Great Scott! Boston’s TD Catch Propels Birds Over Big Blew
They rallied to beat their NFC East rivals, the New York Giants, thanks to an amazing catch by a Giants nemesis going back to last season.
Running back Boston Scott, filling in for an injured Miles Sanders, made an unreal over-the-shoulder catch as he scuttled into the end zone with 40 seconds left to play, giving the Eagles a 22-21 lead that stood even after they failed to execute yet another two-point conversion.
Style points, they didn’t earn. But the Eagles (2-4-1) snapped their two-game losing streak, won for just the second time this season, and somehow took the division lead as they get some extra rest before their next game, a division showdown against the rival Cowboys.
The Eagles have now beaten the Giants eight straight times and Doug Pederson improved to a perfect 6-0 on Thursday Night Football.
The game brought back memories of what Thursday Night Football used to resemble, back when the league force-fed bad teams into prime time just to have the NFL appear on another night during the week.
But, hey. A win’s a win.
Let’s go ahead with the observations:
1. First off, the Eagles were lucky they ran into a team that’s as uninspiring as they are. The Giants had the win wrapped up on their final possession if a wide-open Evan Engram doesn’t let a perfect pass from Daniel Jones slip through his fingers. It would’ve been first down and the way the Giants were driving, they would’ve put the game away, either running out the clock or kicking a field goal for an eight-point lead that would have forced the Eagles to go for two if they had scored on their final possession. Let’s just say going for two at the end of the game hasn’t been their strong point laely. You can say the better team won this game, I suppose. Really, the better bad team won.
2. Hard to believe, but the Eagles won because Richard Rodgers made a pivotal, 30-yard catch on the Eagles’ last possession down to the New York 30-yard-line. Rodgers caught two balls on that drive for a total of 41 yards and led all receivers with 85 yards. Know how many times Zach Ertz has had 85 yards this year? Correct, none. Dallas Goedert? Once, in the season opener.
3. Make you want of Carson Wentz’s game. He was brilliant in the fourth quarter again, not so much in the second and third. It’s maddening to watch him make really risky throws, and you can’t help but wonder if he took the Giants lightly at first. Sure, he also made some cowboy-style throws against the Steelers and Ravens, but nothing as ridiculous as the cross-body throw he made to Travis Fulgham that nearly got picked by Blake Martinez. Without Sanders and Ertz, Wentz needed to be smart and savvy along with special, but he got a little careless and held onto the ball too long again. The turnovers continue to be problematic for him.
4. That said, Wentz never really had a chance to get into a better rhythm, not with Sua Opeta at left guard, Jordan Mailata being just OK at left tackle and with Lane Johnson again being in and out of the game, sometimes replaced by Matt Pryor. This offensive line is a disaster, and we’ll have to see what’s the latest on Lane Johnson. Wentz was mauled by a Giants defense that predictably came after him. He took another double-digit hit toll, and that doesn’t count the times he was hit as a runner. This offensive line is just way too beat up to give him any kind of real protection, and Wentz will eventually get hurt if this keeps up. Ron Jaworski pointed out on ITB TV recently that Wentz is forced to make too many throws with people in his face. That trend probably won’t be stopping soon.
5. Tough seeing DeSean Jackson leave the field barely able to walk after being injured on his punt return late in the game. It’s certainly been the story of his second Eagles career. I wonder if we witnessed the last play of his Eagles – and maybe NFL – career, depending on the results.
6. Eagles receivers deserve credit for this win the most. Greg Ward made a real nice catch on third down and continues to catch the ball every time it’s thrown near him. Travis Fulgham again showed he’s no fluke, demonstrating his catch radius and YAC ability on a 40-yard reception in the second half … and John Hightower for the second straight week caught a second-half bomb from Wentz. This time, Hightower didn’t have any drops. You’re seeing the future of the Eagles’ receiving corps, and Jalen Reagor should be back soon, and the future looks bright.
7. Let’s not let the defense off the hook. How do you get out-coached by Jason Garrett? How do you get run over late by Wayne Gallman and allow Daniel Jones to run untouched 80 yards? If Engram had caught that third-down pass from Jones to put the game away for the Giants, there’d be a lot more heat today from the fans on Jim Schwartz.
8. Daniel Jones’ 80-yard sprint-and-wobble was yet another example of the Eagles’ defense caught off guard and woefully out of place. The read option caught Brandon Graham crashing hard toward the middle, clearing the way for an open alley so wide that Jones wasn’t touched until the grass tackled him inside the Philadelphia 10. Jones became just the fourth NFL player since 2001 to have a run of at least 80 yards against the Eagles, and only quarterback. The others were Troy Hambrick, Doug Martin and Adrian Peterson. Surprisingly, only Peterson actually scored on his long run.
9. Overall, not a bad game for Eagles linebackers Alex Singleton and Nate Gerry. Even with Duke Riley back, Gerry and Singleton remained as the nickel tandem. Schwartz didn’t mind blitzing them either, as White Snake picked up his first sack and Singleton absolutely trucked Devonta Freeman to drop Jones.
10. Jalen Hurts played a grand total of one snap in the first half, which was surprising after his impact against the Ravens. His second snap, on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half, was a yawn kind of read option that didn’t fool the Giants even a little. There was another read option near the end of the third at the New York 7 that went for 0 yards. With a short preparation week, it seems that Doug Pederson would’ve been better served using Hurts in a way the Giants wouldn’t have seen on tape – like a a play action pass – instead of the way he’s mostly used Hurts. It’s hard to believe Pederson called one of the greatest goal line plays in Super Bowl history but can’t think of better ways these days to execute 2-point conversions or use Hurts.
Extra point: Jake Elliott is becoming a problem.
Extra point, Part 2: Nobody was covering Hakeem Butler on the fourth-down pass from Carson Wentz at the start of the fourth. Logan Ryan rotated over so late that he needed to get away with interference to stop the pass, but Wentz perhaps put too much air on the throw, which helped Ryan recover. Wentz had to see Ryan zipping over to the uncovered tight end. Would’ve been nice to see Wentz yell for the snap and fire a fastball to Butler’s outside shoulder. On the flip side, Butler first lined up incorrectly and then somehow let a defensive back who’s a half-foot smaller than him break up the pass. A little more effort next time, perhaps?
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.