I still can’t believe they did it.
For the majority of Thursday night’s game, the Eagles were doing typical Eagle things. Sloppy play on offense, big plays allowed on defense, missed opportunities. This game had loss written all over it, and after that 97-yard touchdown drive from the Giants with just 6:17 remaining, it felt inevitable. But just like last week, the team rallied behind the special play from Carson Wentz to get back in the game, and this time, they were able to leave the Linc with a W.
Easily the biggest win of the season, and arguably a top-3 win for Carson Wentz’s career.
There are a bunch of things to talk about from this crazy game, so let’s get into it.
Let’s talk about our QB
There’s no doubt Wentz needs to clean up a few areas of his game. His accuracy was still off at times Thursday night, and his questionable decision making reared its ugly head a handful of times. But when it mattered most, Wentz played at an elite level. 5 completions for 121 yards and two touchdowns in the final 6 minutes is about as good as you can get.
His ability to play big in big moments is special, and it’s something not every quarterback in this league is capable of. Wentz will never be the most accurate passer, but as long as he can limit the mental lapses, he’s undoubtedly a top tier quarterback.
His leadership has come into question at times over the past few seasons. If you still believe that after these past two weeks, or even the past month, I don’t know what to tell you. The intangibles Wentz possesses are things you can’t coach. The mental side of the game is coachable, and Wentz is certainly capable of learning from these mistakes and correcting them.
Fans have dragged Wentz through the muck all season this year, and all he’s done is fight. For the first time this season, I’m truly happy we have Wentz as the signal caller in Philly. It feels really good to say that.
Doug Pederson’s play calling was dreadful all night
If the Eagles would’ve lost this game, fans would’ve been calling for Pederson’s job all day today on sports talk radio.
His play calling has been inconsistent all season, and it may have been at its worst Thursday night. The refusal to stick with a running game, questionable situational play calling and even more questionable calls on 2-point conversions. It was all there.
Wentz threw the ball 43 times, and if it wasn’t for some of his improvised runs, it would have been closer to 50 attempts. There’s just no reason to run such a pass heavy game plan against the Giants in a game that was pretty close throughout. We talk a lot about how Wentz continuously tries to play super hero ball, but if you take the ball out of his hands just a little bit and stop putting all the onus on him to make plays, maybe those questionable decisions start to dwindle.
You’d think after spending four and a half seasons together, Doug would realize that by now. Yet, he continues to put Wentz in a position where he has to make plays for his team to win. Thursday night he was able to do it, but it’s not a sustainable formula for victory.
And don’t think I forgot about those 2-point conversion calls. For a coach who goes for those conversions as much as Doug does, he doesn’t have many creative plays in that section of his playbook. The first 2-point conversion play of the night came in the 4th quarter, and for some reason, Pederson called a QB power out of the shotgun. A call that’s only logical if you have prime Cam Newton under center. Why he would put Wentz in that situation is beyond me.
The second 2-point play came after the go ahead touchdown. Instead of keeping Wentz on the field this time, when he’s clearly playing his best ball of the night, Doug put Jalen Hurts in there for a play that got busted from the rip. We all agree Hurts should see the field more, but in a situation like that it just doesn’t make sense.
Perhaps the worst call of the night from Doug came right before Jim Schwartz’s defense gave up the 97 yard touchdown drive. Leading up to that 4th and goal call, Doug ran three running plays from the Giants 9 yard line. One to Corey Clement up the middle, another with Jalen Hurts at QB, and then another QB run with Wentz back behind center. I know I just harped on Doug to run the ball a little more, but why not give your franchise quarterback a chance to get in the end zone there with his arm before 4th down? And if you’re going to run three straight times there, don’t make two of them designed QB runs. Get creative. Run a jet sweep. Bring Hurts in motion and use him as a decoy on a HB dive or something. Literally anything.
Then on the 4th down call, Pederson decided to unleash his secret weapon. Recently signed, converted tight end Hakeem Butler, who didn’t play a single snap before that play. I get the idea behind the call. Butler is 6’5” and fade routes are probably the best situation to use him. But on 4th down, with the game on the line, running a 50/50 fade route to someone who hasn’t played all night is insane. I can’t wrap my mind around that play call in the slightest.
Doug got bailed out big time in this one. I would’ve been right there with every other fan calling for his job this morning if his team lost.
Boston Scott truly is the Giant Killer
I said it before the game, and now I firmly believe it. The New York Giants just cannot stop Boston Scott from making plays against them. He only averaged 3.8 yards and 12 carries Thursday night, but the game winning catch by him was big time. Wentz put it in the perfect spot, and the 5-foot-nothing Scott made the catch to save the Eagles season. Hell, maybe Doug should’ve called his number on that fade route on 4th down.
Scott has done little to nothing all season. We’ve been waiting for him to make an impact, and when his number was called with Miles Sanders on the sidelines, he answered.
It’s great to see. Hopefully this performance leads to more exciting things out of Scott for the rest of the season.
Brandon Graham is quietly having a career year
Brandon Graham has been somewhat overlooked this season. Maybe if the Eagles had a winning record things would be different, but nevertheless Graham is on pace to have a career year in sacks.
He made the game clinching play on the final drive with his strip sack of Daniel Jones, reminiscent of the immortal play he made in Super Bowl 52. Obviously this play won’t be remembered nearly as much, but it helped salvage the season for his team.
Graham has 6 sacks and 10 QB hits on the year. He’s on pace for 12 or 13 sacks and over 20 QB hits, both would be career highs for the 32-year-old. I’ve talked a bunch about how the veterans on this team have just lost a step, but Graham is truthfully playing some of the best ball of his career at age 32.
He’s a Philly legend, and his 2020 campaign is just sprucing up his resume even more. Love seeing BG in midnight green. It’ll be hard to replace that guy whenever he decides to hang the cleats up.
Alright, this isn’t really a takeaway. But let’s all enjoy this blooper from Daniel Jones. This wouldn’t have been as funny if the Eagles lost. Be they didn’t. So I will continue to laugh and enjoy this.