdown, and it was great to see.”
Despite pedestrian number, Wentz played his best game of the season. He was in command on the filed and showed the es-capability that he showed during his first few years in the league.
Pederson talked about his quarterback's performance Sunday, after being so ineffective the first three weeks of the season.
“I think it's huge for Carson,” said Pederson, who is preparing his team to take on the 3-0 Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday. “I think it's huge for our football team to be able to pull out a win against a team that was in the Super Bowl a year ago on the road, cross-country. It's just great for our football team to be able to do this. But for Carson Wentz specifically to, play better, and to really play physical in his play yesterday and efficient in the passing game. Obviously, there wasn't a lot of yardage but the thing was he was efficient. There are a couple throws he would definitely like to have back and all of that, but this is big for him, just to get that taste of winning again, for everybody, me included, just to get that taste back, it gives you a little bit of motivation. Something to build on as we move forward to this week.” *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii